SUN, FUN, FISHING, AND PREHISTORIC SHARK’S TEETH
Directly west of downtown Venice’s charming shopping district, vibrant Venice Beach offers surf, sand, and fun in the sun all-year-round. Free parking, concessions, shelters, sand volleyball courts, and picnic areas are available to everyone. Venice Beach seeks to be as handicapped-accessible as possible; beach wheelchairs are available for onsite use. Divers flock to Venice Beach to explore the huge reef just offshore, and shark’s tooth collectors comb the beach for evidence of the creatures that dominated these waters thousands of years ago.
Venice Beach is where you’ll find fishing enthusiasts of all ages lining the popular, 700-foot Venice Fishing Pier. Those fishing directly from the Pier don’t even need a fishing license. Fresh and frozen bait and fishing gear are available at Papa’s Bait Shop on the Pier, where you can also purchase sunscreen, hot and cold drinks, and a variety of snacks and tasty frozen treats. The first Venice Fishing Pier was built in 1966. The current pier is a 21st-century construction designed to withstand category-4 hurricanes and to last for a minimum of 50 years. Views of the sunset from the Venice Fishing Pier are unforgettable.
Every spring, Venice Beach is the site of the Venice Shark’s Tooth Festival. Collectors from the southeast and the east coast arrive at Venice Beach to display and sell sharks’ teeth and a variety of other items. More than 100 artists also participate and display their work. Food from area vendors and live music by local performers are always part of the Shark’s Tooth Festival, and Mote Marine Aquarium sets up a hands-on exhibit for kids of all ages. The annual Venice Shark’s Tooth Festival is sponsored by Special Athlete Boosters, Inc., and all proceeds from the festival go to the Special Olympics of Sarasota County.
Venice Beach and the land adjacent to it are spread across 5.75 breathtakingly beautiful southwest Florida acres. Historically, Venice Beach has been the site of some environmental concerns and several sand renourishment projects. In 2008, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association honored Venice Beach with its “Best Restored Beach” Award. Venice Beach is located on the west side of Venice Island, at the west end of West Venice Avenue. No pets, glass containers, or alcoholic beverages are allowed. Venice Beach is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year; parking closes at midnight and re-opens at 6:00 a.m.