Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Best Things To Do In Bradenton, Florida


by Pegeen Landry



Welcome to Bradenton, Florida, a vibrant city located on the beautiful Gulf Coast. With its stunning beaches, cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures, Bradenton offers a plethora of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art lover, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.


Bradenton is conveniently located just a short drive from Tampa, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. With its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals, it’s easy to see why Bradenton has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.


One of the highlights of Bradenton is its Riverwalk, a picturesque waterfront path that stretches for 1.5 miles along the Manatee River. This scenic walkway is perfect for an afternoon stroll or a leisurely bike ride, with stunning views of the river and downtown Bradenton. Along the way, you’ll find charming shops, delicious restaurants, and vibrant public art installations.


If you’re a history buff, Bradenton has plenty to offer. Visit the South Florida Museum, where you can learn about the region’s rich history and explore the fascinating exhibits, including the largest collection of prehistoric fossils in the state. Don’t miss the chance to meet Snooty, the museum’s resident manatee and the oldest manatee in captivity.


For art aficionados, the Village of the Arts is a must-visit. This vibrant community is filled with colorful galleries, studios, and boutiques, showcasing the work of local artists. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets, admire the eclectic artwork, and perhaps even purchase a unique piece to take home as a memento.


No visit to Bradenton would be complete without spending some time at the pristine beaches. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun or you’re eager to try your hand at water sports, Bradenton’s beaches have it all. Anna Maria Island is a popular spot, with its turquoise waters, sugar-white sand, and charming beachside cafes.


Fishing enthusiasts will be in their element in Bradenton. With its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico, there are ample opportunities for deep-sea fishing or casting a line from one of the piers. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice fisherman, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable experience.


Explore the Riverwalk

One of the top attractions in Bradenton is the Riverwalk, a scenic promenade that runs along the Manatee River. This 1.5-mile waterfront path offers breathtaking views of the river and downtown Bradenton, making it a perfect spot to explore on foot or by bike.


Start your journey at the Bradenton Riverwalk Gateway, a stunning entrance with its iconic arches and lush landscaping. As you stroll along the path, you’ll encounter various amenities and attractions that make the Riverwalk a favorite among visitors and locals alike.


Enjoy a leisurely walk, taking in the tranquil atmosphere and enjoying the beautiful waterfront views. The Riverwalk is lined with benches and picnic areas, perfect for a peaceful break or a romantic sunset picnic. You’ll also find several playgrounds, making it a family-friendly destination.


Art enthusiasts will love the Riverwalk’s public art installations. As you explore, you’ll come across captivating sculptures, murals, and interactive exhibits that add a vibrant and artistic touch to the surroundings. Take your time to appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship of the local artists.


If you’re feeling active, the Riverwalk offers plenty of opportunities for recreation. Rent a bike and pedal along the bike trail, or rent a kayak or paddleboard and take to the water for a scenic adventure. You can also try your hand at fishing from the pier or enjoy a game of volleyball on the beach volleyball courts.


As you stroll along the Riverwalk, you’ll come across a variety of dining options. From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, there’s something to suit every taste bud. Stop for a refreshing drink, indulge in some delicious seafood, or simply sit back and enjoy the waterfront ambiance.


The Riverwalk is also home to a number of events and festivals throughout the year. From live music performances to food and art festivals, there’s always something exciting happening along the Riverwalk. Check the local event calendar to see what’s on during your visit.


Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an active outing, exploring the Riverwalk is a must-do when visiting Bradenton. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty, soak up the vibrant atmosphere, and create unforgettable memories along this picturesque waterfront promenade.


Visit the South Florida Museum

Located in downtown Bradenton, the South Florida Museum is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike. This museum is home to a fascinating collection of exhibits that showcase the rich history and diverse wildlife of the region.


Step inside the museum and embark on a journey through time. Explore the history of Florida’s native peoples, learn about the impact of Spanish explorers, and discover the stories of early pioneers who settled in the area. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated with artifacts, interactive displays, and informative panels, providing a comprehensive understanding of Bradenton’s past.


