At first glance Brohard Beach in Venice looks like most Florida Gulf Coast beaches. Turquoise water, sunshine & blue skies, clean sandy beaches filled with seashells, shark's teeth, cool birds & plenty of beachgoers. But there's something special about Brohard Beach that makes visiting truly unique. It tops our list of favorite beaches.
Access to Brohard Beach is through Brohard Paw Park. The park is a large fenced-in play area divided into two sections for large & small dogs. Brohard Beach & Paw Park is open daily from 7:00 am until dusk. All breeds are welcome, admission is free and so is the parking!
Double gates at the rear of Brohard Paw Park accesses the boardwalk to the beach. It's a short but scenic walk down a wide concrete sidewalk to the wooden boardwalk. The walkway is flanked by a small lake on one side & swampland on the other so there's a good chance you will see wildlife. Don't worry, everyone is safe within the fencing. We came prepared but if you decide to pop in on a whim there are plenty of trash cans & doggy-doo bags conveniently located here.
We didn't take any photos of Brohard Paw Park. Our hands were always full of leashes, beach gear & two extremely excited (or tired) puppies. But we all agree, the paw park is an awesome spot for families to enjoy. There is a pavilion, benches & picnic tables for humans. A drinking fountain, bathing station & plenty of room to run for the furry kids. Dogs are allowed off-leash once inside the fencing!
The pier in background is the Venice Municipal Fishing Pier, a 700 foot pier that offers free fishing without a license to all Florida residents & guests. It's located on Venice Beach in front of Sharky's on the Pier. More on that later in another post.
Tucker & Roxie are best buddies!
So, imagine my surprise when our 2 bonded Boxers found new friends to play with at the beach & completely ignored each other! Upon arrival Tucker wanted to walk the full length of the beach to greet everyone. After he scoped out the scene, Tucker would choose the biggest female on the beach & try to goad her into playing. Tucker befriended a huge Great Dane on our first visit. He went crazy over her! In the video clips below Tucker makes friends with a female Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Roxie wasn't as picky with her playmates. She didn't bother to walk the beach. The first person or puppy she spotted with a ball was her new best friend. Period, end of story. Male, female, person or pup. Roxie did not care. She was going to push her way into the ballgame & play!
Brohard Beach & Paw Park both have a really great vibe with a diverse mix of people & pets. All were friendly, relaxed & having the best time playing together. We took the kids to the beach several times during our month-long stay. It was fun for our whole family. No hassles, long lines or cranky children. I think it's time for Disney to give up the title. Brohard Beach is surely the happiest place on earth!
If you're familiar with Boxers you know they are HIGH ENERGY dogs that require a lot of exercise & attention. They prefer to spend time with their people & they want to be included in everything! Boxers are also very expressive with their emotions. They tend to get their nose out of joint if they feel they're being left out of the fun. They will look for mischief when bored. It's not much of a problem at home but when you're staying in someone else's fabulous home...it's something to consider.
Brohard Beach proved to be the perfect solution for us. When Jason & I wanted to go somewhere without our dogs, we'd start our day at Brohard Beach. It only took an hour or so to wear our kids out completely. Once home they would happily sleep the day away allowing Jason & I time to enjoy other activities.
If you're considering a fur family vacation, check out the the Englewood/Venice area. Several resorts, VRBO & AirB&B rentals on Manasota Key allow pets although some do have weight or breed restrictions so be sure to check before booking.
Taking our furry kids on vacation was a great choice for us.
We had a wonderful time made even better because we were together.
We parked a block off Dearborn & started walking with our cameras in hand. We entered the show near a parking lot full of Corvettes. I was eyeballing the cool, old red Corvette above when a man approached me saying "Aww, you don't like that old piece of junk, do you?" He hustled me over to his much newer Corvette insisting I get in & check it out. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He was awfully proud of his car so I didn't want to burst his bubble but... I still prefer the old model.
We wandered around admiring all of the cars on display. We took a ton of photos but I doubt we were able to catch them all. The street was lined with cars, the parking lots were filled and quite a few cars cruised Dearborn revving their engines.
Which cool car would you choose for a cruise?
You Know You're a Landscaper When...
You attend a cool car show & take photos of sod.
