Experience Old Florida at Snook Haven Venice, FL: BBQ, Brews, Music & Myakka River Tours

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Last Updated April 3, 2024

Tucked away along the banks of the Myakka River, the rustic hideaway that is Snook Haven exudes an irresistible allure, drawing visitors in with its laid-back atmosphere and scenic beauty. This historic landmark is more than just a restaurant – it embodies Old Florida Charm. Boasting a rich history, mouthwatering cuisine, live music, and captivating Myakka River tours, Snook Haven restaurant and entertainment venue offers something exceptional for locals and tourists looking for an authentic Florida experience. 

Read on to explore what makes Snook Haven a must-visit destination, from its intriguing backstory to its offerings catering to every palate and preference. 

view of the myakka river from snook haven venice florida

What is Snook Haven? Origins to Modern Day. 

At first glance, Snook Haven may appear to be just another riverside eatery, but delve deeper, and you’ll discover a treasure trove of history and character. Initially established in the 1920s as a smugglers’ refuge, Snook Haven has evolved into a beloved gathering spot for locals and tourists.  

During the Prohibition era of the late 1920s and early 1930s, Snook Haven, Venice, FL, emerged as a hidden refuge for smugglers looking to unload contraband along the Myakka River’s shores. Its concealed grounds, on a remote peninsula upstream from the Gulf of Mexico, provided the perfect cover for illicit activities. Unbeknownst to the occupiers then, it was the beginning of a long history and reputation as a community watering hole. 

Snook Haven’s picturesque “Old Florida” landscape was soon discovered by Hollywood, who began using it as a filming location for exotic jungle movies like “Prestige” and “Tarzan’s Revenge” in the 1930s. 

Over the years, the property changed hands until it was opened to the public as a fishing camp in 1988, eventually evolving into the beloved restaurant it is today. Recognized for its rustic charm, Snook Haven became part of Sarasota County’s Parks system in 2006, ensuring its preservation for generations to come. 

What’s to Love About a Visit to Snook Haven?

Snook Haven’s rustic charm expertly transports you to a time before modern conveniences. Its picturesque location amidst Snook Haven Park and the Myakka River seamlessly blends natural beauty, delectable cuisine, and vibrant entertainment. Whether you’re craving a hearty barbecue feast, eager to embark on a leisurely river cruise, or simply searching for live music to set the mood, Snook Haven delivers on all fronts. It’s a place where you can kick back, relax, and savor life’s simple pleasures amidst the tranquil surroundings of Old Florida.

Aside from the stunning scenery and delicious food, Snook Haven hosts some of the friendliest staff and customers you’re likely to encounter. While there is nothing upscale about this place, it is most welcoming, and there is no doubt everyone is there to have a good time. Snook Haven is an essential stop on your to-do list if you’re spending time in Venice or nearby North Port

the entrance of snook haven venice florida- there's a dirt track lined by large trees leading into the green building. A wooden fence is flanked by a an old wooden sign with a fish on it that says "snook haven riverfront restaurant and park"

Where is Snook Haven & How to Get There?

Snook Haven is conveniently located just a short drive from downtown Venice. Near Interstate 75 at exit 191, head west onto E. Venice Drive and follow a road that feels more like a state park than the entrance to a restaurant. At the end of the road, the venue is easily recognized by its rustic tin roof and old-time charm. It’s easily accessible by car, and there’s ample parking available onsite. Additionally, Snook Haven offers docking facilities for those looking to arrive by boat, allowing guests to enjoy a scenic river journey before indulging in a delicious meal.

Snook Haven Restaurant

Upon arriving at Snook Haven, guests are greeted by a charming rustic setting that harkens back to a bygone era. The restaurant features indoor table service and outdoor casual dining options, allowing patrons to choose their preferred ambiance. Whether you dine inside the cozy dining room or alfresco on the spacious deck overlooking the river, you’re in for a culinary treat.

snook haven restaurant - blue wall with a yellow sign that says "welcome to snook haven, where the cool people meet". An alligator head peaks over the fence towards the sign.

What You’ll Find on the Snook Haven Menu

One of the highlights of any visit to Snook Haven is undoubtedly the food. The restaurant’s menu showcases a tantalizing array of dishes, with an extensive smokehouse-style menu and a focus on Southern-style barbecue fare. 

All meats are prepared onsite using their state-of-the-art smoker. From tender smoked ribs and pulled pork sandwiches to savory brisket and mouthwatering burgers, there’s something to satisfy every craving. 

