Charlotte County and neighboring counties have some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Most are a short ride via car or boat from home! With less than an hours drive time from anywhere in Charlotte County you can be to over 15 unique beaches. Some have trees actually growing on the beach so you can leave the umbrella at home. A few beaches have sand that is so white and fine it is like powered sugar. The gorgeous tropical blue waters define the culture we live in- paradise!
Port Charlotte Beach
Port Charlotte Beach along the Peace River is highlighted by its beach complex, which features a beach club with boat ramp, a very long fishing pier, barbeque grills, picnic shelters, a heated pool, a snack bar, tennis court, volleyball, basketball, bocce ball courts, horseshoes, Recreation Building and playground equipment for the kids. The white sand along the river provides a perfect place to lay in the sun and soak up some rays.
Port Charlotte Beach Park is a public beach facility. Parking is 50 cents per hour. An annual pass may be purchased from any Recreation Center. No lifeguards are on duty at the beach. The heated swimming pool is guarded. Call 941-629-0170 for pool information. The Recreation Building, beach park area or covered shelters are available for rent. Call 941-627-1074 for details.
Across the Harbor from the beach complex you will see Fisherman’s Village with its quaint shops, tantalizing restaurants and boat docks. There are also vacation rentals there with a private pool for its occupants.
Directions: From South, take 41 to Left Edgewater Blvd. about 2 miles to Left on Harbor Blvd. take it to the end. The Beach will be on the Left.
Boca Grande Beach/Gasparilla Island State Park
Boca Grande Public Beaches are often compared to Caribbean beaches and attracts beach goers from around the world. This public beach is noted for its light green waters, bleached-white sands and exquisite seashells. You can even catch the dolphins swim and jump! At the beach there is the famous Boca Grande Lighthouse and the Lighthouse Museum, which features a look back not only at Boca Grande but the reason for the lighthouse in the first place.
The beach offers full facilities including freshwater showers, picnic tables and grills. There are no concessions available or lifeguards on duty. The beach closes at dusk. The best fishing and shelling is at the Gasparilla Island southeast public beach. They’re worth a visit, as is the Armory Chapel, one of the first churches in this area. It has been restored by local residents and many functions are held there Oceanside.
Directions: Take the Boca Grande Causeway, off State Road 771 in Charlotte County, through the village of Boca Grande. Gasparilla Island has 4 miles of beach front and is located in both Charlotte and Lee Counties, but the state park beach is in Lee Count at the south end. There is a $4.00 causeway toll for cars and a $2.00 charge for parking.
Stump Pass Beach State Park
Stump Pass Beach is another popular Charlotte beach. The most popular activity is just walking in the sand and the beautifully clear water. Visitors can enjoy an excellent view of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a stretch of undeveloped Florida coastline. A new 40 space parking lot is now available, as is a building with rest rooms, a shelter and is another great beach for shelling and fishing. Water lovers can also get to Stump Pass Beach via boat or personal watercraft. Water skiing is another popular sport in the bay side in “Ski Alley”. Restrooms are available. While at the park, you might see West Indian manatees, gopher tortoises, snowy egrets, least terns, and magnificent frigate birds. Ranger-led turtle walks and beach nature walks are available in the summer.
Stump Pass is part of the Gasparilla Island State Park system. Located at the south end of Manasota Key Rd., in the town of Englewood, off I75 exit 191, beginning where Gulf Boulevard ends and stretching about two miles. The Beach Park is open from 8am until sundown 365 day a year. For more information, contact Barrier Islands GEOpark at 941/964-0375.
Directions: From I-75, take exit #191, go west on River Rd., cross over US 41 to SR 776. Turn Left (south) on State Route 776 to Beach Rd. Turn Right (west) on Beach Rd., go over drawbridge to an intersection. Turn Left (south) and go as far as you can. Park in the free, but small, parking lot.
