Englewood Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida. Englewood is located some 70 miles
south of Tampa and 20 miles south of Sarasota Florida. What makes Englewood Beach so
nice is of course the water of the Gulf of Mexico, but what really is the difference between
Englewood Beach and other Florida beaches? The difference is the location of restaurants
and stores located directly across from the beach. Take a look at the following pictures
of Englewood Beach and how easily you can walk to everything located across the street.
Let's look at the beach facility first, then I'll show you the restaurants, stores, and park across the street.
This the main building on Englewood Beach which has the restrooms and changing facilities on the top floor. There are stairs in the front and ramp access on both the north(right) side and south side of the building for wheelchairs, strollers, or carts to carry food, drinks, umbrellas etc. The bottom of the building has things like beach wheelchairs which must be reserved in advance.
In front of the pavilion is a drop off zone for visitors. The stairs are the only access on the front of the building. The beach wheelchair rental pickup and return is located in the bottom open gated area.
If you have a wheelchair, stroller, or wheeled cart, then you must use the ramps to the boardwalk on the north or south side of the pavilion. This the north ramp.
At the top of the north ramp, you make a left to get to the pavilion.
This is the north ramp down on to the beach. You can see it is steep and has no wheeled access beyond the ramp. Unfortunately, Sarasota and Charlotte counties have no wheelchair pads on their beaches. They do offer "beach wheelchairs" but these are difficult to pull across the sand and an individual cannot wheel these by themselves...they must have another person pull them. So if you are a wheelchair user and plan a vacation to a Florida, you may want to plan a trip to some other place like Ft. Myers which does have access out on the beach. I think the biggest problem with government thinking regarding wheelchairs is it is still lost in the past..."those people just need somebody to help them". They still don't realize that a wheelchair does not mean someone is "helpless" and needs someone else. It means their legs may not function or function well enough to walk...which is not the end of the world...believe me on this.
This is the top floor deck of the Englewood Beach Pavilion where both boardwalks come into the pavilion main building where the restrooms are located. This deck only has stairs leading to the beach.
This ramp leads from the Pavilion Deck to the Main Pavilion with the restrooms. Further ahead is the front staircase from the drop off area.
The boardwalk area around the main building is large enough for people and wheelchairs both. The restrooms are located on several side of the building.
The restrooms are accessible and large enough to accommodate mom and young kids that need "servicing". They are usually clean and have the necessary paper for a complete pitstop. Unfortunately, people still feel the need to piss on the toilet seat...so bring your own sanitation wipes if you need to sit down.
This a view from the front stairs of the Main Pavilion over the Pavilion Deck at the Gulf of Mexico.
There are freshwater shower on both the south and north sides of the pavilion boardwalk.
This a view looking down from the south boardwalk ramp to the sidewalk into the parking area.
Englewood Beach has a rental vendor that provides beach umbrellas and beach chairs for visitors who do not wish to buy or bring these to the beach.
Englewood Beach has several small pavilions on both the north and south side that have picnic tables in the shade with adjoining charcoal BBQ grills if you enjoy picnicing at the beach. You can also buy food from one of the restaurants across the street and sit in the shade to eat. We sometimes eat lunch or dinner under one of the pavilions.
This is the south access onto the beach at the far end of the parking lot.
The sand dunes protect the land side of the beach and are legal to walk in or pick the sea oats or other vegetation.
From the south access you can see Mexico across the Gulf...err, not quite, but it is a beautiful view.
This is the north parking lot where most of the parking is provided for Englewood Beach. Ypu can see the small pavilions with picnic tables and BBQ grills on the beach side of the lot.
On the far north end of the beach parking area is an access to the beach. It is my favorite place on Englewood Beach because buried a few inches the sand is a boardwalk! I can ride my wheelchair out to the end and have a good view of the beach and the Gulf.
This is my view from the end of the north access. It's the only place on at the Englewood Beach facility a wheelchair user can get close to the beach. I was on a boat and on the beach from shortly after I was born, so not being able to get out on the beach is something I miss.
