Siesta Key is one of the top family beaches in the U.S. Its sugar-white sand is highly packable — perfect for building sandcastles — and slopes gradually into the clear Gulf of Mexico waters, where gentle, ankle-high waves are wonderful for young swimmers (as well as water sports like paddleboarding, skimboarding, and kayaking). Lifeguards keep watch on Siesta Key Public Beach, and many of the beach areas are equipped with picnic areas and playgrounds. Many area hotels cater to families with things like in-room kitchenettes, sleeper sofas, and on-site laundry facilities, but the six we’ve highlighted below are the best of the bunch.
Three formerly separate hotels combined to form Tropical Beach Resorts, which now has 70 apartment-style units spread across five buildings. All studios and one- and two-bedroom units have living rooms, full kitchens with modern stainless steel appliances, and covered outdoor seating areas. Homey comforts include pillow-topped beds and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. The property offers family-friendly amenities, such as two deep and heated swimming pools, shuffleboard courts, outdoor dining areas with grills, and free lemonade, hot chocolate, cookies, and popcorn. The hotel also has access to a private area of Siesta Key beach (a quarter of a block away), and offers free beach chair rentals and beach towels. Paddle boat and kayak rentals can be arranged, and on-site features include laundry facilities, vending machines, and free Wi-Fi and parking.
Right across from Siesta Beach, the Sea Spray Resort provides 14 large, clean rooms with fully equipped kitchens and patio areas with seating. (One unit, the Starfish, has a private pool and barbecue.) The hotel has a nice communal outdoor pool surrounded by greenery, plus a fire pit and barbecue area. Beach chairs, parasols, and bikes are all free to borrow, and laundry facilities are free to use. The hotel is pet-friendly for animals weighing less than 30 pounds. Families with strollers should request a ground-floor room, as there are no elevators. Sea Spray is incredibly popular with families, but we gave Tropical Beach Resorts the edge for its second swimming pool, shuffleboard courts, and free snacks.
The Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach offers 44 spacious condo-style units complete with fully equipped kitchens. The property also has beach views that go for miles, and a variety of relaxing on-site features including a swimming pool and spa. The upscale hotel is located on a quiet and somewhat secluded island off of the coast of Sarasota and appeals to families and couples looking for a low-key beachfront getaway. No full-service restaurants are on-site, but there are a number of dining options within walking distance. It's one of the only upscale hotels in this particular area, so rates are much pricier than other nearby hotels (they're two or three times average rates at Sea Spray Resort and Tropical Beach Resorts).
The 64-room Tropical Breeze Resort is a Siesta Key value property with beautiful grounds, near several restaurants and the beach. Its tropically decorated rooms, suites, and cottages come with a variety of amenities: some have outdoor pools and fully equipped kitchens, and all have daily housekeeping. Three outdoor pools and two hot tubs are the big draw at this property and there is a free continental breakfast (coffee, muffins, tea, fruit, and juice) served daily. Free beach towels, beach chairs, and Wi-Fi are provided, in addition to free outdoor parking. Guests should note, however, that there are no elevators. This hotel is dog-friendly, but there are daily fees and only two dogs under 50 pounds are allowed per room.
The 19-room Captiva Beach Resort is a family-friendly value hotel with sunbathing lawns, a short walk from the beautiful white-sand Crescent Beach. Many of the facilities, such as the lovely gardens, heated outdoor pool, shuffleboard courts, and barbecue grills are shared with a couple of other similar properties. All rooms and suites have either kitchenettes with two-burner hot plates or kitchens with microwaves, coffeemakers, refrigerators, and oven/stoves (and some have dishwashers), as well as standard amenities like flat-screen TVs, ACs, irons/ironing boards, beach towels, and free Wi-Fi. Suites also have living rooms with sofa beds. Cribs, rollaway beds, and interconnecting rooms are available.
The 12-room Ringling Beach House is a mid-range boutique hotel on the island’s main road, close to restaurants, shopping, and the beach. Bright suites have fully equipped kitchens, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and patios with seating, and some have extras like skylights and stainless steel appliances. However, there is no daily housekeeping (Captiva offers daily "tidy up" service on request and Tropical Breeze has daily housekeeping). Two outdoor pools with nearby barbecue grills are the highlight, and there are free beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas provided. The nearby Tropical Breeze Resort has almost identical facilities, but cheaper rates.