Venice, Florida is a charming Gulf Coast town that really comes alive on the weekends. From beautiful sandy beaches to exciting cultural events and outdoor activities, Venice offers endless options for fun in the sun when you visit on a Saturday or Sunday.
As a Florida resident and frequent Venice visitor, I wanted to share my insider’s guide on how to make the most of your weekend getaway in Venice.
This amazing town has a unique laid-back vibe with plenty of great restaurants, live music, and things to do with kids and adults alike.
Keep reading for my hand-picked recommendations on some of the top attractions, activities, dining spots, and hidden local gems to check out in Venice over a weekend.
Fun Things to Do in Venice Florida This Weekend
Relaxing at Venice Beaches
With its location on the Gulf of Mexico, beautiful beaches are one of the main draws of Venice.
You can easily spend a whole day soaking up the Florida sunshine and walking along the shoreline. Venice has several public beach access points, but some of my favorites include:
Caspersen is a gorgeous stretch of coastline with fine white sand. It’s a bit off the beaten path so it doesn’t get as crowded as other beaches. I love coming here to collect shark teeth – this is one of the best spots to find teeth washing up on shore! The sunsets here are simply stunning as well.
Located right near the historic Venice Pier, this popular public beach has plenty of parking, restroom facilities, volleyball courts and food vendors. It’s a great spot to swim, play beach games or just set up your towel and umbrella for relaxing by the water.
Brohard Beach is perfect for families with its calm shallow waters and on-site amenities like picnic pavilions. There’s also a dog beach area, making this a great spot to bring your four-legged friends!
Enjoying Venice Events and Festivals
From art festivals to food and wine events, Venice has something fun happening almost every weekend. Here are some of the top events and festivals I recommend checking out if you’re visiting Venice over a Saturday or Sunday:
Downtown Venice Craft Festival
This huge juried art show happens a couple times per year and features over 100 artists and craft vendors selling jewelry, paintings, pottery and more. It’s a great spot to find unique local souvenirs and gifts.
Venice Shark’s Tooth Festival
As the name suggests, this popular annual festival celebrates Venice’s reputation for shark tooth hunting. In addition to shops selling fossilized sharks teeth, you’ll find live music, arts and crafts vendors, and food booths.
Venice Farmers Market
For delicious fresh produce and an authentic local vibe, stop by the Downtown Venice Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Along with fruits, veggies and prepared foods, you’ll find live music and craft vendors here too.
Monthly Food Truck Festivals
On select Sundays, an amazing variety of gourmet food trucks lineup at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds. It’s the perfect spot to sample lots of different cuisines in one place!
As you can see, Venice knows how to throw a good festival! Checking event sites like Visit Venice Florida is a great way to see what’s happening during your specific weekend getaway dates.
Experiencing Venice’s Live Music Scene
One of my favorite aspects of Venice is the lively music scene. Many local restaurants and bars in the downtown area feature live music acts, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Crow’s Nest
Right on the Venice Pier, The Crow’s Nest is a legendary spot that’s been serving up seafood and live music for over 60 years. Enjoy listening to local bands while digging into a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp and taking in sunset views.
Sharky’s on the Pier
Another waterfront restaurant on the pier, Sharky’s has indoor and outdoor bars hosting bands nightly. It’s hugely popular with both locals and tourists.
Nestled along the Myakka River, this is one of the most unique and charming venues in Venice. Snook Haven offers dining, live music, wilderness tours and more. It’s a slice of Old Florida not to be missed!
The Pink Elephant
For a laid-back sports bar vibe with live rock and blues acts, visit The Pink Elephant. Their covered patio is dog-friendly too!
Visiting several live music spots is a fun way to experience Venice’s local flavor and nightlife over a weekend. Now you have a list of my top recommendations on where to go!
Enjoying the Outdoors
Between the beaches, parks and wilderness areas, Venice offers tons of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Here are some of my top picks for getting outside during a weekend visit:
Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels
For a unique paddle excursion, join a guided kayak tour through the winding mangrove tunnels near Venice. You’ll see beautiful coastal scenery and plenty of wildlife like birds, fish and dolphins.
The Gulf waters around Venice are famous for excellent saltwater fishing. Book a half-day or full-day fishing charter to try catching species like snapper, tarpon and grouper. No fishing license required!
Biking the Venetian Waterway Park
This paved biking and walking trail runs through some of Venice’s most scenic landscapes. Rent a bicycle and ride through parks, palm trees and over bridges crossing streams and lagoons.
Cayo Costa State Park
Just a short ferry ride takes you to this pristine barrier island. Cayo Costa is only accessible by boat or ferry making it perfect for a peaceful day of beaching, shelling, hiking and nature watching.
As you can see, the Venice area offers tons of ways to get active and outdoors over the weekend. Hiking, boating, yoga on the beach, and other fun activities await.
Dining and Nightlife
No trip to Venice is complete without checking out some of the fantastic local restaurants and nightlife spots. Here are some of my top recommendations for eating and drinking your way through a weekend in Venice:
Best Breakfast – The Old Salty Dog
This charming spot is housed in a bright pink cottage and serves up amazing breakfast dishes like crab cake benedicts, stuffed French toast, and coconut pancakes.
Best Seafood – Crow’s Nest
As mentioned earlier, this iconic Venice restaurant situated right on the pier is a must for fresh local seafood with sunset views. Their fried grouper sandwich is to die for.
Best Pizza – Mama Leone’s Pizzeria
For authentic New York style pizza loaded with toppings, check out this Venice favorite. Their white pie and signature Leone’s Special are delicious.