One of the museum’s highlights is the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, where you can get up close and personal with these gentle creatures. Watch as they swim and play in their natural habitat, and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these unique mammals. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a manatee feeding session or a presentation by the museum’s dedicated staff.


The museum also boasts the Bishop Planetarium, which offers a range of immersive shows that explore the wonders of the universe. Sit back in the comfortable seats and be transported on a virtual journey through space, as the state-of-the-art technology brings the night sky to life. From educational documentaries to visual spectacles, there’s something to captivate visitors of all ages.


After exploring the exhibits, take a stroll through the museum’s beautiful outdoor garden, where you can admire native Florida plants and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The garden also features a butterfly enclosure, where you can observe these delicate insects up close and learn about their life cycle.


Before you leave, make sure to visit the museum’s gift shop, where you’ll find a variety of unique souvenirs, books, and educational toys. Support the museum’s mission by purchasing a memento or gift that supports their conservation and awareness efforts.


Whether you’re a history buff, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply looking for an educational and engaging experience, a visit to the South Florida Museum is a must. Immerse yourself in the rich history and natural wonders of the region, and leave with a deeper appreciation for Bradenton’s cultural and ecological heritage.


Discover the Village of the Arts

For art lovers and creatives, exploring the Village of the Arts is a must-do when visiting Bradenton. Located just south of downtown, this vibrant community is a haven for local artists and showcases a diverse range of artistic talent.


As soon as you step foot in the Village of the Arts, you’ll be greeted by a colorful and eclectic array of galleries, studios, and boutiques. The streets are filled with charming bungalows that have been transformed into unique artistic spaces, each housing its own creative expression.


Take your time to wander through the streets and explore the various galleries and studios, where you can admire and purchase original works of art in a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry. Meet the artists themselves, who are often present and happy to share their creative process and inspiration.


Don’t be surprised if you find yourself captivated by the eclectic artwork that lines the streets. Murals, sculptures, and vibrant street art fill every corner, providing a backdrop that is as visually stimulating as it is inspiring. Take your time to admire the artistry and snap some memorable photos.


Aside from the art, the Village of the Arts is also home to a variety of delightful cafes, restaurants, and specialty shops. Take a break from exploring the galleries and indulge in some delicious cuisine, whether you’re craving a gourmet meal or seeking a cozy spot for coffee and dessert.


For a truly immersive experience, consider planning your visit during the monthly Artwalk. On the first Friday and Saturday of each month, the Village of the Arts comes alive with live music, street performances, and art demonstrations. It’s a festive and lively atmosphere that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the artistic spirit of the community.


If you’re looking to take home a unique memento, be sure to visit the village’s gift shops and boutiques. From one-of-a-kind crafts to handmade jewelry, you’ll find a plethora of treasures that reflect the character and creativity of the artists who call this community home.


The Village of the Arts is a testament to the thriving art scene in Bradenton. It’s a place where creativity knows no bounds and art is celebrated in all its forms. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of this community and let your artistic spirit soar.


Enjoy the Stunning Beaches

When it comes to natural beauty, Bradenton boasts some of the most stunning beaches on the Gulf Coast. With their pristine white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking sunsets, these beaches are a slice of paradise that beckon visitors year-round.


One of the most popular beach destinations in Bradenton is Anna Maria Island. This seven-mile-long barrier island offers a variety of beach options, each with its own unique charm. Coquina Beach, located on the southern end of the island, is known for its wide sandy shores, lush dunes, and excellent amenities, including picnic areas, playgrounds, and beach volleyball courts.


If you’re looking for a more secluded and tranquil beach experience, head to Bean Point. Tucked away on the north end of Anna Maria Island, this hidden gem offers a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, swim in the calm waters, or simply relax and soak up the sun while enjoying the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.


For a dose of adventure, visit Coquina Baywalk and Leffis Key Preserve. These scenic natural areas offer boardwalks and trails that wind through lush coastal habitats, providing opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and serene walks along the shoreline.


