As long as humans have existed in the Americas,
people have chosen to live in this Gulf Coast paradise destined to
become known as Venice. Even during the last ice age, people
thrived on the shores of this bountiful land. Traces of
settlements from over 10,000 years ago are found as far as 100
miles offshore. Due to substantially lower sea levels at that
time, the Florida peninsula was twice as wide as it is today. In
an environment of vast savannas, grassland, and open prairies, the
ancient Paleo people hunted long extinct animals including the
mammoth, mastodon, cave bear, horse, bison, and even camel. As a
result, Venice and surrounding areas are rich in history and
important archaeological sites.
Over many thousands of years, the aboriginal people flourished,
ultimately giving rise to the mighty, expansive Calusa Indian
nation. Dominating most of South Florida, this substantial
civilization thrived for innumerable generations. Evidence of
their passing includes impressive canal systems, beautiful
carvings, and huge mounds. Depending upon their location, mounds
were constructed utilizing shell, debris, or earth, some of which
can still be seen today. A 5,000 year-old mound, left by unnamed
Native American people, can be observed at Historic Spanish Point
Ponce de Leon put the peninsula on the map in 1513, calling it La
Florida, chosen in honor of landing during the Easter Feast of
Flowers. He returned to a nearby island along the gulf coast in
1521 with hundreds of settlers, attempting the first European
settlement in North America. The Calusa people denied the
encroachment, mortally wounding the conquistador. Nonetheless, the
Spanish wave continued during the 16th century. After repeated
exposure to European illnesses, the large, long-enduring native
population became extinct within a time span of only about 200
years. With no roads into the area, early 19th century seafaring
pioneers were able to locate the small inlet to the bays by
sighting a formation of trees resembling a horse and carriage.
Hence, the earliest known name for the Venice area was Horse &
Chaise. For a time, the first post office in the immediate area
was called Eyry, intended to mean the nest of a predatory bird,
actually spelled Aerie.
Without a harbor, early growth was slow until the Homestead Act,
promising 160-acre land tracts, ushering in an era of new
settlement. The first takers were John and Eliza Webb, settling in
the Osprey area in 1867 with their five children. The Reverend
Jesse Knight, his wife Rebecca, and some of their brood of fifteen
quickly followed them, settling on the south side of Dona Bay. A
few years later, Robert Roberts came to the south side of the bay
still named after him.
Memories of Venice, Italy led settler Frank Higel to submit the
name Venice for the 1888 post office in what is today the Nokomis
area. In 1910, Bertha Honore Palmer’s purchase of a 140,000-acre
land tract facilitated the extension of the Seaboard Airline
Railroad from Fruitville to a point south of Roberts Bay. She
called the terminus Venice, and had the post office relocated to
the new depot. The citizens north of Roberts Bay ultimately chose
another name, settling on ‘Nokomis,’ the name of Hiawatha’s
In 1916, Dr. Fred Albee, a bone specialist from New York,
purchased a considerable quantity of property from the Palmer
holdings. Dr. Albee, envisioning a planned community, commissioned
the well-known planner John Nolen to design the layout of the
city. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), North
America’s oldest rail labor union, purchased 50,000 acres from Dr.
Albee in 1925. The BLE utilized the Nolan plan to build a
retirement community directly on the beautiful gulf coast. The
city of Venice was incorporated in 1927, with Ned Worthingon
serving as the first mayor. Today, the flavor of the traditional
Italian architecture originally created is readily seen throughout
the city of Venice.
The four-story Woodmere Lumber Mill, founded by Herman Kluge in
1918, provided most of the lumber used in the building of Venice.
Originally called Manasota, the mill employed about 1,500 people
and cleared longleaf pine forests from thousands of acres of land.
The 10-acre mill town was destroyed by fire and abandoned by 1930.
Foundation stones from Woodmere were incorporated into the
construction of the Venice Jetties in 1937.
1928 brought the first Tamiami Trail, a nine-foot wide route
connecting Tampa and Miami, called The Velvet Highway, down the
coast through the Venice area. Just a few years later, the end of
the land boom and the economic depression brought an end to the
BLE development, causing many people to leave the area. Venice, in
effect, became a ghost town.
