Discover Florida’s Natural Beauty

State Parks and Nature Preserves around Venice offer unique possibilities to enjoy the tropical flora and fauna of Southwest Florida.

Venice Nature Preserves

Everybody knows the Everglades – from a personal visit or at least a travel book. They are worth a trip – no question.

But do you know, that Sarasota County around Venice offers a large variety of chances to meet the real Florida with its incomparable Flora and Fauna? Far away from tourist crowds there are especially fascinating landscapes and nature preserves, that are best to explore by foot or bike.

Please have a look at the following selection of great destinations.

Gopher Turtoise - Villa Happy Gator
Gopher Turtoise


Lemon Bay Preserve

The size of the beautiful nature preserve is more than 220 acres. It is located only a 20 minute walk from Villa Happy Gator. A number of trails invite to walking or jogging. If you are lucky, you will meet a unique species, that exists only here in South Florida: The Florida Scrubjay!

Florida Scrub Jay - Villa Happy Gator
Florida Scrub Jay


Shamrock Park

Less than 2 miles away from our vacation home lies Shamrock Park, a fantastic city park and nature preserve with a trail system for walking, running or biking within typical Florida vegetation, tennis courts and a great playground for the youngsters. Shamrock Park is situated directly at the Venetian Waterway Park, which extends along the Intercoastal Waterway.

Shamrock Park South Venice
Shamrock Park South Venice

Oscar Scherer State Park

A must-see for all Florida Visitors in this area. This 1400 acres nature preserve offers a beautiful insight in different vegetation zones. Take the trail along South Creek and you will see a magical river scenery.


Oscar Scherer State Park - Villa Happy Gator
Oscar Scherer State Park


Myakka River State Park

This is another wonderful Park no Florida visitor should miss. It is one of the oldest State Parks in Florida. Through the Western part of the park meanders a picturesque 14 mile long section of the shallow and winding Myakka River, which is protected as Florida Wild and Scenic River.

At the Western entrance there is a ranger station and the visitor center. The visitor center offers video introductions and exhibits of wildlife and its living space. Not far from there is the trail head of the Boylston Nature Trail, a half an hour loop trail, that leads to Myakka’s Canopy Walkway, that extends 85 ft. It was built in 2000 and offers a view of the life in the tree tops 25 ft above the ground. The bridge ends at a 74 ft high observation tower that offers a fantastic view of the park.

Along SR 72 there is a 7 mile long paved road alongside the shores of the Upper Myakka River. Additional 19 miles of unpaved roads and more than 40 miles of hiking trails lead through the park area. At the Upper Myakka Lake you will find the Birdwalk, a 1000 ft long boardwalk perfect for watching birds. Who wants to see some Alligators – here you will find them!

More info on the official Website of the Park.

Alligator - Myakka River State Park
Alligator – Myakka River State Park