Siesta Key is famous for its natural beauty.
Visitors come to watch pods of playful dolphins swimming by the shore. Others stay for the gorgeous gulf views of crystal-clear aquamarine waters that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Glimmering orange, red and pink sunsets that fill the sky each night without any large buildings obstructing the view.
But, Siesta Key is perhaps most well-known for its exquisite white quartz sands.
These pure white sands have helped land Siesta Beach the #1 spot in the United States. Beautiful from afar, soft to the touch, cool to the touch no matter how much sunshine is bearing down, Siesta Key’s sand is well worthy of its recognition.
But where does the white sand in Florida come from, and why is it so rare? Below is a look at this special attribute of the island that sets Siesta Key apart.
What is Sand Made Of?
A grain of sand is essentially a very small rock. A larger rock, at some point, was eroded by water, and ultimately broken down into small pieces. Over time, the rock broke down even more, coming to a tiny fraction of its size.
Rocks, like sand, are made up of a mix of different minerals. The most common are coral, mica, feldspar, and quartz. These minerals solidify and harden into rocks, which, as we now know, break down to sand. The minerals originally contained in the bigger rocks are now held in these small grains of sand, which composed of the same minerals their father rock was.
The color of sand is rarely pure black or pure white, aside from a few rare exceptions. Typically, it is a mix of brown, tan, and other gradient colors. But the lightest of light is called white.
On Siesta Key, however, the sand is crisp and pure white. This is because it is almost entirely made up of quartz. It is suggested that a typical grain of Siesta Key sand is 99 percent quartz, a mostly-transparent, white, soft, mineral.
How is white sand different from brown or tan sand? They are made up of different minerals. Usually, they are made of up a mix of minerals, but Siesta Key’s sands are special because each the grains are almost entirely quartz.
Siesta Key just happens to be located in the perfect geography where quartz from the southern Appalachian Mountains traveled down rivers and concentrated throughout the eons. That makes this island truly something spectacular and unique.
The Whitest Sands in the World
Siesta Key’s dazzling white sand often leads to another intriguing question: where is the whitest sand in the world?
Siesta Key undoubtedly has some of the best Florida white sand beaches – however Longboat Key and Clearwater are fairly strong contenders.
Aside from these, what other beaches in Florida have white sand? You can find gorgeous crystal-clear sands on Lido Key. Anna Maria Island is another great place to spend a day sunbathing in powdery sand.
St. Pete Beach and the beaches of Fort Myers are also in the running. Overall, the beaches south of Tampa and along the coast to the Everglades and the Florida Keys are world-renowned for being bright and fairly white – but as many travelers will tell you nothing quite compares to Siesta Key.
There is also one place outside of Florida that also attracts extra attention for their powdery white sand. This is Hyams Beach in New South Wales in the southeast corner of Australia. Hyams Beach is about a three-hour drive from Sydney, the largest city in Australia.
Tahiti, Cuba, and the Philippines also have their share of white sand beaches, but they aren’t always the most convenient to travel to. For a truly tropical getaway on par with these white sand destinations, you only have to head to Florida’s Gulf coast on Siesta Key for an unforgettable experience.
So, stop reading about the beautiful sand, water, and sunsets of Siesta Key, and come experience them for yourself. Enjoy a week or two at our amenity loaded island vacation condos and spend every day with sand between your toes.
Check out our condos on Siesta Key, its famous white sand, and the many adventures you can embark on when you get here.