Lido Key, Florida (Sarasota County)
Lido Key is a barrier island (a common feature along the coast of the “Sunshine State”) on the southwest coast of Florida. The key is directly west of Sarasota and south of St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay. Lido Key is commonly accessed via the John Ringling Causeway bridge from downtown Sarasota. It may also be accessed from the north via Longboat Key. Its location (between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico) and temperate climate, combined with the area amenities (shopping, beaches, laid-back nightlife) make it a popular attraction for visitors around the world.
East of Lido Beach is St. Armands Circle. John Ringling purchased the property in 1917 and planned the general layout of the shops and homes. The circle is an upscale shopping area with small boutiques, gift shops, galleries, restaurants and famous chocolate, fudge, and homemade ice-cream shops. The circle is located at the intersection of North and South Boulevard of the Presidents and John Ringling Boulevard. With more than 130 stores in such a small area, there is something for everyone! This famed Circle has been compared to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. The Circle contains some of the most sought-after real estate in Sarasota County with price tags well over a million dollars.
There are numerous vacation rentals on Lido Key. You can choose luxurious resort hotels, rental condominiums, apartment efficiencies or motel rooms. Most have views of the Gulf of Mexico, private beaches or beach access. Visitors come from all over the world...so book early and enjoy your stay in this island paradise. There are also a small selection of single-family homes and condominiums in the area. While the housing stock is rather small, the location is perfect!
The most popular beach in Lido Key, Lido Beach (public), has plenty of free parking (over 400 cars), lifeguards, concessions, large swimming pool, picnic tables, playground, observation deck, gift shop, showers and restrooms. It is often frequented by the locals and is a great beach for a stroll at sunset. This beach is the central beach on the Key. Sorry Sisqo, due to the conservative residents of Lido Key, no thongs are allowed on these beaches!
North Lido Beach is a secluded beach to the North of Lido Beach. The beach area is lined with tall Australian pine trees. Because of its residential location, it is the least populated beach. There is a nice sidewalk running along Benjamin Franklin Drive which is a popular walking and rollerblading area. While it does offer the benefits of peace and seclusion, the beach isn’t the best for recreation with its fast currents and lack of lifeguards.
South Lido Beach and Park is located at the southern tip of Lido Key and is bordered by four bodies of water (Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay and Brushy Bayou). A nature trail, including picturesque overlooks and boardwalks, is located at the north end of the park area. South Lido Beach has a picnic area with restrooms nearby, a playground area, and a recreation area (volleyball court and canoe trail). Lifeguards are present on weekends only.
Siesta Key, Longboat Key and St. Armands Key are also part of the Lido area. Siesta Key is mostly residential with its famous white beaches (at Crescent Beach, 99% of the sand is pure quartz and has a finer texture than sugar). Siesta Village is a laid-back beach hangout with many more shops, boutiques, and restaurants. This area has a bit more nightlife that the St. Armands area. To the north, Longboat Key is an 11-mile stretch between the Gulf and Sarasota Bay. Longboat has 2 premier golf courses and a 10-mile bike path along the Gulf. Mote Marine Aquarium is also nearby with a marine research center, 30-foot touch tank, and a 135,000-gallon shark tank. If you need more culture and activities, downtown Sarasota is a short drive away.
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