The Incredibly White, Soft Sands of Siesta Key, Florida

For the last 2 years, Siesta Beach has been voted the #2 Best Beach in the US by Dr. Beach, better known as Dr. Stephen Leatherman (www.drbeach.org).   Siesta Beach has been voted in the top 10 best beaches in the country for several years.  What makes Siesta Beach so special?  Its sand – 99% quartz, unlike any beach sand anywhere else in the country, and likely the world.

Quartz, also known as silicon dioxide, is a mineral found abundantly all over the earth.  Over the course of many, many years (like millions of years), the rise and fall of the Gulf of Mexico left deposits of white, quartz sand along Florida’s west coast.   The soft texture of the sand is due to the fine grains which have been transformed by the natural processes of wind and movement.   This sand does not have any coral or shell fragments in it, hence its soft and silky feeling to the touch.

In 1987, Siesta Beach sand was voted the FINEST, WHITEST SAND IN THE WORLD during a challenge hosted by area enlisted scientists who asked the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute of Massachusetts to judge the “Great International White Sand Beach Challenge”.   Since the challenge, Siesta Key Beach sand has won many awards and has made several of Dr. Beach’s top ten beach lists.

This November, 2010, the Inaugural Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Championships will be held on Siesta Beach.  This event has attracted Master Sandsculpting teams from all over the country to compete in this 1 week event to create the most incredible sandsculptures anywhere, most of which will tower more than 8’ in the air.  These sculptures are created with just sand and water and the results will be a testament to Siesta Key’s beach sand.  (This event shouldn’t be confused with the 1 day amateur sandsculpting contest that is held every May hosted by the Pelican Press.  Amateurs can eventually become Master Sandsculptors, but must endure many amateur and Master competitions along the way in order to be invited.)

With live music, a trendy Vendor Village and 20 of the most incredible sculptors competing for $28.000 in prize money, this is a family, friendly festival that should not be missed.   The event will be held November 18 through November 21st, 2010.  For more information about the event schedule and discount accommodations at host hotel, Holiday Inn Express-Siesta Key/Sarasota, please visit www.crystalsand.org or www.hiexsarasota.com.

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