Park History

Park History

Situated just west of Interstate 75 in tropically beautiful Sarasota, Fla., Nathan Benderson Park is a unique 600-acre community park providing the public access to a picturesque 400-acre lake and an exciting world of recreational pursuits.

NBP is situated west of Interstate 75 and east of The Meadows residential community. In the early 1990s, Sarasota County purchased the site, which was an active shell excavation pit for road construction fill.

Cooper Creek enters the east side of the large lake and exits at the northwest corner. The newly constructed Cattlemen Road extension allows access to the park from Fruitville Road and University Parkway.

Nathan Benderson Park is one of only a handful of sites in North America identified as having all of the natural attributes that make up a premiere rowing facility. The park began hosting organized regatta competitions in 2009.

Athletes look forward to rowing on the park’s world-class, permanent, FISA Class A 2,000-meter sprint rowing and training course — the only such course in North America — while families and visitors can get on the water in a kayak, rowboat or stand up paddleboard, find a scenic spot to enjoy an afternoon picnic, or walk, run or bike our peaceful, neatly manicured trails encircling the shimmering lake. The choices are virtually endless and every moment takes place amid the sights and sounds of Florida’s pristine natural beauty – with the possibility of seeing an osprey, splashing fish or blooming flowers along the way.

Nathan Benderson Park is home to a range of international championships as well as a host of recreational activities for anyone who enjoys the outdoors – from dragon boat, canoe and kayak races to triathlon and cross-country events, 5- and 10k runs, corporate training events and more. The community park is also conveniently located immediately adjacent to University Town Center – Southwest Florida’s newest shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

Whether you’re an athlete in training or just looking for fun things to do outdoors, come spend some time with us at Nathan Benderson Park – the perfect backdrop for any recreational outing.

Park History

  • Sarasota County purchased the site in the early 1990s
  • In 2007, the Benderson Family donated $1 million to Sarasota County to transform Cooper Creek Park into a health and wellness destination
  • Subsequently, the county renamed the park after the late Nathan Benderson
  • Nathan Benderson, founder of Benderson Development, envisioned a community park where local residents could walk, bike and fish
  • In 2009, the park held its first successful regatta
  • In 2010, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA) was created
  • Construction at the park began in 2011 and is currently two-thirds complete
  • Final phases include construction of a finish tower, a proposed boathouse and additional park infrastructure and amenities

aerial shot of Nathan Benderson Park