We invite you to discover the ultimate bucket list of eight extraordinary activities in the sun-soaked paradise of Manasota Key, Florida.
Nestled along the mesmerizing Gulf of Mexico, it offers a plethora of exciting activities whether you're a nature enthusiast, a water sports aficionado, or simply seeking relaxation in an idyllic setting.
This hidden gem boasts a stunning coastline, abundant wildlife, and a vibrant coastal atmosphere that will captivate your senses.
Join us as we keep exploring the possibilities of yet another little-known Florida destination.
Why You Should Go to Manasota Key
Manasota Key is split partially within the community of Englewood Beach and Charlotte County.
It is home to one of the most stunning stretches of beach in the entire state.
It is also renowned for its fascinating wildlife. As you explore the area, you might spot dolphins frolicking in the waves or sea turtles gracefully making their way to the shore.
If you're an adventurer at heart, Manasota Key offers a myriad of thrilling water activities.
Dive into the pristine waters and discover an underwater wonderland filled with vibrant marine life, hidden reefs, and even the occasional shipwreck.
Snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts will be in their element, exploring the colorful coral gardens and encountering tropical fish in their natural habitat.
For those seeking a slower pace, Manasota Key is a haven for beachcombers and shell collectors.
If you're a nature lover, a visit to the nearby Stump Pass Beach State Park is a must. This pristine sanctuary is a treasure trove of ecological wonders.
Immerse yourself in the lush mangrove forests, go hiking along scenic trails, or enjoy a picnic surrounded by breathtaking vistas.
With its diverse wildlife and untouched landscapes, Stump Pass Beach State Park offers an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
But the wonders of Manasota Key don't end with its natural beauty.
Indulge in the local culinary delights by savoring fresh seafood caught right from the Gulf.
Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Florida with mouthwatering dishes like succulent shrimp, juicy crab legs, and perfectly grilled fish.
From casual beachside shacks to elegant waterfront restaurants, Manasota Key's dining scene will leave you craving for more.
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 juiciest tropical fruits. Manasota Key markets got that covered!
1. Blind Pass Beach
Prepare to be transported to paradise as you gaze down the stunning length of Manasota Key's Blind Pass beach.
This awe-inspiring stretch of coastline will leave you breathless, with its pristine sands and azure waters.
Embark on a leisurely stroll along the coast, immersing yourself in the sheer beauty of the surroundings.
As you meander along, you'll discover an abundance of shells in various shapes, sizes, and colors, just waiting to be collected as treasured souvenirs.
Keep your eyes peeled, as luck may be on your side, and you might even stumble upon a precious shark tooth.
Unlike the cooler waters of the Atlantic coast, the Gulf water at Manasota Key is delightfully warm and inviting, tempting you to take a refreshing dip.
While the beach may not offer an extensive range of amenities, fear not! Bathrooms are available, and you'll find ample free parking, ensuring your comfort throughout your visit.
With its vast expanse, the beach provides plenty of space for those seeking solitude or a peaceful getaway with their loved ones.
As you take in the surroundings, be prepared to encounter a rich tapestry of wildlife.
From graceful sea turtles to an array of fascinating bird species, the beach is a haven for nature enthusiasts.
You'll have the opportunity to access the beach from 6 am to 10 pm, allowing you to maximize your time in this idyllic setting.
You can access the website here.
2. Stump Pass Beach
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. Trees line the coast if you want to set up a hammock and lounge.
Enjoy fishing? Stump Pass is an ideal location where you can potentially hook some good catch.
There is a full list of available activities at the beach here.
There is a video you can watch on this webpage that will give you a good idea of what type of scenery to expect during your visit to Stump Pass.
There is a fee of $3 for all types of vehicles.
Here is a link to the main website: Stump Pass Beach State Park
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 Farmers Market is a non-profit and the money raised is put toward restoring and maintaining the local parks and beaches.
People living locally in the area look forward to this every week. You will be able to get the freshest locally grown food.
But It is not only limited to fruits and veggies. There are some local fisherman selling fish so fresh because it has just been caught earlier that day!
You'll also find bakers selling delicious treats. Enjoy live music while you shop around.
The market is open from 9 am to 1 pm every Thursdays from October to May.
If you’d like more information, take a look at their website.
4. Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park is a lovely location with an interesting back story.
Not so long ago, a group of arsonists decided to set the playground area ablaze.
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 it was previously! If you have kids, they are sure to have a blast at this park.
See what it looks like now in this video:
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.
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 the area, providing lovely views 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.
Like 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 a fantastic 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 home's interior appears as though it was recently remodeled and is in excellent 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.
So there you have it; let's recap the best things to do if you ever decide to stay 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
We hope you found a lot of interesting sites to visit in the area that suits your travel cravings.
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