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VENICE FLORIDA VACATIONS
South of Sarasota in SW Florida
The Visitor Information & vacation Travel Guide to Venice Florida, The Shark's Tooth Capital of the World!
Visit Venice Island Florida ...
on Florida's Sun Coast on the Gulf of Mexico with its Beautiful Beaches,
Challenging Golf Courses, Warm Breezes and Spectacular
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Midway between Tampa and Fort Myers on Florida’s
west coast, Venice is one of the first planned cities built in the United States. Graced by Northern Italian
Renaissance architecture, beautifully landscaped boulevards and parks, the city of Venice is an exception to most
Three bridges access the island’s downtown where sidewalks adjoin neighborhoods to shops and services. Shaded green
spaces offer a place for concerts and activities and the natural beauty of its undeveloped beaches has become a major
draw with "old Florida charm".
Long before the Spanish arrived, the west coast of Florida was inhabited by the Calusa Indians. They were formidable
warriors and fishermen who prospered from the rich marine life along the coast. By the early 18th century, most of
the tribe fell to invaders and diseases from Europe. For more information about the Calusa Indians and those who
followed, go to
Historic Spanish Point where prehistoric Indian mounds, pioneer era buildings and the area's largest Butterfly
Garden are displayed along Little Sarasota Bay.
By the early 1900’s a rail line was forged down the Coast drawing interest for development where the Brotherhood of
Locomotive Engineers financed the construction of Venice for their union member retirement community.
Developed by city planner John Nolan, Venice features beautifully tree lined avenues and park enhanced neighborhoods.
Points of Interest...
This linear park occupies the landscaped median of Venice Avenue from west of the downtown district to the Gulf of
Mexico. The stately live oaks and Canary Island Date Palms that line the street are prominent features of this 52
acre open space. The promenade is one of the many attractive green spaces and parks throughout the Venice Plan.
Extending west from Heritage Park, this gathering place features a playground, tennis and basketball courts, lighted
for nighttime play.
Located between Venice and Tampa Avenues the park’s gazebo is the site of frequent free concerts throughout the winter
and the customary Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. The interactive fountain is a favorite of children of all ages
and a great place to cool down on a hot day.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with Venice Island’s exquisite lifestyle... so, sneak a peek at some of our
Real Estate offerings.
Starting at the northern edge of Venice, there’s an open passage to the Gulf of Mexico called the Intra-coastal
Waterway. From the riprap that banks the edge of the inlet, fishermen cast a line while others sit on benches, bask
in the sun and wave to passing boaters. This is a favorite place to watch the sun set or catch a glimpse of dolphins
Heading south on the beach, condominiums line the sandy shore followed by
Venice’s public beach; a traditional beach with concession stand and life guards. From this point on there’s more
than 3 miles of “natural beauty” accessed by raised boardwalks traversing mangroves, dunes and inlets to expansive
The Venice Fishing Pier and
Brohard Beach are another favorite spot for sunset watchers and fishermen. Beyond that,
Maxine Barritt Park provides a picnic shelter for large gatherings and extraordinary views from lakeside walking
paths. Farther down the beach is
Brohard Paw Park. It’s the only beach in the county where dogs and their buds are allowed to swim, dig in the
sand and catch a Frisbee. Meanwhile, fitness freaks and nature lovers will fall in love with
Bike, hike and paddle around inlets and byways or jog the shaded trail to fitness stations along the way while the
coarse sand and rocky shore attract many a digger seeking... not shells... but, fossilized sharks teeth.
Oh my! Shark teeth??????? Actually the fossilized kind...
Venice is the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World"!
And, the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce will give a bag of shark teeth to any child who stops in for a visit.
Hmmm…Won’t they run out?
For eons, sharks have lived and died in the Gulf of Mexico leaving plenty of teeth to wash ashore with tides and
storms. There’s even an ancient shark burial ground where lemon sharks, great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull
sharks have long left their toothy remains including the massive Megalodon shark. This extinct species of shark
lived roughly from 28 to 1.5 million years ago and their teeth are black and brown in color ranging from a tiny
1/8th to over 7 inches long.
Amazingly, shark’s have "seven additional" rows of teeth just waiting to replace a primary worn out set.
In ten years, an average Tiger shark can produce as many as 25,000 teeth. So, with sharks continually shedding teeth
and growing new ones, it’s rather hard to imagine if there will ever be a shortage.
Although sharks are a rare sight, you'll find plenty of evidence that incredible numbers of sharks have and still
live out in the deep waters of the Gulf.
