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White sand & ancient shark teeth on FL's Gulfside beaches

Snag a seashell or shark tooth as a souvenir to remember these lush beaches!

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Created by Visit Sarasota County - March 23rd 2018

Sarasota, Florida is basically heaven for beach-lovers. The bathtub-warm Gulf water is refreshing without being frigid. Waves are gentle enough to stand-up paddleboard along. The powdery white sand just feels luxurious. Great weather means you can maximize beach time on your trip. Seashells and fossilized shark's teeth make for great souvenirs. Sea turtles and other unique wildlife can be seen. Funky, colorful lifeguard stands add personality to the beachy shores. Still not convinced? Take a look at seven of Sarasota's best beaches. From hidden gems to world-renowned favorites, there's a beach for every taste!

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Sarasota, FL

When visiting Sarasota, North Lido is the beach you'll find closest to the downtown area. The shore is located right off of John Ringling Boulevard, and you can discover boutiques and dining galore in St. Armands Circle before hopping onto the gorgeous white sand. Birdwatchers at North Lido Beach will enjoy the many seabirds living in the dune system here. Parking is plentiful, but the beach itself is on the smaller side and fills up quickly, so get there early to claim the perfect spot! You'll be glad you did as you let your toes sink into the soft sand and gaze out at the blue water! Nature trails and a park behind the dunes offer some additional fun for children and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

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Sarasota, FL

This next gem, South Lido County Park, is perfect for those wanting some options for exciting activities intertwined with some relaxing beach opportunities. Walk the trails among the mangroves, or rent a kayak and paddle out into the waters to catch sights of dolphins or manatees. South Lido is the place to be for those wanting a beach with a central location that isn't totally packed with beachgoers. This quiet spot in Sarasota is a total hidden gem. There is no swimming permitted because of the current, but you can experience the sights and visit the tunnels of trees if you paddle out in the water. If you're lucky you'll get to see some turtles nesting... and do we even need to remind you how pleasant it is to watch the sunrise or sunset on an uncrowded beach? Yes please!

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Siesta Key, FL

Chances are you've seen photos of Siesta Beach, and there's a reason why. The white quartz sand and turquoise water draws in folks from around the country, and it's consistently ranked as one of the best around. The shallow waters near shore and the lifeguards on duty make it a great spot for families to visit, and the restaurants, volleyball courts, and nearby amenities attract people wanting to socialize and enjoy the vacation-y atmosphere. You'll have no issue finding public access points around Siesta, which is a huge plus. Being number one of its kind, this beach in particular gets especially crowded during peak times of the week and year, so be prepared for some potential crowds or perhaps some walking to find a good spot to yourself. But then again, who doesn't love a walk on the beach?

Siesta Key, FL

On the southern end of Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach is a favorite of many because it's more private. The rockier sand makes for some great shell-finding opportunities, but the shores at this beach hide something even cooler than seashells; you might even discover prehistoric petrified shark teeth! When you're done combing the beach, there's a park nearby with some shade for children. The overall vibe of the beach draws a family-friendly, laid-back crowd. Oh and, true to the name, sea turtles nest here during mating season, so maybe you'll even get to see some of the action!

Between Sarasota and Venice, Nokomis is a perfect stop for those wanting to get out of the busy city and experience a cozy, small-town atmosphere. It's super inviting to families, boasting has gorgeous views of dolphins, boats, and sparkling waves. You'll have miles of beach to walk along and explore, and locals find it a great location for hunting down unique seashell treasures. If spreading out and having some privacy during your vacation is at the top of your priority list, Nokomis Beach is a spot you'll want to try!

A bit further south from Nokomis is another beach, but this gem differs quite a bit from the rest. It's the only off-leash dog beach around! Brohard is a fantastic way to spend some time with four-legged friends, who will love being free to roam as they please. Even those vacationing without their beloved friends will feel right at home and meet some friendly new faces! The park has washing stations and water fountains for your dog, and there's plenty of room for you and pups to spread out. Picnic tables are on location, making Brohard a spot for the entire family to spend the day. You won't find a beach like this in Sarasota County, and there are even areas in the shade to relax in after those paws get too hot!

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Venice, FL

Last on the list is a secluded beach framed by dramatic rocky cliffs. Caspersen Beach is the most southern out of the lot and contains views of the gulf that feel much more natural, undeveloped, and untouched than the rest. Search for shark teeth for miles, or enjoy the quiet while lounging on the sand. This location has a trail, playground, and picnic tables for any possible outing need you might have. Caspersen is an awesome place to escape to for a day of sun that doesn't include difficult parking, for either your car or your chair. You can fish right from the shore and feel like you're fishing into the end of the world, but then pop right back into Venice like you never left.

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The Gulf is home to some fantastic beaches that offer something a little different for all kinds of beach lovers, you just have to find your favorite! The good news is, there's no harm in trying them all and odds are, you'll have fun in doing so.

Visit Sarasota County

This Southwest Florida coastal gem is known for its top-ranked beaches boasting quartz white sand, shopping and dining, or even shark teeth to collect. After you’ve had your fill of the beach, enjoy the internationally recognized arts and culture scene or grab a paddle to explore mangrove tunnels.