The Calusa Indians lived on Lido key and the surrounding area for thousands of years before the white man came looking for gold and the fountain of youth. Today, the island is a Mecca for tourists who vacation at its resorts that are directly on the Gulf of Mexico. There are miles of white sand beaches. Nearly 1500 residents call it home but the population swells to 2500 during the winter season, an indication of its popularity.
When you come, don’t miss South Lido Beach Park. As the name implies it occupies the south end of Lido Key. In addition to the Australian pine tree lined beach, it has BBQ grills, volleyball courts, comfort facilities and picnic pavilions. You can cruise the canals in a kayak and watch the animals on shore.
The Lido Public Beach is located mid-key. It has cabana rentals, concessions, a large parking lot and restrooms. It even has beach wheel-chairs during the lifeguard hours.
North Lido Beach is 3,000 feet of secluded seashore with wild foliage, sand dunes and no lifeguards. It is an area often selected by couples who ‘vant to be alone” (apologies to Greta Garbo). There are no facilities, no concessions and no parking areas.
Sarasota has a large gay community and North Lido Beach is a popular spot for gays to visit. The current in the Gulf of Mexico around the area is fast, and swimming is not advisable at this location. There is a forested area with nature trails surrounding the beach; lots to see and do for lovers of the outdoors. It has been said that persons wanting an “all-over” tan have managed to get it at the North Lido Beach.
The Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel fronts on 600 feet of Lido’s beach. Residents can work on their tan at the Sandcastle while eating breakfast or lunch outdoors. There are indoor and outdoor pools and facilities for the disabled.
The Holiday Inn has the Sand Dollar Rooftop Restaurant, beach cabanas and offers complimentary scheduled transportation to and from the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport.
The Lido Beach Resort has one and two bedroom suites, two beachfront pools, three Jacuzzis and the Tiki Bar on the beach.
Should the need to do some serious shopping arise, St. Armands Key with its boutiques and upscale shops is only steps away from Lido Key. Nightlife is alive and well on St. Armands.
City Island, a spot of land nearby surrounded by New Pass and the Intracoastal Waterway has places of interest to many. There’s the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, a multi-faceted sea life oriented facility. They have an aquarium filled with hundreds of sea creatures, marine science research labs and touch pools with dolphins, turtles and more. It’s a fascinating facility. It’s a ‘magnet’ for kids, dad and moms, too.
There is a haven for injured birds on City Island. It’s a nursing home for birds no longer able to fend for themselves in the wild. The name of the facility is ‘Save Our Seabirds - Bird Sanctuary’. There is a waterside tree- shaded picnic park for your enjoyment --- so plan to spend a full day there.
You will be glad that you did!
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