Siesta Key – Sarasota wiki vacation part 4

This is part four of the Sarasota Wiki Vacation series. This trip to the Sarasota barrier islands yielded a large number of pictures which I’ve added to various Wikipedia articles. The unusually-long post I wrote became too long and unfocused. It is about 90 pages long. I am now breaking it up into specific posts by location and theme.

This one is about Siesta Key. We visited three beaches on this barrier island: Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach.

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

The immensity of Siesta Beach

Sunset at Siesta Beach

We decided on a whim to show up at Siesta Beach after a dinner. We arrived just in time to catch the sun setting on the western horizon.

Siesta Key Beach Pavilion

Siesta Key Beach Pavilion

View from Siesta Key Beach Pavilion

View from the beach pavilion

The enormity of this beach is difficult to describe in words. It is not only extremely long, but also unusually wide – so wide that the city had to install walking mats to help beachgoers get to the shore, where they could then walk on firmer wet sand.

Enormity of Siesta Beach on Siesta Key at Sunset

View from the middle of the beach

Perhaps a few panoramic images will help illustrate the enormity. Control click on each to see it in a new web browser tab.

Panorama of Siesta Beach on Siesta Key at Sunset

Just about everyone was looking at the setting sun.

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

I am also a sucker for sunset. You probably figured that out already by now. Here are a few more pictures of this bigly sunset. These have been uploaded to Wikimedia as well.

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

Folks Enjoying Sunset at Siesta Beach

We lingered a bit longer after sunset.

Twilight at Siesta Beach

Twilight at Siesta Beach

Unnamed public beach by Siesta Drive

On a different day we drove from downtown Sarasota to Siesta Key again. On our way to the Key, we passed by an unnamed public beach, just before the Siesta Drive took us onto the bridge connecting the main land to the Key. We imagined this place to be a popular lunch-in-your-car beach for nearby office workers. There were even newspaper racks under the trees.

Unnamed Public Beach by Siesta Drive on the Main Land

Unnamed public beach

All travel brochures tell you that you could snorkel everywhere around the Keys. That is completely true, but is also like saying, “you could do your fishnet casting anywhere around this swimming pool.” Apparently there is no colorful fish to be seen anywhere in the Sarasota Keys without diving, or taking a boat trip, with one exception. I was told there was a stretch of rocks at Point of Rocks on Siesta Key that was accessible from the beach, with just snorkeling equipment.

I wasn’t going to bring my snorkeling gear all the way to Sarasota, only to leave without seeing at least one colorful fish. So I dragged my gear to the beach, but realized belatedly that the wind had picked up, causing choppy waves that churned the water into a soup with zero visibility.

Paddleboarding at Crescent Beach

So, this trip to the beach turned into a paddleboarding (stand up paddle surfing) trip at the Crescent Beach which borders the Point of Rocks from the North.

The Crescent Beach is another under-appreciated beach. It is physically the southern part of the world-renowned Siesta Beach mentioned earlier. Crescent Beach sports the same silky Quartz-based white sand, and feels cools underfoot even on the hottest days. But unlike Siesta Beach which is accessible from almost everywhere along the beach, Crescent Beach appears to be almost completely blocked off from the road, by hotels, resorts and time-sharing condos, with one exception. There is a narrow road called “Beach Access 12” just south of the Stickney Point Bridge which leads to the Crescent Beach. This road comes complete with 20 precious parking spaces, as a bonus. But driving out of this dead-end, narrow road from one of the 20 parking lots requires skills, or a car with both front and rear parking cameras.

Crescent Beach Airplane Ad Banner

Arial advertising at the Crescent Beach

I rented a standup paddleboard from a store only a block away from the beach, across the Midnight Pass Road. Why? Because I saw a few chaps standing tall and looking cool paddling on what looked like a big surfboard. I figured that it couldn’t be too hard. After all, I had kayaked for years. And I had been ice skating lately so I probably had good balance.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Brought the paddleboard through that narrow access road to the beach

Looking a the picture below, after the trip, I can’t help but realize that I certainly didn’t look cool to other beachgoers the way I imagined I had.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Looking nerdy and unsporty beside my rented paddleboard.

I was already having second thoughts, seeing how the board wasn’t really as wide and therefore as stable as I thought. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

A prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster was called for, in my moment of need

Paddleboarding turned out to be quite difficult, with the waves coming in one after another. Pointing the board perpendicular to the waves made it possible to stay on the board for more than a minute without falling. But one couldn’t keep paddling out to the ocean. Signs everywhere warned of rip currents.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Paddling out to the ocean

So, yeah, I had to learn to balance well on the board, rocking it left to right as I paddled in parallel to wave fronts. It took about 15 cycles of falling and climbing back before I got in harmony with the ocean.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Now was time I terrorized these merrymakers in the water, by zigzagging among them with my newfound paddleboarding skills.

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

Crescent Beach Paddleboarding

I didn’t fall overboard here. I was just walking my board back to shore, I swear.

Turtle Beach

We also visited Turtle Beach on the Siesta Key, known for being an active sea turtles nesting place. As locals informed us, we found this beach to be much less crowded. And there was a reason for it. The quality of the sand on this beach was subpar, when compared to the rest of Sarasota beaches. Even though this was still a great beach, compared to those around the US, clearly its sand grains were much coarser, relative to Siesta Beach, for instance.

Turtle Beach at Siesta Key

This is part four of a series. It follows part three: Lido Key. The full series can be found here on this 90-page-long post. The next is: part five – Restaurants.

About Xinhai Dude 辛亥生

The name Xinhai Dude 辛亥生 is a pun in Chinese, as it means both “he who was born in Xinhai” as well as “he who studies Xinhai”. I had an ambitious plan to write something about the great Xinhai Revolution of 1911, thus my blog But after an initial flurry of activities the initiative petered out. One day I will still carry it through. But for now, this website has turned into a conglomerate of my work on various topics of interest to me, including travel pictures, RC model airplane flying, inline skating, ice skating, classical music composition, science fiction short stories, evolution and atheism.
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