In a city that is as vibrant and cultural as Venice, picking my “Top 5” things to do or places to go was a real challenge. Rather than rant about the thousand reasons that I love Venice, I’ll try to provide you with some insight as to what I would recommend and what I consider to be the “Top 5” in Venice.
Venice is nice. Very nice. In fact, you can’t even spell Venice without “nice.” What I am going to share with you is a culmination of places, activities and experiences that make Venice so great (and these are not in any particular order).
My “Top 5” of Venice, Florida
- Venice Beach. I’m going to start with the obvious and talk about the municipal beach in Venice. People flock to Venice Municipal Beach, because it is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” It’s a beachcombers paradise to sift through the sand for prehistoric shark teeth and other ancient remnants of aquatic life. Venice Beach is also great, because it features a majestic coral reef only one quarter mile off shore. Snorkelers and divers can enjoy the true beauty that is submerged in the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The other wonderful thing about Venice Beach is that the city has taken great efforts to re-nourish the beach by spending over $16 million to add 130 feet along more than 3 miles of shoreline. These additions have created more space for beach goers, which reduces the population density up and down the stretch of this magnificent beach. Having visited this beach many times, whether it was for an afternoon in the sun or a sunset walk, finding sharks teeth and enjoying the beauty of Venice Beach is something that will never get old.
- Brohard Paw Park. For those of us that have a four legged, canine friend, there is no better dog beach in the entire state of Florida. Brohard Paw Park is located at 1600 Harbor Drive S in Venice, Florida. The reason I love Brohard Paw Park is because of the attention to detail that goes into its design. When you enter the park, you will find grassy areas, drinking fountains, dog showers, shading areas, fire hydrants, leash posts, and seating. As you continue, the park opens out on the sands of the beach that guide you toward the relaxing waters of the Gulf. It’s quite a sight, seeing a beach full of dogs that run, play, and splash in the water. What I also found very impressive about Brohard is how the majority of the owners follow the rules when it comes to picking up their animal’s waste and not using glassware; the beach is superb in that aspect. For the most part, I haven’t experienced too many aggressive dogs, though I have seen it on occasion. The biggest knock I have on the place is that it is difficult to get your dog (and even yourself) to leave the beach. You’ll have as much fun as your dog at Brohard Paw Park.
- Pineapples Island Grill. This is one of the most diverse places in Venice. Located at 133 S Tamiami Trail, Pineapples features a delicious menu of seafood, steak, burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, as well as a full service bar. I’ll be honest though. The first time I went to this place, I was a bit confused. I was spending the day in Venice, wearing flip flops, swim trunks, and a t-shirt, and I stumbled upon a place that appeared to appeal to the casual attire that I was sporting. After all, there was an outdoor patio with a bar, and what appeared to be a spot for live music. Since it was summer and two o’clock in the afternoon, sitting outside did not sound very appealing to me. So, I went through the entrance and saw a dining room off to the right. It was relatively quiet, a couple enjoying lunch, and a few businessmen in suits talking at one of the tables. The interior of Pineapples wasn’t that of a five star restaurant, but it was enough to make me think I was under dressed. I asked the server if what I was wearing was acceptable and she gave me an odd look, like “yeah, why wouldn’t it be?” As I enjoyed lunch on this sunny Wednesday afternoon with my family, the server told us we should come back at night for “drag queen bingo.” Drag Queen Bingo is every Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Clearly, the confusion on our faces was apparent and the server told us that if we were in the area AND if we were not easily offended, to stop back in for a night of entertainment. Without giving too much away, this was one of the most entertaining, painstakingly funny nights I have enjoyed in Venice. For those who want a good laugh, have a high tolerance for crude humor and foul language, and want to have dinner, a comedy show, partake in free Jell-o shots, and play bingo (and win a bottle of wine among other prizes), Pineapples is the place to go. Now, the other great thing about Pineapples is that Sunday through Thursday there is a special reason to visit this restaurant. Sunday is half price burgers, Monday is 50 cent wings and 2 dollar drafts, Tuesday is Dance Lessons led by West Coast Swing from 7:00 – 10:00, Wednesday is Drag Queen Bingo starting at 7:00, and Thursday is Mexican Madness which includes food and drink specials. This is a fun, fairly priced, charismatic venue in Venice and one that is certainly worthy of my “Top 5.”
- Sharky’s on the Pier. If you live in Venice, vacationed in Venice, or have just heard about Venice, then you know about the popular Venice landmark known as Sharky’s on the Pier. Sharky’s is a waterfront restaurant that offers breathtaking views, delicious seafood, live music, a fishing pier, cold drinks, and so much more. With live music Wednesday through Sunday, you will find people dancing the night away or sitting back and relaxing to the good tunes. The uniqueness of Sharky’s is what is so appealing to residents, vacationers, and snow birds. The atmosphere is not comparable to any other venue in Venice. Though it does get crowded, you won’t be bored by sitting in a small waiting area. Take a step onto the pier and enjoy the beautiful views on the Gulf before you indulge in a fantastic meal.
- Venice Fishing Pier. For those looking to fish in the Gulf without a boat, the Venice Fishing Pier is an excellent choice. No fishing license is required to cast your line at this pier, which is part of Sharky’s. This is a great spot due to the ample amount of space, the fact the you do not need a license, and the chance that you can catch some large game off of the Venice Fishing Pier. The other nice feature is that you can rent rods and reels and buy your bait here too. The pier extends 700+ feet over the Gulf waters and reaches depths of 18 feet. Whether you are fishing for tarpon or sharks, you will have your opportunity at the Venice Fishing Pier.
I started by saying how difficult it was to hone in on my “Top 5” of Venice, Florida. And I stand by that. Venice is a charming city on Florida’s Gulf Coast that has plenty to offer. Venice is a great destination to make as a permanent residence or to have a vacation home. I’d be happy to share more with you or answer any questions that you have and I encourage you to share your Venice favorites on our blog! Leave us a comment or give us a call. Your Suncoasteam is here to help you find your new home in Venice, Florida.
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