John and I love outdoor activities but now that the weather is heating up in Florida, trying to stay cool while playing in the Florida outdoors becomes key. Of course, the beach is always a great place to enjoy being outside when the weather heats up; all you have to do is take a few steps off the sand and cool off in the ocean. But John and I can get pretty particular about beach adventures; finding a parking spot, the sometimes high price of per hour parking, the long walks to the water, and the crowds, can all be a royal pain in the neck. That is why we love it when we find a beach that does not have the fanfare of the more popular Florida beaches but yet still has all the beachy appeal that makes us want to go to the beach in the first place.
So Why do we think Stump Pass State Park’s Beach is so special? I will tell you, But Shhh!! Let’s keep it our secret, ok?
First, the cost. It only costs $3 to spend the day at Stump Pass State Park. Parking at a great Florida beach can cost anywhere from $1.75 per hour on up. I have even seen $5 per hour in some of the more exclusive beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
Second, the beauty. Stump Pass State Park sits on the southern tip of Manasota Key between Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The area is a protected shoreline and attracts all sorts of species of wildlife. Some of the wildlife that visitors might see at Stump Pass Beach are the West Indian manatee, gopher tortoise, snowy egret, osprey, and black skimmer.
Third, so much to do!! The area is known for its shells and sharks’ teeth, and hunting for those perfect specimens is a popular activity at Stump Pass Beach.
In addition, the Lemon Bay side of the park is a perfect place for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, and the views on the bay are magnificent.
Both the Lemon Bay Side and the Gulf Side are popular with anglers, and catches can yield flounder, snook, trout, redfish, snapper, whiting, sheepshead, and tarpon.
The park even has a 1.3-mile hiking trail (2.6 round trip) that takes hikers along a natural shoreline path between the bay and dunes along the Gulf, down to the tip of the key and to Stump Pass itself. You may see various wildlife such as ospreys, Southern bald eagles, fiddler crabs, and wading birds, plus plants such as prickly pear cactus, indigo berry, bay cedar, and coontie.
And then there is the uncrowded beach, perfect for those who choose just to sit back, relax and enjoy the sound and view of the ocean.
Watch our View of the day
Important things to know
- Parking is limited at Stump Pass State Park. There are only spaces for about 40 cars so go early. Park hours are 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.
- The park has six covered picnic tables. One is located near the restroom facility, and the five others are located along the hiking trail.
- Pets are not allowed on the beach.
- Restroom facilities are available and ADA accessible.
- Outdoor freshwater showers/rinses are available for rinsing off after a day at the park.
- Stump Pass State Park is located at 900 Gulf Blvd. It is on the south end of Manasota Key in Englewood (Charlotte County)
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