| The Gulf Coast of Florida is known worldwide for its beautiful, powdery, white sandy beaches. A haven for summer sport enthusiasts, the barrier islands of Manatee and Sarasota Counties offer parasailing, fishing, and water sports to delight every age.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria is the most northern part of the barrier is lands and is known for its sugar white beaches, fishing piers, great seafood restaurants and a general laid-back feeling. It stretches seven miles from Tampa Bay to Coquina Beach.
Traveling south through Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach with its local beach shops you find Coquina Beach. Located at the south end of the island, it gets its name from coquina shells which hide in the beautiful white sand. Picnic tables and barbecue grills are available for picnickers and large pine trees offer plenty of shade. On the bay side of the island there are a public boat ramp available and a favorite spot for swimming and shell collecting.
Continuing south just across the Longboat Pass Bridge lies Longboat Key, a 12-mile island voted the second best island in North America by Conde Nest Travelers. Here you can truly experience the “Old Florida” lifestyle from the many waterfront restaurants, visit the Mote Marine Laboratory, or just lay back, sip a pina colada and enjoy breathtaking sunsets. At the south end of the island lies St. Armands Circle, a shopping mecca known for its unique stores and fabulous eateries.
Through the circle and to the south lies Lido Beach. A popular beach with the locals, Lido boasts a public swimming pool, concession stand and pavilion that on any given Sunday will host live music by local bands. It is a great beach for walking, shelling, and enjoying lunch at one of the beach tiki bars.
Here lies the crème de la crème of beaches! With sugar-white sand and the crystal clear water of the Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key’s Beach earned the title of America’s No.1 Beach in 2011. With its boardwalks, lifeguards, tennis courts, volleyball, playgrounds and sunset drum circle, it is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Siesta Village is the heart of the Key and very family-friendly with a lot of outdoor restaurants, beach shops and bars. At the south end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach Park. Spanning over 14 acres, this beach provides access to Little Sarasota Bay.
Nokomis Beach is Sarasota’s oldest public beach. With coarser sand than Siesta, this beach offers fishing, a boat ramp, picnic areas and a boardwalk for strolling.
This beach has reached international fame for the sharks teeth that can be found all along the shoreline. It even hosts an annual Shark festival. A coral reef lies off the coast making Venice Beach a great destination for scuba divers.
Continuing south you can find Manasota Beach, Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande and some beaches that have remained in their more natural habitat . From windsurfing to fishing, from parasailing to strolling, from soaking up the rays to awe-inspiring sunsets, come and see for yourself why Life Truly is a Beach!