Once you have explored the vibrant heart of the city, the beautiful riverside promenade, and the Village of the Arts, it is time to get out of town.
The best beaches in Bradenton and Anna Maria Island are only a stone’s throw away, and well worth the trip.
Here’s your look at the best spots to soak in the sun.
Getting to Anna Maria Island
To reach Anna Maria Island from the town of Bradenton, you can hop on the FL-64 W / Manatee Ave W.
Take it less than four miles to 75th St W then follow State Hwy 684 / Cortez Rd W straight out to the island.
It is a quick trip of about ten miles from the center of Bradenton and it should take you less than 20 minutes by car.
Is Bradenton Beach the Same as Bradenton?
If you are not from the area, the geography of the area can be a bit confusing.
Bradenton Beach and Bradenton are two different towns in the same area.
Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island while the town of Bradenton is on the mainland of Florida.
Anna Maria Island is seven miles long and has three different towns:
- On the north end, you’ll find the town of Anna Maria.
- On the southern side of the island, you’ll find Bradenton Beach.
- And finally, the town of Holmes Beach is located just between the two.
What Expect on Anna Maria Island
The picture-perfect parks and beaches that line Anna Maria Island make it a dream destination.
Spend a sunny afternoon walking the sandy beaches of Anna Maria Bayfront Park and take in the beauty of Tampa Bay.
Snap pics of the view of the Sunshine Skyway bridge then head down to Holmes Beach.
The raw beauty of the well-preserved Anna Maria Island is a breath of fresh air when you compare it with the often sweltering hot overcrowded tourist traps you find in too many places around Florida.
Whether you are planning a family day out or a romantic afternoon in the sun, Anna Maria Island ticks all of the boxes.
Parking is easy, and you’ll find all the basic amenities like:
- picnic shelters along the picturesque shores
Beaches of Anna Maria Island
To find the best beaches in Bradenton and the surrounding area, you’ll want to make your way to Anna Maria Island.
Here you’ll find:
- Coquina Beach
- Cortez Beach
- Manatee Public Beach
- Bean Point
- Bradenton Beach
- Holmes Beach
- Bayfront Park Public Beach
1. Coquina Beach
Trek through the lush Australian pine trees to find the sun-soaked sandy beaches of Coquina Beach.
This beautiful spot is the perfect all-ages destination. There are plenty of shady spots to cool down under the trees and the warm water is shallow so it’s good for the whole family.
With grills and picnic areas, Coquina Beach is well-equipped for a long day out.
In the center of the beach, you’ll find volleyball nets and a cozy cafe at the beachfront.
If you happen to be at the beach during the winter, you’ll find a market every Sunday and Wednesday.
Planning Tip – When you arrive, just grab any empty chair and get settled in. There’s no need to flag someone down to pay. A person from the rental facility will eventually come by to collect the fee for the chair.
2. Cortez Beach
Near the Bridge Street Historical Area, you’ll find Cortez Beach.
Nestled between Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach, this beach has three piers (which, admittedly, aren’t great looking) that break the waves and create tranquil seas.
That means that Cortez Beach is a perfect swimming beach.
At the same time, on the other side of the pier, you’ll find fantastic surfing conditions. Thanks to these brutal-looking piers, you can have the best of both worlds on the sea.
Cortez Beach is also a wonderful fishing spot.
You’ll see serious fishermen and tourists alike throwing their bait into the water. Whether you’re an experienced or completely new fisherman, it’s worth stopping by.
3. Manatee Beach
Just off Highway 64, you’ll find the very conveniently located Manatee Public Beach.
You can pull right off the road and straight into the parking lot of this wide sandy beach.
There is a beach shop as soon as you arrive so you can get all of the essentials. Once you find a place in the sun, you can join a volleyball game or saunter down to Bean Point.
There are lifeguards and a beach shop with everything that you might need for the day.
When it’s time to refuel, you’ll also find a cafe and burger stand when you’re ready to refuel.
4. Bean Point
Trek up to the northern end of the island to escape the crowds.
The spacious Bean Point always has plenty of space to spread out and a gorgeous view of the sunset.
While there is nothing better than a deserted beach, it is worth noting that this beach is less popular because it’s not as convenient as the other options.
The parking is limited, and there are no vendors or shops. You’ll find no lifeguards on the beach and the north side has a strong tide at times.
While the beach is perfect for kiteboarding, you’ll want to carefully stick to the southern side for swimming.
If you’re looking for the perfect quiet beach for a picnic in front of the sea, head to Bean Point.
Just arrive early to secure a parking spot. You can access the beach off North Shore Drive near the intersection of Fern Street and Gladiolus Street.
5. Bradenton Beach
Easily one of the best beaches in Bradenton, this is also one of the most popular beaches.
Bradenton Beach is a buzzing spot packed with shops and restaurants alongside the long, wide sandy beach.
You can easily spend a day here so arrive early.
At dinner time, head over to the iconic Beach House Restaurant to experience the best restaurant on the island.
6. Holmes Beach
Between Manatee Beach and Bradenton Beach, you’ll find this quiet beach.
Tucked away between the beachfront condos, people often miss this spot entirely but it’s well worth exploring.
You can easily walk from either Manatee Beach and Bradenton Beach or just park right in front.
While there are no facilities on the beach itself, you’ll find cafes and restaurants along the seaside in any direction.
7. Bayfront Park Public Beach
Near the Anna Maria Island Public Pier, this pristine park is full of picnic tables and playgrounds.
With a lovely view of the sea, this is an ideal spot to lounge on a grassy knoll and watch the world go by.
Pack a picnic and book and make a day of it. If you happen to arrive on Tuesday, you’ll find a farmers market running from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
While this beach has plenty of places to relax, the sandy beachfront is tiny so while Bayfront Park Public Beach is a dreamy seaside spot, it’s not one of the best beaches in Bradenton if you’re after white sand beaches.
When it comes to the best beaches near Bradenton, you’ll have countless options. Just get out to Anna Maria Island and follow the shoreline to discover endless treasures.
Want to make a weekend of it? Book one of the amazing beachfront condos at The Anna Maria Island Beach Sands – booking.com
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