Manasota Key is an idyllic barrier island situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, exudes a unique charm that epitomizes the Sunshine State’s allure. This barrier island has pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, and tropical ambiance and embodies the quintessential Florida experience.
Manasota Key is a captivating barrier island that beckons travelers with its natural beauty and rich history. This pristine paradise lures over a million visitors each year from around the world.
Manasota Key’s history dates back to ancient times when Native American tribes inhabited it. Its name is believed to be derived from the Calusa word “Manta-Sota,” meaning “Pleasant Breast.” The Spanish explorers were among the first to set foot on this enchanting island in the early 16th century.
Today, Manasota Key’s charm is unmissable, offering a perfect blend of relaxation, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences and a variety of things to do in Manasota Key.
Its miles of untouched beaches, remarkable shelling opportunities, and serene state parks make it a haven for nature enthusiasts. The island’s history is preserved in its quaint villages, such as Englewood, Venice, and Boca Grande.
Annually, more than a million visitors flock to Manasota Key to enjoy its pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and a myriad of water sports. Englewood Beach, in particular, is a renowned hotspot for its soft sands and radiant sunsets.
The weather on Manasota Key is typically warm and sunny, making it a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit is during the winter and spring months when the weather is mild and pleasant.
Whether you are a nature enthusiast, beach lover, or history buff, Manasota Key has something special for you. In this article, we’ll uncover the 17 most fun things to do in Manasota Key, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience.
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1. Englewood Beach
Englewood Beach is situated on the serene shores of Manasota Key in Florida. It is a beloved coastal destination with a rich history dating back to the early 1900s.
The resort area on Englewood Beach was established in the 1920s and it quickly became a popular spot for visitors seeking sun and sea. Englewood Beach offers a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere with powdery white sands and clear, turquoise waters.
In the early days, Englewood Beach was accessible only by boat. Visitors would take a ferry from Venice to reach this hidden paradise. Over the years, it has developed into a vibrant beach community with a range of amenities, including picnic areas, volleyball courts, and free parking.
Englewood Beach is known for its superb shelling opportunities. The beach is famous for the prehistoric shark teeth that wash ashore. Collecting these fossilized treasures has become a popular pastime for beachgoers.
The beach is also a prime location for sunset watching, offering breathtaking views as the sun dips below the horizon. Established as a resort area in the 1920s, Englewood Beach continues to draw in visitors who seek a perfect blend of relaxation and natural beauty.
2100 N. Beach Road Englewood, FL 34223, United States
2. Stump Pass Beach State Park
Stump Pass Beach State Park is located on the enchanting Manasota Key in Florida. The park was established in 1984 as a protected area for its ecological significance. This coastal gem is home to diverse wildlife and pristine natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination.
The park’s history dates back to when it was named for the “stumps” of pine trees that remained after logging operations in the early 1900s.
Over time, the area transformed into a sanctuary for birds, marine life, and native vegetation. Today, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and offers a glimpse into Florida’s coastal ecosystems, offering a place to experience new things to do in Manasota Key.
Stump Pass Beach State Park boasts several miles of hiking trails, offering visitors the opportunity to explore its unspoiled landscapes. Birdwatching is a popular activity here, with herons, ospreys, and other avian species calling the park home.
The park’s pristine beaches provide a serene backdrop for sunbathing, shelling, and swimming. It’s a prime example of Florida’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures for future generations.
900 Gulf Blvd, South Manasota Key Englewood, FL 34223, United States
3. Beach Shack Of Manasota Key
The Beach Shack of Manasota Key was established in 1955. This charming beachfront spot holds a rich history. The Beach Shack was originally built as a simple fisherman’s retreat, but it has since transformed into a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Over the years, the Beach Shack has become known for its relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking sunsets. It’s a place where visitors can kick back in the soft sand and soak in the sun’s rays.
The Shack also offers tasty seafood, like fresh fish and shrimp, served with a side of stunning ocean views. You can enjoy delectable food here, along with various things to do in Manasota Key.
Whether you’re sipping a tropical cocktail or playing beach volleyball, the Beach Shack is all about fun in the sun. It’s a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, offering water sports, such as paddleboarding and kayaking.
So, if you’re looking for a laid-back beach experience, the Beach Shack of Manasota Key is the perfect place to visit.
