Bradenton Beach is a lovely Florida Gulf Coast community located on Anna Maria Island just a short drive from the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton. The charming island city is known for its historic fishing pier, which was converted from the remnants of a former wooden bridge connecting the island to the mainland and has become the anchor of a vibrant new retail district today. Attractions such as Coquina Beach and Leffis Key Preserve draw nature and water sport enthusiasts throughout the summer months. Visitors can embark on fishing charters, Segway tours, or take unique horseback swimming excursions along the island's gorgeous Gulf Coast beachfront.
Coquina Beach is a pristine beachfront stretch along Anna Maria Island's southern tip, located conveniently near Bradenton Beach's downtown district. The charming beach is a popular spot for couples and families alike, offering a less-crowded alternative to Manatee Public Beach in nearby Holmes Beach. A beautiful sand dune landscape features sea oats and beach grasses, creating a unique shoreline panorama. Australian pine trees provide shade for populations of nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. A day-use picnic area is offered for visitors, who can bring their own picnics or enjoy delicious food from the nearby Coquina Beach Cafe. In addition to seasonal swimming opportunities, the park also offers a multipurpose walking and biking trail along the island's lovely scenery.
Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
2.Bradenton Beach Marina
Bradenton Beach Marina is a family-operated full-service marina resort located on Anna Maria Island, just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico near Longboat Pass. The marina, which was opened in 1982, serves as a one-stop destination for watersporting enthusiasts, offering full-day and half-day boat rentals for exploring the region's pristine waters. Guided boat tours are offered aboard the marina's 49-passenger Anna Maria Explorer, including dolphin tours and sunset cruises. Paddlewheel boat tours are also offered aboard the Anna Maria Princess, showcasing live music performances and a climate-controlled enclosed lower deck. Jet skiing and parasailing rentals are also offered, along with full marina services, including boat repairs, wet and transient slips, and short haul service.
402 Church Avenue, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-778-2288
3.The Bridge Street Pier
The Bridge Street Pier was originally constructed as the main vehicle access point to Anna Maria Island in 1921, when the island was connected to Florida's mainland via a wooden bridge from the nearby city of Cortez. In 1967, when the island's current drawbridge entrance was opened, the remnants of the Bradenton Beach side of the bridge were converted into a fishing pier, which still stands today. Recently, the pier area has been revitalized as one of the city's most vibrant retail and dining districts, accessible via the free Island Trolley. Charming boutiques, eclectic art galleries, international cuisine dining options, and lively nightlife spots line the district, which is now referred to as the Historic Bridge Street District. Live music performances are showcased within the district nightly, while public art displays are presented at select times throughout the year.
Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-536-4257
4.Leffis Key Preserve
Leffis Key Preserve is a beautiful natural preserve on Anna Maria Island, restoring portions of the island's integral saltwater wetland habitat and estuary system to their original glory. The gorgeous natural preserve, which is open to the public each day between sunrise and sunset, is known for its 26-foot overlook hill offering unparalleled views of the surrounding Sarasota Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Native coastal ridge and dune plants populate the hill, including dune sunflowers, green buttonwoods, sea oats and grapes, beach elders, Jamaica dogwood, and southern red cedars. More than 20,000 marsh grass plants were also repopulated along the preserve's tidal ponds, including saltwater and smooth cordgrasses. Visitors can explore the preserve's walking trails, which include 1,500 feet of boardwalks traversing through mangrove forest habitats.
Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-742-5923
5.Coquina Bayside Park
Coquina Bayside Park is a charming beachfront park at Anna Maria Island's southern end, located approximately a mile south of the city's downtown district. The park, which is open daily between sunrise and midnight, is the city's best spot for boat launching, offering launch spots for non-motorized and motorized watercraft, canoes, and kayaks. Visitors can fish at the park during the day and utilize the park's public fish cleaning tables after coming ashore with their catches. Day-use picnic sites are also offered, along with public restrooms and water fountains. Water and sand conditions are lovely throughout the summer months, making for great swimming and sunbathing experiences. Two large picnic pavilions are available for special event rental throughout the year, offering barbecue grills and seating for up to 56.
2651 South Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
6.The Fish Hole Miniature Golf
© The Fish Hole Miniature Golf
The Fish Hole Miniature Golf is one of Bradenton Beach's premiere family entertainment centers, offering two unique, lively miniature golf courses with delightful attractions and obstacles to challenge golfers of all ages. The golf course, which has been featured on Florida Travel and Life, offers two locations in Bradenton Beach and at nearby Bradenton's Lakewood Ranch. More than 50 species of native Florida plants are showcased throughout the 36 holes of course layouts, labeled with plant identification tags to educate visitors on area wildlife. A 3,000-gallon koi pond is home to fish of all colors and sizes, which can be fed for a nominal fee. Birthday party packages are offered at both locations, providing birthday children and guests with a full round of miniature golf, free fish food, and soft drinks.
115 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34203, Phone: 941-778-3388
7.C Ponies Beach Horses
© C Ponies Beach Horses
C Ponies Beach Horses is a family-operated horseback riding company offering unique excursions throughout the Anna Maria Island, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, and Sarasota areas of Florida's Gulf of Mexico coastline. The company, which is owned by Carmen Herrmann Hanson, is known for its one-of-a-kind swim-capable horseback riding excursions, which let riders take to the waters aboard gypsy and drum horses. All of the company's horses have been rescued and are kept in safe, loving conditions throughout the year. Participants can see marine wildlife during horseback swimming excursions, including dolphins, manatees, and stingrays. Information on the region's marine life and habitats is provided by experienced tour guides throughout rides. All riders must be at least 10 years old to participate in excursions.
