Anna Maria Island is a great place to take a family walk, bike ride, or just enjoy the breath taking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t let the name fool you, the Coquina Bike path is not for just bikes but includes patrons strolling down the Gulf Waters. The Coquina bike path is paved and stretches between Coquina beach and Cortez Beach. Located in Bradenton Beach just south of Bridge Street, you will find Cortez Beach.
This beach offers free parking and lots of it! As you move further south into Coquina Beach, you will find public restrooms, picnic tables, beach showers, and lifeguards on duty. Coquina beach also has a café that serves burgers and hot dogs right on the beach.
One of my favorite things to do is take a nice, easy bike ride through Coquina Beach. I start at the south end of the island under the Long Boat Key Bridge and head north towards Cortez Beach along the paved path. Take the time to enjoy island wildlife as you are greeted by squirrels, native birds like the Blue Heron, and if you are lucky, you may see dolphins or manatees enjoying their Florida lifestyle.
If you can’t bring your own bicycle, there are lots of places to rent them on Anna Maria Island. Most folks love Bradenton Beach because there are plenty of accommodation choices as well as dining and shopping within a stroll away.
Catch the Bradenton Marauders all summer long at LECOM Park. The Bradenton Marauders are a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Click here and browse their online schedule.
Group tickets are also available and require a minimum of 10 people that must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. All groups will receive a Marauders souvenir cup, a voucher for free soda fill-up for that cup, and a group welcome!
The Tingley Memorial Library in Bradenton Beach (also known as the Bradenton Beach Public Library) is one of two libraries on Anna Maria Island. Tingley Memorial Library is a privately funded non-profit organization existing on donations and volunteer help, and is independent of the county library system. Tingley Memorial Library is located two blocks south of the Cortez Bridge, just off of gulf drive behind Bradenton Beach City Hall.
Bradenton Beach – Let’s take a stroll down the boardwalk through the mangroves along Sarasota Bay. The bay walk at Leffis key will not cost you a dime and has plenty of parking. Leffis key is located on the south end of Anna Maria Island on the bay side directly across from Coquina Beach.
Directions to Leffis Key
Coming from Long Boat Key head north to Anna Maria Island. Once you have gone over the bridge onto Anna Maria Island you will see Coquina Beach on your left hand side and the boat ramps and a picnic area to the right. Just after the boat ramp on your right hand side you will see the parking area for Leffis Key. 2351 Gulf of Mexico Drive
The easiest way from Bradenton is to take Cortez Road west to the beach. After you have gone over the bridge onto Anna Maria Island take a left and head south towards Coquina Beach. Leffis Key is right before the boat ramp on your left hand side.
As you enter Leffis Key get your cameras ready because the Anna Maria island wildlife will be waiting for you. When we were there on Monday we saw a hawk, a blue heron, rabbits, crabs, and lots of small fish swimming in the lagoons. There are a lot of different species of young fish that take refuge in the lagoons here to avoid larger fish and predators in the bay. You may see young mullet, red drum, snook, and sheepshead in these shallow lagoons.
Looking for off island Wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities? Check out Robinson Preserve.