6 Things to Know About Bradenton Beach

Traveling to the southern portion of Anna Maria Island brings you into the quiet bustling city of Bradenton Beach. This area of the island offers miles of public beaches with parking, Historic Bridge Street for sightseeing and shopping, and great dining opportunities with both family fun and a nightlife. Read on to learn six things you might not know about Bradenton Beach.

6 Things to know about Bradenton Beach

While all of Anna Maria Island has a special charm, Bradenton Beach has a unique culture and history all of it’s own.

1. History

Originally called Cortez Beach for its proximity to the fishing village of Cortez, the area became Bradenton Beach during the 1920’s land boom. It’s believed that inland developers gave it the name Bradenton Beach, so potential buyers would think the Beach and the city of Bradenton were next to each other rather than seperated by Cortez Fishing Village and Palma Sola. The city was incorporated in 1953.

Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier is the site of the original, and first bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The first Bridge was wooden, and built in 1922. By the 1940’s the Bridge became rickety with wind and waves making the structure sway. It’s said that when cars went over the old bridge the wooden boards would bounce making a banging noise like a shot gun (Norwood 181). A new bridge was built in 1957 making access to the island much safer and easier.

The Historic Bridge Street Pier, now a days, offers excellent fishing, sightseeing over Sarasota Bay, a delicious restaurant with a view, shops and public day docks.

Historic Bridge
The First Bridge to Anna Maria Island built in 1922.

2. Sightseeing and Activities

There are also many beautiful places to sight see on Bradenton Beach including the Bradenton Beach City Pier, quaint Bridge Street, Coquina Beach bike path and Leffis Key. Rent a segway from Bridge Street rental company Segs by the Sea, and cruise around the city with ease.

When looking for activities on Bradenton Beach enjoy miniature golf on Bridge Street, or head over to the Tingley Memorial Library. This unique library is independent of the Manatee County Library system, and offers annual memberships for $4.

When visiting the island, especially during high season, you may want to consider using the free trolley to get around. Parking is limited in busy areas of the island, and battling traffic does not lend to a relaxing paradise getaway. The free trolley runs usually every 20 minutes taking you along almost the entire island.

Sarasota Bay sightseeing
There are great sightseeing opportunities in Bradenton Beach like this view of Sarasota Bay and the Cortez Bridge seen from Leffis Key.

3. Beaches

Bradenton Beach offers approximately a three mile strip of public beach with parking along the Gulf of Mexico. Public parking makes it a popular place for enjoying the shore on Anna Maria Island. To the far south is Coquina Beach with restrooms, concessions, showers, parking, picnic tables, walking path, playground, and life guards. Heading north through Bradenton Beach along the gulf brings you to Cortez Beach. Cortez Beach does not offer the same amenities, but does have plenty of parking, and an old Florida beach feel. There are three erosion groins located in an area locals call “Three Piers” this area separates Coquina and Cortez Beach, and is said to be a great surfing spot.

Coquina Beach
Coquina Beach is the southern most gulf beach on Anna Maria Island. In the background of this image you can see the 2015/2016 construction of the new erosion groins to keep south end beaches intact.

4. Events and Markets

Bradenton Beach offers one seasonal market perfect for finding local made items, art, gifts and produce. Happening on Sunday, The Coquina Beach Market is a great way to enjoy the island on a Sunday Funday Morning.

Bradenton Beach Markets
Coquina Beach Market

5. Shopping

In addition to the fabulous Seasonal Markets there are great little shops in Bradenton beach offering swim wear, beach gear, home items, art, jewelry, gifts and more. Find out about Shopping on Anna Maria Island here.

Back Alley
There are great shops on Bridge Street like Back Alley where you can find local made and hand made art, jewelry, gifts and refreshments. Photo Credit: Back Alley Facebook Page.

6. Dining

On the south end of Anna Maria Island you’ll find some really fabulous Restaurants. While visiting you’ll have many types of dining experiences for all meals of the day. From casual to fine dining, and restaurants with a beach or bay view. You’ll even find a few places open late on Bridge Street if you are looking for night life. Click on the links below for suggestions.

Bradenton Beach Bridge Tender Inn
The Bridge Tender restaurant offers great food with a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay and the Bradenton Beach City Pier.

 

Blue Marlin
Wicked Cantina
The Island Spice
Bridge Tender Inn
Beach House Restaurant
Anna Maria Oyster Bar
French Table
Island Time
Joe’s Eats and Sweets
Sharky’s

Bradenton Beach Pier
Bradenton Beach City Pier 2016.

Now that you know these six tips, enjoy Bradenton Beach like a local!

 

Bradenton Beach Properties

Looking for the perfect Anna Maria Island home on south end? Island Real Estate Agents can help you find your next paradise beach house!

Bradenton Beach Vacation Rental

 

Works Cited:

Norwood, Carolyne. Anna Maria Island 1940-1970 Tales of Three Cities from Bean Point to Bridge Street. Anna Maria Island: Anna Maria Island Historical Society. 2010.

 

Have you been to Island Time?

Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Island is known for having fantastic locally-owned restaurants like Island Time! One of my favorite places to go on the island is Island Time Bar & Grill in Bradenton Beach. This is an open-air restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. You are right across the street from the beach to see the sunset too! While enjoying some of their delicious food, cocktails and live music, you’ll love the atmosphere!

Island Time

They have live music 5-7 days a week. Have you ever been to a bar or restaurant and the band/singer starts performing and it’s just no good? It’s a bummer because it can potentially kill the good vibe going on. Well, Island Time always has great bands/singers that everyone enjoys! This restaurant is both family oriented and fun for a night out.

Island Time has awesome food. Every time I’ve eaten there, I’ve always liked what I ordered! They have an awesome 7 layer dip for an appetizer along with other great choices. You’ll also find really good sandwiches, lobster bisque, burgers, and much more! Don’t be afraid to try something new – you will love it!

I know when I’ve been at the beach all day I love to walk across the street to Island Time to get an ice cold drink! Island Time’s bar staff is all very nice and attentive. It’s no fun when you have to wait forever to get a drink! The staff is great and they acknowledge you as soon as you get to the bar. Check out some of their drinks specials below!

Happy Hour

Mon. – Sat. 11:30am to 5pm
$1.87 Bud Light Bottles, $4 Malibu Drinks, & $3 Wells

Monday: $5 Burgers,
$1.50 Bud Drafts, $4 Malibu Drinks

Tuesday: 65¢ Wings,
$1.50 Drafts,
$3 Blue Whales

Wednesday: $3 Tacos,
$3 Coronas

LADIES NIGHT:
$3 Wells
$2 Margaritas
Thursday: $9.95 Fish & Chips
$5 Frozen Drinks
Saturday:
College Football
Big Ten Network
Sunday and Monday:
NFL Ticket Football
$12 Bucket of Bud or Bud Light
$4 Smirnoff Bloody Mary’s & Jameson Whiskey