Located on the beautiful west coast of Florida, Manasota Key is an ideal vacation destination with plenty of things to do! Join us as we keep exploring the possibilities of yet another little-known Florida destination.
Almost anywhere you go in Manasota you’ll find white sand beaches and ocean water so clear you can see fish swimming around. It’s home to one of the most sought-after farmer’s markets in the whole state! There’s an environmental center, a winery, and there are so many parks that all have their own unique aspects. Below is our list of the best things to do in Manasota Key.
- Blind Pass Beach
- Stump Pass Beach
- Englewood Farmers Market
- Pioneer Park
- Indian Mound Park
- Lemon Bay Park & Environmental Center
- Catania’s Winery
- Cedar Point Environmental Park
Unique and colorful, Manasota Key is a perfect vacation destination. Keep reading for more details on all of its amazing attractions!
Why You Should Go to Manasota Key
You can take a look at some pictures and immediately see that Manasota Key is one of the most beautiful areas in the whole state. The tropical weather is perfect almost every day. Situated between two bodies of water, the breeze will keep you comfortable.
Manasota has a vacation vibe. The crowd it attracts is on the younger side but this is a great destination for families as well. Manasota Key is split partially within the community of Englewood Beach and partially within Charlotte County.
8 Awesome Things to Do in Manasota Key, FL
Natural beauty is a cornerstone of Manasota Key.
There are plenty of beaches to visit and parks to explore. You’ll be able to go visit a winery and taste some excellent wine. Perhaps you’ll want to get your hands on some of the freshest fruit you’ve ever had. Well, there’s a market for that!
1. Blind Pass Beach
Looking down the length of this fantastic beach, you’ll most likely think you’re in paradise. Take a walk along the coast and enjoy the scenery. There are shells all over the beach, different shapes, sizes, and colors. If you’re lucky you might even find a shark tooth. The gulf water is delightful, warmer and more inviting than on the Atlantic coast. You won’t find too many amenities, but there are bathrooms available and plenty of free parking. The beach is nice and large so there will be ample room if you are seeking out some seclusion for yourself or your family. Looking around you’ll be able to observe the wildlife which includes sea turtles, all sorts of birds, and a lot more!
You’ll be able to access the beach between 6 am and 10 pm. Most people who visit enjoy their time there. It seems that if what you have in mind is a quiet, calm, beautiful beach, you will want to head over to Blind Pass. Plus, you won’t need to pay to enjoy a day here, there is free parking!
You can access the website here.
2. Stump Pass Beach
Perhaps you are thinking to yourself that you want to go to a ‘Pass Beach’ just not the ‘Blind’ kind. Well, Stump Pass Beach is the answer to your prayers. The park area has fun trails and from those, you can hike to beach areas where you can relax and take in the view. You can enjoy a picnic right on the beach. There are some trees as well if you want to set up a hammock and lounge. As with Blind Pass, you’ll be able to scan for some very nice seashells and shark teeth. And if you like to fish, Stump Pass is an ideal location where you can potentially hook some monsters.
There is a full list of available activities at the beach here. You’ll also be able to see up-to-date weather reports via that website. There is a video you can watch on this webpage which will give you a good idea of what type of scenery to expect during your visit to Stump Pass. There is a fee but it’s only $3 per car.
Here is a link to the main website.
3. Englewood Farmers Market
If your visit to Manasota Key happens to take place between October and May, you should make it a point to dedicate a Thursday morning to the Englewood Farmers Market. The market is open from 9 am to 2 pm. It’s the kind of thing that people living locally in the area look forward to every week. You will be able to get the freshest locally grown food. It is not only limited to fruits and veggies.
There are some local fisherman selling fish that may have even been caught earlier that day! Some bakers sell delicious treats. You’ll also be able to enjoy live music while you shop around. Between all of the different types of foods available, you can gather up all the ingredients you need to cook up a wonderful dinner.
If you are looking for inspiration, the website offers a list of recipes you can use. The Farmers Market is a non-profit and the money raised is put toward restoring and maintaining the local parks and beaches.
If you’d like more information, take a look at their website.
4. Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park is a lovely location with an interesting recent history. Not so long ago, a group of arsonists decided to set the playground area ablaze overnight. Through the help of the town and many residents, the funds were raised to rebuild the park. It is now complete and it is better than before! If you have kids, they are sure to have a blast at this park.
You’ll be able to sit and read on a bench and enjoy the weather. There are basketball courts and tennis courts available if you want to get some exercise in. The park is accessible every day, opening early and closing around sunset. It’s free to access so don’t worry about paying a fee.
