Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Venice Beach, FL

  • Published 2022/05/12

The city of Venice sits in Sarasota County, Florida, with a population of 25,463, according to the 2020 Census.

Venice Beach, including Venice Island, belongs to the North PortSarasotaBradenton metropolitan statistical area.

In 1870, Robert Rickford Roberts arrived to settle the area; Frank Higel then bought several properties.

Further property developments occurred upon the railroad’s completion in 1911, featuring a new stop called Venice Train Station.

In 1926, Venice’s first street, Nassau Street, opened; the Hotel Venice opened; politicians held the first town council meeting, and the city established its police and fire departments.

Residential and hotel establishments continued to flourish, with Walker and Gillette’s architectural firm supervising the city construction and implementing design requirements.

In 1927, the Venice Charter was amended, changing Venice from a town to a city.

The city hit a roadblock during the Great Depression but got back on track when the Venice Army Air Base was established in 1942.

Today, Venice has many beautiful parks and relaxing sand beaches that travelers can enjoy.

If you didn’t know, Venice Beach is also the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World” because of the abundant shark teeth fossils found on its coastal shores.

Discover the best things to do in Venice Beach, FL.

Relax at Venice Beach

Name board of Venice Beach

Kristi Blokhin /

Venice Beach is at The Esplanade in the west area of West Venice Avenue.

Sarasota County oversees the beach area, which has undergone beach renourishment every ten years.

The Army Corps completed the second leg of maintenance in 2015.

Enjoy the sandy beach, swim, wade in the calm waters, and view the picturesque Venice Public Fishing Pier, where you’ll also see dolphins and shorebirds.

White sand and turquoise water touching the blue sky in Venice Beach

Gabriele Maltinti /

The Venice shores are also home to abundant nests of marine turtles, especially from May to October.

You’ll notice the unique pavilion that stands as an iconic landmark with the restroom building built in 1964.

Stay at the shelter or picnic area, play beach volleyball, stroll through the boardwalk and enjoy some snacks at the concession.

Remember that tobacco use, camping, and pets are not allowed on the beach.

Other amenities of the beach area include free parking and lifeguards on duty.

View History at the Venice Museum & Archives

The Venice Museum & Archives is where you’ll learn about the city’s past, with over 30,000 archives, objects, photos, and publications on display inside the old 1927 Triangle Inn building.

Learn local history with their permanent and special exhibits, tour the historic Triangle Inn, catch special events at the museum, or drop by the gift shop for local merchandise.

Established in 1975, the local Historical Collection was first housed in the Venice Library.

After several years of development, the collections finally found their home at the renovated Triangle Inn in 1996.

In 2012, the institution was eventually named Venice Museum & Archives.

Check out the Unique Cultural Heritage collection, where you’ll discover prehistoric Venice.

Go back in time when extinct mammoths roamed the area.

Then, move forward to the period of Native American tribes to the arrival of early settlers, the first city plans and developments, and the time of military activities.

You can also know the men and women who made significant contributions to the city’s cultural heritage.

Learn the story and interesting facts about the Triangle Inn and see the display of fossil collections found in the Sarasota and Charlotte areas.

Learn about the life and the impact of the famous orthopedic surgeon Dr. Fred H. Albee with the museum’s interactive exhibit and unique objects the renowned doctor once owned.

Visit the Humphris Park at South Jetty

Surfers riding in the waves of South Jetty during sunset

Kim Lewis Photography /

The Venice North and South Jetties were built and hollowed out in 1937, with the South Jetty located in Venice City.

You can enter South Jetty through Humphris Park, named after former Venice Mayor Thomas H. Humphris.

A pelican flying just above the South Jetty water

jo Crebbin /

The park is at Tarpon Center Drive’s west end, and you can use several amenities like picnic tables and benches, showers, and restrooms.

Eat at Jetty Jack’s Refreshment Deck and enjoy the sunset and gulf views.

People fishing in South Jetty during a stunning sunset

Anne Kitzman /

The area is also known for surfing and fishing, but you can enjoy a relaxing stroll on the walkway and sandy beach.

Take a Stroll at John Nolen Park

The John Nolen Park was named after the world-famous city planner who laid the plan for Venice for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

You’ll see signs along the trail telling the story of the city’s birth.

The portion at Menendez Street and Avenida Des Parques features a handicap-accessible playground, abundant shady trees, and benches to sit and rest.

The park also has grills and picnic tables that park visitors can use.

