The Best Kept Secrets of the South Central Gulf Coast

South Central Florida Beach

1) Siesta Key

Considered to be one of the best beaches in America - and with good reason, Siesta Key is an architectural paradise suitable for vacation goers all-year round. This 8 mile long, crescent shaped barrier Island on the gulf of Mexico features the most breathtakingly beautiful and award-winning white quartz sand and emerald green waters, which alone are enticing enough to take a visit.

Tourists need not be concerned about their sleeping arrangements in Siesta Key, as 'not exactly roughing it' ironically emblematizes this up-scale location, boasting some of the best luxury rentals on the gulf coast of Florida.

Siesta Key also provides a wealth of activities for all ages and interests, with Turtle Beach presenting the perfect backdrop for some transient seclusion, or alternatively, the Siesta Village which hosts a generous portion of afternoon margaritas and cold crisp beers to continue the fiesta after the sun sets. Indeed, if you want top-of-the line, broad yards of quartz crystal sand, miles of unobstructed views and scenic incandescent waters - Siesta Key is the place for you.

Gulf Coast Beach
Gulf Coast Bridge
Gulf Coast Bridge
Longboat Key sunset on the water

2) Longboat Key

Sandwiched between the more bustling Anna Maria Island to the north and Lido Key to the south, Longboat Key presents a more quaint and tranquil perspective of the Florida keys.

Whilst Longboat Keys' beaches are as silver-lined and idyllic as they come, these sandy stretches offer splendid isolation off of the tourist tracks. Longboat Key is a desirable destination for snowbirds, long-term renters and well-heeled vacationers alike, seeking the pleasures of a remote island - although having the luxury of being in close proximity to Sarasota.

The clusters of trees lining the shores, coupled with the copious amount of outdoor dining decks at the best local eateries in town makes Longboat Key a heaven for those seeking the perfect getaway: particularly at the northern end of the key which is widely accepted to be the most peaceful and beautiful stretches in the Sarasota area.

3) Marco Island

Out of the exhaustive list of Floridian Islands to choose from, Marco Island is considered to be the largest and most developed. This Gulf Coast retreat boasts a wide selection of up-scale resorts, unspoiled parks and attractive beaches, complemented by its tropical climate: a considerable attraction to the area.

Here, seafront homes and luxury resorts live up to their cushy reputation, positioned in close proximity to the seafront so vacationers can capture the perfect buena vista both morning and night. Centered around the notion of &lqduo;boats as a way of life,” the island's blend of sophisticated resort area to nautical community and funky fishing village provides an alluring charm to the town.

Indeed, make sure you bring your appetite for seafood, whether you catch your own or at a local restaurant, as Marco Island presents an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fresh catches of the day - perfect for those seafood connoisseurs.

Marco Island boat dock

4) Sarasota

As one of Florida's primary Gulf Coast cities, Sarasota contains a wide array of fine-dining excursions, unspoilt beaches and substantial shopping opportunities. Indeed, this metropolitan melting pot boasts some of the finest establishments in Florida, with St Armand’s Circle leading the way in beach resort shopping, whilst award-winning chefs set up shop to create unique fusion delights for those tourists fortunate enough to visit.

Alternatively, if you're an art connoisseur, then Sarasota is a desirable destination for you, home to an extensive art community based in the heart of the city, allowing your imagination and creativity to run wild: suitable for all tastes and pocket sizes.

Here, redundancy is not an option with the bay presenting copious amounts of water sport activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding - available year round. Golf also presents an attractive appeal to those visiting, with some of the most coveted courses in North America at tourists’ disposal. It's hard to argue with an average of 251 sunny days per year, truly making Sarasotta a reliable destination for outdoor adventure.

Aerial view of Sarasota Florida

5) Lido Key

Nestled between Longboat Key to the north and Siesta Key to the south, Lido Key provides the perfect blend of cosmopolitan life and seaside luxury. Home to one of Florida's most pristine, unblemished beaches, Lido Key's ecotourism and sunset cruises is what truly sets it apart.

Although, it is the physical infrastructure of Lido Key that unequivocally makes it tick, with the integration of a gentrified centre of chic boutiques, fine dining establishments and outdoor pursuits, presenting holiday-makers with surplus activities to enjoy at their leisure. So whether you’re seeking tranquil beaches or a hub of elegant shopping and dining experiences - Lido key is one of Sarasota's most diversified and varied waterfront locations, making this a worthy destination to visit.

6) Anna Maria Island

Florida is called the sunshine state for a reason, and Anna Maria is emblematic of this, with the most gentle hue of golden sand, turquoise gulf waters and blistering sunshine throughout the changing seasons. Indeed, its delightful and distinctive beauty truly etches a special place in the hearts of each tourist who visits.

Despite boasting over 200,000 vacationers each year, Anna Maria has managed to attain its beauty and authenticity - a factor which tends to plague comparable popular vacation destinations. Thus, due to its lack of overdevelopment and unspoilt goods, Anna Maria retains a certain small-town coastal Florida charm, with a distinctive personality and exciting buzz.

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental
Anna Maria Island ocean view from a deck

You won’t find any high-rise condominiums or towering resorts here. Instead, Anna Maria is filled with family-owned eco-friendly restaurants, pastel houses, up-scale luxury accommodation and the best sunset views Florida has to offer.

Epitomizing an “old Floridan” vibe, bicycles and island trolleys are the preferred method of transportation and bathing suits the standard attire. So pull up a chair, relax and unwind under the beautiful Anna Maria skies.

7) Sanibel

Whilst the Florida Gulf Coast contains a range of remote barrier islands, Sanibel defies sensationally 'secluded' in the best possible way. Sanibel possesses a wild and natural feel, unlike the usual hustle and bustle of your stereotypical commercialised holiday destination, with a refreshing slower pace of life, truly making you fall in love with this beautiful location.

Sanibel Island Beach

Holiday-makers don't come here for amusements or nightlife or even extensive shop till you drop excursions. Here, it's about taking the time to rekindle with your loved ones and spending some quality time together. You will often catch vacationers in their finest lounging attire basking in the Florida sunshine or brunching in the best eateries the island has to offer. However, don’t be mistaken, world-class activities such as fine-dining, art exploring and golfing are always on the agenda.

Sanibel truly presents the most poignantly perfect beaches, home to numerous species of wildlife, enabling you to connect with the natural world on a deeper level. So whether you’re a nature lover, a family-adventurer or solitude seeker - Sanibel will certainly satisfy your every needs.

Lovely pool in Florida with Gulf of Mexico visible

Longboat Key vacation rental
Longboat Key vacation rental
Longboat Key vacation rental

Book your trip to Florida NOW

Eager for a visit to Florida yet? This paradise lures individuals seeking outdoor adventures and five-star accomodation every season, and it's hard not to see why. Book with Emerald Kite now for your privately owned and professionally managed luxury vacation rental today to enjoy the amazing activities the sunshine state can provide.

Gulf Coast Rentals Available! Call Local Agent - 941.900.4552

For best rates call the local agent or complete the following form.