If you prefer seafood, you’ll love the shrimp dishes, and your palette is not complete unless you start with the old Florida favorite and Snook Haven’s signature dish, gator bites. 

Vegetarian options are also available, ensuring no guest goes hungry at Snook Haven.

Remember to wash it down with one of the many craft beers from international and local breweries, including Venice’s 3 Bridges, Sarasota’s JDubs, and Tampa’s Cigar City. 

Around the Snook Haven Park

In addition to its restaurant offerings, Snook Haven boasts a picturesque park area. Lush greenery, towering oak trees, and scenic river views create an idyllic backdrop for leisurely strolls or picnics. Visitors can also take advantage of the park’s amenities, including picnic tables, benches, and docks with boat rentals, making it the perfect spot for a day of outdoor adventure.

Snook Haven Park is open from 6 a.m. to sunset, giving you plenty of time to explore. You can enjoy bird and wildlife spotting, canoeing/kayaking from the launch pads, or fishing from the pier before heading for a bite to eat and some wholesome entertainment at Snook Haven Restaurant.  

snook haven river tours - a large tour boat docked beside snook haven outdoor dining area

Explore the Myakka on Snook Haven Boat Tours by Logan River Tours

For those eager to experience the natural beauty of the Myakka River up close, Snook Haven offers boat tours in partnership with Logan River Tours. These guided excursions provide guests with the opportunity to explore the winding waterways of the Myakka, home to an abundance of wildlife and stunning scenery. 

Jump aboard the Nan Sea, a 40-ft commercial pontoon boat custom-built for nature viewing and photography, and prepare to be wowed. The vessel holds 29 passengers plus crew and has a restroom on board for your convenience.

Tours run from November through May, with extra sailings at the weekends. For just $25.25 for an adult fare, you can spend an hour aboard Nan-Sea on a “Wild and Scenic” Tour, where you’ll discover some of the area’s history and natural attractions. You might also be lucky enough to spot alligators, herons, turtles, ospreys, egrets, and eagles! 

Reservations are not essential but are strongly encouraged as this is a popular attraction, and you want to take advantage of your chance to experience it! 

Live Music & Fun: Snook Haven Entertainment Schedule

As the sun sets over the Myakka, Snook Haven becomes a hub of entertainment, with live music performances adding to the festive atmosphere. Local bands from around Sarasota play almost daily during the high season. From blues and bluegrass to country and rock, the venue hosts a diverse lineup of talented musicians, ensuring there’s always something for everyone to enjoy. You want to attend the popular Banjo Thursdays, courtesy of the Gulf Coast Banjo Society, from October to May. You can check out the Snook Haven entertainment schedule here

a dark evening with people sitting outside at benches surrounded by lights as they enjoy entertainment at snook have restaurant

Planning Your Visit to Snook Haven, Venice, Florida

Sounds pretty great. That’s because it truly is. If you’re ready to experience all that Snook Haven has to offer, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  1. Check the Entertainment Schedule: Before you plan your trip, be sure to check Snook Haven’s entertainment schedule so you can catch your favorite artists in action.
  2. Reserve in Advance: Snook Haven can get busy, especially during peak times. To ensure you have a table reserved for your visit, making a reservation in advance is a good idea, especially if you’re planning to dine indoors.
  3. Arrive Early: If you plan to take a boat tour or enjoy outdoor dining, consider arriving early to beat the crowds and secure the best spot.
  4. Bring Your Camera: Snook Haven is a photographer’s paradise with its scenic beauty and picturesque surroundings. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone to capture memories that will last a lifetime.
  5. Relax and Unwind: Above all else, remember to relax and unwind during your visit to Snook Haven. Whether you’re sipping a cold drink on the deck, listening to live music, or cruising down the Myakka River, take the time to savor the moment and soak in the beauty of Old Florida.

Join Us at Snook Haven

Whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time visitor to Venice, Florida, Snook Haven invites you to experience Old Florida’s best. From mouthwatering barbecue to scenic boat tours and live entertainment, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this beloved riverside retreat. So come down, kick back, and let the good times roll at Snook Haven!

If Snook Haven and its typical Old Florida charm capture your heart, be sure to contact us about opportunities to find your perfect home in this fantastic area! 


Leighanne Payton

Leighanne is an artist, writer, and travel lover. She is currently based in Scotland, UK where she teaches traditional crafts, storytelling and land based alchemy. She loves to explore off the beaten track, finding people, places, and stories that inspire her work. A good beach, a woolly cardigan, and a cuppa tea can make her feel at home anywhere!

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