Shark tooth Hunting
There are two ways to hunt for shark’s teeth; "Free Hand" or with a "Shark’s Tooth Basket" for
scooping and sifting sand so as to expose sharks teeth. Both methods work fine it just depends on your style.
Shark tooth baskets are available at most any shop in Downtown Venice, even Wal-Mart!
• 1. Walking along the beach requires patience and time as you will be among many in search of teeth in the sand. Scoop some sand into a strainer and sift like a panhandler searching for gold.
• 2. Patrol the shallows with a snorkel and mask while using a sifting device. Surprisingly, it works remarkably well.
• 3. To find giant, prehistoric teeth, grab a scuba tank and sift through the sand offshore in the 15 to 20-foot water depth range.
Snorkeling and Scuba
It’s best to dive during the warm calm months between May and November. If snorkeling stay parallel to the beach
about 10 feet from shore and you can still unearth a megalodon.
Five new artificial limestone reefs have been created about 500 yards offshore providing seven acres of habitat for
sea life viewing.
About a mile off Venice Beach is the ancient shark burial ground known as the “Bone Yard. The dive is 30 feet
where Carcharodon megalodon teeth are plentiful. This extinct shark was some 45 feet long. Also scattered about are
fossilized bones of large mammals probably that of dugong or manatee.
Take the South Venice Ferry… to your own private beach...
Located along Lemon Bay (at 4800 Lemon Bay Dr.) near the Alligator Creek estuary, you’ll find 5 acres of public area
with a Ferry Terminal, Boat Ramp and Crab Dock. The ferry holds 18 passengers and leaves the dock every half-hour
between 9:30am and sunset (except Wednesdays).
You may even see manatees during this four minute ride and dolphins come to the beach almost every day. Unique in its
privacy the beach (located on
Manasota Key) stretches seven miles providing great shelling, sunning and shark tooth hunting.
Since the ferry is utilized by the community of South Venice, passes for rides are issued by the month @ $25.00 or
the year @ $75.00 and can be purchased at the Landing Dock or the Adminstration Office located at 720 Alligator Drive.
For more information, visit
southvenicebeach.org or call 493-0006.
Other amenities at South Venice Park include a public boat ramp and kayak/canoe launch with immediate access to some
of the best boating and fishing that south Florida has to offer and Shamrock Park & Nature Center features basketball
and tennis courts as well as a one mile hiking trail and playground for the kids.
There’s not much in the way of shells on Venice beaches but, if you take the ferry to Manasota you’ll find a great
selection and the best are found just before low tide. Left Handed Whelks, Augers and Coquina shells are quite
Though many are drawn to a shell with a living animal...our Florida state laws prohibit you from taking them.
Just think, next visit... and every time there after... there’ll be plenty more to add to your collection.
Now, if you may want to identify your shells, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum has a wonderful online guide that will
help identify the various pieces in your collection. To browse shells in South West Florida Click:
For more eco-friendly activities please go to our
vacation planner for details:
From inshore to deep sea fishing, Venice, Florida offers the opportunity and freedom to fish off a pier, from the
beach and in or on the Intracoastal Waterway. The north Jetty, Sharky’s on the Pier, Brohard and Caspersen beaches
are very popular spots and a fishing license is required in all but one location... the Venice Fishing Pier at
The following fish are known to be plentiful in these waters: Spanish Mackerel, Mangrove Snapper, Red Snapper,
Red Fish, Jack Crevalle, Pompano, Sheeps Head, Lady Fish, Whiting, Flounder, Cobia, Shark, Blue Fish, Tarpon, and
Venice sits on a coastal stretch without barrier islands, offering direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and that makes
for prized boating.
Boat rentals are available at The Crow’s Nest Restaurant Marina
Caspersen’s 2 hour Beach Tours are held on the second and third Tuesdays of the month with naturalist Bud
Doyle. Traverse the sandy shore for a half mile for a discovery adventure then return through a coastal forest
growing on ancient dunes. Meet at 9:00am in Caspersen’s parking lot at the south end of Harbor Drive. For more
information, call 941-488-4158
North Jetty’s 2 hour Beach Tours are held on the second and third Thursdays of the month with naturalist Bud
Doyle. Do a little beachcombing along the gulf then hike along the shore of Lion’s Bay. Meet at the southern tip of
Casey Key in the North Jetty Beach parking lot at 9:00am. For more information, call 941-488-4158
If visiting January through April, the bird population is exploding. Wading birds can be seen up close and personal
Venice Rookery. Located off island on Tamiami Trail, is a small area of vegetation within a very tiny lake.