When coming into the beach area, Calico Jacks is the first place you will see. It is a rustic old Florida bar that's been here since the 70's.
Geraldis Pizza and Subs is a great little family owned place. The food is more than reasonable and is it is good food. They do mostly take out but have a small sitting area outside. Most people take their order over to the beach or back to their hotel. You will meet mom, dad, and their daughter when you go in...they are always friendly. We've been buying pizza from them for ten years and they give us an order at Christmas every year..they appreciate their customers. You can see Geraldis menu here.
The next places you will see is the Barefoot Trader and the Circle K
The Barefoot Trader has all the beach supplies you may need or have forgotten when going to the beach. They have rafts, chairs, umbrellas, bathing suits, sun tan oil and a lot of other stuff. They have a FaceBook page with pictures of the stuff they carry in the store.
The Circle K is a chain convenience store that is right across the street. If you need a quick cold drink, coffee, ice, or a cheap hot dog..it's here.
The Lock and Key Restaurant has been directly across the street from the main beach entrance for more than forty years. The food has always been excellent. They have seating outside facing the beach and nice air-conditioned seating inside. Because of my long wheelchair, I normally sit outside in the shade for lunch. There is often live music in the outdoor seating area. Many people sit on the front deck in the evening with a cold drink or their dinner and watch the sunset. The Lock and Key website is here.
Beach Company has bikinis and bathing suits.
Just as the name says, the Gulf View Grill has a great view of the Gulf of Mexico from the second floor dining area. They also have a small outdoor tiki style bar on the bottom. I have not been in here for many years because of my wheelchair and their elevator situation, but the food used to be pretty good. Here is there website, Gulf View Grill
The White Elephant Bar and Grill is a piece of Englewood Beach history. It was built in the 1950's
and the upper floors were never completed. It got the name by the local commercial fisherman using
it as a navigation reference point because you could see it from way out it the Gulf. There
were no other tall buildings in the area. They would give directions to another boater by
telling them, "Just go a little south of the white elephant to Stump Pass to get into the bay."
Today the White Elephant has a large indoor and outdoor area on Lemon Bay for eating and drinking. They have live music and a nice view of the water and boats in the marina. You can also pull your boat right up to the back of the place and get a cold drink and bite to eat. The owner has always been nice to me.
Check out the The White Elephant website for more information.
Flounders is a bar and eatery with indoor and outdoor seating. They have live music on
an outdoor stage. I've never eaten here so I can't say anything about the food.
You can see their website Flounders for more info.
Island Court and Allure Jet Ski and boat rentals. You can get fresh seafood and stone crabs here
when they are in season. The rentals are launched in the channel of Lemon Bay behind the buildings
and makes for a short ride to Ski Alley which is the place to hang out, ski, raft, lay on the
beach at Stump Pass State Park, or just ride around.
You can find out about their rentals at Allure.
The entrance to Chadwick Park is in front of the White Elephant. You can park in here for a small fee and walk across the street to the beach when the beach parking lot is full..which is often during the winter season or holidays.
The park is situated on a small peninsula on Lemon Bay.
A view of the White Elephant marina from the park.
There are several vacation spots on Lemon Bay with docks for guest boating.
The bay side of Manasota Key near the beach offers the fisherman and his family the best of both worlds.
The public dock at Chadwick Park can be used by boaters mooring their boat in the bay. Don't waste your time fishing from here because it's usually a waste of time...unless that is why you go fishing.
The pavilion is large with a number of picnic tables. There a several BBQ grills available.
You can sit on the point of Chadwick Park and enjoy the view of Lemon Bay and the boats.
The channel on the north side of Chadwick Park has the old Florida look with the rusted metal rooftops and coconut palm trees blowing in the wind. This the back of the Island Court and Allure Jet Ski and boat rentals. You can get fresh seafood and stone crabs here when they are in season.