In 1888 Frank Higel, an early settler and a man considered the “Father of Venice,” named the Florida City in which he settled because it reminded him of the canal city in Italy where he spent his childhood and Venice, Florida is where the Florida Journey has taken us today.
Historic Downtown Venice
I love discovering all the quaint Historic Downtown areas along our journey and Venice’s Historic Downtown ranks very high among the ones we have visited thus far. I love the architectural style that I learned, is now called Mediterranean Revival, but back in the late 1920’s when a lot of these buildings were being constructed, the style was called Northern Italian Renaissance. All buildings had to be constructed in this style of architecture, as even back in the 1920’s there was an architectural review board here and if a design didn’t pass review, a building permit would not be issued.
I have to admit that another reason I loved this visit to Historic Downtown Venice was the shopping in the Florida lifestyle clothing stores, and Lucky me, John insisted that I get a couple of new outfits. Why of course I always listen to John!! (especially when he wants to buy me new clothes). The shops that I visited are in what was once the Ennes Arcade and Hotel Valencia originally built in 1926, and in fact all the old buildings throughout the downtown area once had other uses.
There are at least 21 historic buildings in Downtown Venice to be explored and free walking tour maps are available and can be picked up just about anywhere throughout the city. I strongly recommend, that while in Downtown Venice, to pick up one of these guides, walk the tour and learn a little of the interesting history of this quaint and beautiful place.
Venice’s #1 Attraction – The Gulf of Mexico
For most, it is the ocean that brings people to any coastal city in Florida and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the case for Venice as well. The sand on Venice Beach is a dark tan/blackish color which are the dark grains of fossilized material, like sharks teeth, turtle etc.. In fact Venice Beach is well known as a great area for finding sharks teeth and if you like shelling, you are in luck because the shells here are very plentiful.
The ocean water is an inviting clear/aqua marine color and the beach itself very long, in fact, more long than it is wide which makes it an easy walk to waters edge from your car or lodging.
Speaking of lodging, we drove from Casey’s pass on the north end, south to the Venice fishing pier on the south end and we did not see a single big hotel chain, so most of the lodging in this area is vacation condo rentals and some small inns. The area has the look and feel more like a homey beach community rather than a commercial tourist beach town, which adds to the areas appeal.
John and I stopped at some of the more popular Venice Beach spots, the first being The Jetty at Casey’s pass. My first impression was that there were so many people fishing at the Jetty that either the fishing had to be fantastic or that it was just such a beautiful spot that people didn’t care and fished there anyway.
A popular way of sight seeing and dolphin viewing is one of the several water taxi services available at Venice Beach
We were starving so our next stop had to be lunch. We could have had a snack right there at the jetty at Jetty Jack’s but opted for a waterfront landmark at Casey Pass, The Crow’s Nest Restaurant & Marina. It was a very good choice indeed as we had a marvelous fried shrimp basket lunch with a gorgeous view of the pass. There is upstairs dining with a view or a more casual experience downstairs in the tavern. It is a popular place and we did not make reservations, so we chose first available which ended up being the downstairs tavern.
Another very popular spot on Venice Beach is the 700 foot Fishing Pier which is also home to Sharky’s Restaurant. Judging by the posted hour and a half wait time for a table, one would have to come to the conclusion that the food at Sharky’s must be pretty good. I mean people don’t usually agree to a wait time that long unless they know that the place will live up to the reputation that makes it worth the wait. Not only can you grab a great meal at the Pier but you can grab an adult beverage, enjoy a great sunset, sit, relax and enjoy the view or well, yes of course, you can fish. There is no fee to enjoy the pier and no fishing license is required. Parking is also free, however, valet service is offered for a fee.
Venice Beach is a popular area for long term winter stays for people escaping the cold winter months. Best value for family vacationers would be late spring to early fall which is considered off season and the time when rates are much lower.
The nearest and most convenient airport to Venice beach is Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) about 40 minutes away. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers is another nearby airport and is about an hour and fifteen minute drive.
From beginning to end, John and I had a great day at Venice Beach. The view was spectacular, the ocean magnificent and the downtown area charming. An area that truly reflects the Florida lifestyle. Life is good here.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our day at Venice Beach. If you would like to follow our Florida journey and learn more about all the wonderful places that our beautiful sunshine state has to offer then please subscribe to our website so we may send posts on our future adventures straight to your email in box. To join the interactive discussion with us and other Florida loving people, then also join our facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/THEVIEWFROMFLORIDA/groups/