Outdoor Adventure

By John McCarthy October 31, 2011


Birdseye view of Venetian Waterway Park (PHOTOS COURTESY OF National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse)For the perfect outdoor getaway, try Venetian Waterway Park, where a 10 mile-long smooth concrete ribbon winds along some of the most scenic areas in Venice with minimal interaction with automobile traffic.

How to experience>> The best way to enjoy the trail is by bicycle. We recommend bringing a water bottle, snacks, a camera and sunscreen.

Getting started>> Start at Centennial Park at 200 W. Venice Ave. in the heart of historic downtown. Here you will find parking, a restroom and the refreshing children’s fountain. Ride east along Venice Avenue (cross U.S. 41 and ride alongside the bridge) to the smoothly paved trail along the Intracoastal Waterway. Now head south about five miles to Caspersen Beach. Most of the trail is along the waterway, with one section meandering through neighborhoods.

Venetian Waterway Park Walk (PHOTOS COURTESY OF National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse)Points of interest>> Downtown Venice provides many cafes and restaurants—the perfect way to start your journey or celebrate the completion of your ride. Caspersen Beach is one of the area’s most beautiful natural beaches and is favored for fossil collecting, fishing and sunbathing. Visit the children’s playground, have a picnic or collect sharks’ teeth along the shore.

What to see>> Riding along the edge of the waterway, you’ll see a variety of boats from small pleasure craft to commercial vessels and luxury yachts. Soaring overhead are small planes arriving and departing from nearby Venice Airport. You’re sure to see a variety of birds from scrub jays to pelicans. Look for bottlenose dolphins and manatees, too. If you’re out early you may see a shy bobcat. Later in the day the gopher tortoises come out of their cool burrows to feast on grasses and cactus.


Want more?>> You may want to try the east side of Venetian Waterway Park, which starts at the Venice Train Depot (303 E. Venice Ave.) and runs south to Shamrock Park or north, where it’s just been connected with the Legacy Trail, a beautiful 10-mile trail going all the way up to Sarasota. For more information and a great map go to

[To download a map of the park. Scan this with your smart phone Microsoft Tag reader]


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