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Back to lovely Lido Key: a Sarasota, Florida barrier island

Whether you plan to visit Florida or you're a resident of the Sunshine State, the Gulf Coast beaches -- and the barrier islands -- should be on your list of seaside destinations. The Island Runaways are especially fond of the laid-back, low key isles off the Sarasota and Bradenton areas, south of Tampa. In fact, while Zickie and I love discovering new islands, these are destinations that we return to time and time again. One of our favorites? That would be Lido Key and to be even more specific, Lido Beach. Even though we've mentioned it before on the blog, we had to post some pictures from summer 2015, so our fellow island lovers get a sense of what this small but pretty island offers.

(Lido Beach on Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by Laura Albritton.)

Here, just a few miles off mainland Sarasota are warm, aqua-green waters and soft sand, bordered by sea grasses. Plentiful free, public parking means that usually it's no problem to access this long stretch of shoreline. While some folks stay in hotels facing the ocean, such as the Sandcastle Resort or the Holiday Inn, plenty of others just come for a morning or afternoon of relaxation.

Since a family celebration had brought us back over to the Gulf of Mexico side of our home state, Zickie and I were looking forward to plunking down our beach towels and spreading out in the sun at this very spot. For the past couple of days, though, we've seen summer thunderstorms and gray skies. Fortunately, this Sunday we awoke to find perfect weather for a day by the sea.

(Just over the walkway lies Lido Beach. Photo by Laura Albritton.)

It couldn't be much easier to access Lido Beach: park your car, grab your gear, amble over a short raised walkway, and voilà! Before you stretches an inviting panorama. Or, as we island lovers prefer to call it, "happiness."

(Life's a beach when you run an island travel blog. Photo by Laura Albritton.)

Lifeguards? Check. Bathroom facilities? Check. Warm Florida sunshine? You betcha. We've traveled on planes and on boats to reach beautiful destinations, but the simple pleasures of Lido Beach are part of its appeal. It's not exotic; it's as comfortable as a sweet childhood memory.

(Lido Beach is one of our favorite Florida beaches. Photo by Laura Albritton.)

Sometimes Lido beach can be quiet, but today everyone was out, savoring the sunshine and having a ball, building sandcastles and swimming.

(Sarasota beaches like Lido are ideal for relaxing. Photo by Laura Albritton.)

So, is Lido Beach right for you? If you enjoy the warm waves of the Gulf of Mexico, laid-back Floridian charm, and a family-friendly atmosphere, this destination may just be perfect. By the way, there are lots of other attractions in the neighborhood, if you need a break from the sun. You can tour Mote Marine's aquariums on City Island, visit the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, or shop and dine on St. Armand's Circle, a terrific place to hang out (which we'll tell you more about in an upcoming post.)

Have you been to Lido Key? Let us know what you thought in the comments below. Thanks!

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