Traveling to Siesta Key, an eight-mile-long island paradise, is a bucket-list adventure. The barrier island has some of the best beaches in the United States and offers something for everyone.

Let’s face it: Beautiful beaches are synonymous with Florida. From Pensacola to Daytona to Siesta Key and Miami beach, there are 825 miles of crystal clear waters to choose from. The best part is they all have a unique vibe and offer fun activities for singles, families and solo travelers.

If you are feeling a little burnout and want to decompress — especially before the holidays — the coastal paradise of Siesta Key is the answer. Quite frankly, it’s white sugary sand and brightly colored bungalows make it the epitome of a salty-aired beach town.

So, pack a bag, grab your flip flops and head to the place that TripAdvisor calls America’s no. 1 beach. Siesta Key, here we come!

1. Where to stay

Finding short-term accommodations on Siesta Key can be a bit challenging but not impossible. Just make your reservations before arriving. The boutique hotel Tropical Beach Resorts is a mere two minutes away from the gulf waters and offers guests complimentary morning yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Or book a room at this cozy Airbnb cottage that sleeps four and is just steps away from the shore.

Tropical Beach Resorts; 6717 Sarasea Cir, Sarasota

You can also pitch a tent or park your RV at Turtle Beach Campground. It is one of the few campgrounds in the state that offers direct beach access.

Turtle Beach Campground; 8862 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota

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2. Where to take a dip

Enjoy the calm waters of the gulf at one of the Siesta Keys’ beaches. If you love to snorkel, then grab your fins and make your way to Points of Rocks, which can be found at the south end of Crescent Beach. Or you can let your worries float away and bask in the serenity of Turtle Beach where it is ok to do absolutely nothing.

If you have kids in tow, then head to Siesta Beach, where they can sculpt near-perfect sandcastles or make use of the playground.

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3. Adventures to Try

There is no shortage of popular water sports on this barrier island. Stop in at Siesta Key Watersports, which offers boat and jet ski rentals, private charters, sunset cruises, as well as dolphin tours. Or let your hair flow in the wind by booking a ride with Parasail Siesta. You will hover at about 450-500 feet while parasailing, giving you a bird's eye view of the keys.

Siesta Key Watersports; 1536 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota

Parasail Siesta; 1250 Stickney Point Rd., Siesta Key

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4. Where to eat

Start your day by getting caffeinated at Lelu Coffee. In addition to specialty java and a relaxed vibe, they also serve light bites. For lunch, Anna's Deli is a must. The surfer sandwich (ham, turkey, swiss cheese and cucumber) is well-loved, but the peddler (tuna, swiss cheese, and cucumber) is pretty awesome too. For happy hour the Daiquiri Deck is the place to cool down with a frozen beverage but don't skip the peel and eat shrimp.

Lelu Coffee; 5251 Ocean Blvd,, Siesta Key

Anna’s Deli; Southbridge Mall, 6535 Midnight Pass Rd., Siesta Key

Daiquiri Deck; 5250 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key

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For the perfect end to your day, pull up a chair at Ophelia's on the Bay. Though the food is good, the spectacular views which offer sightings of tropical birds, dolphins, and blue herons against the backdrop of mangroves is what will have you coming back for more.

Orphelia’s on the Bay; 9105 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota

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