10 Reasons to Visit Bradenton, Florida, Now

Ten reasons to visit Bradenton, Florida, before the rest of the world knows about this secret getaway. If you haven’t heard of Bradenton, Florida, now’s the time to visit. The area oozes Florida charm, a lively riverfront, and beaches for miles. It’s the Florida of old, with all of the modern touches you’d expect while on vacation.

Bradenton, Florida: Seafood The Way You Like It

Visit Bradenton, Florida, if you’re looking for the freshest seafood, seaside, swept beach scenes, and outdoor splendor. A few even off an off-the-hook catch served up exactly the way you like it! My five top picks, and know there are plenty of others to choose from.

Pier 22
  • Anna Maria Oyster Bar, 6696 Cortex Rad. W., Bradenton – If you’re an oysters lover, then try the oysters on the half shell or an oysters poorboy. Pair your oysters with a local brew. The restaurant gets a 4-star rating on TripAdvisor.
  • Beach House Restaurant, located right on Coquina Beach with turquoise water views. Get ready to dip into house-smoked fish dips, seafood bruschetta, and fresh from the farm a Gamble Farm House Salad. A romantic place for a sunset dinner.
  • Wicked Cantina, located on 101 7th St. N, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island. Wicked, Shrimp, Grouper, Carnitas Street Tacos, Cowboy Brisket Tacos, well you get the idea. If you love taco’s this is the place. Of course, the margaritas are a tasty treat, too.
  • Lucky Frog Restaurant  4625 Cortez Rd W, – Is a local hotspot. The Frog features the best German food in Brandenton, With a 5-star review on Trip Advisor, it must be true.
  • Find Pier 22, at 1200 First Avenue, W. Bradenton. From elegant to alfresco with Executive Chef Greg Campbell at the helm. Chef Campbell is all about scratch-made meals. On the menu fresh seafood to French fare to Southern-style cooking. Plus, the daily happy hours and tapas scene is delish. Oh, and did I mention, Pier 22 sits on the Manatee River, steps away from the Riverwalk.

Beyond the Beaches in Bradenton

Here are three ideas to get you started. Again, the area is abundant in wildlife with robust river systems; Manatee, Myakka, and Braden, plus all of the rivers, have namesake parks to explore. Here are three areas I think you will enjoy. And again, I only had a weekend, so I couldn’t get to it all.

  • Robinson Nature Preserve, at 9800 Manatee Ave W, is a 600 plus acre coastal salt marsh park. It’s teeming with jumping mullet and hundreds of other fish species. The preserve offers plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities ⏤ hiking, kayaking, picnic spots, mangrove forests, and more. You can see Tampa Bay from the park.
  • You find DeSoto National Park Memorial, at 8300 De Soto Memorial Highway, Bradenton. It was developed in 1948. The park commemorates the 1539 expedition of the Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto and his impact on the Southeast American Indian societies. Park Rangers are available to speak to about the importance of this controversial and historical event. The park is open year-round, offering living history programs. At Camp Uzita, witness a recreation of a 16th Century native village. During the summer, the park operates guided kayak tours in the surrounding water and bays.
  • Jiggs Landing Preserve is located 6106 63rd Street on the Ever’s Reservoir. It offers 7-acres of canoeing and freshwater fishing on both the Evers Reservoir and Braden River — a throwback to old Florida. If you are eager to disconnect, this is the place.

Cool Culture in Bradenton, Florida

Culture for days. For a small town, the area offers a surprisingly large number of cultural experiences. Here are my top three picks to consider exploring on your first or next vacation to the area:

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Folk Art at Village of the Arts – Divine Excess – You just gotta stop because it is Divine
  • One of my favorite places on the planet is Village of the Arts, located from 9th Avenue W. to 17 Avenue W. Village of the Arts is teaming with local artists all snug in quaint cottages. The artists are information, friendly, and fun. It’s lovely to be in their space and feeling their creative energy. If you’re a fan of art, folk, recycled, contemporary, traditional, and many others, this is the place for you. I also happened to visit on a day when a local orchid grower, Ashly Palmer of Palmer Orchids had a display. She was so informative, and her orchids were gorgeous and affordable. Note she is often in Sarasota at the farmers market as well. There’s also a yoga studio, history, and shopping tours. After all, that walking grab a bite at Birdrock Taco Shack or Ortygia.
  • Island West Gallery is a “locals only” studio with nearly 30 members. The gallery offers paintings, photography, mixed media, ceramics, stained glass, jewelry, and more. Visit monthly as the gallery rotates different artists, so there is always something new to see.
  • Manatee Performing Arts Center offers fabulous shows, and the backstage tours shouldn’t be missed.

Where to Stay When Visiting Bradenton Florida

These are just a few of the places I discovered on my short visit to the area. Of course the area is home to Airbnb and other home stays. My three picks are a good starting point:

My friend Liz on the rooftop bar at the Springs Hill Marriott

The London Inn, 304 15 Street W – Is an adorable Inn located in a neighborhood. Walk to the downtown shop, dine and enjoy local events. We stumbled into Tide & Moon Jewelry. What a fun place. Laura Shely, a silversmith let us know that the shop offers jewelry classes as well. I’m telling you, the are is full of fantastic, mom and pop shops that really make the visit great.

Spring Hill Suites, Marriott, 102 12th St. W – Is relatively new, opened in May 2019. Expect Marriott standards, and yes, you can bring fido. What makes this hotel so special is the rooftop bar with overlooks of the Riverwalk and the Manatee River, plus a massive selection of local brews on tap.

Rolling Waves Beach Cottage, on Longboat Key, is a chill, laidback beach getaway. Eight super-cute cottages offer the perfect stay. Walks on the beach, boating, shelling, fishing are the perfect way to spend the day. And of course, the sunsets are spectacular.

10 Reasons to Visit Bradenton, Florida, Now

Thanks for stopping by. Well, I hope I’ve convinced to visit Bradenton, Florida now. It’s a fantastic, old-world city with many unique places to discover. Whether your a beach person, an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie or lover of local art this is a beautiful place to discover. Share. Repost. Tag a Friend. Comment.

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