North of Fort Myers, the snorkeling off Venice is known as the shark tooth capital of the US. The section of Gulf Coast from the Venice South Jetty all the way south to Manasota Key is well known for plentiful fossilized shark teeth along the coastal shoreline. While the largest shark teeth are in water about 15 to 18 feet deep offshore, many snorkelers will just hang out in the shallow surfline close to shore especially since the water clarity is known to be pretty poor.
In addition to the occasional stingray and small shark, you can expect to spot small black fossilized shark teeth up to a half inch long or fossilized stingray tails up to 3 inches long. If you do happen to catch a very rare clear visibility day, you may spot a tooth up to 4 inches long in the deeper waters off shore. Keep in mind that the visibility is usually low, especially during the summer months when it can be well under 5 feet. During the winter months, snorkelers may prefer a wetsuit.
While most people head to Venice Public Beach, it has been refreshed with sand over the past couple years. Actually, they replenish the beach from South Jetty south to the fishing Pier at Sharkys about every ten years. The last replenishment was in 2015/2016. That fresh sand has covered most of the shark teeth close to shore.
The best shark tooth snorkeling can be found at Caspersen Beach, which is located at the southern end of Harbor Drive, about a mile past the Sharkys Pier. There are several artificial reefs extending off the beach with are covered with coral and marine growth which makes for good reef fish habitat. The artificial reefs usually catch plenty of good shells too. A good time for shark tooth snorkeling is at low-tide especially after a storm. If you come in the warmer months when the water clarity is exceptionally poor, you can always sift for shark teeth by using a sharks-tooth-basket (0.25 inches), sand-flea-rake (medium) or sifter buddy. These are available at the local Walmart store and for rent at Papa’s Bait Shop on the pier.
If you happen to be coming up from the south such as Naples, then try stopping at Manasota Key Beach. While there are no rocky structures to observe, you may spot some shark teeth.
After a long day in the water, make sure to head over to Sharkys on the pier for a cool drink!
To reach the snorkeling near Venice by air, fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) located east of Fort Myers. The best bet is to rent a car in order to get to the local dive sites. To reach the Venice snorkeling from US75, use Exit #193. Head south on Jacaranda Boulevard. Turn right heading west on Venice Boulevard to Gulf Drive where there are three large public parking areas.
Overall, Venice Public Beach is the 9th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 18 snorkeling dives in Florida Gulf Coast.