Beautiful Englewood Beach at Chadwick Park is located on Beach Road in Englewood on the Gulf of Mexico near the Charlotte and Sarasota County line. Englewood Beach is the most popular beach on Manasota Key with an enchanting beach and all it offers for tourists, visitors and locals combined. Here beach goers will find a picture perfect beach with great light-colored sand, beautiful water, wild sea oats growing along the dunes and is a favorite spot to watch the sunset. A path leads to a more secluded white-sand beach that exposes trees, vegetation and wildlife.
The county has undertaken extensive renovations to modernize the facility in 2002 and upgrade it to world-class resort status with many amenities. Features are a handicapped accessible boardwalk with three covered overlooks, two covered picnic shelters with an additional large group pavilion on the peninsula, benches, grills, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and a ship-shaped playground. There are no concession stands but there are many places for food near by.
Parking is 50 cents per hour, seven days a week, or a yearly pass is available at any Charlotte County Recreation Center. No lifeguards are on duty. Available for open-space rental and is utilized by many community groups and organizations for special events. There is also a hall available for rentals such as wedding receptions, birthday parties and baby showers, etc. If you are interested in the beach, park area, peninsula or one of the three covered picnic shelters, call 941-473-1018 for rates and availability.
From I-75, take exit #191, go west on River Rd., cross over US 41 to SR 776. Turn Left (south) on State Route 776 to Beach Rd. Turn Right (west) on Beach Rd., go over drawbridge to an intersection. Englewood Beach is straight ahead.
Nokomis Beach/Casey Key
Nokomis Beach on Casey Key in Venice is one of the best kept secrets of the South West Florida Beaches. Casey Key lies just to the south of Siesta Key . You won’t find any chain hotels here. . Beautiful, peaceful, this is “old Florida” at its best. A quaint collection of inns is a stroll away from the public beach access and marina rentals. Covered in a canopy of tropical trees, the winding Gulf-front street will make for an unforgettable Sunday drive among some of Sarasota’s most luxurious homes. The twisty curves and light traffic also make for a great bike ride.
There is free parking, a boardwalk, concessions, lifeguards, restrooms, picnic tables and showers are also available.
From I-75, take exit #195, go west on Laurel Rd. to US 41. Turn Left (south) on US 41, then turn Right at the third traffic light (Albee Rd.). Continue on Albee Rd., go over the drawbridge. Nokomis Beach is straight ahead.
Manasota Key Beach
Located north end of Manasota Key at the west end of Manasota Beach Road. Five minutes from Venice yet a world away, secluded Manasota Key is as far from the hustle and bustle as it gets. A quiet winding road leads past one- and two-story homes that make palm trees seem like skyscrapers in comparison. Blind Pass Beach is one of the Sarasota area’s most secluded beaches and adds a tranquil setting for the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Lifeguards, restrooms, picnic tables and showers are available. A little further south, Manasota Key angles away from the mainland as the Intracoastal Waterway opens into North Lemon Bay. Here, manatees munch on unspoiled beds of sea grass, and dolphins play among mangrove islands, home to rookeries for pelicans, cranes, and snowy egrets.
For more information, contact Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department at 941/316-1172.
From I-75, take exit #193, go west on Jacaranda Blvd. until it dead ends into SR 776. Turn Left (south) on State Route 776 to Manasota Beach Rd. Turn Right (west), go over drawbridge to stop sign. Manasota Beach is straight ahead.
Venice Beach/Venice Jetties
Venice Beach is located on Venice Island just south of Sarasota along the Gulf of Mexico and is one of five beaches across the nation to receive the 2008 Best Restored Beaches Award This is a gorgeous large public beach and well know for it’s sunsets and Gulf view. There is also a Fishing Pier and both the North and South Venice Jetties where Humphris Park is located. The Beach offers free parking, Lifeguards, concessions, restrooms, boardwalks, benches, 2 volleyball courts, picnic tables and showers are available. An excellent place to find sharks teeth and other fossilized material, and a coral reef located approximately one-quarter mile offshore makes it a favorite spot for local divers. This is a favorite beach of many, so get there early on the weekend and enjoy what the locals enjoy year-round.