In 1932 the Kentucky Military Institute (KMI), the oldest private
military school in the country, sought property for winter
quarters. Their commander, Colonel C. B. Richmond, personally
selected Venice for this purpose, bringing renewed economic life
into the city. KMI remained a vital factor within Venice for many
years, until ceasing operations in 1970. The influx of people
following the establishment of the Army Air Base in 1942
substantially added to the economic stability of the Venice area.
The Florida Medical Center, started by Dr. Albee in 1933, was
transformed into a military hospital. Combat pilots and ground
crews were trained at the base until November 1945. In 1952 an
offering of 19,000 platted lots encouraged the growth of the new
community of South Venice. Each 40’ x 100’ lot, requiring a
minimum of two for building, sold for $200. Building began in July
of 1953, and by the middle of 1954, most had been sold.
Utilizing the existing rail lines, the Ringling Brothers Barnum &
Bailey Circus began to winter in Venice in 1960. By 1962, the
population had reached 27,000, a significant increase from the
1957 number of 10,000.
Construction of the 150-mile West Coast Inland Waterway (Intracoastal
Waterway) began in 1960 as the dredge "Dauntless" carved the way
at about 2 miles per month. The waterway expanded boating
opportunities and created the island of Venice. The $15.5 million
project was dedicated in 1967.
Venice enjoys a rich and varied heritage, only briefly touched
upon here. Venice is a designated Florida MainStreet City, as
awarded by the State of Florida for Historic Preservation. Many
other people and events, from cattle ranchers to fishermen, from
orange groves to turpentine stills and from Seminole Indians to
dedicated public servants, all blend together to create the
captivating city on the gulf we enjoy so much today. This is our
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For the citizen or visitor wishing to spend
leisure hours enjoying the sun, the greater Venice area provides
one of the finest systems of public beaches. Whether your
preference is a primitive beach in its natural state, or a
developed beach with all of the amenities, the choice is yours.
Lifeguards at Venice Beach, North Jetty, and Nokomis Beach, as
well as all other County lifeguarded beaches, are certified as
either EMT's or First Responders. All beaches with lifeguards have
the ability to perform the most up-to-date emergency medical
treatments. Each beach location also has emergency medical
treatments available such as oxygen and an Automated External
Defribrillator. The lifeguarded beaches in Sarasota County became
the first Beach Lifeguard agency on the west coast of Florida to
become certified by the United States Lifesaving Association.
Sarasota County began a "dune restoration service" program in 1981
that is designed to work with nature and strengthen the natural
balance of the beaches. In addition, a $18.7 million nourishment
program was completed and the project has widened the beaches by
150 to 300 feet along a mile stretch of Gulf front from the Venice
jetties to the fishing pier.
In order to thrive and grow, both the dunes and the natural
vegetation must be protected from the foot traffic of thousands of
people who use our beaches every year. Wooden walkovers are found
at most of our beaches and provide safe and convenient access to
the beaches as well as protect the new dunes from pedestrian
When you visit our beaches, help us respect and protect the
natural environment by using walkovers wherever they are provided.
We want many generations of visitors and residents to enjoy the
wonders of our greatest natural resource for years to come.
Starting at the southernmost point in the greater Venice area, you
will find a beach to fit your needs.
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Venice Area Beaches
Located south of the Venice Airport on Harbor Drive. As you visit
this beach, you will find that the southern two thirds of
beachfront has been left in its natural state. Many people
describe it as uncultivated, windswept and secluded. You will also
find a nature trail and see freshwater and saltwater marshes,
mangrove areas and tidal flats. It is the favorite spot for
finding sharks teeth.
Brohard Beach and Service Club Park
Just north of Caspersen, you will find Brohard, a city owned park
that has a 740 foot fishing pier on the property for public use.
Up the road, Service Club Park offers playground equipment and
boardwalks with covered picnic areas. You will also find the U.S.
Coast Guard Flotilla Training Center, wetlands and several areas
that are great for bird watching.
