- The sand is some of the softest sand I’ve ever felt in my life. The sand at this beach is unbelievably soft. At times, it’s almost like walking through flour. Only the lack of desire to have sand in unmentionable places kept me from rolling around on the ground like a happy dog.
- Free parking! A number of the larger beaches in Florida have switched over entirely to paid parking lots, so finding a larger beach with free parking is just short of a miracle.
- The sand was relatively clean – it was a busy day, but there wasn’t much trash on the beach (or really any at all when we first arrived in the morning.)
- Plenty of lifeguard stations with flags flying high to let you know about dangers in the water.
However, for every positive point, there’s a downside.
- There’s a strong sulfur smell in the air. I’m not sure if this is a temporary problem or a long-standing issue, but it’s disappointing to come to the beach and, instead of the lovely salt water smell, getting a whiff of rotten eggs or something that smells vaguely like sewage.
- Thanks to a storm off the coast, we managed to get a little bit of waves without too much of an undertow and took advantage of it by using our boogie boards. As the waves took us into the shallow water, there was a definite urine smell that I didn’t notice just walking through. It was only when my face was close into the board and we were in knee-high or lower water that the smell was noticeable. I didn’t check the beach water quality tests until AFTER we returned, which was a mistake. Siesta Key Beach scored as having moderate amounts of enterococcus sp in the water a mere five days before we visited.
- There were no fish. (Or at least I didn’t see any.) This one actually goes in with the point above. The combination of not seeing or feeling fish anywhere in the water with the smells we noticed made me a little worried about the cleanliness of the water. Even as a kid swimming in the polluted waters of the Potomac River, I’ve never not seen or felt fish in the water around me. It was disconcerting, to say the least. (Yeah, that’s right – some people get freaked out by fish in the water; I get freaked out by no fish in the water.) Melissa says she saw a couple, but not many. There weren’t even very many birds in the area; the few I did see weren’t diving into the water after fish so much as circling toddlers holding bags of chips.
- This place was PACKED. If you’re not there before 10:30am or after 3 or 4pm, it’s nearly impossible to get a parking space. We tend to stick towards the ends of any public beaches we go to due to the crowds. I’m so glad we did, too. Just a couple of hundred feet up from us, it was human stew. Blech.
That said, I wouldn’t completely rule out a trip to Siesta Key Beach. The negatives we mentioned may not be the case all of the time. The sands there really were gorgeous. If you go later in the evening, this beach is a wonderfully peaceful place to watch the sun set. There is currently a lot of construction in the area from where they are building up some wonderful new facilities for beachgoers. There are also tons of neat events taking place including a beach volleyball tournament the weekend we were there, and a sand-sculpture building contest coming soon. Before going (to this beach or any other beach), we highly recommend doing your research on the current water quality tests, at least if you plan to get into the water.