Welcome to Manasota Key, Florida, which serves not only as home to a beautiful beach but vibrant eco-destination south of Sarasota and Venice. Here you can explore rarely beautiful and tucked away sections of beach and eco-habitat without the hassles of a well-hyped beach; no overcrowding, difficulty parking, and not even any of the occasional long waits typical of busier beaches’ diners/bars for your po’boy sandwiches and margaritas. Those traveling to the region and looking for a way to explore the less explored should consider a day spent in Manasota Key. Hey, who knows, you may even find your own secret slip of white sandy beach to spend your day on interrupted by others! Your only competition is the local creatures of the ecosystem.
Beaches and Eco-System
Manasota Key is one of the local’s well-kept secrets for the home to private sections of pristine beaches. There are a number of these secluded beaches in the area, including Manasota Beach, Blind Pass Beach, Englewood Beach (perhaps the best known of these beaches), and Stump Pass Beach. Within each of these strips of Florida beach, you can walk for miles and find your own secluded spot to call home for the day.
Manasota Beach is probably the least populated beach due to its out of sight location and where we spent most of our time. You could drive right by the beach and never even realize it was there. The beach-access parking is arguably far more convenient than any of the neighboring beaches, and its other amenities — picnic shelters, boat ramps, paved trails, etc. — however, the parking can fill up fast, which often leads to finding the small slips of beach off the ocean inlets that I mentioned earlier. One could easily find a tropical white sand beach for their own right off one of the many interconnecting waterways to host a grill-out, beach games, and beach chairs sinking into 4 inches of calm Gulf Coast waters.
When we came to Manasota Key, we spent most of our time hanging out in one of those beachside late inlets, and it felt secluded and secret. The beach we accessed was close to the boat ramp at the very end of the beach-access parking lot. You have to drive for quite some time to get to the end of the beach-access parking lot roads. Still, when you reach the boat ramp, there are many trails and walking paths that can lead you to secret beaches of the water inlets where you could easily spend a day kayaking, swimming, paddle boarding, and just relaxing alongside the vibrant eco-system.