Six shore bets: The Bradenton area's best beaches
When winter starts bringing ice, snow, and shoveling to New England, there's no better time to take a vacation south.
If you're planning a trip to the Bradenton area this winter, make sure to add a trip to one of the area's many beaches to the itinerary. Whether you love lounging on the sand or paddling through the water, there's a beach in Bradenton that is sure to be a shore thing for you and your family or friends.
Here are six unique beaches worth exploring.
- Cortez Beach. This stretch of 140 feet of undeveloped beach offers visitors a vast array of activities. Take your bikes for a spin on the bike path. Try your hand at birding. Eat at waterside restaurants. Or enjoy a host of water sports including scuba diving, canoeing, and fishing.
- Anna Maria Beach. Parking may not be the best at this beach on the northern part of Anna Maria Island, but locals love its more secluded nature, white sands, and warm clear waters.
- Beer Can Island. Visiting this secluded peninsula won't set you back a dime. Just drive over and park. The beach is wide and offers ample opportunity to find some shells to take home as souvenirs. Note: There are no lifeguards or facilities.
- Coquina Beach. Coquina is considered one of the Bradenton area's most family-friendly beaches. In addition to lifeguards, on-site restrooms and a full concession stand, the beach has playgrounds, barbeque pits for grilling, and picnic sites--making it easy for parents to keep kids well-fed and entertained. The beach also has ample parking so there's no need to hunt for a parking spot.
- Whitney Beach. Certified by the federal Clean Beaches Coalition as a "clean beach," Whitney Beach offers a quarter-mile stretch of shore located in the northern end of Longboat Key.>/li>
- Manatee County Beach. Add a stack of pancakes--or two, or three--to your trip to Manatee County Beach. This beach's restaurant is famous for its all-you-can-eat pancakes. After you eat, work off that big breakfast at the beach's sand volleyball courts, let your food digest as you try your fishing skills out at its fishing pier, or rent some umbrellas and chairs and just relax on the sandy beach.
- June 8 - 3rd Annual Ultimate Kentucky Derby Bash at the Polo Grill
- June 15 - Bradentucky Bombers Women's Roller Derby
- June 21-23 - Onshore Offshore Boat Show
- June 22 - Mixon's Antiques, Arts and Crafts Fairs
- June 29 - 6th Annual Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil
- July 4 - Palmetto Fourth of July Festival