One of the things I love about South County is that we have more water access than just about any other community on the Gulf Coast. Depending on my mood, I head to the jetties, Venice Beach, Nokomis Beach, or the secluded south Caspersen Beach.

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My new favorite water spot takes me further north to the new 15-acre Blackburn Point Park, on Blackburn Point Road, near the swing bridge leading to North Casey Key.

You can launch a kayak into Little Sarasota Bay from a floating dock or a motorized boat from a separate public boat ramp. From there, you can boat to the Gulf of Mexico through the Venice Inlet, south of the park.Covered picnic tables below tree canopies provide privacy and a respite from the sun.

I found Blackburn Point a great place to park my car and then bike to North Casey Key, something that has been difficult because until now, there were no public parks or facilities on the north end of the Key. The park is open year round from 6 a.m. until midnight. There's plenty of parking for cars and non-motorized boat trailers.

And after all that exercise and sweating, my routine is to head next door to the tiki bar and enjoy a cold beverage next to the water.

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