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Monday, May 13, 2019

The Legacy Trail Between Sarasota and Venice Florida is a Great Place to Bike, Skate, Walk or Run!

This is paradise for the active traveler! The trail has no traffic, is scenic and runs for miles!

The Legacy Trail is a dedication of historical and environmental lands which  provide a place for visitors and residents to view wildlife in different habitats, relax in an undeveloped environment, discover local history and exercise.

Look at our visit to the Legacy Trail in this video and hear about the great features of this trail by watching us live!


The first passenger coach ran on the brand new Seaboard Air Line Railway Sarasota to Venice extension on November 12, 1911. The Venice Train Depot, built by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, was opened March 27, 1927. The railroad helped Venice survive during the Florida real estate bust and the Great Depression.

On April 30, 1971, the last passenger train arrived in Venice. Limited freight service continued until January 1992. Regarded as Florida’s number 1 tourist attraction prior to Disney, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was billed as “the greatest show on Earth!”  The circus used the railway to reach its Winter quarters in Venice from 1960 to 1992.

The Legacy Trail Between Sarasota and Venice Florida is a Great Place to Bike, Skate, Walk or Run!
Photo courtesy of Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources

Sarasota County purchased and restored the Venice Train Depot and it was dedicated on October 24, 2003. Today, the Historic Depot serves as a historical resource with tours by the Venice Area Historical Society and as a regional transportation hub for Sarasota County Area Transit. The Depot is a wonderful place to stop for restrooms, shade and water, but most importantly to learn more about the local area.

In 2004 after more than a decade of planning, the county’s $11.75 million purchase of the scenic CSX railroad corridor was accomplished in partnership with The Trust for Public Land. At nearly 12.5 miles long, the 100-foot-wide CSX corridor stretches from just south of Clark Road in Sarasota to Center Road in Venice.

The Legacy Trail links to the Venetian Waterway Park (VWP) at the historic Venice Train Depot at the Venice Avenue Bridge, where trail users can continue south on VWP mainland trail to the Shamrock Park Nature Center or cross the Intercoastal Waterway to the VWP island-side trail and south to Caspersen Beach and Park. It is about 15 miles from the trail’s beginning point near Sawyers Loop Rd. in Sarasota to either of the southern trail heads at Caspersen Beach or Shamrock Park.

Historical markers are located all along the Legacy Trail providing often forgotten history of the local area including the unfortunate Turpentine Camps of the early 20th century.  The collection of turpentine, also known by its more formal name “Naval Stores,” started during the Colonial Era and continued into the 1950's.  No longer forced to work, many former slaves took jobs in the turpentine camps to supplement their incomes. Over time, this lead to the development of African-American communities within the turpentine camps. Large camps could have as many as 100 workers. The workers and their families would live at, or near, a main camp.  The history of the turpentine camps along the Legacy Trail are well described by historical markers.

The Legacy Trail Between Sarasota and Venice Florida is a Great Place to Bike, Skate, Walk or Run!

Wildlife Galore!

Like much of the state, nature is close at hand along the trail and you’re likely to see many types of birds, lizards, snakes, tortoises, and rabbits. Watch for the trail’s many interpretive signs to identify and learn more about the regional flora and fauna!  In Venice along the water, look for Manatee, Dolphins, and birds of prey!

The Legacy Trail Between Sarasota and Venice Florida is a Great Place to Bike, Skate, Walk or Run!

Since there are limited water stops available along the trail, we suggest a Camelbak hydration pack with the High Visibility color!  Click the photo below to learn more or buy at Amazon:


  • Want to visit the beach?  Should you have extra time and energy, explore the 8.6-mile Venetian Waterway Park Trail, which heads south from the Historic Venice Train Depot to Caspersen Beach (perhaps best known for the prehistoric shark teeth that wash up on shore) and then continues back up the other side of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
  • Stop to view the bronze statue of circus star Gunther Gebel-Williams, heralded as “The Greatest Wild Animal Trainer of All Time" at the Venice Train Depot.
  • The Historic Venice Train Depot (303 E. Venice Ave.) at the southern terminus of the trail before heading onto the Venetian Waterway Park Trail, offers parking, restrooms, and drinking water.
  • Bike repair stations are located all along the trail (see our video to view them)
  • Covered benches are available all along the trail to get some rest and shade
  • 9-1-1 markers are present every 5/100 mile in case of emergency so you can be located expediently 
  • Parking is available throughout the trail including the following locations: 

  1. Patriots Park (800 Venetia Bay Blvd., Venice)
  2. Nokomis Community Park (234 Nippino Trail East, Nokomis)
  3. Laurel Park (509 Collins Rd., Laurel)
  4. Oscar Scherer State Park (1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey)
  5. Bay Street Park (300 Bay St., Osprey)
  6. Potter Park (8587 Potter Park Dr., Sarasota)

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