All things Siesta Key. Stories, news, and event information about Sarasota, Florida's beautiful beach.
How to Find Out if Beaches Are Open
Planning a vacation to a beachside resort is super-exciting. You can’t wait to get your toes in the sand, sun on your face and waves crashing at your feet. But once you arrive, you may realize that the beaches aren’t necessarily open 24/7. Not only are there normal time frames to know, but there are also times when all beaches need to be closed for a certain period of time. Likewise, there are days when you can be on the sand but the water is off-limits. The travel experts at The Best Western Siesta Key want to help you make the most of your visit to our gorgeous beaches, so we’ve put together a go-to guide about when the beach is available- and when it’s not.
In general, our public beaches are open from dawn until dusk. It’s not wise to go swimming outside of those times. Along with no lifeguard on duty, pre-dawn and dusk are excellent times to encounter sea animals like jellyfish, stingrays, and maybe even sharks looking to feed. Because rip tides are a real thing, not having a lifeguard on duty means you’ll have no warning and no help if you get swept into one of these invisible but deadly currents. So, we strongly suggest you stick to posted beach times and enjoy our beaches the way they’re meant to be enjoyed, for your own safety.
During or After Storms
While there are no hard and fast rules about being on the beach during a thunderstorm, there is some wisdom in avoiding the beach when lightning is present. Lightning is prone to strike water, electrifying everything in it (including people). There can also be a transference of electricity through the damp sand, so thunderstorms are a great time to find something else to do indoors until the storm has passed. For tropical storms and hurricanes, warning flags will be posted near the lifeguard stands- be sure to adhere to these warnings to stay safe.
This blooming bacterial algae is a naturally-occurring phenomenon that affects all of the marine life in an area when it’s present. Often it will kill a large number of fish, causing them to wash ashore. It can also make the air smell bad and cause difficulty breathing for some individuals. It is highly recommended that you avoid the beach during a red tide outbreak.
The different flags seen flying beside lifeguard stands are meant to help you know if conditions are suitable for swimming, wading, or just staying on the sand. While green and yellow indicate mild to moderate surf conditions, red signals dangerous swimming conditions and double red means the beach is closed to the public. The presence of dangerous marine life will be indicated with a purple flag. Be sure to watch the flags for the go-ahead to swim and enjoy yourself on any of our amazing beaches.
While all of our beaches are currently closed to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to them opening soon so we can all enjoy the natural beauty our beaches provide all year long. If you find yourself visiting our area during a time that the beaches are closed, be sure to talk to the local experts at The Best Western Siesta Key for more great things to do in and around Sarasota and Siesta Key. Our area is full of activities for everyone and we’ll be sure to help you make the most of your vacation.