Anna Maria, Longboat Key or Sarasota – Where is the perfect place to watch sunset?

Nothing beats the sight of a spectacular Florida sunset, especially in the summer. The days are longer and the sunsets later, allowing those of us who work to make it to the beach to relax and enjoy the evening show. There are as many sunset-watching rituals and viewing spots as there are sunsets. I thought I’d mention just a few you can enjoy by boat or by land.
Longboat Pass separating Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island is one of the local favorites that can easily be reached by car or boat and is wide enough for you to drop the hook and sit quietly even during choppy seas. By land, I suggest parking at Coquina Beach and walking out on the jetty to take in the outrageous view.
Lido Beach is another special sunset spot here in Sarasota. Locals are divided as to whether the viewing is best at New Pass to the north or Big Pass to the south, but either way, you can’t loose. Park at the public beach and flip a coin! Or try them both.
Anna Maria Island is another special place. By boat the best spot is between passage Key and the northern tip of Anna Maria. By land, seek out a public beach access point or, better yet, head over to The Sandbar Restaurant and enjoy the view from their deck. The Sandbar is known for fabulous fruity drinks, their nightly sunset champagne contest and a great atmosphere.
Siesta Key is another local favorite and sunset at the public beach can’t be beat. On Sunday nights you’ll find a community drum circle starting about an hour before sunset. Drummers tend to gather just south of the main pavilion between lifeguard stands 3 and 4. Or just go and follow the beat.
Venice is another sweet spot. The best place is the Venice Inlet. There are two jetties to walk out on and enjoy the panoramic views. Access to the north is from Casey Key and to the south is from the Venice public beach. Just head north until you reach the jetties.
I’m sure I’ve only touched on a few local favorites. Send us an a comment and let us know what your favorite sunset-watching location is. And don’t forget to watch for the elusive “green flash.”