Editor's note: Beaches and parks are listed geographically from north to south.
Beaches with this symbol have beach wheelchairs available, either provided as a courtesy, or available for (prearranged) rent and delivery from private companies.
Along the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota area beaches lay claim to some of Florida's most award-winning sands.
North Lido Beach
North Lido Beach is a gorgeous half-mile stretch of golden beach floating on the Gulf of Mexico. This beach is popular for sunbathing and quiet reading.
Located mid-island on Lido Key, this beach is only minutes from St. Armands Circle, a popular shopping and dining district. The facilities here are outstanding, including showers, lockers, dressing rooms, concession stand, public meeting rooms, a beachwear/souvenir boutique and playground.
South Lido Park
This park, located on the southern tip of Lido Key, is well shaded by Australian pines. The 100-acre park is surrounded by four bodies of water - the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay, Big Pass and Brushy Bayou. It's a great place to grill-out and chill-out. South Lido is a popular spot for boaters and for family outings. Don't miss the nice view of the Sarasota skyline.
Siesta Public Beach
Judges in Great International White Sand Beach Challenge decided in 1987 that Siesta Beach had the "whitest and finest sand in the world" and no one who's ever visited is likely to dispute that claim. The award-winning sand is 99% quartz and is snow-white and feathery-soft. The area's most popular public beach, this 2,400 feet of beachfront attracts sun worshippers of all ages. Facilities include beach wheelchairs, tennis courts, volleyball nets, concession stand, ball field and fitness trail. Pine trees shade an area for picnicking with grills for cookouts and a playground. In 2011, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, better known as Dr. Beach, ranked this the No. 1 beach in the United States.
Crescent Beach on Siesta Key
The clear, warm waters along this gently sloping shore make for ideal swimming. The beach is hundreds of yards wide, and its crescent shape only adds to the picturesque quality. The public park features picnic tables, shelters, showers and restrooms.
On the southern end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach has some of the highest beach dunes in the area. The site is perfect for family outings with picnic areas, dune walkovers, a playground and restrooms.
Nokomis Beach is found off Albee Road on Casey Key. Ample parking, lifeguards, picnic tables, grills and bathrooms lead to this wide beach. This family-oriented beach is also popular for fishing; a public boat ramp is conveniently located across the street.
North Jetty Park
Located on the southern tip of Casey Key, the jetties make this one of the most exciting surfing beaches on the west coast of Florida, as well as a great spot to watch boats go in and out to sea. It is a very popular picnicking spot for families and large groups; this is a popular fishing spot.
Venice Municipal Beach
At the west end of Venice Avenue is the smooth, white sand and crystal-blue waters of Venice Beach. If you enjoy diving in your leisure time, a reef containing fossilized material is located a quarter mile offshore. You will enjoy collecting prehistoric, fossilized sharks' teeth while you walk its shores.
Brohard Beach and Service Club Park
This city-owned park features a 300-foot beach and a 740-foot fishing pier. The Service Club Park offers a playground, boardwalks and covered picnic areas. You will also find the U.S. Coast Guard Flotilla Training Center, as well as, wetlands and several areas that are great for bird watching.
This 1,100 feet of untouched and secluded beach is one of the best shelling beaches in Sarasota. You'll also find it to be a great location for picking up prehistoric sharks' teeth. A nature trail guides you through freshwater and saltwater marshes, mangroves and tidal flats.
These 1,400-feet of beachfront at the end of Manasota Beach Road will charm you. It's a quiet place to walk or collect seashells, and a winding boardwalk will lead you through the coastal mangrove forest.
Blind Pass Beach
This is an isolated beach featuring picnic tables, showers and restrooms. There's also a nature trail with dunes and wildflowers. If a quiet day on the beach is what you are looking for, you'll find it here.