St. Petersburg, FL 33715, Phone: 941-773-5196
8.Snapper Addict Fishing Charters
© Snapper Addict Fishing Charters
Snapper Addict Fishing Charters are led by Captain Layne Ostrander, offering excursions aboard the company's 34-foot Luhrs boat Snapper Addict II. The sporting boat offers a smooth ride with twin Chevy 350 inboards and provides 360-degree fishing experiences as it travels the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island. Participants can fish for mangrove snapper, red and gag grouper, hogfish, cobia, sheepshead, bonita, and barracuda throughout the year. A spacious back deck is offered for relaxation, along with a cabin offering shaded seating and private restrooms. Each trip can accommodate up to six passengers, including supervised children and teenagers. Custom charters can be arranged for groups of all ability levels, from first-time anglers to seasoned experts.
9.Segs by the Sea
© Segs by the Sea
Segs by the Sea is an award-winning Segway touring company that was selected as Anna Maria Island's top small business of the year in 2016. The acclaimed company offers scenic Segway tours of the Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria Island areas, including landmarks such as Anna Maria Beach, Coquina Beach, and Manatee County Beach. Guided tours last between one and two hours, exploring attractions such as the Maritime Museum, Old Longboat Village, the Coquina Trail, and Joan M. Durante Community Park. All tours traverse the Longboat Key Bridge and offer stops for refreshments at area dining destinations. Custom rentals are also available for groups looking for self-guided touring experiences.
102 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-209-5970
10.Blue Marlin Grill
© Blue Marlin Grill
Blue Marlin Grill is a delicious seafood restaurant housed within a renovated 1920s-era cottage on Bradenton Beach's Historic Bridge Street, dedicated to bringing diners the freshest possible local catches prepared in excellent entrees. The restaurant, which is easily accessible via the island's free trolley system, was opened in 2011 by Adam Ellis and is easily recognizable for its vibrant bright blue coloring. High-quality fish entrees emphasize snapper, grouper, hogfish, and cobia in a variety of preparations, served up alongside Southern-style favorites such as shrimp and grits. Unique daily specials include concoctions such as pulled pork scallops and shrimp egg rolls. A constantly-changing wine list focuses on varietals from smaller boutique vineyard, complemented by a selection of craft brews on tap and in bottles. Each Friday and Saturday evening, live music performances are showcased within the restaurant's Trap Yard courtyard, which features a beautiful covered deck.
121 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-896-9737
11.Beach House Restaurant
© Beach House Restaurant
Beach House Restaurant is the latest incarnation of Bradenton Beach's historic Harbor House Restaurant, purchased and renovated by Ed Chiles in 1993. The reimagined restaurant is set along a glorious stretch of pristine Gulf beachfront and is home to a climate-controlled outdoor deck that offers unparalleled ocean vistas of the Anna Maria Island landscape. Since 2017, the restaurant has renewed its commitment to environmental sustainability, overhauling its dining space and menus. Moderately-priced entrees are designed by executive chef Will Manson, highlighting delectable seafood options such as bourbon salmon, lump crab cakes, and seafood gumbo alongside elegant steaks and pastas. Casual fare ranges from fish and short rib tacos to build-your-own burgers.
200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-779-2222
12.Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier
© Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier
Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier is the latest restaurant from the Anna Maria Oyster Bar chain, which offers locations at Cortez, Ellenton, and Landside. The restaurant, which is located along the Historic Bridge Street corridor in downtown Bradenton Beach, is known for its award-winning seafood options, which are served up in a lively, family-friendly dining atmosphere. Lunch and dinner entrees include fried clam and oyster platters, classic deep-fried fish and chips, king crab legs, and beer-battered Gulf shrimp, served up alongside Angus beef burgers, baby-back ribs, and deep-fried pepper chicken. A full bar serves up excellent beers and wines, while an oyster bar lets diners select from raw, steamed, garlic parmesan, Rockefeller, or chipotle variants.
200 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217, Phone: 941-778-2662
12 Best Things to Do in Bradenton Beach, FL
- Coquina Beach, Photo: sbgoodwin/stock.adobe.com
- Bradenton Beach Marina, Photo: casfotoarda/stock.adobe.com
- The Bridge Street Pier, Photo: EyeMark/stock.adobe.com
- Leffis Key Preserve, Photo: Kristina/stock.adobe.com
- Coquina Bayside Park, Photo: Mosto/stock.adobe.com
- The Fish Hole Miniature Golf, Photo: The Fish Hole Miniature Golf
- C Ponies Beach Horses, Photo: C Ponies Beach Horses
- Snapper Addict Fishing Charters, Photo: Snapper Addict Fishing Charters
- Segs by the Sea, Photo: Segs by the Sea
- Blue Marlin Grill, Photo: Blue Marlin Grill
- Beach House Restaurant, Photo: Beach House Restaurant
- Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier, Photo: Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier
- Cover Photo: EyeMark/stock.adobe.com