If you’re looking to enjoy a stay on the balmy shores of Anna Maria Island then the perfect spot has to be Bradenton Beach. Situated on the southern tip of the long, narrow strip of sand that is Anna Maria Island, Bradenton Beach is the island’s most southerly city, and features some of the best local amenities, making it the ideal location for your vacation rental. Whether you want a cozy luxury apartment or a spacious beach front villa to relax in, you’ll find the retreat of your dreams here.
One of the main draws for visitors to Anna Maria Island are the incredible beaches, and Bradenton Beach is home to two of the best: Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach. Cortez beach offers the best surfing on the island, thanks to the three groins that extend out into the deep blue of the Gulf. The beach is without lifeguards so be sure you’re confident before taking a plunge. Because of its lack of facilities the beach is usually quieter and less crowded than others on the island, which makes it great for those looking for a place to relax. It also means you’ll need to take a visit back to your vacation rental to clean off before hitting the town. Coquina beach is where I tend to head with the family. With a full selection of amenities such as a picnic area, snack bars, playground for the kids and showers and restrooms on hand Coquina is a great day out.
But Bradenton Beach isn’t just about lazy days stretched out on the warm sand. Once you’ve unwound and soaked up some of that Florida sunshine then you’ll want to explore the town. Every time I visit Bradenton Beach I always make a visit to Bridge Street. This quaint strip houses the city’s commercial district, which is as full of colour and life as the island itself.
If you want to pick up some beach gear the Bridge Street Bazaar has plenty to offer, from t-shirts and sunglasses (which always seem to get forgotten during the hurried packing in my home) to novelty gifts to take back for relatives on your return. If you’re looking for something artsy then shops such as Bridge Street Jewelers, The Back Alley and The Hive should be high on your list with local and imported jewelry, painting, pottery and more. Every Sunday there is also a bustling outdoor market with all manner of wares on display. You’ll also find great places to eat here from family friendly restaurants to traditional Florida grills and refined bistros.
When you’ve finished shopping and eating then be sure to take a walk along the Historic Bridge Street Pier. This was the site of the original bridge which connected the city to the mainland, and is one of the county’s best loved attractions for visitors to the city.
At the end of a full day’s exploration and excitement I love to head back to the quiet of my vacation rental, pour myself a cold drink and enjoy the sun setting over the sparkling waters of the Gulf. It can’t last forever but you’ll wish it could when you visit Bradenton Beach.