Off the narrow scenic road that weaves its way down Manasota Key, Blind Pass Beach is the southernmost beach in Sarasota County, and certainly its quietest. Starting from the beach parking area on the bay side of the road, the Fred Duisberg Nature Trail is a gentle meander through a mangrove forest to a scenic overlook across a mangrove-fringed cove within the Lemon Bay Conservancy.
Location: Manasota Key
Length: 0.3 mile
Fees / Permits: free
Bug factor: moderate to high
Restroom: at the parking area
Beach access is just across the street. At the far east end of this parking lot there is a kayak launch.
From the junction of US 41 and SR 776 just south of Venice, drive south on SR 776 for 2.3 miles. At a traffic light, turn right to follow Manasota Beach Rd west for 1.8 miles to cross over the bridge to Manasota Key. Continue south for 3.7 miles along Manasota Key Rd to the parking area for Blind Pass Beach on the left.
Look for the sign at the northwest corner of the parking area for the “Fred Duisberg Nature Trail.” Part of the Lemon Bay Conservancy, this stretch of natural waterfront is a beauty spot shielded from development. The trail immediately starts out as a boardwalk beneath sea grapes and mangroves. Watch carefully for mangrove crabs on the lower limbs of the mangroves.
Turning away at a crossover to the road towards the east, the trail continues as a boardwalk through the red mangroves – passing an open spot under them with a midden – to where it emerges onto an observation platform with a splendid view of the cove.
The platform has graffiti on it, but also sports a pretty mural of mangroves in miniature. Looking down, you can see how clear the water is in this cove, a nursery among the mangroves for young fish and other species. Return back to the parking area along the same path.