1225 Gulf Englewood, FL 34223, United States
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4. Manasota Beach Cottages
Manasota Beach Cottages is a delightful vacation destination on Manasota Key, Florida. This charming spot was established in 1963 and has a rich history that dates back several decades, making it a popular choice for beachgoers.
These cottages were built to provide visitors with a cozy and beachfront lodging experience. Over the years, they have been cherished by those seeking a tranquil beach retreat. Many cottages have direct access to the sandy shores, offering a paradise for sun and sea lovers.
Manasota Beach Cottages have a reputation for their friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Visitors often spend their days collecting shells, taking long walks, or simply basking in the sun.
The Gulf of Mexico is just steps away and invites swimmers and beachcombers to enjoy its crystal-clear waters.
From watching breathtaking sunsets to enjoying a barbecue by the sea, this place is perfect for unwinding and creating unforgettable memories. Manasota Beach Cottages provide a nostalgic and peaceful getaway, ensuring a memorable vacation experience.
1900 Manasota Beach Road, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
5. Lemon Bay Playhouse
Lemon Bay Playhouse is a renowned community theater located in Englewood, Florida. The theater was established in 1987 and has a vibrant history, enriched by the contributions of local artists and theater enthusiasts.
Since its founding, Lemon Bay Playhouse has been a hub for community involvement in the arts. It offers a range of theatrical productions, including comedies, dramas, and musicals, providing a platform for local talent to shine on stage.
The Playhouse was originally a Methodist church, dating back to 1927. It was converted into a theater space, and the church’s stained glass windows were preserved, adding a unique and picturesque element to the venue.
The Playhouse’s dedication to the arts extends to educational programs and workshops, fostering creativity and talent in the community. It’s a place where people of all ages can come together to appreciate and participate in the performing arts.
Lemon Bay Playhouse continues to be a cherished cultural institution, enriching the lives of residents and visitors through the magic of live theater and offers them to enjoy charming things to do in Manasota Key.
96 W Dearborn St., Englewood, FL 34223, United States
6. Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center
Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center is a vital green space located in Englewood, Florida. This environmental center was established in 2006 and has a unique history and offers fascinating features that draw nature enthusiasts and visitors.
Originally, the land served as a residence for the Carlene Thomas House that was built in 1956. It was later transformed into a park dedicated to environmental education and conservation.
The park is sprawled across 210 acres and provides various recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. It’s a haven for wildlife, featuring a diversity of plant and animal species, including gopher tortoises and ospreys.
A highlight of Lemon Bay Park is the elevated boardwalk, which extends over Lemon Bay, offering stunning views of the mangrove forests and waterways. It’s an excellent spot for observing local marine life and serene sunsets.
The Environmental Center also conducts educational programs, nature tours, and events to raise awareness about local ecosystems and environmental conservation.
Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center stands as a testament to the beauty and importance of preserving Florida’s natural habitats.
570 Bay Park Blvd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
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7. Seafarer Beach Resort
Seafarer Beach Resort is a picturesque beachfront retreat situated on the shores of Florida’s Manasota Key. This charming resort was established in 1965 and has a captivating history and offers several intriguing features that make it a sought-after destination for beach lovers.
The Seafarer Beach Resort was founded over five decades ago, initially as a fishing camp. Over time, it transformed into a comfortable and tranquil escape for travelers seeking a relaxing beachfront experience.
With its direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, the resort provides visitors with a serene and sunny retreat. The pristine sandy beach is perfect for swimming, shelling, and sunbathing and enjoy charming things to do in Manasota Key.
Seafarer Beach Resort is family-owned and operated and is known for its welcoming and warm atmosphere. The resort’s laid-back ambiance is complemented by its well-maintained facilities, which include cozy cottages, a heated pool, and barbecue areas.
Whether you’re watching mesmerizing sunsets, lounging by the pool, or enjoying beachside bonfires, Seafarer Beach Resort offers a memorable and quintessential Florida beach experience.
8520 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
8. Sandbar Tiki and Grille
Sandbar Tiki and Grille is a popular beachfront dining spot. This lively tiki grille was established in 2009 and has a relatively recent history and offers visitors a unique experience by the water.
This beachside gem boasts a casual and tropical atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for those looking to savor a meal with their toes in the sand. The restaurant’s outdoor tiki huts and live music enhance the relaxed vibe.