For More Information Contact: Sarasota County Parks and Recreation at 941-861-1602 or 941-861-9830
From I-75, take exit #193, go west on Jacaranda Blvd. to the second traffic light (Venice Ave). Turn Right (west), cross over US 41 Bypass, continue over bridge to the end of the road. Venice Beach is straight ahead. The North Jetty Beach is at the end of the Island.
Caspersen Beach is the longest beach in Sarasota County, is It has been left in its natural state, uncultivated, windswept, and secluded. This is an exceptionally good area to look for and find pre-historic shark’s teeth as well as enjoyable shelling.
Located south of Venice Airport on Harbor Drive.
From I-75, take exit #193, go west on Jacaranda Blvd. to the second traffic light (Venice Ave). Turn Right (west), cross over US 41 Bypass, continue over bridge to the second traffic light(Harbor Drive South). Turn Left (south) on Harbor Drive South. Casperson Beach is at the end of the island.
Winner of the “Worlds finest, whitest sand,” Siesta Key Public Beach extends along a half-mile of the most pristine quartz-crystal white sands in the world. The pure quartz, pulverized to a fine powder, has a magical quality. There is no sand quite like Siesta’s, anywhere. Even under the burning subtropical sun, it feels cool to the touch. Siesta Key has received many honors for its powdery white-sand beaches including recognition as one of “America’s Best Beaches”; “Third Best Walking Beach in the USA,” by USA Today International Edition; and “The Best of the Best Sand,” by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Our excellent climate encourages outdoor recreation of all kinds. Whether you want to be an active participant or an avid spectator, you’ll find most varieties of sport right here on the key, in Sarasota County, or nearby in the Bay area.
Lifeguards watch over Siesta Key Public Beach all year, and there are tennis, volleyball, softball and food concession facilities provided. Picnic pavilions are available for groups at a nominal fee. Water sports of every kind add color and excitement to the Siesta Beach scene. The 800-car parking lot is frequently full, for this is the most popular beach in Sarasota County. For information on renting picnic shelters and gazebos call (941) 316-1172.
From I-75, Take exit #205, go west on Clark Rd., cross Tamiami Trail (US 41) over the Stickney Point drawbridge. Turn right (north) at traffic light. Go through second traffic light – Siesta Beach is on the left.
Siesta Key Public Beach amenities include:
- public restrooms, snackbar & gift shop
- showers and handicap ramps
- picnic areas with & without roofs
- picnic shelters & tables (8 – family size shelters)
- gazebo (holds uo to 60 people)
- large shelter (holds uo to 120 people)
- free lighted public tennis courts
- volleyball courts (on the beach)
- 20 station fitness trail
- playground equipment
- lifeguards on duty year round
- handicap beach chairs available
- first aid
Just a few steps away is Siesta Village, a spirited medley of different sides of Sarasota, from candlelit dining to beach boutiques and cool daiquiris. And speaking of spirited medley, be sure to experience the Siesta Key Drum Circle, held almost every Sunday evening. Visitors become one of the family as the spontaneous rhythm of drums, bongos, and maracas fill the evening air.
At the southern end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach. The sand here is a bit coarser, but that means the shelling is better. Turtle Beach is also quieter, and although there are no lifeguards or food concessions, families appreciate its comparative solitude and numerous facilities plenty of picnic tables, pavilions with grills, ample parking, and playground equipment.
Crescent Beach, usually a little less crowded, has the same fine, white sand. Located just south of Siesta Key Public Beach, it stretches for about one and a half miles toward a place called Point of Rocks, where scuba divers explore the underwater scenery.
Palmer Point Beach begins at the southern tip of Siesta Key and continues onto the north end of Casey Key. The northern part of the beach was the former home of Mote Marine Laboratory. Since the closing of Midnight Pass in 1984, the beach allows uninterrupted walking all the way down Casey Key. The beach is a popular spot for boaters and people who walk there from Turtle Beach seeking some privacy. There are no lifeguards and no facilities.
