Venice Beach FL – The Shark Tooth Capital of the World

Venice, Florida, the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” is a friendly and vibrant city, located directly on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 estimates, the city has a population of 21,000. True to its name, the city center of Venice is completely surrounded by waterways. Three bridges provide access to the downtown area, which has come to be known as “The Island of Venice.”There is no other city on Florida’s west coast that could be compared with the “proud city” of Venice. Sarasota, about 20 miles further north, lacks the small-town  character of this cozy, seaside haven, because everything is bigger, more bombastic and more energetic, and Fort Myers is out of sight.

Venice was basically a mosquito infested swamp when the first white settlers arrived in the early 18th century. Most of the new arrivals were hunters, fishermen and, later, farmers. By the end of the 18th century, more affluent settlers arrived and purchased land for first developments. The names of the first “investors” are not forgotten; quite a few streets and places are still reminding visitors of them: Webb, Knight, Albee or Roberts are just a few names you will come across when driving through the Venice area.

Today, revitalization efforts have brought John Nolan’s dream back to life. Venice Avenue, the heart of the city, is a broad Boulevard lined with mature palm trees, ice cream parlors, locally-owned businesses, boutiques, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. There are more than 100+ unique shops – you’re sure to find a shop, boutique or other business to satisfy your style or your needs. Evenings can be filled with shows by the award-winning  community troupe at “The Venice Theatre” or concerts by the Venice Symphony. Frequent art festivals, all kinds of parades, outdoor music performances, holiday gatherings, winter and summer craft fairs and sidewalk sales add to the genuine community feel.

Venice has more than 30 parks ranging in size from tiny pocket parks to parks with miles and miles of biking, and hiking trails. Some of the smaller parks are scattered all over the town. There are little shady spots with benches and flower beds, where the visitor can rest for a while to enjoy the balmy wind blowing from the Gulf of Mexico, and there are “serious” parks with tennis and basketball courts, boat ramps, canoe and kayak launches, miles of walking and biking trails and all the bells and whistles one can expect from an awesome park.

The northern section of the public beach is Venice Beach, or the “main beach.” Ranging from the jetty to the fishing pier, this is where literally the music plays. There is live music on certain nights of the week and “Sharky’s at the Pier” is a perfect place to wine and dine while the sun is disappearing in the Gulf of Mexico. South of the pier are miles and miles of uninterrupted sandy beach. At first, you will enter the Paw Park, a section of beach where man’s best friend can dig, run and sun alongside with their owners. This place is unique, because elsewhere dog lovers will have a hard time if they want to show their dog the “ocean.”

Brohard Beach is the furthermost south section of Venice Beach, following Paw Park. You could actually walk for miles and miles on the beach until you reach Englewood about 8 miles further south. Only palm trees and thick subtropical vegetation are bordering the sandy beach, no hotels or high risers. On the first mile of Brohard Beach, there is a lot of activity. People are digging through the sand along the edge of the waves looking for fossilized shark teeth or other goodies; others are fishing, swimming, kayaking or sun bathing. Further away from the activity you will dive into a different world – from this point on you may be the only human being for miles and miles of beach. Here, you can enjoy feeling like Robinson Crusoe without the disadvantage of being trapped on a remote island.  The 7-mile  long beach in Venice is one of the most unspoiled stretches of public beach in all of Sarasota County

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