Perched awkwardly on branchy limbs you’ll see a squawking menagerie of Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets, Anhingas and
Night Herons. With lace like mating plumage on full display; watch the ritual of nest building, as well as feeding
and housekeeping rituals.
The best time to photograph is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when birds are most active and the
light is at its best.
Venetian Waterway Park offers a 10 mile trail along both banks of the Intracoastal Waterway where joggers,
bikers and strollers with four legged friends can travel all the way to Caspersen Beach.
Legacy Trail Totaling more than 12 miles in length the trail runs from just south of the City of Sarasota
to Venice following the former CSX railroad corridor. The trail provides 15 areas to stop, rest, learn about its
history or just enjoy the natural beauty. The rest stops include 7 trailheads which offer access points with free
parking. The trailheads are located at Potter Park in Sarasota, Bay Street Park and Oscar Scherer State Park in
Osprey, Laurel Park in Laurel, Nokomis Park in Nokomis, Patriots Park and the historic Venice Train Depot in Venice. In addition to the trailheads, users will find eight rest station areas that offer restroom faculties and places to sit and relax.
Myakka River State Park With 57 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands, Myakka is popular for
hiking, fishing, camping, and wildlife observation. Suspended 25 feet above the ground is a wooden walkway extending
100 feet through the hammock canopy. There’s a tower soaring 74 feet in the air providing spectacular views of
treetops, wetlands and prairie/hammock. This is where you can look down on eagles, hawks, vultures and the tops of
live oaks and palms. There’s also fourteen miles of the Wild and Scenic Myakka River flowing through so, bring your
kayak or canoe. It’s possible to rent one from the Myakka Outpost as well.
Oscar Scherer State Park Fifteen miles of trails through natural habitat provide opportunities for hiking,
bicycling, and wildlife viewing. This park is one of the best places to see our Florida scrub-jay, a threatened
species found only in Florida. Canoeists and kayakers will enjoy paddling along South Creek, a black-water stream
that eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Rentals are also available.
Venice Area Canoe and Kayak Launches:
Nokomis Beach, 901 Casey Key Road, Casey Key, Nokomis
This 23-acre family oriented beach is also popular for fishing and picnicking. It has a boardwalk and deck, two boat ramps, a concession stand, lifeguards on duty year-round, a pavilion and restrooms. Located on Casey Key just north of the jetty.
Service Club Park, 1190 Harbor Dr. S. on the Island of Venice
Blackburn Point Boat Launch, 800 Blackburn Point Park, Osprey
Blind Pass Beach (Middle Beach), 6725 Manasota Key Road, Manasota Key, Englewood
One of the more isolated beaches in the area and has no lifeguards. Picnic tables, playground equipment, showers and
restrooms. there's also a nature trail, with dunes and areas for boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
Manasota Beach, 8570 Manasota Beach Road, Manasota Key, Englewood
Located at the west end of Manasota Key Road, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway. Amenities include boating, canoe/kayak launch, lifeguards, swimming, volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms and a scenic boardwalk.
North Jetty Park, 1000 Casey Key Road, Casey Key, Nokomis
A popular surfing beach, it offers swimming (lifeguards on duty year-round), fishing, a bait shop,
canoeing, picnic shelters concession stand, restrooms, horseshoe courts and volleyball court. Located at the south
end of Casey Key.
T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve located in Venice
This site, bordering the eastern edge of the Myakka River, host a variety of plants, birds and other
wildlife. It offers a bike trail, canoe/kayak launch, nature trail, rental space, wildlife viewing, grills, guided
nature walks and historic log cabin. Located at 1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway in Venice.
For less athletic individuals.. seeking a boating experience...
Snook Haven is the place for you.
Located on the Myakka River, this is "Old Florida" at its best, with 2.5 acres of lush tropical woodlands
on one of Florida’s only wild and scenic rivers – where you can listen to great entertainment, enjoy a cooked-to-order
menu even rent a kayak or canoe. Alligators frequent these waters so, a guided river cruise might be a better bet.
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There’s no shortage of golf in Venice ranging from old Florida style to a newly built layout managed by Troon Golf.
Oyster Creek is situated within a gated community in nearby Englewood. This is a challenging 18 Hole Par 60
Executive Course designed by Ted McAnlis. If you like a short three-hour romp of enjoyable golf, this is the place
to be! The course is well kept with large sloping greens that play like those on bigger courses.
Typical of old Florida golf courses, Lake Venice Golf Club's 27 holes are flat, bordered by stands of palms, pines
and oaks, and have some water features.
Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club is a collection of three nine-hole courses dotted with natural hazards and
mature landscape. The club, which is semi-private, has been voted Best of Venice eight times in a local poll.
