Sharing its name with a character from Longfellow’s traditional poem Hiawatha, Nokomis Beach is neatly situated between Florida’s Gulf Coast cities of Venice and Sarasota. Stretching into the distance, the 14 miles of white sand and clear blue waters are part of the Nokomis Beach Park on Casey Key.
Nokomis Beach Amenities
Covering just 22 acres, this quiet public park has everything you need for a perfect day on the beach – free public car parking, restrooms, picnic areas, warm clear waters, fine sand…and the chance to find fossilized shark’s teeth if you’re lucky. Shelling, swimming, diving, fishing, boating, birding, and building sand castles can all be enjoyed on this beach beneath the watchful eye of local lifeguards.
Nokomis Beach has a concession stand and bait shop near North Jetty Park. The concession stand is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, if you are looking for a commercialized beach lined with high-rise architecture then Nokomis Beach is probably not for you. Situated south of the busier Siesta Key, Nokomis is a quiet family-friendly beach. The nearest dining and shopping can be found across the bridge in downtown Venice, or further north in Sarasota.
The first part of what is now Nokomis Beach was acquired by Sarasota County in the 1940s. It is the oldest public beach in the County and has been entertaining families and visitors for generations. Many famous names now own multi-million dollar properties on the barrier island of Casey Key, which is bounded by the Intracoastal Waterway on one side and the calm Gulf of Mexico on the other.
Wildlife and Shelling on Nokomis Beach
On cooler days, Nokomis Beach is perfect for enjoying a long traffic-free walk in the sun with just the calls of seabirds and the sounds of the waves for company. Wildlife includes pelicans looking to dive for the next meal, or the sight of dolphins playing just offshore. In the sand dunes, you may spot one of the resident gopher tortoises as you cross the wooden walkover.
Just south of Nokomis, Venice’s coastline is famous for shark’s teeth washing ashore, but Nokomis Beach seems to attract lots of gorgeous sea shells. It’s a real delight for shell hunters and collectors. Some fine shells have been found near the sea oats and grass that lines the seashore – perhaps tossed up in particularly stormy seas. Keen shellers should head as far north up the beach as possible as this area is less frequented and offers a better chance of finding more unusual shells that are still whole.
Nokomis Beach Drum Circle
The local drum circle gathers informally near the lifeguard tower on Nokomis Beach every Wednesday and Saturday evening. They arrive anytime after 6 p.m. so if you linger you may enjoy an impromptu performance as the sun sets over the Gulf.
It’s a very family-friendly event to witness and it usually lasts for 60-90 minutes. Spectators play maracas or dance and sway to the hypnotic rhythm of the drummers. Of course, the gathering has evolved into a local traditional and attracts some more outgoing individuals who may turn up in outrageous costumes or hats. As the sun sets, the drummers beat faster and louder into a closing crescendo before silence descends and everyone departs.