Siesta Key 20 Years Later
Nearly 20 years ago I made my first visit to the Sarasota area. Like many first time visitors, I was given a list of places to see and things to do. One of the first places on the list was Siesta Key Beach. My first impression was that I didn’t even know there were places like this in the states. The pure white sands were the consistency of fine powder and you could get shoulder high into the warm water of the gulf and still see your feet. A concept I thought was only reserved to some far away tropical island. The beach is large and you often see volley ball and Frisbee games being played.
Siesta Key Village is one of three areas to shop and dine amongst the backdrop of a tropical setting. Proper attire never exceeds anything but casual. The atmosphere is lively and laid back. Mid-key, just off the south bridge is another location to find seafood, boating rentals, and island shops. If you are looking for a more serene and elegant setting, the south end of the key offers quite bay-front dining and the less traveled Turtle Beach.
One free activity you cannot miss is to catch one of the most spectacular shows on earth. The sunsets here are one of the main attractions. If you are lucky, there is the rare “green flash” that occurs when the sun’s rays pass through the gulf waters and reflects back up into the sky.
Growing up spending time in Ocean City, it wasn’t until mid-August that the water temperatures would even dabble into the low 70’s. In the fall, as the air temperature drops, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico stay warm in the mid 80’s. It is a different experience to walk the beach where the water was actually warmer than the air.
It’s hard to believe that in the 1940’s, only 300 people called the formally known Sarasota Key home. The first bridge on the north side of the key was built in 1917. The name of the key was changed to Siesta Key in the 1920’s and most maps of the areas reflected the change by the mid 40’s. The 2010 census lists 6,565 permanent residences on the key.
The acquisition of the public beach began in 1954 and is now a total of 54 acres. The pavilion was dedicated in 1960 and hosts a snack bar and public bathrooms. One nice addition was the recent ordinance declaring Siesta Key Beach as smoke-free.
There are 3,429 residences listed as owner occupied and 6,773 are not. Tax records show 2,505 Single Family homes exist and 93 have changed hands with an average sale price of $968,371 over the past six months. There are a total of 6,785 condos and 186 changed hand over the same period for an average sale price of $482,416.
Like many markets in Southwest Florida, Sarasota has seen inventories drop by one-third from last year and prices have leveled after an approximate drop of 50% over the past several years. Condos on Siesta Key and single family homes are no different. We are approaching our busy season which may equate to prices rising from here. The beaches are just a nice as ever and the time spent in Siesta Key always leaves visitors with memories that last a life time.
Enjoy your time here and I hope to see you on Siesta!