Sarasota Winter Escape

With Thanksgiving Day an event of the year past, Sarasota, its beaches and the entire area of Florida's Cultural Coast can expect those seasonal residents common to the area. Folks seeking to escape the snow and ice of their northern summertime homes seek refuge in this Gulf Coast area of Florida south of Tampa for good reason. The comfortable lifestyle of the region along with some excellent natural areas to explore or just enjoy a day at the beach make this a prime destination for those not interested in the hectic pace of major metropolitan cities.

This article highlights Nokomis Beach and Caspersen Beach; which are just a couple examples of the local beach getaways you don’t want to miss during your stay.

Nokomis Beach

This low key and comfortable beach stretch just north of Venice, Florida has long been one of our top picks for those wanting to do a little beachcombing or just enjoying a few hours at the beach. The area is a bit off the tourist trail and is primarily a destination for local residents or those familiar with the area.

Weekends or holidays get a little busy (primarily near the main parking area or at the Jetty Park on the south end of the island). Parking is still seldom a problem and taking a bit of a hike north affords the visitor to this area with considerable solitude if desired.

The north area of the island is completely residential, with multi-million dollar estates in abundance. This stretch has no opportunities for vehicle parking or beach access, so unless you are staying there, you will have to plan a bit of a walk to explore the shoreline. This aspect keeps the number of fellow beachgoers down and the variety of treasures from the sea higher.

Beachcombers will find this entire area from the Jetty Park through the north end of the island a rewarding experience. Known as part of the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World”, fossilized remnants of the prehistoric creatures are found in abundance along the surf line.

“Surf” is somewhat a misnomer when referring to this section of Florida shoreline. With the long and shallow stretch of sand, the waves of any size break far out in the water and only gentle surf breaks close-in. While the six inch or so waves do not provide much for those seeking to “ride the wave”, it supplies ample opportunities for everyone to enjoy the clear water so prevalent in this section of Florida’s Cultural Coast.

The businesses within walking distance are few and provide only the basic amenities (lodging, food and sundries). This adds to some degree the experience of “a day at the beach” since there really are no distractions to the “main event”. The two restaurants located at the drawbridge along the inter-coastal waterway serve excellent food at reasonable prices. The “Florida Keys” style laid back waterfront dining experience makes having a meal here a “must do”.

Be sure to check out our page here on Florida Nature Guide for more information about Nokomis Beach.

Caspersen Beach

Located just south of Venice, Florida, this large and primarily undeveloped state park is a popular destination for local residents. Folks new to the area or just visiting might easily overlook this beach since it lies off the beaten track and you have to be planning a trip there to notice it. Those shopping the popular downtown shops of Venice might stumble across the Venice Beach, but there are no businesses at the end of this road and only those seeking a getaway from development happen past.

Snowbirds and locals alike will find that Caspersen Beach Park is getting a bit of sprucing up currently. The beach-side walkway has been resurfaced and new restrooms and showers are currently underway. For some time, this means active construction and temporary facilities, but once complete should enhance the experience of all visitors to this beautiful escape from modern development.

The park located across from the airport (just south of the fishing pier) has outdoor showers to rinse off after a day at the beach. Also, those wanting more than a portable toilet can find it available at this park.

Caspersen Beach is known along with Venice and Nokomis Beaches for its abundant fossilized shark teeth. A popular activity for those who wish to beachcomb more than explore nature is to search for these treasures from the sea in the wrack line along gentle surf. It is not unusual to see individuals sifting through the sand with elaborate equipment in their zest for these prehistoric relics.

The water remains relatively comfortable in this section of the Florida Cultural Coast, so enjoying a dip in the clear waters here year-round is not uncommon. The warmer waters also provide an ideal opportunity to fish the rock breakers which are found on the northern end of the park.

The southern section of the beach extends for miles and is completely undeveloped. Those seeking to get away from the crowds which sometimes develop on the weekend will find exploring this area a rewarding adventure. Local residents also head this way, so plan to walk a bit before you find yourself in solitude.

Whether or not you are the first to the beach, there are ample opportunities to explore natural ecosystems, wildlife and unspoiled Old Florida shoreline. Caspersen Beach State Park also offers extensive trails for hiking or biking for those looking to explore inland.

Be sure to check out our page here on Florida Nature Guide for more information about Caspersen Beach.

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