Sandbar Tiki and Grille is part of the Chiles Restaurant Group, a local family-owned business known for its dedication to sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
The menu features a variety of seafood dishes, including the catch of the day, and classic American fare. Visitors can enjoy their meal while taking in the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
With its toes-in-the-sand dining experience and a focus on sustainability, Sandbar Tiki and Grille offers a unique culinary and beachfront experience to enjoy new things to do in Manasota Key.
1975 Beach Rd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
9. Indian Mound Park
Indian Mound Park is a significant archaeological site located in Englewood, Florida. This historical park was established as a public park in 1958 and has an intriguing past and is known for its fascinating features.
The park was originally used by the Calusa Native American people, believed to have inhabited the area for thousands of years.
The site contains several mounds, including the prominent shell midden mound, which was constructed by the Calusa for various purposes, possibly including ceremonial and burial activities.
Visitors to Indian Mound Park can explore the walking trails that lead to these ancient mounds and learn about the Calusa history. The park also offers a fishing pier on Lemon Bay and a playground for families.
The park is not only a beautiful natural setting but also a window into the rich prehistoric heritage of the region. It provides a unique opportunity to connect with the area’s indigenous history and enjoy the outdoors.
210 Winston Ave, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
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10. Hermitage Artist Retreat
The Hermitage Artist Retreat is a creative haven situated in Englewood, Florida. This retreat was established in 2004 and has a unique history and offers interesting features that make it a cherished sanctuary for artists.
The Hermitage was established to provide a peaceful and inspiring environment for artists, writers, and musicians to work on their projects. It was originally a beachfront estate and has since become a place where artistic minds can flourish.
The Hermitage hosts artists from various disciplines, including visual arts, literature, music, and more. It provides them with the time and space to focus on their creative endeavors, free from the distractions of everyday life.
The Hermitage Artist Retreat offers public events, like open houses and performances, allowing the community to engage with the visiting artists and their work. It has become an important cultural hub in the area, fostering creativity and artistic growth in a serene coastal setting.
6630 Manasota Key Rd. Englewood, FL 34223, United States
11. The Waverly Restaurant and Bar
The Waverly Restaurant and Bar is a well-known dining spot located in the heart of the city. This restaurant and bar was established in 2016 and offers visitors a unique culinary experience in an urban setting.
The Waverly has gained a reputation for its delicious cuisine and stylish ambiance. It’s a place where locals and tourists come to savor delectable dishes and craft cocktails.
The Waverly is committed to sourcing local and seasonal ingredients for their menu, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience. The restaurant’s menu includes a variety of international and American dishes to cater to diverse tastes.
The interior of The Waverly is a blend of modern design and warm, welcoming atmosphere. Whether it’s a casual lunch, a romantic dinner, or a social gathering, this establishment offers a stylish and comfortable setting for all occasions.
With its focus on culinary excellence and a contemporary dining experience, The Waverly Restaurant and Bar has become a popular destination for food enthusiasts and urban explorers to enjoy unique things to do in Manasota Key.
2095 N Beach Rd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
12. The Lock ‘N Key Restaurant
The Lock ‘N Key Restaurant is a renowned dining destination situated on Manasota Key, Florida. This coastal restaurant was established in 1972 and holds a long and interesting history, making it a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike.
The restaurant offers a unique waterfront dining experience. It has been a favorite for seafood lovers for decades, known for its fresh catches and mouthwatering dishes.
The Lock ‘N Key is famous for its signature cocktails and friendly atmosphere. Visitors can savor their drinks while taking in the scenic views of Lemon Bay. It also features outdoor seating options and provides a serene setting by the water.
The Lock ‘N Key is not only famous for its food but also for its role as a gathering place for the community. It hosts events and live music, making it a hub for socializing and entertainment.
With its history, delectable seafood, and vibrant ambiance, The Lock ‘N Key Restaurant continues to be a cherished culinary institution on Manasota Key.
2045 N Beach Rd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
13. Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro
Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro is a popular dining destination in Englewood, Florida. This restaurant was established in 2009 and has a captivating history and offers fascinating features that make it a beloved spot for wine and food enthusiasts.
The Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro has gained a reputation for its delectable cuisine and extensive wine selection. It’s a place where locals and tourists come to enjoy fine dining in a relaxed, coastal atmosphere.
