Englewood, FL

This Isolated Beachfront State Park is Rarely Crowded and is the Perfect Place for Shelling, Seeing Manatees, or Birding

L. Cane

As the weather turns warm, many people look to Florida's beaches as wonderful places to soak up some sun, relax, and enjoy the beauty that the sunshine state has to offer.

But, if you know anything about Florida, you know that it can be very crowded in the summer and peak months, and its most popular beaches can look as if they are completely filled with visitors. It can be hard to see the sand for all the towels and beach chairs.

What if I told you that there was a state park with an isolated beach that you could visit for $3 per vehicle, which is also close to a very cute beach community where you might also enjoy spending some time? Introducing Stump Pass State Park in Englewood, Florida.

What's So Special About Stump Pass State Park?: Most people are aware of some of Florida's popular barrier islands such as Sanibel and Captiva Islands, which are beautiful. But don't overlook the lesser-known ones like Manasota Key in Charlotte County in southwest Florida.

On that same Key, you'll find Stump Pass State Park. It's special because not only is it beautiful and teaming with wildlife, but it also only has around 40 parking spaces, which keeps it from becoming overloaded.

The result of this is that it can't and doesn't get too crowded (although there are sometimes people waiting to park,) and at certain times it can feel like you mostly have the beautiful beach to yourself.

A Gorgeous Gulf Beach on One Side and the Intracoastal on the Other: Stump Pass has a lovely beach that has some driftwood and bleached tree stumps (which may be where it got its name.) This makes for a very picturesque setting.

The Intracoastal Waterway is on the other side of the park, surrounding you with beauty and options. There's also a good bit of wild greenery, giving you the sensation that you're in an untamed, untouched place.

The water is typically very clear on this beach, and it's a popular place for scuba diving, canoeing, and snorkeling because of this.

Wonderful Shelling and Shark Teeth: As you might expect in this area, the beach on Stump Pass offers excellent shelling. But there is also the ability to collect shark teeth. At certain times of the year, you can find mounds of shells on the beach shore.

Lush Greenery, Wildlife, and Various Types of Birds: The park has trails (the main one is just over a mile long) that you can explore to experience lush greenery, mangroves, and wildlife like turtles and shorebirds. In the waters, you may see a manatee or two.

Fishing: You're allowed to fish in this park and those who do have caught tarpon, whiting, snapper, flounder, trout, redfish, snook, sheepshead, and tarpon.

What to Do in Englewood: After you're done at the park, you may want to check out Englewood because its a quaint, charming town, and there are some fun things to do like visiting the Pop Culture Antique Museum or hit Dearborn Street and Olde Englewood Village for the city's hotspots. The Englewood Farmer's Market offers a wide range of artisan foods.

A popular restaurant in Englewood is the Lighthouse Grill, an "old Florida" style eatery that offers beautiful waterfront views and serves good seafood and decadent desserts.

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