Pinecraft – Sarasota, Florida - Atlas Obscura
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Sarasota, Florida

Pinecraft

This Florida resort community is where the Amish come to have fun in the sun. 

Located in Sarasota, Florida the neighborhood of Pinecraft is an idiosyncratic community of Amish and Mennonite people who simply want to enjoy the beach.

Originally started as a Gulf coast tourist camp in the 1920’s, the neighborhood now known as Pinecraft went through a number of changes before becoming an Amish paradise through word of mouth. Originally the area was simply a collection of over 400 camp sites. Named “Pinecraft” in the mid-1920’s the campgrounds eventually merged with a neighboring vacation ground called Homecroft. With the sprawling site growing at such a rate, permanent residential homes were being constructed by the 1950s. 

Along with the residential growth, the Mennonite Tourist Church was established in 1946 offering Amish communities a place to worship away from home so that they could take vacations without breaking their beliefs. This handy outpost soon saw droves of the faithful flocking to the area to enjoy a beach vacation away from the rigors of daily Amish life. The strict rules observed in many Amish communities are often loosened at Pinecraft, allowing for more revealing clothing and later wake-up times. The lax rules and seaside location were attractive enough that the area soon became a full-fledged Amish community. 

Today busloads of Amish and Mennonite vacationers flock to Pinecraft between December and April to stay in the modest homes of the fellow faithful. Popular activities include shuffleboard and lounging on the beach, but nothing is more popular than escaping an Ohio winter.