Venice, as is true of so many other coastal cities in Florida, has its fair share of enticing beaches. Relaxing on the sand isn’t the only option for things to do in this Gulf Coast community of approximately 21,000 residents, however. Venice Florida and the surrounding area feature a variety of historical attractions, such as the Historic Spanish Point museum in Osprey, and there are opportunities to enjoy such recreational activities as golfing and fishing. Shopping is just one more way to stay busy on a Venice Florida escape, and there are plenty of interesting side trip options for those who wish to further explore the general region. St. Petersburg and Tampa both lie to the near north and are just two examples of possible side trip destinations.
Venice Florida Beaches
Venice Florida Beaches Image: M. Keefe (flickr)
Venice has a reputation for being home to some of the most uncrowded beaches in Florida. This has something to do with the fact that the city isn’t as touristy as such other Florida destinations as Panama City and Miami. Among the most renowned beaches in town are Caspersen Beach and the Venice Municipal Beach. Caspersen Beach is Sarasota County’s longest beach, and it lies in a largely natural condition. The facilities that are available include public restrooms, a boardwalk, and a free parking area. Lifeguards are typically not on duty at Caspersen Beach, so visitors are encouraged to be extra cautious when enjoying water sports activities. As for the Venice Municipal Beach, it is the most popular beach in Venice Florida and offers up such amenities as public restrooms, volleyball courts, picnic tables, a concession stand, and lifeguards. Only about a quarter-mile offshore of Venice Municipal Beach is a coral reef, so it is not uncommon to see scuba divers congregating at the beach. Two other Venice beaches that are worth keeping in mind include South Brohard Beach and Nokomis Beach. Among other things, South Brohard Beach is known for its clear waters, its 700-foot fishing pier, and its dog park. Nokomis Beach is the oldest beach area in Sarasota County and is especially popular among families and locals. Facilities at this beach just north of Venice include a boat launch ramp, picnic tables, public restrooms, public showers, and concession stands.
Sharks Tooth Festival
Sharks Tooth Festival
Both Caspersen Beach and the Venice Municipal Beach are excellent places to hunt for shark’s teeth and other fossils. This helps explain why Venice is commonly referred to as the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World.” As a side note, Venice Florida puts on a yearly spring festival that is very popular. This festival is known as the Sharks Tooth Festival, and while much of the related activities take place on the south side of town at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds, you can expect the city’s downtown core to be lively as well. The whole city gets involved in this fun-filled event.
Boating & Fishing
Boating & Fishing
Boating and fishing have long figured among the most popular things to do in Venice Florida. On the boating side of things, the city is home to a sizeable yacht club that locals and visitors alike can take advantage of. Deep water dockage is available in and around Venice, and anyone wishing to access the Gulf of Mexico waters can do so with ease via the Venice inlet. Boats can be rented in Venice by those who don’t have their own personal watercraft, and it should be noted that the general area is a good place to do some canoeing and kayaking. For fishing enthusiasts, it is possible to combine a Venice boating excursion with some deep sea angling. It is also possible to fish from the aforementioned pier at South Brohard Beach and from other spots along the coast, including Caspersen Beach and the Venice Jetties. No fishing license is required at the pier, and the pier’s facilities include a convenient bait shop, not to mention a popular waterfront restaurant. Fish that are commonly caught along the coast include red fish, snook, Spanish mackerel, flounder, sea trout, and sheepshead. Anglers who venture out into the Gulf for some deep sea fishing are known to snag grouper and snapper with regularity. Other kinds of fish that are commonly caught when deep sea fishing off Venice include dolphin (mahi-mahi), cobia, kingfish, amberjack, black-fin tuna, tarpon, little tunny, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, permit, and sharks.
Venice Florida Attractions - Historic Downtown & Shopping
The downtown area of Venice Florida has a delightfully historic edge and is known for its Mediterranean-style architecture. You might even feel like you have been transported to Northern Italy when strolling along the downtown streets. Soaking up the quaint and historic atmosphere isn’t the only joy that comes with a visit to Venice’s downtown district. A variety of shops and art galleries combine to present the downtown visitor with tempting shopping opportunities, and when a break from shopping is in order, there are outdoor cafes and restaurants to indulge in as well.
Many Venice Florida visitors are day trippers who come down from such other regional cities as Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. Others choose to make Venice their regional lodging base instead, and it is easy to understand why. Venice is more tranquil than these larger cities to the north, and it features some enticing accommodation choices. For those who are looking to go the hotel route in Venice Florida, there are a variety of inns and bed and breakfasts to consider. Among the standouts in these categories are the Inn at the Beach and the Banyan House Historic B&B. The Venice Florida hotels also include several chain brand establishments that offer affordable rates, with examples including the Best Wester PLUS Ambassador Suites and the Hampton Inn and Suites Bayside. For those whose Venice lodging interests lie in vacation rentals, there are options there as well. Even spacious home rentals with private pools can be found in and around town.
Top image: rickpilot_2000 (flickr)