You can also walk the hiking trail that leads to the historical signs about the city.

See Various Flora at the Monty Andrews Arboretum

The West Blalock Park is across from the Venice Museum and Venice Community Center.

It got its name from James T. Blalock, the city mayor, in 1929.

The park includes the lovely Monty Andrews Arboretum, one of the city’s environmental points of interest.

The 4.5-acre park hosts the native shrub section and butterfly garden with a picnic area for park visitors to stay.

You can observe 80 different palm species and trees with specific descriptions to identify them.

You’ll see several life-sized sculptures from Atlanta artist Thomas Prochnow, such as the manatee, sea turtle, a Florida panther, and a tarpon.

The City Parks Department maintains and develops the park with a team of volunteers, including Monty Andrews himself.

Have a Fishing Trip at North Jetty Beach

Waves crashimg against the rocks in North Jetty Beach

Tammy Roberts /

The North Jetty is within the scope of Sarasota County, giving guests a view of passing ferries at the Intracoastal Waterway leading to the Gulf of Mexico.

The jetty is a famous fishing spot, enjoying the favor of the tides for a good catch.

People fishing in North Jetty Beach on a sunny day

Ric Schafer /

Grab a variety of food selections for lunch at the concession or have an enjoyable picnic in the picnic shelter areas.

Don’t worry if you forgot your fishing gear because you can visit the bait shop for some supplies.

Waves crashing on the shell - filled shore of North Jetty Beach

Tammy Roberts /

Kids can also play at the playground, and there are also hiking trails you can try for some bird watching and a view of wildlife.

Bring Your Dogs to Brohard Beach and Paw Park

While other beaches in Venice don’t allow pet dogs, the Brohard Beach and Paw Park let you have some beachside fun with your canine buddies.

The Paw Park has a fenced yard for dogs to play around, leading to the beach area, drinking fountains for thirsty pets, and dog waste bags and trash receptacles.

Enjoy the beach waters and sand, play frisbee with your dogs, or have fun running along the shores.

You can have lunch at the picnic facilities, sit on the benches, or stroll along the boardwalk.

Other amenities available at the park include a drinking fountain, fishing pier area, restrooms, and shower areas.

Have a Great Catch at Venice Fishing Pier

People standing with their fishing rods in Venice Fishing Pier

Kristi Blokhin /

The 700-foot Venice Municipal Fishing Pier is at Brohard Park on the south end of Venice and is the best fishing location in the city.

It was initially built in 1966 and was rebuilt in 1984 using Greenhart lumber.

However, they replaced it in 2004 with a much more robust structure.

The current pier deck has a plastic wood fiber material, which can withstand even a category four hurricane and last for 50 years.

Sneic shot of Venice Fishing Pier during sunrise

KHogan /

It stands 720 feet long and 22 feet wide with a height of 20 feet and a water depth average of 16.5 feet.

The city owns and operates the pier; it is open daily to the public.

Side view of two old men fishing from Venice Fishing Pier

Kent E Roberts /

There is no fee and license required to access the pier, so you can enjoy a good catch at this spot whether you’re a newbie or an experienced fisherman.

Drop by Papa’s Bait Shop if you have fishing gear needs.

Spend an Afternoon at the Centennial Park

Right in downtown Venice, the Centennial Park is one of the city’s family-friendly parks you can enjoy.

Located between West Venice Avenue and West Tampa Avenue, the park is also surrounded by unique local shops and restaurants you can check out.

One of this park’s great features is the ADA-accessible gazebo, where concerts and events occur.

Picnic tables, picnic ground areas, benches are available for use, along with electric vehicle charging stations and parking.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the pathways and see the veterans’ memorial.

Kids will surely enjoy some splash time at the Children’s Interactive Fountain.

Enjoy Golf at Lake Venice Golf Club

The Lake Venice Golf Club is an award-winning public golf course on Venice Island at South Harbor Drive.

Mark Mahannah designed the 27-hole golf course, and Rod Parry manages it, with Dave Knott as the resident golf professional.

The tee times are not taken, so golfers can ride and walk in anytime.

The course has a practice range where you can sharpen your golf skills, a pro shop for your golfing equipment needs, and a grill room.

You can catch scheduled tourneys and outings or enroll in annual memberships.

It won the Best Public Golf Course award from 2009 to 2018 and 2020.

You can also enjoy the stunning view of the Gulf while playing.

Visit the 1927 Historic Venice Train Depot

Exterior view of Venice Train Depot

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Historic Venice Train Depot opened in 1927, becoming a central part of the city’s history and development.

