Venice's Hidden Beach
Few people in Venice, Florida, know about it. Surrounded by palms and complete with a boat dock, this hidden gem is the unknown within Shamrock Park and Nature Center.
Venice, Florida, is on the west coast of Florida, next to Sarasota and about one hour south of Tampa. It is a fast growing area because of its tropical climate and low population density. While Tampa area has over one million people, Sarasota has just 60,000, and Venice, 20,000. One of the most redeeming feature of Sarasota and Venice is its 20-mile paved bikeway called The Legacy Trail. It runs from Sarasota to Venice on the ocean. It is a bikers dream through many scenic areas and along the Venice boat channel leading to the Gulf. It is one of America's best bikeways. While Sarasota offers its white sand beach, Siesta Keys, Venice offers comparable beaches Nokomis Beach, North\South Jetty, Venice, and miles of endless beach within Caspersen Park. If you want serenity and not crowds, try Venice. If you want a Miami hum, go to Siesta Beach.
At the end of Caspersen, separated by a boat channel, is Shamrock Park, which also is at the end of the Legacy Trail (the bikeway also ends in Caspersen Park). The park is quite large with trails, nature garden. playground, etc. The park is usually not crowded.
How to Get There
There are several ways to get to Shamrock Park. You can ride your bike down Legacy Trail. Take the paved path off Legacy and stay on it until you near the entrance road, then, go over the bridge until you see an entrance (circle on map). This is the path you take (about half mile) to the hidden beach. You can also take Hwy 41 and then turn on Shamrock Drive. After a few miles of residential area, you will see the entrance to the park. The path you will take can be easily be seen before you cross the bridge. Just park in the lot nearby and hike in.
You will walk or bike along a beaten path of sorts with dense tropical vegetation on both sides of you. It is a bit unnerving until you go further and it widens. One tends to be alert for crocodiles because there are signs at the bridge warning about them. The ride is just 10 minutes and a small, nice beach, opens up with a boat dock. The water is clear and has a gradual descent. If you venture out onto the boat dock, you will see a large, wide, waterway leading to Gulf.
It is a great hidden gem to spend a day.