Sarasota’s Keys are among some of the most beautiful natural places in Florida, and exploring them by bicycle offers a unique opportunity for tourists and residents alike. While Siesta Key can be very busy and crowded, there are still routes that allow us to enjoy the scenery and wildlife in a way those in cars cannot. Here are some of our favorite bike rides and routes for you to enjoy when in Sarasota and specifically our most famous Key.
- Siesta Key Village: Many hotels and condo rentals are mid-Key, close to the world-renowned Siesta Key Public Beach. A lot of the attention is placed on Siesta Key Village – just to the north of the main beach – for good reason. The Village is where many people congregate, with a concentration of unique shops, excellent restaurants, live music and tropical drinks. There are beach access points adjacent to the Village, allowing you to view a sunset and make your way immediately for food, drinks and fun. Parking in the Village can be challenging, so having your bicycle is definitely a plus. Just remember that there is a lot of traffic, and keep your eyes wide open for those in cars.
- Siesta Key Neighborhoods: If you stay in a Gulf condominum or beach property, it can be easy to miss the residential homes and neighborhoods that comprise the eastern side of Siesta Key. These neighborhoods offer quiet, peaceful roads for biking and enjoying our flora and fauna. One of the easiest ways to explore this area is to turn down Treasure Boat Way just north of Siesta Key Village.
- Bike the Beach: Bike rides are prohibited along the public beach (between the lifeguard stands) but riding your bike along the packed sand at the water’s edge is allowed everywhere else on the Key. There is nothing quite so exhilarating as riding with Gulf breezes along the azure waters, but be sure to be aware and respectful of those walking alongside you.
- Turtle Beach: Although Siesta Key Village is popular, many people prefer a slower pace. One of our favorite routes takes you south down Midnight Pass Road, past the south causeway and along Crescent Beach and Point of Rocks. The road becomes markedly more quiet, and the road more tree-lined and residential. You’ll enjoy a wide variety of beach and bayfront homes, as the road narrows to water on either side. The ride is approximately 3 miles to Turtle Beach. This beach has a small playground along a lagoon filled with wildlife, and features a shoreline that is much closer to the parking lot than the expansive Siesta Key. The sand is more rocky and less “powdery”, but the views are just as stunning. Across the street from the beach are several smaller restaurants, as well as busy kayak launches providing access to Little Sarasota Bay – a calm and beautiful natural oasis that hides private stretches of sand and many bird watching opportunities.
- Siesta Key to Downtown/Bayfront Park: Riding further north along Beach Road and leaving Siesta Key Village behind you, you’ll pass Shell Beach on your left. Be sure to stop by this tiny beach to enjoy views of South Lido Key across the pass. Continue north through beautiful neighborhoods and over canals until you cross the North Causeway, leaving the Key. Turn left (north) onto Osprey Road for your journey to Sarasota downtown, veering left onto S. Orange Avenue when the opportunity presents itself. This road takes you through some of our more historic and eclectic bayfront neighborhoods, often along shady sidewalks – and will soon place you in Southside Village, where you can enjoy shops, restaurants and scheduled festivals and events. After a drink or sandwich, continue past Selby Gardens and follow to the left to reach Bayfront Park. This park is one of Sarasota’s most popular destinations, where you can sit under banyan trees and watch dolphins, sailboats and pelicans. Keep in mind that although this is an easy, flat ride – it is a 12 mile round trip.
You Need a Bicycle! Call Ride and Paddle
While bicycles are a great way to get from one place to another without parking worries, they also represent the best opportunity to explore the beauty and hidden corners of Siesta Key at your own pace. If you are visitng Siesta Key – or are a resident looking to see your home from a new perspective – call Ride and Paddle today to learn more about our bike rental program. We have the best bicycles for any trail you are looking to explore – sand or street. And yes! We have E-bikes for rent.