First, thank you to everyone for your assistance and advice in planning this trip! It was wonderful and we will definetly return. We returned on Saturday and here is my quick review:
Beach: Sand was soft and white as promised. We stayed on the south end of Crescent Beach and the Gulf water on the Crescent was full of seaweed near the shoreline and on the beach. Slight smell in the air. But, we swam for hours everday and it did not bother us in the least. Be careful for little ones --there were trucks that were working most days that we were there. They collect seaweed that is pushed to the end of Crescent beach (a few condos down) and in the morning the trucks pick it up and haul it away. We visited the Siesta Key Public Beach, Longboat Key, and Lido Key. All of these seemed to have generally the same level of seaweed. Spent a day a Turtle Beach which was qute different. Sand was not as nice, but the water was clear and there was very, very little seaweed in the shallows. It was lovely.
Condo at the 'The Crescent' : Clean, well stocked, and very comfortable. No complaints, issues or problems. If we need a 3 bdrm again, I would definetly consider this rental.
Dining: My family was coming from SanFran, Chicago, and NYC. We dine out frequently in these areas and were not looking to eat out in Siesta Key. We cooked 3x a day in the condo and only ordered in once in 7 days from City Pizza. Good pizza, even by NYC standards, but, a bit pricey (which I expect for a tourist location). If you have a big group, I recommend stopping Costco and then Publix on your way from the airport. It was easy and convenient. We had great home cooked brkfst, lunches, and dinners.
We were pretty much beach bums. The weather was great the entire time we were there and we did not end up taking advantage of any of the other day trips or excurions that we had researched.
Please contact me with any questions.