Follow the shoreline to South Florida to this under-the-radar getaway.
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Venice
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While we love revisiting the Panhandle, there's a whole world of beach towns dotting the Florida coast, and they're just waiting to be explored. If your appreciation of the Sunshine State doesn't extend past 30A, you might be surprised to learn about Venice, a laid-back beach community located south of Sarasota, that is totally worth the drive. Direct your attention nearer the equator to discover one of South Florida's coolest towns.

Enjoy the Beaches

Located on the Florida Gulf Coast, Venice calls up associations with other waterside Venices. (The ones in California and Italy come to mind). This one, though, has a personality all its own. The first question on everyone's lips is, "How's the beach?" The answer here is, "Never better." Venice has great shores, including 14 miles of white-sand beaches perfect for lounging and splashing in the surf. The coastline stretches from Casey Key to Manasota Key with lots of land and sea activities along the sands. Whether your preferred beach fun includes swimming, fishing, boating, or sunning, there's a warm welcome for you. It's also a great spot for shelling, and travelers often find sharks' teeth that have washed up onshore.

Explore the Town

There's entertainment for the sports aficionados too. Lots of area golf courses mean that you can usually find a tee time. Golflink lists Sarasota National Golf Club, The Venice Golf and Country Club, Venice East Golf Club, Jacaranda West Country Club, Myakka Pines Golf Club, Heron Creek Golf & Country Club, and Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club as just a few of the courses within 10 miles of Venice.  

It's not all beach all the time, though. Venice also has a great Main Street—according to Visit Florida, it's one of the state's "Main Street Cities," and "its downtown [is] graced by northern Italian architecture and beautifully landscaped boulevards that date to the original city plans of 1925 and reminiscent of the Italian city of Venice whose name it borrowed." Historic downtown Venice has shops and restaurants flanked by palm and banyan trees, and the city plan is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you'd like to listen to music, the Venice Symphony, the only professional orchestra in the county, plays at the nearby Venice Performing Arts Center. If you'd like to bike or hike, check out The Legacy Trail, which runs through Oscar Scherer State Park in neighboring Osprey. If you bring your furry friends on vacation, be sure to check out the Brohard Paw Park dog beach on Harbor Drive. It's located next to the Venice Fishing Pier, where you can cast a line and watch dramatic Gulf sunsets.

Venice
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Dine at Local Favorites

There's plenty of options for dining in Venice. The best cup of coffee is always a great place to start – and the answer is Black Gold Coffee Roasters, which offers a variety of artisan roasted coffees. Another morning option is French bakery Croissant & Co. for pastries, bread, and, yes, made-from-scratch croissants. There are plenty of lunch and dinner options from Italian at Cassariano, burgers at BrewBurgers, seafood at Pinchers, and of course waterfront dining at Crow's Nest. While you're in town, enjoy lunch or dinner at The Old Salty Dog an old-Florida favorite (don't miss the peel and eat shrimp).

Let your travels take you to South Florida, and you just might fall for Venice. You may even decide to relocate. You'll be in good company because many have; there's just nothing better than being at the beach.