At the west end of Venice Avenue, you will find Venice Beach. If
you enjoy diving in your leisure time, a reef containing
fossilized material is located quarter mile offshore, making it a
favorite spot for divers. Its close proximity to downtown makes
this a popular "walk to the beach" for residents and employees.
This beach has recently been renourished.
North Jetty Beach
Located on the tip of Casey Key, the jetties make this one of the
most exciting surfing beaches on the west coast of Florida. It is
a very popular picnicking spot for families and large groups and
the fishing is said to be spectacular. If you enjoy watching
boats, this is a good place to do so as they can be seen daily
passing through the Intracoastal Waterway.
Heading west on Albee Road, you will find Sarasota's oldest public
beach. This family oriented beach is also popular for fishing and
includes a boat launch ramp.
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Venice Area Parks
Venice Area Beautification, Inc., under the
auspices of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, is an ongoing
program responsible for enhancing eco-tourism as well as
beautifying the greater Venice area.
The newest project of this group calls for a linear park along the
Intracoastal Waterways offering riding and walking trails from the
old Nokomis school site to the Shamrock Park Nature Center.
Restoration of the historic Train Depot is yet another project
involving many volunteers and Federal, State, County and City
The greater Venice area offers many meticulously maintained parks
with tropical flowers, foliage, palms and pines; where people can
stroll or rest on benches or watch children play. Please visit one
or all of our parks and enjoy the many recreational features
1101 Gulf Coast Boulevard
Four softball fields, tennis courts, trails, playground area
Chuck Reiter Park
250 Fort Street
Baseball fields, playground area
Higel Marine Park
1330 Tarpon Center Dr.
Boat ramp with landing area, picnic benches
Knight Trail Park
344S Rustic Rd., Nokomis
Camping, archery course, pistol and rifle range, trap and skeet
Mundy Park, Groveland St.
Basketball court, ball field, playground area
Myakka River State Park
13207 State Road 72, Sarasota (361-6511)
28,875 acres of woodland trails, nature tours, fishing spots,
camping, rustic log cabins
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey (483-59S6)
Swimming, fresh and saltwater fishing, canoeing, camping, boating,
bicycling and hiking
Shamrock Park and Nature Center
3900 Shamrock Drive
Nature center, trails, rental space tennis, basketball, playground
South Jetty Park
Tarpon Center Drive
Benches, picnic tables, jetty
1300 Ridgewood Avenue
Baseball, softball, soccer, and football fields, playground area
West Blalock Park
Brick sidewalk, park benches, Venice Community Center
Recreational building, gymnasium, rental space, tennis, basketball
and volleyball courts.
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Licenses and Fees
Information current as of May 2012
Recreational saltwater licenses and fees
Before purchasing a recreational saltwater fishing license or
permit, please make sure you understand what qualifies as Florida
whether you really need a license or permit based on the exemptions.
Annual recreational fishing licenses and permits are valid for 12
months from the date of purchase or the alternate starting date if
selected at the time of purchase, unless otherwise specified on
the face of the license.
you have a resident recreational saltwater fishing license, you do
not need a shoreline fishing license, because the resident
recreational saltwater fishing license covers fishing from the
shore, a dock, a jetty or a boat.
License and permit fees are nonrefundable.
Resident Saltwater Fishing Licenses
Licenses and Fees are
listed on another web page.
Gold Sportsman's License (includes
Hunting, Saltwater Fishing and Freshwater Fishing licenses;
and Deer, Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading
Gun, Crossbow, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl, Snook and
Gold Sportsman's License (includes Hunting, Saltwater Fishing and Freshwater
Fishing licenses; and Deer, Wildlife Management Area,
Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Turkey and Florida
Waterfowl, Snook and Lobster permits) (sold only at tax
Annual Saltwater Fishing
Saltwater/Freshwater Fishing Combo
Saltwater/Freshwater Fishing/Hunting Combo
Saltwater Shoreline License
Nonresident Saltwater Fishing Licenses
Nonresident Annual Saltwater Fishing
Nonresident 3-Day Saltwater Fishing
Nonresident 7-Day Saltwater Fishing
Non-residents using beach or haul seines for recreational
purposes are required to have a
commercial saltwater products license.