The newest option for public-play is Sarasota National, a Troon Golf property. Lengthier than most in the area, this
7,334 yard challenging course features expansive fairways and although the landing areas may seem generous, the
approaches quite are tricky.
Waterford Golf Club, designed by Ted McAnlis, is a 27-hole facility featuring a combination of rolling fairways,
undulating greens, hazards and water in play that will sharpen the skills of any golfer.
Hecksher Park has six tennis courts, two basketball courts with six nets, two racquetball/handball courts and 18
shuffle board courts. All have lighting for night play with nearby picnic tables, playground, shelter and restrooms.
Pinebrook Park, at 1251 Pinebrook Road, has two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court and fitness/nature trails.
Baseball’s Spring Training and Summer Play
Our Tampa Bay Rays conduct spring training February through March at the
Charlotte Sports Park while the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates are in action at Sarasota’s
Ed Smith Stadium and Bradenton’s
Throughout the summer months, you can catch a major league game as the
Tampa Bay Ray’s continue play in an indoor
climate controlled stadium just over St. Pete’s Skyway Bridge.
Yes, Venice has its own "little"
airport that was built by the military during World War II. It's now called the Suncoast Air Center.
Today, many winter residents fly in and enjoy the freedom of "not" having to deal with commercial flight.
If interested, there’s always an instructor or pilot willing to take you in the air for a spectacular view of the
coastline. The Suncoast Cafe serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and is open until 8pm on Friday & Saturday
nights...plus, their Cuban sandwich just might be the Best this side of Miami.
Attractions... Day Trips and Overnight Adventures
Located on the Caloosahatchee River, visit the
Edison & Ford Winter Estates and the friendships, inventions and fascinating history behind two of the worlds’
most remarkable men. Thomas Edison’s laboratory is on display where generated electricity and the first incandescent
light bulb were created.
Stroll 20 acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings including Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory as well
as the Estates Museum which contains an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts and special exhibit galleries.
Only (20 miles/32 km) north from Venice, Sarasota offers lots of enjoyment in its fine art museums, circus museum,
waterfront parks, restaurants and shops.
SCAT local and regional buses can take you there.
Zoom up I-75 80 miles (129 km, 1 hour 30 minutes), and you can be in Tampa, with its busy international airport, shops, restaurants, and historic cigar-making district.
Orlando & Disney World
Orlando and Disney World, 146 miles (235 km, 2 hours 30 minutes) is more of an expedition, and could be done in a day,
but is better done overnight or over two nights. So, Stay in Venice at a
Vacation Rental and take a day or two to visit Orlando.
Follow I-75 south and east 212 miles (341 km, 3 hours 30 minutes) and you're in Miami.
vacation planner for ideas.
Whether fashion is your passion or antiquing is your favorite pastime, you'll find a shop or boutique to satisfy
your sense of style and taste; altogether, more than 100 unique shops, salons and businesses make their homes along
the Island Avenues of Venice.
There’s a Saturday Market in Centennial Park featuring fresh produce from local farms while the Third Thursday of
every month, the shops are open with hoping live music for your shopping pleasure and evening stroll.
Be sure to head south on I75 for bargains at
Tanger Outlet Mall featuring Bass, Timberland, Ralph Lauren and Old Navy.
For Serenity & Relaxation
Try our fabled, fountain of youth at Warm Mineral Springs.
This 84 acre spa and retreat boasts a 1.4-acre spring that’s 230 feet deep and has a constant water temperature of
87°F. Producing 9 million gallons daily, this mineral-enriched lake is frequented by Europeans for the elimination
of stress, arthritis and muscular pain.
Art and Culture
Venice Theatre is simply spectacular and one of the largest, most active community theatres in the United States.
Garnering the most awards for the Southeast this little company is scheduled to "host" the International
Amateur Theatre Festival... in June of 2014.
The Venice Symphony has become the pride of Venice and South Sarasota County. Residents and tourists fill its
performance hall each year for six sets of concerts December through April. Classical works and "pops" selections
are conducted by Wesley John Schumacher who charms his audiences with entertaining and informative comments about
featured composers and their works.
The Venice Art Center is your first place to seek art. The center's periodic shows of painting and sculpture by
local artists offers educational programs, year-round art classes, evening mixers and family friendly activities.
If fine art is your passion you needn’t go far as Sarasota’s Ringling Museum houses exceptional baroque period
paintings including the oversized works of Rubens and many sculptures from John and Mable Ringling’s collection.
