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Joan M. Durante Park

Joan M. Durante Park

JOAN M. DURANTE PARK is a 32-acre site located on Sarasota Bay two miles from the north end of Longboat Key. The site had previously been developed with cabins, these had been demolished and invasive exotic vegetation had taken over the site by the time the Town acquired it in the late eighties.  Great care was taken to protect the native vegetation and desirable trees on the site, such as Live Oaks, Red Cedar, Sabal Palms, Banyon, Mango, Green Buttonwood, Mahoe and Mangroves.  Mangroves were planted in the wetland areas and Live Oak, Red Cedar, Wax Myrtle, Green Buttonwood, Sabal Palmetto, Seagrape, and Gumbo Limbo were planted in the upland areas to restore the coastal hammock forest. A variety of understory species were also planted to stabilize and enhance the new coastal dune and wetland areas.

A Must-See at the Preserve:

In the spring and fall, keep an eye out for migrating species such as Black-throated Green Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet and Summer Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, and others as they forage in the trees.

Trails on the opposite side of the lawn lead to Sarasota Bay, offering several panoramic views of the water. Along the way, inspect the understory for thrushes like Veery, Swainson’s, White-cheeked, and Wood Thrush, and listen for the distinctive rattling calls of Belted Kingfishers hunting in concealed lagoons.

A small bridge guides you to a boardwalk that meanders through dense mangroves. During migration, warblers such as American Redstart, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Prairie, and Magnolia can be found here.

As the boardwalk exits the mangroves, it extends over an open area, providing an excellent vantage point for spotting soaring birds like Osprey and Magnificent Frigatebirds. The boardwalk concludes at a trail leading back to the parking lot and pavilion.

Birds you may encounter while visiting:

eBird 172 species recorded

  • Migrating warblers
  • Sandpipers
  • Waterfowl
  • Shorebirds
  • Kingbirds
  • Thrashers
  • Woodpeckers.
  • Rarities: Canada and Blackburnian Warblers, White-winged Dove, Philadelphia Vireo and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

 

Accessibility:  All trails are either crushed shell or synthetic boardwalk.  The boardwalks through the mangroves offer some shade.

Hours & Fees

The park is open from dawn to dusk with the gates closed at dusk.

There is no admission fee.

Directions

Address: 5550 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL  34228

GPS Coordinates: 27.4147477,-82.6582146

Amenities

Public restrooms, playground and picnic tables are available. The open section of boardwalk provides no shade.

Rules & Regulations

Dogs on a leash are welcome.

Park Links

Park Address

5550 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228

Park Gallery

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