Sarasota Siesta Key Day

Who can resist a relaxing day on the most beautiful beach in the country?  Not me, and I hear it’s not that far from where I’m at.  Sarasota is known for its miles of pristine white sand bay-side beach front.  Siesta Key Beach is ranked as the #1 Beach in America.  It would be a shame to not experience that at least once while I’m here.

Something in my morning coffee is telling me today is the perfect day for the beach, and I get packing. What to bring to the beach for the day?  Blanket, a cute cover-up, floppy hat, umbrella, sun screen, snorkel gear, IPod, small cooler with water, juice and munchies, stuff to read, and what am I forgetting?  Hmm, I think that’s it.  

Oh, wait, what’s that licking my leg….

Can’t sneak anything past my kids.  There all three of them are, lined up in a row looking at me expectantly with those big puppy dog eyes…

Ok, dogs are coming with.

The drive to Sarasota is short and rather uneventful. I am quickly sucked into the city limits and traffic becomes ridiculous.  Then I realize it is a weekday and this is probably the tail end of morning rush hour.  I merge off  Tamiami Trail, over to a lane that sucks me onto Midnight Pass Road and then to Ocean Blvd, where we pass a plethora of restaurants and cool hang outs.  The area is referred to as Siesta Key Village. I cruise through slowly, trying to check out the shops and food establishments. It all looked fantastic! 

The Ocean Boulevard winds up hitting Beach Road, and presto, there’s the Gulf of Mexico.  Stunned to discover this is NOT a metered street, I find a shady spot to park, and get dogs set up with pillows, fans, rawhides, water and toys in the back.  I unload my beach gear for the day, and head toward the ocean blue.

Wow, it’s a perfect cloudless day, it’s not even 10 am yet, and I pretty much have the whole beach to myself!  I pick a spot, set up, and go for a shell searching walk.  Okay, so I may look a little weird with my apple green plastic bucket in hand, but it sure makes it easy to collect seashells!  And I did find a ton of beauties!  Satisfied with my quarry, I head back to the blanket for some relaxation time. 

It must be close to noon by now.  I’ve flipped several times, so I “must be done”.  I sit up to prepare a little snack, and to my surprise, the beach has started to fill with sun worshippers, surfers, and even a couple parasailers!  I imagine living here.  I imagine this beach as the place I frequent.  I imagine having dinner and drinks with that hot surfer…..

OH…back to reality…..

I think I’ll go snorkeling!

When hanging around ocean beaches alone, a person can embarrass themselves, or frighten themselves in a hurry if not careful.  I can tell you that the only reason why I found my way back to my blanket after I went out snorkeling was because I identified specific landmarks to look for on the shoreline before I left.  It is amazing how just taking 4 steps into that ocean and turning around can get a person totally lost.  Currents and undertows are nothing to fool with.  But how fun to kick around in the water, checking out the various fish.  I saw so many cool creatures under water! There were so many colorful little fish, stingrays, lots of moving shells on the bottom, and the occasional creepy jellyfish. It took less than 15 minutes to figure out where the hell I ended up and how to find my way back.

After drying out on the blanket, it’s mid-afternoon, and definitely time to pack up and check on dogs. More people are sprinkling across the fine sand shore, eager to soak up some of the glorious sun. It couldn’t be a more perfect day to go for a walk with the kids.   By the time I am 50 yards from the vehicle, they’ve spotted me. The truck starts rocking and barking with excitement.  Everybody wants out first.  Unfortunately, I only have two hands, so, the liberation process is strained for all of us. Gear is in, the dogs are out, poop bags are on hand, and we’re off to explore the Sarasota beach community. 

It’s fun to mingle with the locals.  Who knows where a person’s from?  Just think, anyone you meet on the street could be from your neighborhood, or be from the other side of the country.  Unless you talk to them, you’ll never know. I’m having a ball walking the kids.  I could get used to this wonderful weather and the scenery for sure.  We walk for over an hour, back a few blocks from Ocean Boulevard where the houses are.  Oh, I could live in that one, and that one…and wow; look at the yard with that one! We could go on for hours, but it’s time to go find dinner, so we head back to the truck. A couple wind surfers are zipping across the water. That can’t be easy with the tides!

We headed back down Ocean Boulevard where I saw the many cool looking eateries.  The whole Siesta Village area was packed, the patios packed and it was clear I wasn’t the only one with the great idea to go get food.  Suddenly I spied an open parking space to the right and grabbed it.  It happened to be in front of The Old Salty Dog. And how about that?  It’s dog friendly!  What grand luck.  Ladies first! I grab the girls, we grab Buddy and we get a table on the patio right by the truck. 

Needless to say, I spent almost two hours chillin’ on the Old Salty Dog deck with my kids, enjoying great food, great drinks, great ambience, and I met a few interesting people who shared great stories about life and the area.  No one could believe how well behaved the dogs were. Me neither. I think it had something to do with them wanting my peel and eat shrimp tails, which I gladly gave them.  My server, Cindy, was fabulous. She brought endless bowls of dog water and treats, and stepped around my sea of leashes effortlessly. It just felt good to kick back on a big log bench and sip on an Island Lemonade.  She brought me an amazing twin lobster tail dinner for a shocking $22 that was simply heaven.  I ordered the Mango Mahi Wrap to bring home and enjoy another evening.

We rolled out of The Old Salty Dog with happy tummies, a ‘to go’ bag, great memories, and all tuckered out from a great day at Sarasota’s Siesta Key Beach. 

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