The restaurant is dedicated to offering a diverse and carefully curated wine list, showcasing a range of international and local wines. It’s a perfect place for wine connoisseurs and those looking to pair wines with their meals.
The interior of the Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro is both elegant and welcoming, creating a cozy atmosphere for diners. Whether it’s a romantic dinner, a celebration, or a casual meal, this establishment provides a delightful setting for all occasions.
Beach Road Wine Bar & Bistro has its focus on culinary excellence and a wide wine selection. It has become a cherished destination for those seeking a memorable dining experience on the Florida coast and enjoying new things to do in Manasota Key.
1350 Beach Rd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
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14. Englewood Farmer’s Market
The Englewood Farmer’s Market is a vibrant community market. With a history that spans over a decade, this market offers a unique and diverse shopping experience for locals and visitors.
The Englewood Farmer’s Market was established in 2011 and was created to support local farmers, artisans, and small businesses. It has since grown into a bustling hub for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food items.
The market is committed to promoting sustainability and locally sourced products. Visitors can find a wide range of goods that include fruits, vegetables, honey, bakery items, and artisanal crafts.
The market is not only a place for shopping but also for community engagement. It often hosts events, live music, and educational activities, making it a vibrant gathering spot for people of all ages and enjoy charming things to do in Manasota Key.
Englewood Farmer’s Market is dedicated to supporting local businesses and fostering a sense of community and continues to be a beloved destination for residents and tourists alike.
335 W Green St, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
15. Blind Pass Beach
Blind Pass Beach is a scenic coastal destination located on Manasota Key in Englewood, Florida. With a history that spans over four decades, this beach offers a rich history and captivating features.
Blind Pass Beach was established as a public beach park in 1972 and was developed for public enjoyment. The beach is known for its natural beauty, with soft sandy shores and stunning Gulf of Mexico views.
Blind Pass Beach is famous for its unique location between Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. This positioning allows for various water activities like swimming, shelling, and fishing.
The beach park is home to diverse plant and animal life, making it a fantastic spot for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. There’s even a canoe and kayak launch for those looking to explore the waterways.
Blind Pass Beach has a focus on preserving natural beauty and offering a tranquil coastal experience and remains a cherished destination for beachgoers and nature lovers.
6725 Manasota Key Rd, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
16. Gasparilla Island
Gasparilla Island was established as a barrier island centuries ago. It is a captivating destination located on Florida’s Gulf Coast. This island has a history dating back many years and offers a unique and storied past along with interesting features.
Gasparilla Island was originally inhabited by the Calusa people and was later explored by Spanish explorers. It received its name from the legendary pirate José Gaspar, who supposedly hid his treasure on the island in the early 1800s.
Gasparilla Island also has the presence of the Boca Grande Lighthouse which was constructed in 1890. The lighthouse served as a navigational aid for ships in the Gulf of Mexico and is now a historic landmark.
The island is also known for its stunning beaches, wildlife, and the charming village of Boca Grande. Visitors can enjoy activities like shelling, fishing, and exploring the Gasparilla Island State Park.
Gasparilla Island has a rich history, natural beauty, and a relaxed atmosphere. It continues to be a beloved destination for those seeking a coastal getaway and offers them a place to enjoy delightful things to do in Manasota Key.
1290 Shore View Drive · Englewood, FL 34223, United States
17. Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park is a historic park in Englewood, Florida, known for its rich history and interesting features. Pioneer Park was established in 1967 and was created to honor the early pioneers who settled in the Englewood area. It serves as a reminder of the region’s heritage.
One interesting fact about Pioneer Park is the presence of a historic one-room schoolhouse, built in 1918. This schoolhouse offers a glimpse into the past and the educational system of the early 20th century.
The park also features a butterfly garden, a playground, and picnic areas, making it a pleasant place for families and visitors to enjoy the outdoors.
Pioneer Park is dedicated to preserving history and providing a space for the community and stands as a cherished spot where the past and present come together. It offers a serene and educational experience for all who visit.
101 S Orange Ave, Englewood, FL 34223, United States
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Manasota Key offers a myriad of activities for every type of traveler. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or culinary delights, this tropical paradise has it all.
Plan your trip to Manasota Key and embark on a memorable journey filled with fun and discovery. Explore the area and experience these 17 most fun things to do in Manasota Key.