Nokomis Beach

Nokomis Beach is a quiet, peaceful public beach on Casey Key.

The beaches and seashore are stunningly beautiful, but are less developed than other beaches in Sarasota County, like Siesta Key.

Location

Nokomis Beach is located at 115 S Casey Key Rd, Nokomis, FL 34275.

Nokomis Beach sits on a barrier island named Casey Key. It sits just off of Florida’s western coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

The barrier island of Casey Key is typical of barrier islands in Florida. It is long and narrow, and is mostly served by a single lane road throughout the island.

Casey Key is approximately eight miles long from north to south, and is only a few blocks wide.

Is Nokomis Beach Nice?

Nokomis Beach is a very nice beach, and is ranked as one of the best beaches in Florida.

The best thing about Nokomis Beach is that it has beautiful, clear water, nice sand, and is not overdeveloped like many other Gulf of Mexico beaches.

Nokomis Beach Description

The ambiance at Nokomis Beach is family-friendly, laid-back and quiet.

Nokomis Beach offers more than 14 miles of beautiful seashore. The Nokomis/Casey Key beaches are often described as “hidden gems”.

Casey Key is a mostly residential island, without large hotels or tourist infrastructure to support crowds, so the beaches on Casey Key are usually not crowded.

The lack of development helps keep beach crowds lower than other popular beaches in the area.

Most visitors stay in private vacation rentals which have a very low visitor density compared to a large hotel.

The sparse crowds on the beach are usually either locals, or guests from nearby vacation rentals.

On the downside, the mostly residential nature of Nokomis Beach can make it difficult to access many parts of the beach. But, when you find a quiet spot, it can feel as if you have your own private beach. Or, at least semi-private.

Many visitors like to bring bicycles so they can park in one of the few public parking areas, and then ride to a quiet stretch of beach.

Is Nokomis Beach Free?

Yes, Nokomis Beach is a free public beach. There is no admission fee or cost to visit Nokomis Beach.

Sand, Seashells, Shark Teeth

The sand on Nokomis Beach is beautiful.

Like many other Gulf beaches in this region, the sand on Nokomis Key has high levels of quartz, mixed with a darker crushed shell material. Beachcombers and shellers often find fossilized shark teeth among the seashells.

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On the downside, some stretches of Nokomis Beach are filled with seashells which can be sharp and painful to walk on with bare feet.

The water clarity on Casey Key and Nokomis Beach vary according to local weather conditions, but it’s often very clear and beautiful.

The water is clearest when wind and wave action are low. When the water is perfectly calm Nokomis Beach can have some of the clearest water in Florida, and feels like water from the Caribbean.

The seafloor is often visible when the water clarity is good, and seashells can often be seen on the bottom of the ocean.

What is there to do in Nokomis Beach?

No surprisingly, the most popular thing to do at Nokomis Beach is to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the beach.

There are other things to do near Nokomis, as well.

Legacy Trail

There is a very nice, paved walking and biking pathway near Nokomis Beach, called the Legacy Trail.

The Legacy Trail is a multi-use walking and biking path. The trail travels for more than 10 miles, and stretches from Sarasota to Venice, along the old course of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.

Oscar Scherer State Park

Oscar Scherer State Park is conveniently located near Nokomis Beach, and offers a variety of activities, including kayaking, camping and other outdoor activities.

Kayaking and Paddling

Kayaking and paddling are also very popular in the area, especially the intracoastal waterway, Lyons Bay and other bodies of water.

Sarasota County provides excellent information on a variety of kayaking and paddling trails in the region, along with launch points.

Watch the Sunset

Nokomis Beach is a great place to watch the sunset! Every evening many people gather on the beach to watch the sun sink down into the Gulf of Mexico.

Nokomis Beach Drum Circle

Nokomis Beach is also home to the Nokomis Beach Drum Circle, an eclectic and fun local tradition.

