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Did you know that Florida is one of the most road-trip friendly states in the United States? There are endless routes to enjoy stunning coastal views, beaches, and unique attractions. One of the most popular road trips is from Orlando to Siesta Key.
Along this scenic route, you can enjoy everything from historic museums and vast gardens to top-notch restaurants, gator farms, and world-famous white sand beaches.
With one of the most diverse coastlines in the world, it’s easy to see why millions of visitors come to Florida each year to experience the Sunshine State.
Read below to learn about the most convenient routes, the fastest mode of transportation, and must-see sights along your journey from Orlando to Siesta Key.
Booking a last-minute trip to Orlando or Siesta Key?
If so, we have you covered. Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!
Top Tours in Orlando
Everglades Airboat and Wild Florida Tour (Florida Wildlife Tour With Optional Lunch)
Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour (2-Hour Tour Perfect for Nature Lovers!)
Kennedy Space Center Adventure with Transport (Enjoy NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)
Top Tours in Siesta Key
Siesta Key Electric Bike Sunset Tour (Explore Siesta Key Using E-Bike)
Siesta Key Kayak Tour (2-Hour Kayak Tour In Siesta Key)
Siesta Key Guided Eco Tour (Guided Kayak & Paddle Tour In Siesta Key)
Top Hotels In Orlando
Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas – (Perfect For Couples)
Ette Luxury Hotel & Spa – (High-Rated Luxury Hotel)
Top Hotels In Siesta Key
Siesta Heron Suites & Villa – (Top Rated Nearby Beach)
Siesta Key/Derby Bay – (Villa Located In Derby Lane)
Looking To Get Around In Orlando Or Siesta Key?
Check out rental car rates here! 🚗
Photo Credit- Google Maps
Getting from Orlando to Siesta Key by bus is possible, but the route is much longer and costs more money than driving.
Since there are no direct bus routes to Siesta Key from Orlando, there will be transfer stations along the way.
Services typically depart from Orlando International Airport (MCO) with a transfer to Siesta Key at the Cattleman Transit Station in Sarasota.
With transfers, the total travel time is typically 6 hours and 30 minutes. To get to Siesta Key from there, you’ll have to drive or utilize the Sarasota County Area Transit buses.
Buses run regularly and usually cost less than $5. Total ride time is usually between 45 minutes to an hour, and the drop-off location is the intersection of Beach Road and Midnight Pass Road.
It’s not ideal to fly from Orlando to Siesta Key given the short distance between the two destinations.
However, if it’s your only option or last resort, it’s possible. To do this, the best route would be to fly from Orlando International Airport(MCO) to either Tampa International Airport (TPA) or Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ).
Orlando Airport is 21 miles from downtown Orlando. Tampa Airport is just five miles from downtown Tampa, and Sarasota Airport is just 7 miles from Siesta Key.
However, this isn’t the most convenient or affordable route. Direct flights between the two destinations are almost non-existent, and you’ll likely end up with a long layover in another state.
In spite of these factors, American, Southwest, JetBlue, and others offer daily or weekly flights.
Best Routes to Take
I-75 S via I-4W. This is the fastest route to take from Orlando to Siesta Key. Total drive time is roughly 2 hours and 13 minutes but can take up to 2 hours and 40 minutes with afternoon rush hour traffic on I-4W.
Cities along this route include Lake Buena Vista, Lakeland, Plant City, Tampa, Ellenton, and Sarasota Springs to name a few.
I-75S via FL-50W. If you absolutely hate driving I-4W (many people do) there are other routes you could take, but it will add significant drive time to your journey.
One possible route is to take FL-50W and I-75S to the city of Tampa. From Tampa, you can continue on I-75 S to Siesta Key in the same way you would if coming off I-4W.
Ultimately, you’ll bypass I-4W, but the route won’t have as many attractions along the way.
Stops And Things To Do
There are dozens of stops and attractions to visit on the route from Orlando to Siesta Key.
Nearby cities you’ll encounter along the way include favorites like St. Pete Beach, Tampa, Sarasota, Kissimmee, Bradenton, and Clearwater, just to name a few.
Below are some of the best things to do while on your way to Siesta Key:
Enjoy The Disney Community Of Lake Buena Vista
Only a 27-minute drive from Orlando is the upscale Disney community of Lake Buena Vista.
Beyond the theme parks, you’ll find plenty of local shops, restaurants, parks, and a vibrant nightlife.
The Walt Disney World Resort is of course a major attraction, but the shopping village of Disney Springs is also a popular place to grab a bite to eat or shop for Disney memorabilia.
If you have time, spend a day at one of the theme parks and get a One-Day-One Park pass to Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
To really maximize your time, spend a couple of nights at a nearby Disney resort to get free transportation to the theme parks, special deals and perks, and more exploration time.
Just south of Orlando is Gatorland — a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve with plenty of Old Florida charm.
