Walk with us through the Longboat Key's parks and other outdoor attractions.
Traffic? Noise? Anxieties of everyday life?
Gone. Gone. And gone.
While certainly busier and more well-attended during tourist season or even an off-season weekend, a visit to Joan Durante Park mid-week is an exercise in disappearing for a while. Don't be surprised if you're the only person in sight.
The mid-island, 32-acre park at 5550 Gulf of Mexico Drive serves a serious purpose of harboring life such as herons, egrets, eagles and a range of wintering birds while also filtering pollutants from the waters of Sarasota Bay.
It is a created wetland, built from land acquired by the town in the 1980s. Philanthropist James Durante donated funds for the town to develop a park and restore the land in honor of his late wife, Joan M. Durante.
The park has also won a number of awards, including the “1998 Outstanding Ecosystem Restoration Award” from the Florida Urban Forestry Council, the “Public Landscape Award” from the Keep Manatee Beautiful organization, and the “Image Manatee Beautification Award” from the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce.
Today, miles of trails, overlooks of Sarasota Bay, a playground and a pavilion draw visitors year-round. It is open from dawn to dusk.