Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Jena and Ed's Personal Recommendations
After a two year hiatus post COVID shut down and the resulting travel restrictions, our plans for a retreat at Fuller Life Bali, have been put on hold for now. In the meantime, Ed and I decided to host a retreat in one of our current hometowns - Sarasota, Florida. Legend has it, that the Native Americans found this area (slightly south of Tampa Bay) to be a protected area, especially from storms and hurricanes as it is the part of the western coastline of Florida that dips inward. Perhaps our favorite thing about the area are the numerous beaches within 35 miles of coastline. We might be partial, as we think the Gulf of Mexico has some of the prettiest beaches out of anywhere in the continental US with beautiful turquoise-colored warm waters and white sandy shores.
So, whether you are joining us for our retreat (and we hope you decide to!), or visiting the area, here is a guide to some of our favorite nearby beaches. Subsequent blog posts will cover our recommended points of interest and dining experiences.
Map Sarasota, Florida Beaches
Sarasota County features some of the most extensive coast line in Florida and is blessed with pristine ocean views. Each beach has public access, and most have dining options within walking distance. Post-Covid travel, this area has seen a surge of visitors and tens of thousands of people relocating to the area, to enjoy the warm weather, no state income tax, and more. As a result, even though October (for those of you attending our retreat) is technically not "in-season," the beaches remain a popular destination for travelers and locals alike, and going earlier in the day or later in the evening is encouraged to ensure parking at public access points.
Voted several years as the #1 Beach in the US, Siesta Key is best known for is sugar white sand, composed of crystal quartz originating from the Appalachian mountains, initially, with azure colored waters. It also happens to be the spot where Ed and I spent a lot of the time while dating and was the perfect place for our wedding ~ January 2, 2021. There are a few lodging options nearby that have private beach access, and there is one main public beach area that has significant parking.
One of Sarasota County's oldest public beaches it has 14 miles of sandy shoreline, also considered one of the better spots for surfing and or paddle boarding (which can be rented) on Florida's west coast. A great place to sit back and enjoy a margarita from Shark Tooth Beach Concessions, observe dolphins and occasionally manatees, and hunt for sharks' teeth and plethora of seashells. There are several public access points to choose from as well.
Bean Point on Anna Maria Island
A slightly secluded hidden gem located on the northern tip on Anna Maria Island, Bean Point has historic roots by the founder of the island, George Emerson Bean in 1892. Bean chose the northern end of the island to make a 160 acre homestead, which later was later developed by his son to create roads, water systems, homes, schools, and churches. Because this point is near the island's tip and on the bay side, the water remains more calm, and is a great place for swimming and bird watching. If you are into fishing, the nearby Rod & Reel Pier is a spot for you. Live bait can be purchased on the pier and the cost to fish is two dollars. And while you're there, make sure you try a cup of homemade chowder served Old Florida style with yummy fish, caught fresh.
On the southern part of Anna Maria Island, before crossing the bridge to Long Boat key heading south, is Coquina beach. Public access beaches span most of the way along this coastline making it an easily accessed destination for all. Sunsets on the west coast of Florida are each so unique and almost always remarkable. For our retreat in October, sunset time is right before 7pm, a gorgeous time and moment to see the sun sink below the horizon.
If you are ready enjoy some Vitamin D & Sea come October, when the upper 47 states are transitioning into fall, I hope you will consider joining us for our upcoming Yoga Harmonics Immersion this October. Our daily yoga practice will be infused with sound healing, aromatherapy with Young Living Essential Oils, group excursion to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, community companionship, and more. Stay connected by signing up for our newsletter, liking our facebook page, and please contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you. Namaste, Jena & Ed