Known as “The Alligator Capital of the World”, different species of alligators and crocodiles safely find their home in this educational roadside attraction.
Watch a Legend of the Swamp show featuring an 8-foot alligator, experience a supervised up-close encounter, or explore the White Alligator Swamp.
You can even fly on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line or climb aboard a monster truck-style off-road vehicle through real Florida wetlands.
Other wildlife you might encounter on a visit to Gatorland include snakes, insects, and exotic birds and animals. Tickets range in price but can be bought online or at Gatorland.
Photo Credit- Lego Land
LegoLand Florida Resort
Legoland is a lakeside LEGO-themed park made for kids and kids-at-heart. It boasts fun shows, family-friendly dining, shopping, a water park, and a large collection of LEGO-inspired rides and attractions.
The AQUAZONE Wave Racers, The Dragon, and LEGO NINJAGO are just a few of the park’s most popular rides.
Inside the park, there is a historic Cypress Garden that has been a Florida staple since 1939. Be sure to get a picture in front of the giant Banyan tree!
Photo Credit- Dinosaur World
Dinosaur World is an outdoor museum in Plant City, Florida with more than 200 life-size dinosaurs throughout the grounds.
The park imitates these creatures in what would be their natural habitat millions of years ago. the You can dig for fossils in the Fossil Dig, or discover remnants of prehistoric past in the Boneyard.
The award-winning Tampa Zoo features more than 1300 animals. It’s known around the world for its vast portfolio of unique animals and its authentic tropical zoological setting.
Safely get up close and personal with animals like the giant tortoise, rhinos, and stingrays. Catch a glimpse of the Florida manatee at the Manatee Hospital, splash in the water play areas, or enjoy an educational show.
If you love exploring urban nature, the Tampa Riverwalk is for you. This 2.6 mile long open space and pedestrian trail is the focal point of the city of Tampa.
Offering scenic views of the Hillsborough River, the Riverwalk is a perfect place to dine at a waterfront restaurant, take a Segway tour, or watch outdoor entertainment on a sunny day.
Anna Maria Island
While Anna Maria Island is a tad off course on the way to Siesta Key, the detour is well worth it.
Experience fresh ocean front seafood from a local restaurant, walk on one of its many white sand beaches, or take in a beautiful sunset in this laid-back coastal town.
It’s consistently ranked as one of the best islands in the U.S., and for good reason!
Even though the name implies it’s a circus, the Ringling Museum is anything but. It houses a collection of more than 28,000 works of art from nearly every major period.
From the European Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, you can admire many beautiful galleries within its pink Renaissance style walls. If you visit on a Monday, admission to the museum is free.
A beautiful park that is free and open to the public includes an impressive splash park for children.
People of all ages visit the park to walk their dogs, take in a sunset, or have a picnic with food from a nearby Bayfront restaurant. The park is open from 7am to 11pm daily.
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
In Longboat Key, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill is a popular watering hole. At this casual bayfront establishment, you’ll find plenty of specialty seafood dishes, fish-themed decor, and an outdoor terrace.
You can’t go wrong with the lobster rolls, lobster bites, or the Oysters Rockefeller.
Mote Marine Aquarium
Get up close and personal with Florida’s marine life at the Mote Marine Aquarium. Just minutes from downtown Sarasota, it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours exploring the educational exhibits.
The aquarium currently features 13 exhibits showcasing otters, manatees, sea turtles, jellyfish, sharks, local birds, fish, and much more.
You can also partake in an eco-friendly boat tour, though you should make sure you have at least an additional hour.
Lido Key Beach
Just down the road from the aquarium, you’ll spot Lido Key Beach. Lido Key is a much less crowded but no less beautiful barrier island beach just west of Sarasota.
The surrounding community takes ecotourism seriously, which is one reason it’s famous for its pristine white sand and sunset cruises.
There is a small fee of $2-4 per person to enjoy the beach, but it’s well worth it.
Siesta Key Beach
This is one public beach you won’t want to miss. This award winning beach was ranked the best beach in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, and a top 25 beach in the U.S. in 2022 by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards.
It’s safe to say that Siesta Key Beach is close to being heaven on earth. Many visitors go to bask under the warm, clear skies and feel the quartz-crystal sand between their toes.
Three large lots provide plenty of parking, concession stands offer drinks and snacks, and a free trolley gives rides to the Siesta Key Village for dinner, drinks, or nightlife.
It’s something you must do on a road trip from Orlando to Siesta Key!
If catching a glimpse of a sea turtle in the wild is on your bucket list, Turtle Beach won’t disappoint.
This secluded public beach on the Southern tip of Siesta Key is known for sea turtle nesting and hatching during mating season.
It also offers plenty of space for picnics, camping, beach games, and fishing in Blind Pass Lagoon.
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