At 8 miles long, Siesta Key is the area's most popular beach hangout, with a family-friendly village and a public beach of pure quartz sand so fine it's like confectioners' sugar. The enormous parking lot (at the corner of Beach Rd and Beach Way) has an information booth dispensing info on all types of activities and water sports (parasailing, Jet Ski rental, kayaks, bikes and more), plus nice facilities, a snack bar and covered eating areas.
For a quieter experience, head to Turtle Beach. The sun and teal waters are the same, but it's several miles south of the action and the narrow ash-gray sand beach isn't half as fine, so few prefer it. Not so the sea turtles, who nest here from May through October.
SCAT bus 11 serves Siesta Key from downtown Sarasota.