The Lido di Venezia- The Lido Shuffle

Yes, Venice  itself is an island, or rather a huddled mass of islands. There’s water everywhere. Nevertheless, when the Venetians want a day by the sea, they head to another island: the Lido.
While some adventurous tourists make it out to the Venetian lagoon’s other islands , very few opt to spend their precious days in Venice at the local beach. If you’re traveling in the summer, however, know that Venice can get mercilessly muggy and few hotels offer swimming pools. With kids in tow on my last visit, I knew we needed to include a beach day in our vacation. The Lido was the perfect solution.
Centuries ago, the Doge’s navy sailed out from this long, thin barrier island, which separates the lagoon from the Gulf of Venice, an arm of the Adriatic Sea. Nowadays it’s easily reached by the ACTV waterbus—there’s a direct boat from the train station, though the #1 vaporetto also sails over once it’s finished cruising the Grand Canal. The lagoon side of the island is traced by a shady promenade with superb Venice views, while a strip of beach runs along the 18km-long (11-mile) gulf front; they’re linked by the Gran Viale, which leads from the waterbus landing to the beach.
Facing the sea across palm-lined Lungo-mare Marconi, you’ll find two sister bastions of old-world resort elegance, the Hotel des Bains and the Westin Excelsior; each has its own private beach, a Riviera-style strand with deck chairs and cabanas. (Visconti’s classic film of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice was filmed at theItaly
Hotel des Bains and its beach.) The more egalitarian public parts of the Lido beach (along Lungomare G. D’Annunzio) are more of a family hangout, though you can expect to see a few topless sunbathers and men in incredibly skimpy Speedos. (And there were my boys in their baggy surfer jams.) The broad strip of finegrained golden sand was convivially crowded, so we could combine sunbathing with people-watching. Protected by a system of outlying dikes, the waters lapping the beach are calm and shallow, great for youngsters (our youngest was only 4 at the time), and almost ridiculously warm, practically like a bathtub. The bottom’s a little sludgy, but blessedly free of the rocks or sharp shells that make wading a problem in the New England waters we were used to.
During the Venice Film Festival every September, the Lido is a hot spot, thanks to the 1930s modernist Palazzo del Cinema, and the adjacent Art Deco Casino, which has become a secondary venue since it closed for gambling in 1999.