Located 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 beach communities. It is completely surrounded by water with three bridges providing access to the downtown area. As a matter of fact, the main thoroughfare- Venice Avenue- leads right to Venice’s Public Beach with Brohard Beach, Brohard Paw Park and Caspersen Beaches continuing down the coast; each offering a very unique experience.
Starting at the northern edge of Venice, there’s an open passage to the Gulf of Mexico from the Intracoastal Waterway. From the riprap that banks the edge of the inlet, fishermen cast their lines 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 and manatees. Heading south on the beach, where condominiums line the sandy shore, you eventually will arrive at Venice’s public beach- a traditional beach with a concession stand and life guards. From this point on you’ll find more than 3 miles of “natural beauty” accessed by meandering raised boardwalks navigating mangroves, dunes and inlets to expansive sandy beaches.
Eventually, you’ll arrive at the Venice Fishing Pier and Brohard Beach, another favorite spot for sunset watchers and fishermen. Beyond that, Maxine Barritt Park provides a picnic shelter for large gatherings and an extraordinary view from the walking trails that meander around a small lake. Further down the beach is Brohard Paw Park. It’s the only beach in the county where your furry friends are allowed to swim, dig in the sand and catch a Frisbee. Meanwhile, fitness freaks and nature lovers will fall in love with Caspersen Beach. Bike, hike and paddle your way around inlets and byways or jog the shaded trail to fitness stations along the way. Plus, the coarse sand and rocky shore attract many a digger for coveted fossilized shark teeth.
Oh, did I tell you? Venice is the “Sharks Tooth Capital of the World”!
Be sure to check-out the quaint downtown…. and let’s not forget shopping!
Eclectic shops and wonderful restaurants line the streets of Venice and Tampa avenues with Centennial Park in between the two streets. The park’s gazebo is the site of frequent free concerts throughout the winter and the customary Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. There are benches with an interactive fountain for children to cool down on a hot day.
Temps from December through February average 72.6 degrees with cool evenings requiring a light jacket or sweater.
There’s an art center with exhibits, gift shop and café, a symphony orchestra, an award-winning community theater and festivals throughout the year.
Holiday events kick-off the first Saturday after Thanksgiving in downtown Venice with lighted floats and lively entertainers.
Festivities continue with the annual Christmas Boat Parade at dusk on the first Saturday in December. Lighted boats cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway, from the Albee Road Bridge to Circus Bridge.
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 February.
In March, Venice Main Street 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, that can be seen from most beaches in the area.
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 with an evening parade and plenty of treats on October 31st (unless it falls on a Sunday, then it is moved to Oct. 30).
In November, 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. Crafts, music and canoeing round out a day of family fun. For art enthusiasts, The Downtown Art Fest is held along Venice Avenue the first weekend.
With three miles of beach, more than 20 miles of bike trails, including the Venetian Waterway Park and Legacy Trail, a new 9-hole disc golf course, public lighted tennis courts and numerous Golf Courses to challenge you…What are you waiting for? There are great resort accommodations available and several quality restaurants. It’s no wonder that this is a popular Retirement and Relocation destination.