Siesta Beach stretches from a site named Point of Rocks, just below the middle point of Siesta Key, north to the Siesta Village region. It might be considered Siesta Key's premier claim to fame. Siesta Key's Siesta Beach has accumulated numerous awards in recognition of its soft, clean, pure-white sand. Consistently, it is rated among the top ten beaches of Florida, the U.S., and the world. Harvard University's geology department found the sand of Siesta Beach was 99% pure quartz.
Unlike most beaches that are composed of crushed shells, rocks or lava, this sand is pure white and finer in texture than most refined sugar. The sand has been described as "dazzling" and it is stated that it never feels hot. Siesta Key's remarkable sand and the azure, warm water of its beaches are a great attraction for tourists and local beachgoers alike who come to experience the sand and the water.
Point of Rocks is a shallow formation of limestone rock that extends into the Gulf of Mexico from the middle of the western shore of Siesta Key. This very distinctive site, geologically unusual for Southwest Florida, provides habitat to a wide variety of fish and is, perhaps, the only good snorkeling beach on the west coast of Florida. For centuries, Point of Rocks has been a landmark for mariners and "legend" has it as the starting point for maps to burial places of treasures plundered by pirates.
Siesta Beach is one of the largest beaches in the area, but its 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land might not have become the wide and deep expanse of public-accessible beachfront they are today. According to a local Siesta Key publication, The Pelican, one Otis A. Kiesow could be credited with single-handedly making certain that this beachfront---then, as always coveted by real estate developers and builders---would not later become filled with homes, condos and hotels, as are much of the rest of the Gulf of Mexico's beachfronts. According to the Pelican and Mr. Kiesow, who died in January 2001, he had traveled to the Capitol in Tallahassee to ensure that the beach, in fact, was being set aside into perpetuity for the people of Sarasota: His discovery and impression from this visit was that it was not. He was told to go home and not to worry . . . that everything had been ‘taken care of'. Mr. Kiesow would then personally collect the needed signatures for a referendum that voters would later approve.
Today, the site is wide and white with mainly a pavilion and gift shop as man-made counterpoints to nature. Siesta Beach, like Crescent Beach that extends south from it and Siesta Village, boasts white sand of a similarly fine, powdery white quality; Crescent Beach public access, however, comprises a relatively narrow strip of beachfront when compared to Siesta Beach's. Turtle Beach, farther south still and nearing the southern end of the key, is a fairly large beach featuring a small mangrove-surrounded tidal lagoon; Turtle Beach, is noted for its abundance of seashells, as opposed to the sugary white sand to be found in other portions of the Siesta Key Gulf shoreline.