Longboat Key Beach
Unless you are a resident or staying at one of the Resorts, there is very little available in the way of public beaches. There are, however, several Beach Access points with free limited parking at Longview Drive, Westfield Street, Mayfield Street and Neptune Avenue. As a result, the beach that stretches the entire length of the key is not very crowded and a good spot for shelling. Sand dollars are plentiful at times near the sandbars just off the shoreline. Parking is very limited.
Longboat Key is a barrier Island off the Coast of Sarasota and Bradenton. It is quiet retreat of island luxury which seduces visitors from all parts of the world. This 10-mile-long, un-crowded paradise has long welcomed the famous, from early Spanish explorers to film stars and writers. It’s the perfect seaside setting for The Stone Crab Seafood Festival, where the opening of Florida’s stone crab season is robustly celebrated.
Along Gulf of Mexico Drive, framed in the vivid colors of impatiens and pink oleanders, are world-class resorts, charming cottages, garden parks offering peaceful moments and secret bayous where manatees laze. And the miles of white sandy beaches sprinkled in golden sea oats?
From I-75, Take exit #210, go west on Fruitville Rd., turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail (US 41). Go to next traffic light, turn right on John & Mable Ringling Causeway. Turn right (west), go over drawbridge, to St. Armands Circle turn right on North Blvd. of Presidents. Continue on North Blvd. of Presidents over another drawbridge to Longboat Key.
North Lido Key Beach/Lido Beach/South Lido Key Beach
North Lido Beach is a pristine half-mile stretch of sand accented by towering Australian pines. Spanning an area behind a residential location, it is the least populated and perfect for walking. Coconut palms stretch down St. Armands Cir. to Lido Beach, a sun worshipper’s dream, which reaches to South Lido Park, a fun-sun spot to explore nature trails, canoe, kayak, and picnic, with great views of the water. It is a popular beach, frequented by the locals and a great beach for a stroll at sunset.
Lido Beach has plenty of free parking, lifeguards, concessions, large swimming pool, picnic tables, playground, showers and restrooms.
At the southern end of Lido Key, you’ll find 100 acres of Australian pines, picnic tables, grills, a volleyball court and playground. Nature lovers enjoy the wooden walkways, trails and canoeing opportunities at South Lido Park.
DIRECTIONS: To North Lido Beach to From I-75, Take exit #210, go west on Fruitville Rd., turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail (US 41). Go to next traffic light, turn right on John & Mable Ringling Causeway. Turn right (west), go over drawbridge, to St. Armands Circle. Turn right at second street, go 2 blocks to Lido beach. North Lido Beach is just to the north, accessible only from the beach. South Lido Beach is at the south end of the island.
DIRECTIONS: To: Lido Key Beach From I-75, Take exit #210, go west on Fruitville Rd., turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail (US 41). Go to next traffic light, turn right on John & Mable Ringling Causeway. Turn right (west), go over drawbridge, to St. Armands Circle. Turn right at second street on circle, go 2 blocks to Lido beach, around the bend to a public parking lot on the right.
Beer Can Island Beach
This is a favorite spot for fishing, sunning and partying. Accessible by boat at Longboat Pass, many of the locals meet friends for a day of sun and fun. It is on the very north end of Longboat Key, accessible from North Shore Rd. off Gulf of Mexico Dr., and a great place to watch the boats going through the pass.
There is limited Free Parking on the Street or Get there by Boat. There are no Lifeguards or Facilities.
DIRECTIONS: From I-75, Take exit #210, go west on Fruitville Rd., turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail (US 41). Go to next traffic light, turn right on John & Mable Ringling Causeway. Turn right (west), go over drawbridge, to St. Armands Circle. Turn right at second street, go 2 blocks to Lido beach. Park in the small lot or on the street (both are free). North Lido Beach is just to the north, accessible only from the beach.
DIRECTIONS: From I-75, Take exit #210, go west on Fruitville Rd., turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail (US 41). Go to next traffic light, turn right on John & Mable Ringling Causeway. Turn right (west), go over drawbridge, to St. Armands Circle. Turn right at second street, go 2 blocks to Lido beach. Continue on Ben Franklin Dr. to the south end of the island.