Property at a Glance: Banana Bay Club Beachside
Banana Bay Club Beachside's bright yellow villas have inviting front decks, outfitted with shaded, wooden picnic tables and potted greenery. It's easy to spend a lot of time kicking back on the patio when the weather's nice, but you can also relax on the comfy sleeper sofas inside or in the breakfast nook, which has a bistro table and chairs next to windows. If you want to check out the rest of Siesta Key, you can take advantage of free shuttle service around town from Surf Side Free Ride or Jonny's Free Beach Rides.
- Paddle around in a complimentary kayak, canoe, or paddleboard at Banana Bay's sister resort, Waterside.
- Distance to Crescent Beach: About 400 feet, or a 2-minute walk
- Catch some rays on the private front deck.
- Kitchen amenities: refrigerator, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, and all necessary utensils
Siesta Key, Florida: White-Sand Beaches near Sarasota's Arts Institutions
Dr. Beach frequently names Siesta Key Beach on his annual list of America's Best Beaches. Indeed, once you’ve set foot on the wide swath of sugarlike sand—scientifically proven to be 99% quartz—it’s hard to argue with his praise. The beach is one of a few on the 8-mile-long Siesta Key, which floats off the Gulf Coast just south of Sarasota. Most of the action here centers on the island’s northern tip, where the best beaches are found, near the small but lively Siesta Village. You can shop and dine at family-friendly restaurants in town or rent equipment to go fishing and kayaking. Wildlife sightings—think dolphins, egrets, and manatees—are pretty common.
If you’d like a quieter beach, head toward the southern end of the island to the more secluded Turtle Beach. The sand here is coarser and there aren’t any lifeguards, but it’s usually less crowded. The beach is also a good spot for gathering seashells.
Those looking to get away from the beach will find plenty to do around Sarasota. You can see local dance, music, and theater performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Farther north, the Ringling museum campus commemorates John Ringling, one of the founding brothers of the eponymous circus. Here, the Ringling Museum of Art displays artwork from several famous painters, including Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, and many more.