Essential info for visiting Historic Spanish Point.
If you haven’t visited Osprey’s Historic Spanish Point, you should. The 30-acre park, gifted to the county by the family of Bertha Palmer, is one of the area’s most interesting—and
beautiful—attractions. Here’s a quick guide to your visit.—Hannah Wallace
Start with the Basics
Spanish Point is not really Spanish at all. In 1867, a Spanish trader in Key West told an American pioneer named John Webb about an unusually high point in west Florida that was popular with Cuban fishermen. Webb settled here and called the spot “Spanish Point.” Today, the historic site is dedicated to natural wonders, pre-Columbian peoples and antebellum homesteads.
Take the Tour
Informational markers throughout the park explain the area’s history, but Historic Spanish Point’s dedicated tour guides and docents bring that history alive with expert storytelling and entertaining anecdotes. Check in at the visitor’s center for a spot on a guided walking tour or tram tour.
Check the Calendar
Throughout the year, all sorts of special events meld the beautiful natural environment, historic themes and contemporary fun—everything from Pioneer Days to Havana Nights to Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations (plus several kids’ summer camps). Visit historicspanishpoint.org/calendar to plan your trip.
Two sites are available for idyllic, Old Florida weddings. Cozy and rustic, Mary’s Chapel is highlighted by the site’s original 150-year-old stained-glass windows. And for a garden ceremony, the pergola features decorative iron and stonework, including one of Bertha Palmer’s fountains.
Mind the Middens
Most of the park’s 30 acres sits about 15 feet above sea level, making it one of Sarasota’s highest points. The elevation comes from two prehistoric shell middens (piles of prehistoric garbage), the older dating back to 2500 BCE. Be sure to stop into the “A Window to the Past” exhibit, which lets you walk inside the midden to view its layers and learn about archaeological discoveries.
Dine Old Florida Style
After your visit, keep the theme going with a meal at a charming Old Florida joint. Spanish Pointe Pub (spanishpointe.com) and Casey Key Fish House (caseykeyfishhouse.com), both local icons (and both on the water), are just a short drive away. |||
The Point’s first human inhabitants mysteriously disappeared around 400 CE.
337 N. Tamiami Trail
Osprey, FL 34229
Children 5-12: $5