A BEACH, A PARK, AND A BIKE TRAIL, TOO
The beach is only part of the fun at fabulous Caspersen Beach in Venice. Along with swimming, sand, surf, and sun, Caspersen Beach and Caspersen Beach Park feature nature trails that take you through several fascinating Florida habitats. Caspersen Beach is certified a “National Healthy Beach” by the National Healthy Beaches Campaign, and Caspersen Beach is also certified as a “Blue Wave” beach by the Clean Beaches Council. It’s located immediately south of the Venice Municipal Airport, with parking available at 4100 Harbor Drive in Venice.
Caspersen Beach offers visitors free admission and free parking, fitness equipment and a children’s playground, grills, and picnic facilities. Caspersen is especially popular with fishing enthusiasts, bird watchers, shell collectors, and shark’s tooth collectors. Prehistoric sharks once roamed crowded Gulf waters near what is now Venice, and Caspersen Beach today. This is a top spot where their fossilized teeth are found and collected.
Caspersen Beach Park’s delightful nature trails take hikers and bicyclists through both saltwater and freshwater marshes, tidal flats, and a mangrove swamp.
A variety of native Florida plant and animal species can usually be spotted from the trails. A splendid new boardwalk winds through sea grapes and majestic palms. The boardwalk, along with new restroom facilities were installed in 2012, and the beach’s dune system was also restored that same year. The boardwalk both shelters the dune system and provides a spot for spectacular views of both the local wildlife and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico.
By combining grant monies with tax revenues, Sarasota County acquired the park area adjacent to the beach in 1986. Caspersen Beach Park connects to the Venice Waterway Trail, the popular, paved, 10-mile bike trail that extends north from Caspersen Beach to downtown Venice.
With 9,000 feet of beach, 1,100 feet of boardwalk, shark’s teeth by the score, and a popular park and bike trail, Caspersen Beach offers something for beach lovers of all ages. What it does not offer, however, is lifeguards, so swimmers are on their own and need to use caution. Caspersen Beach and Caspersen Beach Park are open 365 days a year. The parking area closes at midnight and re-opens daily at 6:00 a.m.