Not to replicate what others say, rather consistently - this is a truly wonderful beach, and it has in fact been judged America's "best" (though Waikaloa HI and some others are certainly among the very best too).
The reason it's earned these awards and judgments (and can post signs celebrating these accolades) is both the water quality - thank Heaven, despite the BP oil spill which had people praying and holding their breath- and especially the sand. Someone described it as like flour, and today I heard it described as like talc. Either way, the sand is glorious and unique in that it is prehistorically formed and gradually pulverized quartz.
It is pure white and like they say, super-fine. It's legendary for walking as well as swimming, and there are also shells galore - though not many shark's teeth, which are abundant to the South in Venice, if that's your thing. The water is surprisingly clean, for mainland US, the skies blue blue blue (with the famous SW Florida puffy clouds), and it's like a picture postcard with brightly colored lifeguard stations every few hundred yards, and a sky punctuated by para-sails.
Body surfing, swimming, bobbing, sand-castle building, wading (especially when/if too cold to swim for some, like in mid-winter, as the water temp dips even with warm days). All good. Shell collecting and of course sunning, too, mostly all year.
As the heading says, this is a (very proud) *Public* beach, free parking (which is sometimes full up, often quite empty, depending on season, day, and time), & a cute little concession/rest area with swim supplies, a snack shack, umbrella rentals, etc.
Really cannot think of anything bad to say. Great beach, reasonable amount of walk from lot to water, with healthy sized sand area in between. Lots of teens and olders, along with younger children intent on irrigated sand castle construction, and for the past 2 years (in Oct/Nov?) there's been a world-class sand-sculpture competition which is nothing short of amazing. (For that there's an admission fee, which goes towards prize monies for the international competitors. Some amazing creations!)
Trying not to be totally redundant of other reviews, so I'll end by saying: It's true. Without disrespect for some amazing beaches elsewhere, this is truly unique and both scientific and travel experts continue to name this as "America's finest beach". The unique white sand certainly is fine, too! And the rest is great, with little to complain about unless looking for something specific (surfing? offshore whales?) Actually one may see dolphins, and many bird varieties. Volleyball and sports happening too. And special events.
A quick drive from both downtown and peripheral Sarasota County (e.g., Osprey, Venice) - the public beach is part of a long white crescent of sand, bounded mostly by condos which are not beach accessible by general public, but the same water and sand are available for free at the Public Beach. Something for everyone of all ages and wants.
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