Englewood: Florida’s Best Kept Secret

Gulf Coast Beaches

(The following opinions are those of Jacky Carlson, a resident of Palm Manor).

Manasota Beach – the last beach on Manasota Key, can be reached by taking Beach Road and going north as far as possible, or goint north on 776, turn left on Manasota Beach Road and follow to the end. This great family beach features facilities, non-smoking, lifeguard on duty, good shelling, and rich shark tooth and fossil hunting. Remember, there is more to look for on our beaches than just shark’s teeth. Horse teeth, mastodon teeth, bones and fossils can also be found. Go to the local libraries and you will find many books on our Florida fossils. Many shops carry the booklet, Fossilized Shark’s Teeth and Fossils by Byron Fink, a great starter photo identification guide.

Stump Pass – Take Beach Road, turn left and go south on Manasota Key as far as you can go. This is a state park with limited parking and a $3 fee which maintains the facilities. (By the way, our state parks are beautiful, well maintained and a great bargain!) There is a wonderful well cleared nature trail that starts behind the rest rooms. It is about a 2 mile loop that winds along the water. Look carefully for gopher tortoises, armadillos, osprey, eagles, owls, and if you’re lucky a black racer. At the end of the trail, you arrive at a wide expanse of beach shared by gulls, Royal Terns, Skimmers, shells, boaters, and cavorting dolphins just off the beach in the pass.  Middle Beach(aka Blind Pass, 2nd beach) – The middle beach on Manasota Key is another good fossil finding beach. Nice facilities, non-smoking, but no lifeguards. Featuring lots of parking in the huge parking lot with docking facilities and playground across the street. Take Beach Road, turn right and drive north until you get to Middle Beach.

Englewood Beach – The closest beach to Palm Manor, only 2 ½ miles away, this is a pay to park beach. You are charged by the hour, and if you get ticketed, it will cost you over $100.00! There are facilities, no lifeguard, and shops across the street which sell food and beach goods. (This beach is in Charlotte County, Middle Beach and Manasota Beach are in Sarasota County. Charlotte charges parking, Sarasota’s don’t). Entertaining drum circles on Saturday nights – go take part in drumming the sun into the sea. Starts an hour or more before sunset – always a show in and of itself!