The drum circle is an informal group which gathers twice weekly, on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

The time varies by the season, and follows the local sunset time. More information can be found on the group Facebook page.

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Fishing

Fishing is popular at Nokomis Beach. The rock jetties provide excellent cover and habitat for a variety of fish species, including snook, tarpon, snapper and others.

Many shark species, manatees and dolphins are commonly seen in the area, as well.

Fishing supplies are available for sale at the North Jetty Fish Camp.

Seashell Hunting

Nokomis Key is a very good beach for shelling and beach combing. This stretch of Florida’s coastline is also a great place to occasionally find shark teeth among seashells.

Surfing

When conditions are just right, Nokomis Beach is one of the best places for surfing on the Gulf Coast.

Several factors make Nokomis Beach a good beach for surfing, along with nearby Venice Beach.

Casey Key is a long, narrow barrier island. It’s oriented so that it is slightly angled, stretching from northwest to the southeast. This direction helps catch wave energy from the Gulf of Mexico.

Nokomis Beach and Casey Key also have rock jetties, which sit at the southern end of Casey Key, just north of Venice Beach.

The jetties were built to help prevent erosion and serve as a breakwater to access the intracoastal waterway, but they also help redirect wave energy into surprisingly surfable waves.

Depending on the wind and wave conditions, surfers can be seen north of the jetties on Nokomis Beach, and south of the jetties on Venice Beach.

Surfers at both Nokomis, Venice and other nearby beaches should look for strong onshore winds from the northwest, which can strike the angled shoreline and then bounce off of the rock jetties.

The north jetties are usually the best spot, but it can get crowded because there is a surf cam and a convenient parking lot.

There are other surfing spots in the area, so look around and keep an eye out for good breaks.

During ideal conditions, the waves can actually stack up pretty respectably, especially for the Gulf of Mexico.

As an added treat, surfers often see dolphins nearby while waiting for waves in the lineup.

It’s important to note that although Nokomis Beach is among the best surf spots in Florida’s Gulf coastline, the waves are really only rideable during rare conditions.

The best surfing waves rely on a combination of weather conditions, including storms and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico which can create powerful wave energy.

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Read more about surfing in Florida

Nearby Beaches

There are many other beaches on Casey Key and throughout the region.

  • North Jetty Beach
  • South Jetty Beach
  • Casey Key Beach
  • Venice Beach
  • Manasota Key Beach

The beaches of southwest Florida are beautiful, and are definitely worth exploring if you have enough time. Each beach has its own personality and ambiance.

Amenities

Nokomis Beach is maintained by Sarasota County, and is the oldest public beach in the Sarasota County beaches system.

The Nokomis Beach Plaza was built in the 1950s and features architecture designed by Jack West. West was a renowned architect who led the “Sarasota School of Architecture” and designed many public buildings in southwest Florida.

The facilities at Nokomis Key tend to be well-maintained. The actual condition can vary dramatically according to how busy the beach is, and how well-behaved other beach visitors are on that particular day.

  • Children’s playground
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Food Concessions
  • Picnic tables and barbeque grills
  • Boat Ramp
  • Canoe/kayak launch
  • Fishing Pier
  • Free Public Parking Lot

Lifeguards are on-duty at Nokomis Beach year-round.

Parking

Parking is free at Nokomis Beach, but it is limited.

Visitors should be aware that it can be difficult to find a spot during busy times and during the high season.

There are several boardwalks near the public parking lot to cross over the delicate beach dunes. The boardwalks help spread the crowd evenly throughout the beach, so visitors can usually find a good spot to suit their preference for action or solitude.

Many stretches of Nokomis Beach are located far from the public parking lot, and there is no parking available for many beach access points.

Final Thoughts

Nokomis Beach is one of Sarasota’s best beaches, and is considered one of the best beaches in all of Florida. It offers a lovely blend of convenience, amenities and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Featured Image Courtesy of Joe Flood, CC2.0