Welcome to Manasota Key, a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast of Florida. This barrier island is known for its secluded and pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, and laid-back atmosphere. While some may try to keep this secret to themselves, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the beauty of Manasota Key. In this guide, we will share with you everything you need to know about this hidden paradise, from beach rentals and directions to shark teeth hunting and beachfront hotels. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the secrets of Manasota Key.
Manasota Key Beaches
As contradictory as it may seem, the main attraction of Manasota Key is its lesser-known beaches. Unlike the popular and crowded beaches of Sarasota and Venice, the beaches of Manasota Key offer a more tranquil and private experience. Here are some of the top beaches to visit on Manasota Key:
Located at the northern end of the island, Manasota Beach is one of the least crowded beaches in Sarasota County. With its soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, this beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and long walks along the shore. It also has picnic areas, restrooms, and showers for your convenience.
Directions: From the north, take I-75 to Exit 191 and head west on River Road. Turn left onto Winchester Boulevard and continue until you reach Manasota Beach Road. From the south, take I-75 to Exit 193 and head west on Jacaranda Boulevard. Turn right onto Englewood Road and continue until you reach Manasota Beach Road.
Parking: There is a parking lot at the beach, but it can fill up quickly during peak season. Alternatively, you can park at the nearby Manasota Beach Club for a small fee.
Facilities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and lifeguards on duty.
Blind Pass Beach
Located at the southern end of Manasota Key, Blind Pass Beach is a popular spot for fishing, shelling, and birdwatching. The beach is known for its abundance of shark teeth, making it a favorite among collectors. It also has a boardwalk and nature trail for those who want to explore the surrounding mangrove forests.
Directions: From the north, take I-75 to Exit 191 and head west on River Road. Turn left onto Winchester Boulevard and continue until you reach Manasota Beach Road. From the south, take I-75 to Exit 193 and head west on Jacaranda Boulevard. Turn right onto Englewood Road and continue until you reach Manasota Beach Road. Turn left onto Manasota Beach Road and continue until you reach the parking lot for Blind Pass Beach.
Parking: There is a small parking lot at the beach, but it can fill up quickly during peak season. Alternatively, you can park at the nearby Stump Pass Beach State Park for a small fee.
Facilities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a nature trail.
Manasota Key Rentals
If you want to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Manasota Key, consider renting a beachfront property for your stay. Here are some of the top rentals available on the island:
Manasota Beach Club
The Manasota Beach Club is a historic resort that has been welcoming guests since 1926. This charming property offers a variety of accommodations, including cottages, suites, and villas. All units have fully equipped kitchens, private patios or balconies, and access to the resort’s amenities, such as a heated pool, tennis courts, and a private beach.
Rates: Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation and season. Cottages start at $225 per night, while villas start at $350 per night.
Amenities: Private beach, heated pool, tennis courts, shuffleboard, kayaks, bicycles, and more.
Wanna B Inn
The Wanna B Inn is a family-friendly resort located on the bay side of Manasota Key. It offers a variety of accommodations, including studios, suites, and cottages, all with fully equipped kitchens and private balconies or patios. The resort also has a private beach, two swimming pools, a fishing dock, and a boat ramp.
Rates: Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation and season. Studios start at $150 per night, while cottages start at $250 per night.
Amenities: Private beach, two swimming pools, fishing dock, boat ramp, volleyball court, and more.
Manasota Key Activities
Aside from lounging on the beach, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained on Manasota Key. Here are some of the top things to do:
Shark Teeth Hunting
Manasota Key is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World” due to its abundance of fossilized shark teeth. You can find these treasures by sifting through the sand or simply walking along the shore. Just be sure to leave any live shells or creatures on the beach.
Manasota Key is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and a variety of bird species. You can spot these animals while walking along the beach or by taking a kayak or boat tour through the mangrove forests.
With its calm waters and beautiful scenery, Manasota Key is the perfect place for water sports. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and jet skis from various rental companies on the island. You can also go fishing, boating, or parasailing.
Manasota Key Dining
After a day of exploring and soaking up the sun, you’ll surely work up an appetite. Here are some of the top restaurants to try on Manasota Key:
Lock ‘N Key Restaurant & Pub
Located on the bay side of Manasota Key, Lock ‘N Key is a popular spot for seafood and cocktails. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as live music on select nights. Be sure to try their famous fish tacos and key lime pie.
Hours: Open daily from 11am-10pm.
Gulf View Grill
Gulf View Grill is a beachfront restaurant known for its fresh seafood and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. They offer a variety of dishes, including sushi, steaks, and pasta. Don’t miss their happy hour specials and live music on the weekends.
Hours: Open daily from 11:30am-9pm.
SandBar Tiki & Grille
For a more casual dining experience, head to SandBar Tiki & Grille. This beachfront restaurant offers a laid-back atmosphere and a menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, and seafood. They also have a tiki bar where you can enjoy a cold drink while watching the sunset.
Hours: Open daily from 11am-10pm.
Manasota Key Beach is truly a hidden paradise on the Gulf Coast of Florida. With its secluded beaches, abundant wildlife, and relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect destination for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a slower-paced vacation. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront rental, a day of adventure, or a delicious meal, Manasota Key has something for everyone. So why not plan your next getaway to this secret gem? We promise you won’t be disappointed.