How to Get From Tampa to Siesta Key: Your Ultimate Guide

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Tampa to Siesta Key Distance

The distance from Tampa to Siesta Key is about 65 miles.

The last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to spend a weekend in December in Siesta Key, Florida thanks to my son’s travel soccer team. We participate in a tournament in nearby Lakeland, Florida and so of course, we turn the trip into a mini-vacation.

After discovering how lovely Siesta Key was, that became our logical place to stay. It’s not too far from the fields and it’s a fantastic way to relax between games and enjoy a little last bit of warm weather before the cold Indiana winter begins.

On our first trip I looked at quite a few different options for getting to Siesta Key, but starting in Tampa and flying into the Tampa International Airport was by far the easiest and most affordable option. So Tampa to Siesta Key it is!

Sunset over the ocean at Siesta Key, Florida

Tampa to Siesta Key Flight

Should you and CAN you fly from Tampa to Siesta Key Florida?

How much is the flight from Tampa to Siesta Key?

Technically you COULD fly from Tampa to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport which is only ten miles from Siesta Key, Florida, but it really wouldn’t make a lot of sense. You’d spend more time getting through security, waiting to take off, etc. than just doing the drive from Tampa International Airport. Plus, it would cost you at least a few hundred dollars. Seems like that money could be better spent in Siesta Key to me!

Tampa to Siesta Key Drive

This is my preferred route to Siesta Key from Tampa. I like having a car, and for me, it’s less expensive to fly into Tampa versus Sarasota.

How many hours drive from Tampa to Siesta Key?

It will take you just over an hour to drive from the Tampa International Airport to Siesta Key Florida. It’s a pretty easy drive, as long as you avoid rush hour. I seem to always arrive late at night or midmorning, so there is little to no traffic!

standing in front of Ybor City mural

Best Tampa to Siesta Key Road Trip Stops

Want to have a little fun on that short drive to Siesta Key? You could easily make a few stops and create an entire day trip (or more!) out of your drive.

Stop 1: Ybor City in Tampa

Last year on our Siesta Key Florida trip we had a blast taking a Ybor City Food Tour. Our flight to Tampa arrived mid-morning, so it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon on our way to Siesta Key since our room wouldn’t be ready until 4:00.

If you have an afternoon free, I highly recommend this fun activity. We enjoyed good food, learned a lot of history about Ybor City and it was a great start to our long weekend in Florida!

💥 Book your Ybor City Food Tour HERE!

Stop 2: Bradenton

On your journey from Tampa to Siesta Key, a stop in Bradenton offers tons of fun activities. This charming city, nestled on Florida’s sun-drenched Gulf Coast, is perfect for those who love both culture and nature.

You can stroll through the vibrant Village of the Arts, a unique enclave where colorful cottages house studios, galleries, and shops. For a touch of history, the Bishop Museum of Science & Nature provides fascinating insights into the region (you can even see manatees!), so this would be a fun little afternoon stop if your flight arrives mid-morning.

Nature lovers should not miss the Robinson Nature Preserve, a perfect spot for kayaking, bird watching, and walking along scenic trails. And, of course, you could always enjoy some fresh, local seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants, offering picturesque views and a true taste of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Christmas tree at St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, Florida

Stop 3:  Sarasota

When I was a kid my grandparents lived in Sarasota all winter, so I spent many Christmas holidays at their house and the nearby beaches. Today when I stop, I’m amazed at how different it is!

On our last trip, we enjoyed a tasty meal dining al fresco at Tommy Bahamas in St. Armands Circle. The area itself was a great place to walk around and explore with tons of upscale shops, restaurants, and more. On the evening we were at St. Armands Circle we enjoyed seeing the lovely Christmas decorations and lighted tree.

Another fun activity would be a sightseeing Trolley Tour of Sarasota – I love this type of tour as a great way to get a feel for a city I won’t be in for very long. You’ll learn a little history, see where everything is, and determine where you want to go back and explore more on your own.

Tampa to Siesta Key Train

So we’ve nixed flying, but how about a train from Tampa to Siesta Key?

How much is a train from Tampa to Siesta Key?

You CAN take a train from Tampa to Sarasota but not to Siesta Key. So you would still need to Uber or rent a car to get to Siesta Key. Plus the train will take you at least four hours (when we know it’s just about an hour to drive). So, although it’s affordable (around $30) I would highly discourage a Tampa to Sarasota train.

birds flying over Siesta Key Florida

Tampa to Siesta Key Bus

If planes and trains are out, how about a bus from Tampa to Siesta Key?

How much is a bus from Tampa to Siesta Key?

There are several buses you can take to get to Siesta Key from Tampa and they will all take you about 2 to 3 hours depending upon how often they stop. One of the cheapest options is the public bus which you can take from downtown Tampa to downtown Sarasota and then transfer to a bus that will take you to Siesta Key. This will only cost you $5 – $10 but is a bit of a hassle (switching buses).

Another similar option would be a shuttle or ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. Depending upon which you choose and the date/time needed, the cost should range between $70 – $125.

Tampa to Siesta Key Ferry

Finally, is there a ferry from Tampa to Siesta Key Florida? Nope, this one isn’t an option for you.

🚗 Book your car rental for your Tampa to Siesta Key trip through DiscoverCars!

View of the ocean from our Siesta Key condo

Where to stay on Siesta Key, Florida

There aren’t any hotels on Siesta Key, Florida, so if you want to stay on the island (and trust me, you do!), renting a condo is your best choice. If you love Hyatt properties, this would be a great choice. It’s right on the ocean and just across the street are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shopping – perfect location!

Our last stay was at the Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club and it was fantastic! A full kitchen, a lovely view, and a terrific location. Check out a condo in this complex HERE! I highly recommend it.

Map of Tampa to Siesta Key Florida

FAQs: Tampa to Siesta Key Florida

Is it better to drive or fly from Tampa to Siesta Key?

100% better choice is to drive from Tampa to Siesta Key.

How far is Tampa from Siesta Key?

About 65 miles.

Is it worth it to drive from Tampa to Siesta Key?

Absolutely. We have found it must cheaper to fly into Tampa than any other nearby airport and since we want a rental car anyway, driving is our best bet.

Are there shuttles from Tampa Airport to Siesta Key?

Yes, there are several shuttle options.

Is Siesta Key on an island?

Yes, it is a small island in Tampa Bay off of Sarasota.

Siesta Key Florida

Conclusion: Tampa to Siesta Key

As we wrap up our journey from Tampa to Siesta Key, it’s clear that this trip offers more than just a destination; if you want to stop along the way you have plenty of choices!

Driving emerges as the best option, offering the freedom to explore at your own pace. You’ll traverse scenic routes, uncovering the historical allure of Bradenton, the delicious restaurants in Ybor City, or the serene beauty of Siesta Key itself. From bustling cityscapes to tranquil beachfront, every traveler finds something to cherish.

So grab your bags, set your GPS, and let the adventure unfold. I know every year that we make this drive we discover something new by letting the road be our guide. This way, the journey from Tampa to Siesta Key is more than just a trip—it’s an exploration through the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast, promising memories that will linger long after your return.


The ultimate guide to help you get from Tampa to Siesta Key Florida. The best method for transportation and some fun stops along the way.
The ultimate guide to help you get from Tampa to Siesta Key Florida. The best method for transportation and some fun stops along the way.