Englewood, about 15 miles south of Venice Inlet, or roughly 20 miles north of Cayo Costa, offers a choice of good places to hole up for a rest.
Just south of the Manasota Key (Tom Adams) Bridge, on the west side of the GICW there is a channel between two islands. On the north side is a long row of apartments or condos. To the south is a mangrove covered island with several boats anchored off it. Favor the left hand side of the channel going in as the north side is very shoal and you can run into trouble real fast. That’s experience talking. Holding is good and protection from the wind is excellent in all directions. You can edge further along the southern island and there are plenty more places to drop the hook. Over on the northwest corner of the anchorage is a restaurant that will let you tie up for a bit if you stop in and at least buy a drink before heading across the street to where other restaurants, dive shops and a convenience store can be found.
On the GICW in Lemon Bay, turn west at Green 17 or 17A. You will be headed to Stump Pass. Just before you get to the open waters of the Gulf there are a couple of islands, Whidden Key and Peterson Island, with white sandy beaches and anchorages that are well protected from winds and wakes from all directions.
A little further south, at Green 11, you can follow private markers that will lead you into the shallow waters between Thornton Key and Knight island.