Access to Florida’s beautiful outdoor spaces is a major perk of life in West Villages. Beach proximity is just one piece of that bigger picture; parks and other green spaces offer much in the way of casual and purposeful recreation in West Villages. Parks within a 10-mile radius of West Villages include:
Blue Heron Park
Spend some time outdoors without ever leaving West Villages boundaries. Blue Heron Park is dog-friendly and offers a Bark Park portion that includes doggie drinking fountains and agility stations. The park has walking trails, shade structures and plenty of space to relax, or recreate, without leaving the neighborhood.
Senator Bob Johnson’s Landing
Located in Venice, this park offers wildlife viewing areas that bird watchers will particularly love. Both paved and unpaved trails are part of the property that also includes a boat and kayak launch. Visitors in kayaks will be able to paddle downstream to the Myakka River Rookery, an important nesting spot for wood storks. Frogs, snakes, alligators and turtles are other species kayakers and hikers could expect to see at this county-run park.
The Legacy Trail
Take advantage of paved walkways on The Legacy Trail — a trail system connecting communities across Sarasota County and into neighboring Charlotte County. Amenities of the trail include free parking, rest station areas at approximately every mile and several trail heads. There is even a surrey rental program so people who want to use the trail can ride it, instead of walk or run it. Trailheads include:
- Culverhouse Nature Park in Sarasota
- Osprey Junction Trailhead in Osprey
- Laurel Park in Laurel
- Nokomis Community Park in Nokomis
- Oscar Scherer State Park in Nokomis
- Patriots Park in Venice
- Historic Venice Train Depot in Venice
Boundless Adventures Playground
For a playground experience that steps outside the box, make the short drive to Boundless Adventures Playground in North Port. The playground features equipment that is accessible to children of all abilities, with a paved nature trail planned for the near future.
Garden of the Five Senses
This four-acre park is designed to tap all the senses through nature. The park is landscaped along a paved walking trail and includes plenty of open green space, too. Shelters and benches are located throughout the park to allow rest and shade when needed.
For those who love water recreation, Marina Park offers access. It connects boaters in North Port to the Myakka River, by way of the Myakkahatchee Creek. The park has a boat ramp, ADA accessible docks, boat trailer parking and kayak/canoe launches. The park is located along North Port’s Blueway Aquatic Trail.
With a pedestrian walkway, an interactive foundation and plenty of places to sit and relax, Centennial Park in Venice is always worth the short drive from West Villages. There are picnic tables, an ADA accessible gazebo and a Memorial to Veterans, too.
This athletic complex off Pinebrook Road is the site of the city’s first drinking water wells and has been called Wellfield ever since.
It includes three football fields, three soccer fields, two softball fields, three baseball fields, batting cages, disk golf, a croquet club field and restrooms. Adjacent Pinebrook Park has two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court and fitness/nature trail.
Chuck Reiter Park
For those looking for an active way to spend time with children or grandchildren, Chuck Reiter Park in Venice has a lot of option. A large playground, with shaded areas, is open to the public and there are batting cages and a concession stand for a fee.
A one-stop spot for recreation for all ages, Hecksher Park in Venice has basketball courts, tennis courts, racquetball and handball courts, shuffle board courts, a playground and a tot lot. There is even lighting for night play so visitors can plan their activities when the Florida sun isn’t quite so hot.
This family-friendly spot is located near the historic Venice Train Depot and has a train-themed playground. The multi-use Legacy Trail has an access point at the park, and there is also a kayak/canoe launch, picnic shelter and other areas available for rental.