Saltwater Fishing Permits (Resident and Nonresident)
If you are not required to have a license, you are not
required to buy permits (except tarpon)
Snook Permit (required to keep snook in season even with the
Tarpon Tag (available at select county
tax collector offices)
SHORELINE LICENSE REQUIREMENTS
1. When did the shoreline license requirement
The shoreline fishing license requirement took effect Aug. 1,
2. Who is required to have a valid shoreline fishing license with
anglers who fish from shore or a structure affixed to shore will
need a shoreline fishing license unless they have a regular
saltwater fishing license, persons with disabilities fishing
license, other combo license or are exempt.
3. How much does the license cost?
The license is free. However, anglers who obtain the license over
the phone will pay a convenience fee of $3.33 to the vendor who
provides the service, and those who obtain the license off the
Internet will pay a $2.31 convenience fee.
4. If I have a regular saltwater fishing license, will I
have to get a shoreline license too?
No. A resident regular fishing license that covers fishing from
shore as well as from a vessel costs $17 and may be the best
option for most anglers unless they feel certain they will fish
only from shore.
5. If I wade into the water to fish, will I no longer be covered
by the shoreline license?
Anglers who wade into the water are considered to be fishing from
shore as long as they can stand on the bottom and do not access or
leave the area by boat.
6. If I ride in a boat to a fishing spot and then fish from shore,
am I still covered by the shoreline license?
No. If an angler arrives at the fishing location by boat, he must
have a regular saltwater fishing license, regardless of whether he
fishes from shore.
7. Do nonresident anglers qualify for the shoreline license?
No. The shoreline fishing license is available to Florida
Nonresident saltwater anglers must purchase a regular nonresident
saltwater fishing license at $17 for three days, $30 for seven
days or $47 for one year, regardless of whether they fish from
shore or a vessel. These prices include administrative fees, but
handling fees are additional.
8. Is anybody exempt from the shoreline license requirement?
The new license requirement allows exemptions for
residents who are age 65 or older, all children under age 16,
resident disabled persons who meet certain qualifications, active
duty military personnel while home on leave, and all anglers who
fish from a licensed pier. In addition, the license requirement
includes exemptions for resident anglers drawing food stamps,
temporary cash assistance or Medicaid who have proof of
identification and a benefit issuance or program identification
card issued by DCFS or the Agency for Health Care Administration,
and anglers who use a pole or line without a line retrieval
mechanism (such as a reel) in their home counties.
9. If I fish from shore, using a cane pole, Cuban yoyo or hand
line with no reel attached, do I still have to have the shoreline
There is an exemption for
resident anglers using a pole or line, not equipped with a
fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, using natural bait, and it
applies to anglers who fish from shore, structures affixed to
shore or vessels. This exemption applies only in the angler's home
10. If I fish from shore, using a cast net, crab net, dip net,
some other kind of net, crab basket, trap, gig or spear, am I
still covered by the license exemption for anglers who don't have
a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism?
The exemption for
anglers using a pole or line, not equipped with a
fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, does not include anglers who use
any type of gear other than hook and line. For instance, crabbers
who use traps, baskets, crab nets, dip nets or landing nets will
need to have a fishing license. Also, fishermen who use cast nets
or other types of nets are not exempt from license requirements.
11. If I gather scallops or other shellfish by hand, am I covered
by the license exemption for anglers who don't have a fishing line
No. The exemption for anglers using a pole or line not equipped
with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism does not include those who
gather shellfish or other marine animals by hand.
12. If I get a shoreline license now, can I buy a regular
saltwater fishing license later if I decide to fish from a vessel
or from shore using non-exempt gear?
Yes. Anglers who have a shoreline license but need a regular
saltwater fishing license can purchase a regular saltwater fishing
license, even if they already have a shoreline license.
