Just an hour south of Tampa, you’ll find the Bradenton Area waiting to be discovered. Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key have some of the finest beaches in the USA, adorned with charming towns, family friendly activities and an authenticity that’s hard to find elsewhere in Florida.
It’s still Florida, but not as you know it! Here you can swap high-rise buildings for palm trees, chain restaurants for independent cafes and family-run businesses, and artificial thrills like theme parks for nature reserves.
The hidden gem is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and remember what really matters like good food and spending quality time with those you care about.
Things To See & Do
- Beaches: The Bradenton Area beaches are really something special. If you’re looking for somewhere that is not touched by mainstream commercialisation and prefers to showcase its natural splendour, then Anna Maria Island beaches will be tough to beat.
- Bradenton’s Village of the Arts: A vibrant community of historic 1920s cottages in rainbow colours, housing everything from award-winning restaurants to art galleries and craft shops.
- TreeUmph! Adventure Course: Make like Tarzan and have an adrenaline-fuelled treetop adventure playing on a collection of ziplines, hanging nets, bungee swings and swinging logs.
- The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature: See everything from the prehistoric age to now at the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Also visit the manatee rehabilitation centre, where the injured mammals are taken in to be cared for before being released.
Food & Drink
Organic and farm to fork cuisine is the norm in the Bradenton Area thanks to the many delicious heritage seafood products locally sourced from the Gulf of Mexico. Delicacies include the elusive Bottarga, a distinctive sun-dried and salt-cured roe of grey striped mullet which sells for a $100 a pound.
Where To Stay
- Anna Maria Island: Easily the most popular tourist hotspot in the Bradenton Area, this is a charming and authentic island with beautiful turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and incredible blood orange sunsets. By day, you’ll often spot the local pod of dolphin frolicking in the waves and if you venture out on a kayak you may get lucky and spot the gentle giant manatee. Back on land, a free trolley bus service travels up and down the 7-mile stretch, and you’ll see golf carts also acting as a popular mode of transport.
- Bradenton: Explore the riverwalk or step back in time to see Old Florida History though the museums, restored buildings and parks.
- Longboat Key: A resort island known for fine dining, golfing and tennis playing, Longboat Key fuses natural beauty with five-star luxury hotels and homes that rival L.A’s mansions.