Stroll the bay-front grounds and tour the rose gardens... then step inside Ringling’s home, the Ca d’Zan. This is
the last of America’s "Gilded Age" mansions costing 1.5 million dollars. Constructed in 1924-1925, this
"home" is 36,000 square feet with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. Memorabilia and artifacts are at the nearby
circus museum where visitors of any age can experience the magic of the center ring.
Downtown Sarasota and the city of Bradenton house two large artist communities called Towles Court and the Village of
the Arts. Both feature a colorful collection of "Old Florida" bungalows housing galleries, studios and
cafes. In neighborly fashion, these artists live, work and feed off the enthusiasm of their counterparts, while
pursuing their own unique expression.
Towles Court features an art walk on the third Friday of every month while the first Friday and Saturday of each
month is assigned to the Village of the Arts. Check their sites for evening studio tours.
For unusual and surreal, there’s always Saint Petersburg’s Dali Museum with a building that matches the artist’s
quirky ways. The architectural design includes a free-standing spiral staircase and gleaming Glass Enigma with
spectacular views of St. Petersburg’s waterfront.
Also in St. Pete is the Morean Arts Center with a fine collection of Dale Chihuly as well as a working hot shop where
the art of glass blowing is demonstrated.
More Cultural Events
The acclaimed Sarasota Ballet features a repertoire of classical and modern dance throughout the year while the Asolo
Theatre, is home to a leading regional theatrical company with performances November through June.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum features an International Arts Festival every fall. This six-day cultural
celebration of music, dance, theater and visual arts is presented in collaboration with New York’s Baryshnikov Arts
Meanwhile, Sarasota’s Film Festival, Van Wezel and St. Petersburg Times Forum attract top rated actors, concerts and international acts.
Dining & Nightlife
The Crow’s Nest Restaurant offers great views of the inter-coastal waterway and Casey Key’s South Jetty Park
featuring nightly entertainment in their tavern.
Quaint open-air dining with great views is the Casey Key Fish House and Tiki Bar. Located at
Casey Key’s turn of the century single lane north bridge, the tiki bar is a great watering hole and gathering
Sharky’s on the Pier is the place for sunset views with musical entertainment from Wednesday through Sunday.
Pop’s Sunset Grill offers all you can eat fried fish every Friday night. Hugging the shore of the Inter-coastal
waterway it’s "Old Florida Charm" with open air picnic tables, a small indoor "conditioned" dining
room and outdoor band stand for dancing under the stars.
Venice’s Calendar of Festive Events
Holiday events kick-off the first Saturday after Thanksgiving in Downtown Venice with lighted floats and lively
Festivities continue with the annual
Christmas Boat Parade at dusk on the first Saturday in December. Lighted boats cruise along the
Intracoastal aterway, from the Albee Road Bridge to Circus Bridge. This is one of the largest in the country,
with 145+ units in the parade and ending with Santa in his sleigh. Half of the Venice winter population are
in the parade and the other half are watching it. A Must See!
On the third weekend in January the annual Rotary Arts and Crafts Festival is held at the Venice Florida
Municipal Airport. The Italian Feast and Carnival is also held on the airport grounds during the third weekend in
The Venice Florida Symphony begins its season in December and has concerts on the first Friday of the month
through April. Venice Theatre productions run from October through May.
In March, Venice MainStreet holds its Downtown Art Classic during the first weekend. The Saturday before
Easter is the annual Eggstravaganza egg hunt for children. April brings the long awaited
Sharks Tooth Festival on the second weekend. Music under the stars played by the Venice Symphony takes place at
State College of Florida in early May.
The Fourth of July is celebrated with spectacular fireworks from the Venice jetty and can be seen from most
beaches in the area.
For the athletically inclined, the
YMCA Triathlon draws a crowd from across the country in early September, followed by a
Jazz Fest at the end of the month.
Sun Fiesta is the official start of what native Venetians refer to as "Season". Its bed races, parade,
crafts fair and music provide family entertainment during the third weekend of October. Don’t forget the
Halloween festivities on Venice Avenue with an evening parade and plenty of threats October 31st (unless it
falls on a Sunday, then it’s moved to October 30th.
Historic Spanish Point is a 30-acre archaeological, historical and environmental museum located on Little Sarasota Bay, Osprey.
Historic Spanish Point, just north of Venice, hosts "Discover the Past Festival". Costumed interpreters
introduce visitors to the life and ways of the early settlers with crafts, music and canoeing rounding out a day of
family fun. For art enthusiasts, the Downtown Art Fest is held along Venice Avenue during the first weekend of the
Venice’s natural beauty and splendor offers something for everyone.
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