13. Why did the state pass this shoreline fishing license
At the request of the FWC, the Florida Legislature passed the
shoreline fishing license requirement to head off a federal
registration requirement that would have gone into effect Jan. 1,
2010, and would have had a $15 to $25 fee, beginning in 2011. The
shoreline license makes Florida's resident anglers exempt from
that federal fee.
14. Is there a similar shoreline license for freshwater anglers?
No. There never was a general exemption for fishing from the
shore or a structure attached to shore in freshwater, so no new
license was needed. In addition, the new exemption for anglers
drawing food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid applies
only to resident saltwater anglers fishing from shore or a
structure attached to shore and does not relate to freshwater.
16. Where can I find more information about license requirements?
More information about license and permit requirements, outdoor
recreation and FWC programs is available at MyFWC.com.
17. Do I need a Snook Permit if I have a
Yes, if you are not exempt and have a Saltwater Shoreline license
you are required to have a Snook Permit to keep a snook in season.
Who does not need a Florida license?
Visitors do not need a recreational hunting,
freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license or a Florida
waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster,
archery season, crossbow season, muzzleloading season, or
management area permit or a federal duck stamp if...
You are a child under 16 years of age.
§ You are hunting wild hogs on private land.
Visitors do not need a saltwater fishing
license or a snook or spiny lobster *permit if...
§ You fish from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that
has a valid vessel
§ You fish from a vessel, the operator of which has a valid vessel
in the name of the operator of the vessel.
§ You are saltwater fishing during Free
You fish for recreational purposes from a pier with a valid pier
saltwater fishing license.
§ You have a valid saltwater
These exceptions do not apply to tarpon tags.
Visitors do not need a freshwater fishing
§ You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is
located entirely within the private property of its owner. A fish
pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of
fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with
no surface water connection to public waters.
§ You are freshwater fishing during Free
§ You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner
has purchased a fish
pond license at
a fee of $3 per surface acre.
You are fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not
including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia
All non-resident hunters 16 years of
age or older must purchase a Florida hunting license and all
related permits when hunting in Florida, except when hunting wild
hogs on private lands.
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Beachside Food Mart – 484-7899
at the north end of the Venice Public Beach Parking lot just 3
225 The Esplanade N
Publix – 484-3346
535 Tamiami Trail S, Venice Island
Venice Farmers Market – every
Saturday 8AM – Noon
Corner of Tampa and Nokomis Ave on the Island.
Corner of Jacaranda Blvd and 41 – 4150 Tamiami Trail S, Venice
2) 13140 Tamiami Trail S., Osprey (this is a much nicer Walmart and about
a 10-15 minute drive, trust me, it is worth it!)
Splash – 488-6568
120 US Bypass 41 S, Venice (corner of Venice Ave East and Bypass
Has everything from bathing suites to beach towels and chairs
Tervis Tumber :
These are the best insulated beverage
containers EVER! You can’t get them in many northern places!
This is an outlet location.
928 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey
Approximately 10 miles North on 41 on the right hand side of
the road. There is a movie theatre and food court here as well.
Could be a good rainy day destination.
Closest outlet mall:
Prime Outlets, Ellenton
Take 75 north approx. 31 miles to exit 224.
Closest Flea Market:
Dome Flea Market – 493-6773
5115 SR776, Venice
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Venice Area Audubon Rookery
The VAAS Rookery is one of Venice, Florida’s
best kept secrets. Those who discover this treasure understand the
reason why. Photographers and birders from near and far come to
the rookery to enjoy and photograph nesting birds during January,
February and March. Although these months are the busiest time of
the year, the rookery has visitors all year around. The rookery is
on a small island in a very small lake. Even at that, during
nesting time it is quite crowded with Great Blue Heron and Great
Egrets and some Anhingas and Night Herons. The best time to
photograph is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The
best vantage point late in the afternoon is the path to the left
of the pavilion.
Directions to the VAAS Rookery
From the North, take US 41 (Tamiami Trail)
south 1/2 mile past Rt. 776. Turn right onto Annex Road at the
Anderson Sarasota County Administration/Court House building.
Follow Annex Road to rookery on right.
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