Vacation Ideas: See The Best Sarasota Beaches
Are you looking for a Sarasota beach to catch some rays and swim at? Well, you’re in luck – this city has over 35 miles of beach throughout the county! This city is known all over the world for its crystal-clear waters and sprawling white sand beaches, which attract over 2 million tourists every year.
But if you want to check out all of the beaches and other beautiful landmarks in the city, there’s no better way than via helicopter. From above, you can view miles and miles of the gulf waters, beaches, cityscapes, and other natural wonders all at once. This gives you such a unique perspective of the city – not to mention the incredible photos you can take while in flight!
There are dozens of beaches spread throughout the county of Sarasota. Here are just a few of the ones you can fly over on your helicopter tour and what you can expect to see if you visit on land later.
Casey Key/Osprey/Nokomis Beach
Casey Key is a great spot to bring the entire family. There are lifeguards on-duty year-round, plus lots of concession stands and picnic areas. Plus, there are 10 miles of biking and running paths, making it a great spot to get a little workout in.
Don’t miss Sarasota’s oldest public beach located in the ritzy area of Casey Key, the Nokomis Beach. You can’t miss the iconic, beautifully restored pavilion or the boardwalks that make it the perfect spot to capture some great photos of your trip. If you catch the sunset on Wednesday or Saturday, you’ll also see a drum circle form and experience a truly incredible show as you watch the sun fade into the horizon.
Perhaps one of the most famous beaches in Sarasota is Siesta Key, which includes Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach, all on the same 8 square mile island. You can get here by boat or over two of the bridges connecting it to the mainland. There’s plenty to do on the island apart from lounging on the beaches, too!
If you’re looking for an overnight camping spot, Turtle Beach is the place! This area is right next to a county-owned campground that offers a playground, shower and restroom area, and a boat launch. You can also rent paddleboards and kayaks or book a tour to head out to Little Sarasota Bay.
Lido Key was named by the famous Sarasota resident John Ringling as it reminded him of the beautiful beaches in Italy. Lido Key has three beach areas, but that’s not all it’s known for; St. Armands Circle is located on the key island, which is one of the best shopping centers in the entire city. You should also check out the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, which rescues all kinds of critters and marine animals.
It should come as no surprise that Longboat Key is the longest island on the Sarasota coast, reaching 12 miles in length. You’ll get spectacular views of the calm waters of the Gulf Coast of Mexico from these beaches. And during the summer, you’ll see hundreds of turtles come to lay their eggs in the soft sand!
Ana Maria Bayfront Park
Are you looking for a low-key, family-friendly beach spot? Ana Maria Bayfront Park is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Not only will you have tons of space on the beach, but there are plenty of trees to offer shade from the hot Florida sun. There’s also a nice playground for the little ones and some shopping and restaurants in Bayfront Park that are worth checking out.
Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island and is a small, quaint beach town that the whole family will love. You can pick up some souvenirs from the gift shops or grab a delicious meal at one of the family-owned restaurants. There are also several museums and art galleries in town, plus plenty of spots to rent bikes, paddleboards, and kayaks.
Another popular beach on Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach has an incredible view of the Gulf. You’ll also find fine dining restaurants with some of the best food in all of Sarasota. Be sure to take a barefoot stroll through the white sands!
Bean Point Beach
If you want the best sunset view from Anna Maria Island, you must stop at Bean Point Beach. This secluded stretch at the northern end of the island feels secluded and serene. It’s also a great spot to do some bird watching and take a quick stroll over the footbridge to explore.
Trying to avoid tan lines during your Florida vacation? Then consider adding Passage Keys AKA Naked Island to your itinerary. That’s right, this is a clothing-optional beach! But this area is also part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, so you can also spot some native birds and marine life!
Egmont Keys State Park is another wildlife refuge that’s a popular destination for bird watchers, boaters, fishers, hikers, and snorkelers alike. There are several beaches filled with all types of shells, along with nature trails and historic sites to check out.
Historic Fort De Soto
This site offers much more than just a picturesque beach – it also includes impressive historical sites you’ll want to check out. You can book a guided tour through the fort and then kayak through the clear waters afterwards. You might even spot dolphins and manatees!
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
You can also fly over the impressive Sunshine Skyway Bridge that connects Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg. This bridge extends a total of over 4 miles and comes to live at night with beautiful lights reflecting on the waters beneath.
Manatee Public Beach
Manatee Public Beach is located on Anna Maria Island, off the northern coast of Sarasota. There are plenty of picnic tables, grills, and some concession stands by the beach, making it a great place to spend the whole afternoon at. This is also a popular beach for turtle spotting – just be sure not to disturb any nests if you come across them!
If you’d like to experience life in Sarasota, you need to visit Coquina Beach. There’s always plenty of things to do, from joining volleyball games to jogging along the trails or catching a live music performance. Plus, on Wednesdays and Sundays in November through June, you can browse the outdoor beach market with tons of local vendors. Finally, if you want to check out the natural beauty of this area, take a stroll down the nature trail to spot wildlife and see even more of the bay.
Ted Sperling Park
Are you looking for a great place to kayak? Ted Sperling Park is the place. There are plenty of rental spots available, and you can spot manatees, fish, and lots of seabirds like diving kingfishers and roseate spoonbills at this beach. It’s important to note that swimming is not allowed on this beach as there are strong currents, but it’s a great place to paddle through!
Palmer Point Beach Park
Palmer Point Beach Park isn’t widely advertised, and it tends to be a favorite for the locals. But finding it can be tricky – which is what keeps the tourists away! You’ll probably want to ask your helicopter tour guide to point it out so you can plan your path. Most people get there by walking from Turtle Beach or by taking a kayak.
North Jetty Beach
If you love the thrill of watersports, you need to head to North Jetty Beach. This area has some of the more intense waves of any beach along the gulf, attracting boaters, jet skiers, kayakers, and paddleboarders alike.
After fun in the sun, you can take the Ybor City trolley into town and check out the local restaurants and live music venues.
Ready to Check Out the Sarasota Beaches?
There’s truly no better way to see all of the beautiful Sarasota beaches in a day than by a helicopter tour. Sarasota Helicopter Tours offers several packages, from a quick 20-minute flight to a full one-hour tour of the city!