The west coast of Florida is known for its spectacular beaches. St. Andrews East at the Plantation Golf & Country Club is just minutes away from that powdered sand and the warm Gulf waters. Venice offers a variety of public beaches:
- Caspersen Beach is a nature lover’s paradise because two thirds of the beach remains in its natural state with marshes, mangroves and tidal flats. Caspersen’s Beach also boasts to be one of the greatest hunting grounds for fossilized shark’s teeth. Walk for miles along this unspoiled stretch of beach while enjoying spectacular vistas of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Venice Beach is a pleasant walk from the charming shops and restaurants of downtown Venice. The beach provides covered pavilions, benches, volleyball nets and a setting for the perfect tranquil day at the beach. Snorkel in the clear waters or just a quarter mile offshore there is also a reef for adventurous divers to explore.
- Brohard Beach offers a family setting with the Service Club Park providing playground equipment and boardwalks with covered picnic tables. This is the perfect place to spend time with your grandchildren.
- Dog Beach Brohard Beach has designated a Paw Park that includes fenced areas for play, doggie drinking fountains, showers and leash posts. There is a short pathway from the park to an open beach for your four legged friend to frolic in the surf.
- Nokomis Beach This family-oriented strip of coastline is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach. You will find a boat ramp, kayak launch and covered picnic areas. This beach hosts the areas famous Drum Circle. You can bring along a drum, a shaker, a flute, a guitar, or anything that makes noise and join in on this spectacular concert. It all starts about an hour before sundown, every Wednesday and Saturday. Everyone is welcome. The beach pavilion has been recently restored to its original 1950’s “Sarasota School of Architecture” design.
- North Jetty This popular picnic spot can accommodate large groups with the multiple pavilions and shaded picnic area. The beach includes a kayak launch and a spectacular reputation for its fishing!
- South Jetty This is a meeting spot for many and is located at the north terminus of the island of Venice. Watching the boats headed in and out through the jettys is a favorite pastime while snacking on a hotdog, hamburger or an ice cream. Sunsets at the jetty is a special time for visitors and residents alike.
Among the long list of Sarasota County beaches a short distance from St. Andrews East is Siesta Key Beach. This 2 mile stretch of quartz crystal sand beach located on the Siesta Key barrier island was recently ranked #1 in a survey by Florida International University professor Steve Leatherman, better known as “Dr. Beach.” Siesta Key Beach has been mentioned in the top ten listing of beaches in the United States for the past several years, finally climbing its way to the top. The beach is a favorite for walking, jogging and gathering to celebrate the sunset. Many beach events take place at Siesta Key Beach such a national volleyball tournaments, triathlons and Sand Castle competitions.
The Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s West Coast is known for outstanding sport fishing. It is recognized for its calm sea conditions and excellent year round ship wreck, trolling, deep sea, and reef fishing. Fishing for Grouper and Snapper is good almost all year, offshore fish such as Kingfish, Cobia, Amberjack, Spanish Mackerel, Shark, Barracuda, Tarpon, Permit, and giant Redfish are abundant. Flats fishing off of Venice’s sandy beaches or jetties for Snook and Trout can also be exciting.
Nearby Boca Grande is known for its charming authentic downtown and sugar sand beaches, bust most of all its world class fishing. A typical 80-day Florida season in Boca Grande Pass produces an average 5,000 tarpon landed. This makes it one of the world’s best tarpon fishing holes and yields more tarpon than any other location in the world. Tarpon congregate and spawn along the entire rim of the Gulf of Mexico but why they are so attracted to Boca Grande is a mystery. There is a portion of the pass that reaches depths near 80 feet which at one time made it the areas deepest port and this area is widely known to fisherman as the Lighthouse Hole. Boca Grande Pass is the main outlet for Charlotte Harbor for the Peace River and Myakka River creating strong currents that create an underwater highway for many species of fish and bait.
Freshwater fishing is also available in the Venice area on the beautifully scenic Myakka River and many surrounding lakes. Take in the sites of Florida’s diverse wildlife including alligators and wading birds as you fish for Snook, catfish, blue gill or bass.
Arts & Culture
St. Andrews East is located in the Mecca of Arts and Culture of the Southwest coast of Florida. The Venice Art Center is one of the oldest and largest community art centers on the coast. The Venice Art Center features a variety of exhibitions and offers classes, workshops and demonstrations. The Venice Theatre is the 3rd largest community theater in the United States and has received numerous national awards for artistic quality. The theatre offers a variety of classes for all ages. For music lover’s our 75 piece Venice Symphony offers classical and pops concerts.
The neighboring area of Sarasota puts one of the renowned cultural centers not only of Florida, but of the entire country is just minutes away. With dozens of performing arts venues, legendary opera, theatre and ballet companies, abundant art museums, a thriving visual arts community and art festivals that draw visitors from across the globe, it’s easy to understand why people flock to Sarasota.
The areas rich history of art rests firmly on the John and Mable Ringling Museum. Housed on the site of the circus mogul’s former estate, the museum hosts one of the largest collections of Rubens paintings in the world, along with many other works by the Old Masters. You can also tour Ca d’Zan Mansion, a splendid 56-room Venetian Gothic palace that was once the Ringling’s residence. Learn about the areas tie to the circus by touring the Circus Museum. Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater was originally built in Italy during the late 1800s, was then dismantled and reassembled on the Ringling grounds in the 1940s. It is now the home to a professional theater company that performs an assortment of award-winning programs in the Asolo Repertory Theatre complex.
Performing arts thrive in the Sarasota area, the Sarasota Opera now in its 52rd season performing at the intimate art deco opera house in downtown Sarasota. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall which hosts travelling shows that range from musicals to Broadway revivals. The Sarasota Orchestra boasts to be oldest continuing orchestra in the state and the Sarasota Ballet has gained international recognition for world premieres under the direction of famed Iain Webb. Many different theater companies perform comedies and dramas on a variety of stages in Sarasota and Venice, improv groups and stand-up comedians tickle audiences, and live music rings from pubs and clubs across town on any given night.
The Ringling College of Art and Design has set the standard for Sarasota’s thriving community of visual artists. A variety of exhibits are sponsored by the school or by local artist groups like s/ART/q.
The areas rich artistic atmosphere has inspired many local festivals such as the Sarasota Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Society Cine-World Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival and numerous arts and crafts festivals held throughout the year.
Except for major cities you will not find a better area in which to find the quantity, quality and variety of entertainment options than Sarasota County which is why so many business moguls and celebrities have chosen to call it their home over the years.
Shopping & Dining
The Venice area offers an array of dining options from quaint outdoor cafes, romantic bistros, to family owned restaurants and national chains. A myriad of cuisine from around the world offering ethnic fare such as Italian, Greek, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese and Thai as well as the all American favorites is all within 15 minutes of St. Andrews East. Given our orientation to the Gulf of Mexico there is the choice of many of our visitors and residents which is the enjoyment of the views and freshly caught seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants. The variety and options are limitless.
Within minutes of St. Andrews East there are numerous options for every day shopping from Grocery to Department stores. Downtown Venice offers boutique shopping including many specialty and antique shops. Receive old world service by local shop owners and marvel at the wide variety of unique items available.
Branching out just a few more miles to the North, Sarasota offers many more options for both dining and world class shopping. It is an area second to none for diversity.
Numerous times during the year there are various festivals, art shows and parades that provide yet another option for socialization, entertainment, food sampling and buying opportunities.