Over the last two decades, it seems that the world has discovered Siesta Key. Locals have always known just how special this barrier island located off the coast of Sarasota is – but a series of accolades and well-placed news articles has elevated its profile in recent years. If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you have already heard about the wonders of Siesta Key. In honor of our most popular beach town, we would like to share some of the most interesting facts that may affect your visit.
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Interesting Facts: Siesta Sand, Shells and Dolphins

  1. Why is the sand so white? You’ve likely heard about the stunning and unique sand on Siesta Key Beach. It is powder-soft, cool to the touch (even on the hottest day), and gleaming white. But what causes the sand to be so special? All sand is made up of minerals, but most sand is shades of brown, tan, or grey. Siesta sand, however, is pure white due to its composition of nearly 100% quartz – a transparent, white, soft mineral. Siesta Key quartz originated in the southern Appalachian Mountains, traveling to our area via rivers over thousands of years. While Siesta Key is known for its massive expanse of white sand, neighboring Keys such as Lido, Longboat, and Anna Maria offer a very similar experience.
  2. Why aren’t there any seashells? Many people look forward to picking up exotic shells on their tropical vacation – but visitors are often surprised at the lack of shells on Siesta Key Beach. It is true that while Siesta has fantastic sand, it is not known as a shelling beach. (Sanibel Island is best known for amazing shell finds) Still, with a little diligence and knowledge, you should be able to find some shells to remember your vacation. Local tips include going out to look first thing in the morning, especially a few feet into the water. The best potential shell-finding time is after a storm when many shells and critters have washed up – but be careful not to disturb any actual living creatures that may be using the shell for a home. You may have better luck at Shell Beach and Turtle Beach. Expert Tip: Visit Caspersen Beach on Venice Island, where shells and shark teeth are plentiful – but get out there early because you won’t be the only treasure hunter. If you rent a kayak and paddle off the south end of Siesta Key, check deserted beaches that are only accessible by watercraft – fewer humans means more chance of shells.
  3. Can I really see a dolphin from the beach? There are few experiences more exciting than spotting a dolphin swimming just a few hundred feet away from you. Bottlenose dolphins live and play in Siesta Key waters year-round, and it is very likely that you’ll spot one in the Gulf if you keep your eyes on the water. Your best chance to see dolphins is during the morning hours, as they tend to feed at this time of day. Not only are they often seen just off the beach, but large families of dolphins also live in Sarasota Bay and can often be spotted from Island or Bayfront Park. Kayakers often encounter dolphins, and they can also be seen playing in the wakes of boats at any Pass in the area. If you are staying in Venice, the jetties (Nokomis Beach and Higel Park) are fantastic for observing both dolphins and manatees.

Your Amazing Siesta Key Experience

There is so much to explore on Siesta Key and in the surrounding areas. At Ride and Paddle, we have everything you need to create a lifetime of memories. Whether you want to kayak, paddle board, or explore by scooter – we have what you need. Call today to learn more or browse the Ride and Paddle website.