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Siesta Key, Florida

  • 3250

Siesta Key is a crescent-shaped barrier island, located between the pristine and glittering shores of the Gulf of Mexico and Roberts Bay. It stretches for 8 miles, with a portion of it within the city boundary of Sarasota, but Siesta Key is largely situated in Sarasota County. There are four main areas that Siesta Key is divided into- Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach and Siesta Key Village, each showcasing a charm and distinct character that sets them apart. The Siesta Key North Bridge on the north end of the island and the Stickney Point Bridge toward the center of the island connects Siesta Key to the Mainland of Sarasota.

The original name of the island was "Sarasota Key," a name designated by European cartographers during exploration beginning in 1513, and likely to be derived from the Native American name Zarazote for the area and the bay. It was also known as Clam Island and Little Sarasota Island, and by the 1850’s it was called Little Sarasota Key. This name “Sarasota Key” was labeled on maps from the early 18th century, including regional maps, until the name was changed to "Siesta Key" in the 1920s.

Up until the early 20th century, Siesta Key was an isolated, uninhabited island and not the tourist paradise that it is today. The island has long transformed from a place of dense vegetation and  mosquito swarms, shortly after the beginning of the 20th century. In 1906, Capt. Roberts and his wife opened a hotel, and a year later, with two partners, Captain Louis Roberts and E.M. Arbogast, formed the Siesta Land Company, Siesta Village. Still, Harry L. Higel, a Philadephia native, is regarded as the first developer of Siesta Key; he relocated to Sarasota shortly after the town was formed in 1902, and early into his arrival, he bought the Main Street dock and a store from the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, became mayor of Sarasota in 1913, and in 1915, Higel built the Higelhurt Hotel on Big Pass.

The white sandy beaches of Siesta Key are a major attraction and includes Siesta Beach, which is regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, along with Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach. The island has plentiful wildlife, from brightly colored parrots, pelicans, cranes, storms, terns and other birds that live along the shore, to aquatic life, such as dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and species of fish. This little paradise is a charming and inviting island.

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