Jason & I couldn't get over the condition of this recently installed sod. It was so dry you could almost hear it gasping for water & not an irrigation line in site. OMG those seams! And they're parking on it too?!?!
Danny's Cream Pies
Where Cars, Desserts & Craziness Collide
Creepy Doll Christmas Carol Hearse?
I wish he would've parked with the other cars on display.
I have so many questions!
It wasn't in our plans but we did end up purchasing a vehicle while we were in Florida. We stopped at a yard sale between Venice & Englewood one afternoon. She was parked at the very back of the garage. A bargain we just couldn't pass up. She's a classic & a real beauty.
We loved the Olde Englewood Village Farmer's Market. Open every Thursday except Thanksgiving, October-May, 9:00 to 1:00 on Dearborn Street in "Old Englewood" Florida. It's a great farm market. Large & sprawling without being overwhelming, filled with almost everything imaginable. Check out their website Olde Englewood Village Farmer's Market or their Facebook page HERE. We had planned to check out the Venice Farmers Market too but the Olde Englewood Market was so nice we decided to go back a 2nd time to revisit our favorite vendors.
Our first stop was the German Snack Bar for a hot breakfast sandwich with a side order of German cucumber salad. Yum! Next time I'm trying the schnitzel sandwich. That looked delicious too. We ate our breakfast on a shaded bench then set off to shop the market.
We found herbs, produce, specialty foods, kitchen gadgets, live plants, cut flowers, art, food tents, musicians. It's really something!
Gourmet Soups, Salads & Entrees, Fresh Catch of the Day, Sushi & Fish Spreads, Artisanal Pickles, Olives, Cheese & Meats, Fruit & Nut Butters, Jams & Jellies, Syrups & Sauces, Coffee Beans, Tea Leaves, Mushrooms, Chaga & woohoo KETTLE CORN!
The produce was spectacular. We try all kinds of food in our travels. No fast-food or restaurants chains for us. We're after the fresh, local eats. I prefer to eat out while traveling, grazing at local restaurants & food trucks. I did a fair amount of cooking this trip. Our rental had a fabulous kitchen & the variety of fresh ingredients made it well-worth the cleanup.
If I were a resident, I imagine I'd have to invest in a wagon or two to haul my farm market purchases. It took all of my will-power not to buy plants. The live plants & cut flowers were so beautiful. I miss them in the winter months. Isn't it strange to see poinsettia outside?
One of our favorite vendors was Olive Branch & More. Handmade pasta, infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars & oh my gosh the bread! Their olive focaccia bread was out of this world. It melted in your mouth & was absolutely delicious. You don't have to make a special trip to FL to shop Olive Branch & More although I'd recommend it if you can! They have an active Facebook page with lots of product photos and an online store. Check them out!
Another favorite vendor was Emmy & J Gourmet. I was obsessed with their Kentucky Bourbon Roasted Nuts. Emmy & J Gourmet also makes a variety of dipping mixes for fruit, veggies & bread but I could not get beyond their nuts. Fresh batches prepared on site! We sampled & purchased every flavor but the Habanero. (Too high on the Scoville Scale for me!) They were all excellent. Jason's #1 pick are the Cashews. Thai Tom Yum Mixed Nuts for me. You can shop Emmy & J Gourmet's online store HERE. We have an order coming our way now!
What's a Florida farm market without citrus? We visited Joshua Citrus, Inc.'s booth at the farm market to sample their wares. Fresh-picked citrus, sweet & juicy and they make it so easy to ship home! Our favorites were the ruby red grapefruit. No sugar needed! The shipped fruit did not disappoint. It arrived within a few short days in perfect condition. FYI - January only Honeybell tangelos are in season at Joshua Citrus. We have another flat of ruby red grapefruit en route with a flat of the Honeybell tangelos. Shop Joshua Citrus, Inc.'s online store here.
We're home now & missing our fun in the sun but at least we'll have our favorite Florida treats to enjoy as we plan our spring/summer gardens & next winter's trip. We still have a lot of Florida fun to share. Shelling, shark tooth hunting & dog-friendly adventures. Amazing art & cool classic car shows. Turtles, birds, fossils & sea creatures. See you soon!