Siesta Beach earns No. 2 spot on 2023 TripAdvisor list of best U.S. beaches

Beach ranked No. 11 on world list

This week, TripAdvisor once again has honored Siesta Beach, naming it No. 2 on the 2023 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Beaches list for the United States for the second year in a row.

Siesta fell to No. 17 in 2021.

Moreover, Siesta earned the No. 11 spot on the 2023 Top 25 Beaches —World list published by TripAdvisor

“Pristine beach that never seems to end,” the TripAdvisor description of Siesta Beach says. “A place in the sun that warrants returning again and again,” the listing adds.

TripAdvisor explains that its Travelers’ Choice Awards “honor travelers’ favorite destinations, hotels, restaurants, things to do, and beyond, based on the reviews and opinions collected from travelers and diners around the world on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period.”

The No. 1 beach in the United States this year is Ka’anapali on Maui in Hawaii. It also earned a No. 10 ranking on this year’s Top 25 Beaches —World list published by TripAdvisor.

The Siesta information notes that visitors have a choice of 13 hotels, two bed-and-breakfast facilities/inns, and 1,676 vacation rentals. (See the related article in this issue.)

The other Florida beaches that won 2023 recognition are as follows: Henderson Beach State Park in Destin was ranked No. 6; St. Augustine Beach was No. 13; St. Pete Beach was No. 14; Panama City Beach was No. 18; Pensacola Beach was No. 20; Sombrero Beach in Marathon was 22; and Clearwater Beach was No. 23.

A Sarasota News Leader review of TripAdvisor details and comments about Siesta Beach on March 1 found that the beach had earned 4.5 stars out of 5, based on 8,548 reviews. Of the latter, the webpage said, 6,873 rated the beach “Excellent,” while 1,134 called it “Very good.” Another 114 reviews, however, classified it as “Terrible.”

The webpage added of Siesta, “Public swimming beach known for its clean, hard-packed sand.”

A 5-star review written on Feb. 27 by a female visitor from Montreal said, “The sand feel amazing. There are lifeguards. Plenty of room on the beach. A restaurant, a store.

“Entertainment on certain days when we were there on a Saturday.

“People coming and going at all hours so easy to get a parking space if you have patience.

“Bring a picnic and enjoy.”

The woman added, “They did have Red Tide when we were there,” but that did not prevent people from swimming.

However, just below that review, a person from North Beach, Md., gave Siesta Beach only 2 stars, writing initially in all caps, “IF YOU ARE DOING A QUICK WINTER GET AWAY TO FLORIDA GULF SIDE…..DON’T.” That writer added in the Feb. 26 post, “We just came back home from Siesta Key and visited Siesta Key Beach, Lido Key Beach, and Turtle Beach and the Red Tide is so prevalent that the shores are covered with dead fish. … [On] the beach it sounded like COVID beach. The toxic respiratory [effects] of red tide to humans on the shore is terrible. We stayed on each beach for around 2 hours and couldn’t take any more.”

Another 2-star review — written on Feb. 24 by a visitor from Frankfort, Mich. — also complained about red tide. The person noted that he had visited Siesta several times in years past in January and February, when the water temperature was in the low 60s and no issues with red tide were evident. On Feb. 24 of this year, he continued, the water temperature was 71 degrees, “and the beach was unbearable. Plenty of dead fish (along with the smell) and the air quality was terrible. Many people were sitting on the beach wearing covid masks.”

In contrast, another visitor, whose home state was not identified, wrote a 5-star review on Feb. 18, noting that Siesta Beach “is a stunning place, very worth … travel to.”

A male visitor who wrote a review on Feb. 11, called Siesta “truly an amazing beach. I think the sand here is really the softest, whitest, most like talcum powder of any sand anywhere.”

And on Feb. 4, a tourist from Maynardville, Tenn., gave the beach 5 stars, as well. “Lots of white sand with plenty of room to sit and not be too close to your neighbors,” the person wrote. “Love the gradual slope into the ocean and you can walk way out and still the water is below your knees. Water was clear and a perfect location for shell hunting! Lots of sand dollars on this beach. Also very clean and well patrolled. Can’t wait to return!”

On Jan. 28, a couple visiting from Osceola, Wis., awarded Siesta 5 stars, too. “What an absolute gift of nature! The whites sands are [indescribably] beautiful! The vast area is amazing! It is so clean and absent of any litter, which is amazing with the large number of people. This shows a respect and care of this beauty.”