During the winter months, a trip to Siesta Key can be a bit of a pricey affair. But in the off season, it can be a nice little trip. Especially if you don’t mind being back from the beach a bit and traveling in for your Gulf Experience.

Unless you have booked a beachside resort, condo or hotel room, the public beach is the only way you you will get to the coast in this section of the Sunshine State.

That being said, the parking lot is free, there are public showers to get the salt and sand off you at no additional charge, plus there is a beach side “embassy” which is staffed during business hours to answer questions.

Siesta Key – best sand ever

A Switcheroo

We originally had been scheduled to stay at the Captiva – however, on the way over they called and said they had “overbooked” and had moved us to a sister property about a mile away and across the bridge.

Mrs. Funmeister, who was celebrating her birthday that weekend – and who LOVES the beach, was not a happy girl.

But in the end, we took a suite at the nearby Hibiscus Suites Inn on Stickney Point Road.

The staff could not have been nicer, and set us up in a two-bedroom, five and a half room suite with upstairs and downstairs accommodations. One bedroom was a king, the other had two queens a full bath upstairs with a living/dining room, kitchen and half bath downstairs.

We could have easily brought in another couple, but it was just the two of us in a very large space.

The Hibiscus

It is an older property but is undergoing renovation. Our room was quite nice and the bed slept well. I was not crazy about being upstairs, especially with three entry doors to the main floor. However, it is in a walled compound in a quiet neighborhood. There is a wonderful pool in the front – which is shielded from public view.

Lots of guests used the pool at the Hibiscus

  The Hibiscus also is very convenient to the beaches as well as Tamiami Trail, where there is plenty to see and do.

Siesta Key Beach

The staff offered us free shuttle service to the beach but we decided to drive. It was easy to find a parking spot and a short trip to the sand. The beach itself is huge – both wide and long. It was a fair hike to the water, although the sand was well packed and an easy trek.

Once there we shed our sandals and walked through the waves. There was no shortage of people taking advantage of the warm, clear gulf waters. There were kids on boogie boards, a group playing bocci ball on the sand, plenty of sand sculptures and families beneath multi-colored umbrellas.

Bocci Ball was a popular game on the hard packed sand at Siesta Key

  We walked a good long way past a number of lifeguard stands, kite flyers, sunbathers and others before coming about and heading back.

Dinner Nearby

Looking for dinner, we took a drive up by the village, which was a compendium of bars, pizza joints and small shops with T-shirts and shells. The sound of laughter and live music filled the air – but most of the places were pretty well packed.

Instead, we headed back to Tamiami Trail where we hit Harry’s Sports Bar. They too had live music in their outdoor area but we retreated to the inside air conditioning where we had a great dinner.

Harry’s Sports Bar has a great outdoor lounge and entertainment area.

   The Reuben sandwich was large and their home made chips were delicious. I especially liked the cole slaw which was good without being soupy.

The Saturday Farmer’s Market

The next day we decided to hit the Sarasota Farmer’s Market just up the road. It always is a good choice with a wide variety of interesting booths featuring everything from organic makeups and soaps to pet products, plants, art work and food of all descriptions.

The trip to Siesta Key was a fun-filled time with a lot of different options that were easy to find and enjoy. It made the trip seem like it was much longer, with all of the places we were able to

And again, staying in the off season, and a bit back from the beach, made it ultimately much more affordable. If you go – please let us know. Visit our Florida Fun Zone Facebook page or drop us a line at [email protected].