Venice, Fla., is a nook of paradise located in the belly of Sarasota County right on the Gulf of Mexico. The "City on the Gulf" is known for its plethora of palm trees, its attraction to "snowbirds," or people from the northern borders of the U.S. and Canada who travel to take advantage of the delightfully sultry weather and is also referred to as the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World," for its plenitude of fossilized shark teeth at the bottom of its waters.
While only boasting a total population of a little more than 21,000, Venice is a wonderful little treasure for a holiday filled with tranquil leisure, top-notch fishing and plenty of arts and culture opportunities. Here is a short overview of the wonderful activities and events Venice has to offer.
- The Oscar Scherer State Park is an ideal place to get a feel for the beautiful flatwoods and evergreen marshes that shelter a wide variety of Florida wildlife. This is a great spot to catch a glance of Florida scrub jays, bald eagles, bobcats, gopher tortoises and even the occasional American alligator. With trails of both the water and land variety at Oscar Sherer, you can hike, canoe or kayak your way through this gem of the Florida outdoors.
- The Venice Theatre is one of the country's biggest and most productive community theatres in the business. Every month, the biggest acting and directing talents in Venice get together to perform productions from well-known plays such as "The Elephant Man" and "Oklahoma!" to original works from local playwrights. With multiple stages and the occasional live music concert, the Venice Theatre is a great spot to witness the creative minds of the city at work.
- If you are looking for a little more glitz and glamour to your Venice holiday, make sure to spend a day at the links or an evening dining at the extravagant Venetian Golf and River Club. The golf course was designed by notable architect Chip Powell, and offers 18 holes of gorgeous greenery, strategic hole placements and spectacular views. After sweating it out on the course, you can grab lunch or dinner at the River Club, a fine dining experience with a menu begging you to try coveted dishes such as the Angus short rib burger or fettuccine prima vera a la pesto.
Things to do
- If you are a fisherman at heart, welcome to angler heaven. There are plenty of great beaches to bring the tackle box and set up shop with some night crawlers, but none rival the boardwalk of Venice Pier on Caspersen Beach, where you can anchor yourself and cast off into the sea while the beach is always happening with surfers and lounge lizards alike.
- Browse the latest fashion accessories at Krystyna's Designs and get an afternoon cocktail at the Daiquiri Deck, both of which make their home in downtown Venice. Local artists and musicians love to flock to Venice Ave. to show off their talents, so there is always a free show going down.
- It's not a trip to Venice until someone finds a shark tooth! If you really looking to gear up for an adventure, take a scuba dive tour into the depths of the sea, where you might be the lucky soul to find a rare tooth from a prehistoric Megalodon shark. Non-divers can also join in on the action with some snorkeling expeditions, perfect for bringing along the little swimmers.
Where to eat
- You don't have to be a shark to sink your teeth into some scrumptious seafood in Venice. Sharky's On The Pier is the only beachfront restaurant and Tiki bar that has its own fishing pier, so you can cast off a line while waiting for your snow crab legs and coconut shrimp to be brought out.
- The Crow's Nest Restaurant, Tavern and Marina is where you can find a appetizing blend of bar food and hearty meals, such as fine meat and cheese trays, roasted oysters and tenderloin filets with gulf shrimp and buttermilk mashed potatoes, fit enough to fill the largest of stomachs.
- Sushi lovers can make a reservation at Bushido Sushi Bar on Venice Ave., where fresh cooked and raw rolls are waiting to be devoured, along with an extended dinner menu featuring teriyaki salmon or sauteed beef and rice noodles.
- For those looking to wake up to a Venice sunrise and indulge in some coffee and breakfast, get up early and grab a seat at the Upper Crust Cafe and Bakery, where sweet and savory plates coincide in perfect harmony. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a bite of the homemade chocolate chip pancakes, or melt your fork into some eggs benedict and salmon hash, a delectable way to start your morning.