You can take a look at their website if you’d like to see more info.
5. Indian Mound Park
This park has ancient roots linked to Native American culture from the area. The availability of seafood made this an ideal location for those inhabitants. You’ll be able to set out for a day canoeing or kayaking via the launch point at Mound Park. There are hiking trails all over, areas for picnics, wildlife all over the place, and access to clean bathrooms. Walking around the park you’ll be able to learn a lot about the history of the area.
This area of Manasota happens to be one of the best places to enjoy the sunset. It’s a small park and, unfortunately, there is no area to swim. If you happen to find the history of the area interesting, this is a must-see. The park opens at 6 am and closes at sunset. You won’t need to pay a fee to access this park.
This is the official website for the park.
6. Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center
Lemon Bay Park is a big and beautiful nature reserve. There are plenty of different trails to hike. Nicely built wooden pathways allow you to explore all around the area, providing lovely views right on the water. There are beaches you can access. As you journey through the trails you’ll love the canopy that the trees create. The deeper you go it starts to look like a prehistoric forest.
Enjoy nature at the butterfly garden. There are multiple places where you’ll be able to launch boats. The park is pet-friendly and offers amenities such as picnic tables and restrooms. The calm water from the bay creates a serene vibe where you can see the reflection from the sun. Similar to Indian Mound, this is also an ideal location to watch the sunset. The park opens at 6 am and closes after sunset.
This park is free to access. If you’d like additional information you can check out their website.
7. Catania’s Winery
During your stay in Manasota, you’ll probably want to make a stop at Catania’s Winery, because they offer award-winning bottles of wine and have done so for 30 years now. Almost everyone who visits this winery has good things to say. During the tasting portion, you’ll be able to test multiple types of wines. Although the winery is small, they have a variety. You’ll learn all about how the wine is produced and what makes it special. There are classes available where you can learn to make wine. You can also purchase wine-making equipment.
Perhaps wine is not your thing. No matter, this can still be a worthwhile pit-stop for you! The winery offers gourmet coffee. It could be a great way to start your days during vacation, ensuring you’re able to enjoy all that Manasota has to offer. There is also an amazing olive oil and vinegar available in the shop. The Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday from Noon until 5 pm. Prices on tastings or individual bottles of wine vary.
If you’re considering this destination, give their website a look.
8. Cedar Point Environmental Park
Cedar Point is 115 acres of some of the most wonderful natural beauty in the area. It is equipped with plenty of amenities. You’ll be able to watch birds and if you want to go out on the water there are canoeing and kayaking launch points. A guide can take you through the nature preserve, pointing out the different types of unique foliage and wildlife. The trails are maintained well throughout the preserve.
The main hiking path, a little over 3 miles long, will take you about an hour and a half to traverse. Throughout the hike, you will be treated to lovely views every few hundred feet or so. The hike is not a difficult one; you won’t find yourself climbing up and down steep angles. This park is free and the hours of operation are similar to the parks listed above.
At the Nature Center, you’ll be able to use the restroom, purchase food and drinks, or get some souvenirs. Keep an eye on the event calendar. There are various programs including, for example, an educational hike for kids. They’ll learn all about the preserve and wildlife. Make sure to be armed with bug spray if you plan to visit Cedar Point Park. There is a pay station for parking, so depending on how long you stay it can be anywhere from about $2 to $10.
You can check their website out for more information.
Where to Stay
Lodging is a little bit tricky in Manasota Key. Most of the available lodging on Manasota itself is not in the form of hotels or motels. For that, you may need to travel a bit outside the island.
Luckily, Manasota has plenty of houses for rent and Airbnbs. These can be a bit more pricey than chain hotels, but the ratings are high and it will guarantee a memorable and luxurious vacation.
The Island House
Located in Englewood, the Island House is going to ensure that you have the most relaxing stay possible. You won’t need to go far for an amazing view, it’s right in the backyard. Walkout about 50 feet and you’ll be on the beach. There are free WiFi and private parking. The interior of the home appears as though it was recently remodeled and in great condition.
2810 North Beach Road
This is an apartment in an excellent location and the value is solid. The apartment complex has a pool and it is right on the water. There is a place right outside the apartment complex where you can rent bicycles. It’s a nice way to explore the outdoors. Inside is capacity for 5 people, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio area with a beach view.
Sun Coast Inn
This is one of the few hotels in the area. You’ll have access to an outdoor pool and free Wifi. The rooms are mostly equipped with at least two beds; you’ll be able to fit your family. Each room is equipped with a tea and coffee maker. This hotel is a great value, you won’t need to break the bank to stay for a week or so.