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Getting Away: Historic Spanish Point

The history-filled nature area reopened on Oct. 10.

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Sarasota’s nature offerings have been disrupted by Hurricane Ian, with many still being closed for business as repairs are underway.

Still, time moves on and some places are opening up.

One such place is the Historic Spanish Point, a 30-acre environmental space and museum in Osprey. The waterfront nature showcase has quite a history — hundreds of years in fact. 

People often visit the area, which has a number of preserved structures and artifacts, to learn more about that history and to just enjoy a pleasant stretch of quiet in Sarasota. The location was acquired by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in 2020. 

Now that the Historic Spanish Point has reopened, you can visit too. 


Historic Spanish Point has a lengthy history, with its earliest residents being the Manasota Culture who stayed for 500 years. Evidence of their time can be found in a burial ground at the park’s entrance. 

Hundreds of years later, the Webb family moved from Utica, New York to Florida in 1867. They settled at the Historic Spanish Point and established a homestead, opening a number of businesses and services along the way. Guests can see the remnants of that framework today, with the chapel house, packing house, pioneer cemetery and other structures remaining intact. The Point’s Guptill House is a two-story wooden home full of craftsmanship in the style of the original builders. 

The Webb family sold the land to Bertha Palmer — one of Sarasota County’s wealthiest and most influential figures — who made the Historic Spanish Point her home. Many of her preserved garden’s are still fully up and healthy for guests to walk through to this day. 

The Scenery

Historic Spanish Point has plenty to see and, thankfully, much of that is in the shade or with a cool waterside breeze.

Walking through the nature space will quickly take you to pleasant waterside scenery as well as the well-known Sunken Gardens that are worth sitting in and taking in the air. 

Some of the walk takes you right alongside the water where you can see small crabs scuttling through the mangroves.

Eventually the walk takes you through the Little Sarasota Bay Watershed, a patch of land that’s crucial in draining water into canals, bays and other bodies of water. 

October is also a fun time to visit the area as the “Lights at Spooky Point” attraction, where skeletons, ghouls and other creepy elements have been put throughout the walk, is set to open Oct. 14.

On the flip side, some of the smaller gardens (as well as the popular butterfly gardens) are still closed after the hurricane. But patience will see them open again soon enough. 

There’s also the “Classic Portal” on the Duchene Lawn, which is an odd marvel that’s fun to take a photo with. 

If You Go: Historic Spanish Point


Where: 401 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., special hours for indoor exhibits

Price: Free for Selby members, $8 for member’s guests, $16 for adults

Call: 366-5371



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