As a proud Sarasota mom, we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country; just ask Dr. Beach who voted Siesta Key Beach the #1 beach in America in 2011, and TripAdvisor did the same in 2015 and 2017. We created a Sarasota family friendly beach guide to help you to navigate to other local beaches!
In no particular order, here are my favorite Sarasota family friendly beaches:
One of Sarasota family friendly beaches that is a hidden gem is Lido. It has 3 amazing beaches, all on the same small key.
North Lido has undergone a face lift in recent years, with new walking trails and new landscaping. This beach is more private, and doesn’t offer any amenities and there are no lifeguards on duty. The currents on N. Lido can be very strong, so swim with caution.
Lido Key Public Beach is a very popular beach, attracting a myriad of tourists from around the world. This family friendly beach offers several amenities, including a concession stand, stores and public access heated pool.
South Lido is my personal favorite. Located at the most southern tip of the key, South Lido is the ultimate family spot. It is bordered by 4 bodies of water: The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. This park’s amenities include a playground, picnic areas with grills, scenic trails and breathtaking skyline views of downtown Sarasota.
One of the most secluded beaches in Sarasota, this is the beach to go to if you want to avoid a large crowd. Located in Venice, Caspersen has one of the longest shorelines in Sarasota County, almost 4 miles to be exact. Since Venice beaches are known as the “shark tooth capitals of the world,” Caspersen is a great place to look for those elusive Megalodon teeth.
Brohard Beach and Paw Park
If you’re a dog lover then Brohard is the beach for you. Located in Venice across from the airport, this beach features everything you need for a beach day with your little furry child(ren). It offers two separate enclosures to keep the big dogs from the small, bowl level water fountains, “dogs only” showers, leash posts, fire hydrants and plenty of shade. This beach is considered to be one of the best dog parks in the state.
Located on Casey Key, Nokomis Beach is one of the county’s favorite spots for surfing. Nokomis Beach is the oldest public beach in Sarasota County and is considered a Sarasota family friendly beach. Also, a hot spot for fisherman! Just as Caspersen is known for its shark teeth, Nokomis is known for its seashells.
A popular attraction is the informal drum circle held by locals every Wednesday and Saturday near the lifeguard station at sunset. Times will vary depending on the season.
Venice Municipal Beach
Located on a stretch of 14 miles on Venice’s coastline, spanning from Casey Key to Manasota Key just south of the Venice Jetty, is Venice Municipal Beach.
Venice Beach is a favorite beach spot for diving or snorkeling enthusiasts who come for its coral reef located a quarter-mile off shore.
Unlike its neighboring Sarasota city beaches, Venice beaches have dark sand that contains tiny fossils and minerals. The most popular fossil on Venice’s beaches is the shark tooth. So popular, in fact, that every April a Shark Tooth Festival is held in the city of Venice. It attracts fossil hunters and shark tooth collectors from all over the state.
Tucked in the southernmost point of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach, which is much less frequented than Crescent Beach or Siesta Beach and features tall dunes as opposed to smooth shorelines. Kayakers enjoy exploring the nearby lagoon and natural wetlands. Fishing is permitted in the neighboring Blind Pass Lagoon, and there is also a boat launch. Turtle Beach is also home to a very popular campsite that offers a lot of great amenities.
While there are no lifeguards on duty, Turtle Beach sports the same calm seas that you find on Siesta Beach, which makes it on our list for a Sarasota family friendly beach.
There are so many Sarasota family friendly beaches. We love Coquina Beach, located right on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It is the longest stretch of beach on the southern end of Anna Maria Island. Coquina has everything you need for a relaxing day at the beach. There is ample, free parking. Shaded areas to beat the heat. Playground equipment to keep the young ones entertained. Pavilions for parties. You’ll find that there is something for everyone on Coquina.
Located between Siesta and Turtle beaches lies Crescent Beach. Better accessed from the hotels and condos that border this beach, it can nevertheless be accessed by road or by walking from Siesta or Turtle. Parking is limited to a very small, very narrow lot that is a nightmare during season.
You’ll find many activities going on like jet skiing, parasailing, canoeing and kayaking on Crescent. At the southernmost point you’ll find what the locals call the “Point of Rocks,” one of Sarasota’s most popular snorkeling spots due to the coral rock formations, shallow water and abundant marine life. This is a great place for beginner snorkelers who want to take advantage of the shallow water.
Rumor has it that the Point of Rocks is the starting spot for many maps that lead to pirates’ buried treasure. Head to this Sarasota family friendly beach to explore for treasure!
Whether you’re looking for a quick dip, a long hike, a family excursion or to escape from it all, Sarasota County has you covered. Just remember, take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.