Why Is Siesta Beach #1?
Siesta Beach is the number one beach in the 21st annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. He uses 50 criteria to evaluate the beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and management.
“Siesta Beach in Sarasota boasts that it has the finest and whitest sand in the world, and I cannot argue with this claim; the powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal,” explains Dr. Leatherman. “The beautiful blue-colored water is clean and clear, making it so inviting to bathers and swimmers. The beach is hundreds of yards wide, attracting volleyball players and beachcombers as well as those who just want to find their place in the sun.”
Siesta Beach is located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico just southwest of downtown Sarasota. The water is calm on most days — Leatherman says you can measure the waves “in inches” — and is shallow and safe for swimming, with no sharp drop-offs.
Public amenities include showers and bathrooms, snack bars, grills, picnic tables, shade trees, and a large parking area, which does fill up on weekends. Siesta Beach is a smokeless beach, earning extra points for cleanliness and environmental management.
Photo credit: Herald Tribune staff photo / Dan Wagner