Located at East Venice Avenue, the depot first went by Seaboard Air Line Railroad, with the Legacy Trail now running along the former railroad’s right of way.

In 1989, the National Register of Historic Places listed the depot in its record.

Join a docent-led tour of the depot, which starts at the main waiting room, though you can also create a self-guided tour.

You will see the panel displays and artifacts telling the city and the depot’s history and access the depot and caboose.

Arched walkway in Venice Train Depot

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also see the refurbished 1953 Pullman Standard, which narrates the history of the Circus in the city,

It was first manufactured for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad but later used and owned by the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Check out the 1974 Louisville and Nashville 6445 caboose, stay on the picnic tables at Rollins W. Coakley Railroad Park, and see the statue of Gunther Gebel-Williams.

Gebel-Williams was a renowned animal trainer and celebrity of the Ringling Bros. and the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Learn about Art Photography at Clyde Butcher’s Venice Gallery & Studio

If you’re aiming for something unique in Venice, dropping by Clyde Butcher’s Venice Gallery & Studio would be a memorable visit.

Meet Clyde and Niki Butcher every Saturday and learn more about the legendary photographers’ art and creative process.

Popular Photography hailed Clyde as the Ansel Adams of modern photography, showcasing his extraordinary works as a premier landscape photographer with shots from pristine locations.

He was also recognized for his humanitarian and conservation efforts raising the public’s consciousness through his works.

Look at or buy Clyde’s photographs and books and even get them signed.

You can also learn a thing or two about photography techniques from the gallery staff.

Appreciate Art Pieces at the Venice Art Center

Exterior view of Venice Art Center

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For many years, the Venice Art Center has advocated for and promoted community art in Venice through public art projects, outreaches, and collaborative efforts.

The galleries showcase artistic talents, sell their artwork, and provide a platform to share knowledge.

The center offers over 500 classes for adults and children yearly and features free public visual art exhibits.

Grabe some unique merchandise at the gift shop, visit the art library, see special events and concerts, or grab coffee at the on-site café.

Marvel at the Fantasea Venice, a public art project that presents 52 mermaids and seahorse sculptures painted by Venice local artists and supported by local businesses, raising funds for the center.

Drop by the Heritage Park

The Heritage Park sits on Avenue des Parques leading to the beach area.

In 2017, the park underwent several improvements like the reconstruction of the multi-use trail park and adjustments to the slopes and widening of the sidewalk ramps, and lighting of the trail.

The park is ADA-accessible, and you can walk your dog on a leash.

Take a peek at the historical and flag displays, the commemorative plaques, and a memorial in honor of the veterans.

Walk along the rows of giant banyan trees and landscape areas or relax at the park benches.

The Heritage Park is one of Venice’s local parks where you can spend an afternoon walk or end a tiring day.

Enjoy Kayaking and the Wildlife at Curry Creek Preserve

The 80-acre Curry Creek Preserve is at Albee Farm Road, named after the Creek nation, one of the earliest settlers in the area.

Through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program, the preserve was purchased in 2002.

The Sarasota County Public Works currently maintains a 19-acre tidal marsh and swamp restoration nearby.

Launch your canoe or kayak and see the various habitats like mangrove forests, flatwood areas, tidal marshes, and the rare Pond apple tree.

Catch the wildlife living in these habitats like alligators, tortoises, eastern indigo snakes, and otters.

Expect wading birds like roseate spoonbills and wood storks.

Go for a picnic at the shelters and pavilion or trek the unpaved trail to discover more of the natural area.

Visit the Patriots Park

The Leadership Sarasota County Class of 2002 built Patriots Park to honor those who perished on 9/11, the heroes who saved people that day, and those who served in the military.

The park is within city limits, under the maintenance of Sarasota County.

You can catch events like Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations yearly.

Builders made a paved courtyard in honor of the war heroes, the police and firefighters in 9/11, and service members.

You can find a 2-ton steel beam taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and rubble from the Pentagon attack.

You can also find a flag display and use the park’s amenities like picnic tables, shelters, walkways, and restrooms.

Final Thoughts

Venice has plenty of beaches with views of the Gulf of Mexico.

The city has a rich history of developments, particularly in the property and real estate sectors.

The city also has various nature and scenic attractions nearby to escape into nature.

It has plenty of local parks and cultural attractions to stir your interest.

Pencil in Venice as your next holiday stop!

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