Best Burgers – Zekes Burger Shack
Zekes serves juicy chargrilled burgers featuring prime beef as well as turkey, salmon, and black bean veggie burgers. Don’t skip the handcut fries!
Best Bar – The Captain’s Landing
This nautical-themed bar and grill located along the Intracoastal Waterway is perfect for drinks and fun after a day on Venice beach. Bands play on an outdoor patio.
Venice truly has amazing dining and nightlife. Part of the fun is wandering around downtown and sampling all the great restaurants, bars and cafes. Now you have a shortlist to get started!
Shopping and Souvenirs
From beachy boutiques to shops filled with local art and gifts, Venice has plenty of great options for retail therapy on the weekends. Here are some of my favorite spots to shop till you drop during a Venice getaway:
Downtown Venice Main Street
This charming avenue is lined with indie boutiques, galleries, cafes and more. Pop in and out of the colorful shops as you explore by foot.
Venice Beach Wear
Find stylish swimsuits, beach coverups, hats, sunglasses and all the essentials for a day by the sea at this popular shop near the beach.
Stop into this authentic gelateria for a scoop (or two) of their incredible homemade Italian-style ice cream. The pistachio flavor is to die for.
Treasures Gift Shop
Located in a historic 1920’s train depot, this shop sells unique locally made jewelry, pottery, soaps, artwork and other gifts showcasing Venice.
Woof Gang Bakery
If you have dogs with you, Woof Gang is a must-visit pet bakery and shop with tons of treats and accessories for furry friends.
Shopping local is one of the best ways to support Venice businesses and take home a memorable souvenir. Be sure to budget some time to browse and pick up a few items at the shops mentioned above or others you stumble upon during your weekend wanderings.
Venice is an excellent destination for a family-friendly weekend getaway. Here are some top recommendations for keeping kids of all ages entertained during your time in Venice:
Cool off at one of Venice’s splash parks like the fun Pirates Cove Park or Maxine Barritt Park. With spray fountains, dumping buckets and slides, little ones will have a blast.
Mote Marine Aquarium
See sharks, manatees, sea turtles and more up close at Mote Aquarium. This is one of the best spots for learning about Florida marine life. Plan to spend a few hours here.
Caspersen Beach Shelling
As mentioned earlier, Caspersen Beach is a prime shelling spot. Kids love hunting for shells, sand dollars and shark teeth to take home.
Legacy Trail Bike Ride
Rent a family bike or surrey and take a ride along this paved recreational trail through beautiful scenery. Pack a picnic too!
Just a short drive takes you to Naples Zoo where kids can see exotic animals like lemurs, lions, monkeys and more in natural habitats.
The key to keeping kids happy in Venice is mixing educational activities like wildlife encounters with plenty of beach and pool time! Now you have family-friendly suggestions for an amazing weekend.
Romantic Weekend Escape
With its sun-drenched beaches, excellent seafood restaurants, and live music, Venice makes for a wonderful romantic getaway spot for couples. Here are some top ideas for planning a romantic weekend in Venice:
Picnic at Caspersen Beach
Pack a picnic basket with wine, cheese, fruit and other goodies and spread out a blanket at this peaceful beach. Sitting together watching the sunset is breathtaking.
How about a private gondola ride at night through the canals and waterways of Venice? Very romantic!
Take a fun cocktail-making class together at a venue like the Crow’s Nest. Then cozy up at the bar and enjoy sipping your creations.
Pamper yourselves with side-by-side massages at one of Venice’s spas like Serenity Day Spa. Ahhhh relaxing!
Sunset Sailing Cruise
Sailing into the Venice sunset with a glass of bubbly is a romantic way to end the day.
Venice offers endless ways for couples to connect and enjoy each other’s company. Now you have romantic weekend ideas for an excursion full of relaxation, fun and beauty.
One of the great things about Venice is that you can enjoy an amazing weekend here without breaking the bank. Here are some of my top tips for saving money during your Venice getaway:
- Visit in the off-season – Hotel rates and flights are much cheaper from May through October when tourism is slower.
- Pack snacks and beverages – Having some of your own food/drinks helps lower dining costs.
- Check Groupon or Living Social – You can often find discounted deals for Venice attractions and restaurants on these sites.
- Rent a condo with a kitchen – Making some of your own meals helps you save versus eating out for all meals.
- Take advantage of free activities – There are plenty of ways to have fun that don’t cost a penny, like beachcombing or exploring downtown.
- Join players clubs and happy hours – Sign up for player’s cards at places like the casino and check Groupon for discounted happy hour deals.
With some flexible planning and smart decisions, Venice can work with almost any budget. Now you have money-saving tips to enjoy this beautiful destination affordably.
Final Tips and Recommendations
To recap, Venice has so much to see, do, eat and explore during a weekend escape. From relaxing beach days to exciting events and non-stop music, you’ll never run out of activities.
Here are a few final tips to make the most of your time:
- Don’t worry about dressing up! Venice is super casual so shorts and flip flops are acceptable everywhere.
- Bring sun protection like hats and high SPF sunscreen – the Florida sun is strong.
- Visit the Venice Visitor Center downtown for coupons on attractions.
- Check the weather forecast and bring rain jackets in summer when afternoon storms are common.
- Go early (or late) to avoid crowds at popular beaches and restaurants.
- Talk to locals for insider tips on hidden gems!
With its laid-back vibe and varied options, Venice truly offers something for everyone. I hope this weekend guide gives you amazing ideas and gets you excited to plan your Venice, FL getaway.
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends or that special someone, creating wonderful memories is guaranteed in this Gulf Coast treasure.