Looking for a summer vacation destination? Getting to Bradenton, FL has never been easier.
summer vacation. Luckily a getaway to the Bradenton Area, vintage Florida’s iconic and laid-back beach town, is now just a hop, skip, and a jump away. With new direct service by Avelo Airlines from Tweed Airport (HVN) and Breeze Airways from Bradley-Hartford (BDL) to the Bradenton Area (SRQ), a summer getaway to one of the nation’s best vacation spots has never been easier.
The Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key Area is a unique destination because it combines the sugar-white sands and peaceful waters of a tropical paradise with a vibrant Riverwalk and an artsy, culturally significant downtown area. Nicknamed the “Friendly City,” Bradenton has that small-town, laid-back vibe while offering delicious cuisine and tons of things to see and do. So, what does a day on vacation in the Bradenton Area look like? Turns out, there a ton of options.
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Day in the life: Bradenton Area beaches
The Bradenton Area – which consists of Bradenton on the mainland, Anna Maria Island, and Longboat Key – encompasses everything you could ask for in a vacation destination, so planning an itinerary for your trip may be the way to go. Whether you go in the morning, afternoon, or all day, the Bradenton Area beaches are can’t-miss fun and relaxation.
Stretching out over miles and miles of pristine coastline with turquoise waters and the gentle surf of the Gulf of Mexico, a day at the beach in Bradenton feels wholly rejuvenating. Get as active as you want with watersports, jet skiing, or chartering a fishing boat ...or just sip cocktails and watch the kids build sandcastles.
From Manatee Beach, which features public playgrounds and beachfront dining, to the unparalleled beauty of Whitney Beach on Longboat Key, to secluded, picturesque Bean Point on Anna Maria Island, the Bradenton Area beaches have a vibe for everyone. Local tip: Coquina Beach is ideal for families, with its own Baywalk and the activity-laden Gulfside Park, where snorkeling, hiking trails, playgrounds, BBQ pits and picnic areas abound. Lifeguards are on duty and there are plenty of restrooms.
Foodies looking to combine their two favorite things – mouth-watering local food and stunning views – will find Bradenton area beaches home to some of the best beachfront dining around.
Set on 650 feet of immaculate Gulf sand, Beach House Restaurant is focused on sustainability and sources many of its dishes from its own nearby farm, Gamble Creek Farm. Sit back and enjoy unmatched views of Anna Maria Island sunsets while eating some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted.
If you’re looking for a fun and wild eatery to take the kids, Ugly Grouper is the place. One hundred percent outdoors, you dine in the shadow of a 3,000-pound scrap metal grouper. (You kinda have to see it to believe it!) But UG isn’t a place specifically for kids; live music and cocktails make taking the family to eat here a good time for everyone. Plus, it has some of the best fish tacos on the island.
Of course, the beach is the place to be, but you’ll want to save a day or two to experience all the other fun the Bradenton Area has on offer. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is a must-do. More than a museum, the Bishop Museum is home to the Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat. Watching manatees play and rest around a cypress spring is an incredible memory you and your family won’t soon forget. While you’re here, don’t miss taking an awe-inspiring journey into space at west coast Florida’s most spectacular Planetarium.
Another unforgettable activity is kayaking the mangrove tunnels. There’s truly no better way to experience the beauty of the Bradenton Area than a day exploring the mangroves, where kayaks and paddleboards allow you to see a side of this paradise not many get the chance to see. Paddle through lush greens in the cool shade of the mangroves and keep your eyes out and camera ready for a wide variety of wildlife you may see.
Those looking for even more adventure should spend a day at TreeUmph! Adventure Course. With over 14 acres of some of the most daring, innovative games and obstacles ever constructed – from wobbly bridges to dizzying suspended logs to pulse-pounding ziplines – TreeUmph! is a wild time and has courses for any skill (and bravery) level.
Florida is known for its iconic NASCAR and Indy races, but did you know that Bradenton Area has its own version, but for karts? Andersen Racepark is Florida’s premier go-kart and motorcycle racecourse. Fans of racing will have an absolute blast navigating the racecourse curves and feeling the rush of adrenaline as you gun it on the straightaways. Whether you’re just getting into racing or you’re a seasoned pro with your own kart, Andersen Racepark is the place to go full throttle.
As a premier getaway destination, the Bradenton Area has tons of great places to stay. If you’re planning a summer vacation, two options stick out from the rest. For those who crave the creature comforts of home while traveling, the Bradenton Area offers vacation rental homes that allow families of all sizes to stretch out in their own space.
For a more traditional hotel experience that perfectly accommodates families, SpringHill Suites’ downtown riverfront location is ideal, putting you close to all the action while still providing a nightly respite from activity.
After a day of activity, an evening in downtown Bradenton is just the ticket. Take a stroll along the Manatee River on the city’s famous Riverwalk or shop the boutiques and art galleries that occupy the colorfully restored 1920s and ‘30s cottages of the Village of the Arts. While you’re there, the food scene in the Village shouldn’t be overlooked. Birdrock Taco Shack is a hot local spot serving up Chef David Shiplett’s unique vision of pork belly, chicken, shrimp, vegetarian and vegan tacos in an eclectic, artsy setting.
For Dad, a stop at nearby Oak & Stone will make his night. Oak & Stone offers artisan pizzas and the region’s largest self-serve beer wall (where you pay by the pour) with a selection of more than 50 rotating beers, including local favs from the best hometown breweries.
Or hit up Motorworks Brewing. Beneath their lighted giant oak in their dog (and kid) friendly beer garden, enjoy an evening of award-winning craft brews, live music, great food and cocktails.
Finding your way to the Bradenton Area has never been more convenient. Avelo and Breeze Airways offer low-fare direct flights from Tweed (HVN) and Bradley Hartford (BDL). For that old-school Florida feeling, easy island pace, breath-taking white sands and crystal blue waters, and the arts, culture, and activities to fill up anyone’s itinerary, book a flight now and discover the one-of-a-kind experiences that await you in the Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key Area.
By StoryStudio on May 9, 2022 11:19 AM
Day in the life:
Things to do and see
Eats in town
Where to stay