If you’re an avid angler, Bradenton’s beaches are a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Pack your fishing gear and cast your line from the piers or wade into the shallow waters to catch a variety of fish species, including snook, redfish, and trout. Join a fishing charter for a deep-sea adventure and try your luck reeling in the big catch.


Bradenton’s beaches are not only great for relaxation and water activities but also serve as a backdrop for some thrilling water sports. Rent a paddleboard, kayak, or jet ski and explore the picturesque coastline at your own pace. For those seeking a bit of adrenaline, consider trying your hand at parasailing or windsurfing.


After a day of sun, sand, and sea, don’t miss the opportunity to witness a captivating sunset from one of Bradenton’s beaches. The sky comes alive with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple, creating a stunning spectacle that is the perfect way to end a day in paradise.


Bradenton’s stunning beaches offer a retreat where you can relax, unwind, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, adventure, or simply a place to bask in the sun, these beaches are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.


Go on a Fishing Expedition

With its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico, Bradenton is a haven for fishing enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice fisherman, there are plenty of opportunities to cast your line and reel in the catch of a lifetime.


Bradenton offers a variety of fishing options, from the calm waters of the bay to the deeper offshore waters of the Gulf. Hire a knowledgeable guide or join a fishing charter to ensure you have the best chance of success. These experts have a deep understanding of the area’s waters and can take you to the best fishing spots based on the season and target species.


One popular fishing destination near Bradenton is the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier. Spanning 4.1 miles across Tampa Bay, this pier offers ample space for anglers to try their luck. Bring your own fishing gear or rent equipment on-site, and cast your line into the deep waters. The pier is known for its abundance of species, including snook, tarpon, grouper, and Spanish mackerel.


If you prefer a more secluded and peaceful fishing experience, Bradenton’s numerous parks and preserves offer freshwater fishing opportunities. Head to the Robinson Preserve or the Manatee Riverwalk Park, where you can fish from the shore or launch your own kayak for a tranquil paddling and fishing adventure.


For those seeking a true deep-sea fishing experience, book a charter and venture offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. These charters offer the chance to catch a variety of prized game fish, such as kingfish, mahi-mahi, grouper, and snapper. Enjoy the thrill of reeling in a big catch and the satisfaction of knowing you’re in the middle of some of the best fishing grounds in the region.


Don’t worry if you’re new to fishing or don’t have your own equipment. Many charters provide all the necessary gear you’ll need for a successful day on the water. They will also offer guidance and instruction to ensure you have a memorable and productive fishing expedition.


Keep in mind that fishing regulations apply in Bradenton, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the current rules and regulations. This will help preserve the sustainability of the local fisheries for future generations.


Embarking on a fishing expedition in Bradenton is an experience you won’t soon forget. Whether you’re looking to catch your dinner or simply enjoy the thrill of the chase, the diverse fishing opportunities in this area will leave you hooked on the beauty and excitement of fishing in Bradenton.


Take a Trip to De Soto National Memorial

Immerse yourself in history and nature by taking a trip to De Soto National Memorial, located on the shores of the Manatee River in Bradenton. This national park commemorates the landing of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1539, marking the beginning of European exploration in Florida.


Explore the expansive grounds of De Soto National Memorial and discover the stories of the past. Start your visit at the visitor center, where you can learn about the expedition and its impact on the Native American populations. Through engaging exhibits and informative displays, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the cultural clashes and encounters that shaped the region’s history.


The highlight of the memorial is a reconstructed 16th-century Spanish campsite, which provides a tangible glimpse into the past. Walk through the campsite and imagine the hardships and adventures that De Soto and his crew experienced as they navigated the uncharted wilderness of Florida.


As you wander the park’s trails, keep an eye out for various wildlife species that call the memorial home. From wading birds and alligators to turtles and raccoons, there’s no shortage of wildlife to spot and appreciate in their natural habitat.


For a unique experience, consider taking the nature trail that winds through the park’s dense mangrove forests. This tranquil path offers a scenic escape, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of this coastal ecosystem. Keep your eyes peeled for bird sightings and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the untouched surroundings.


Throughout the year, the park hosts special events and programs that provide a deeper immersion into the history and nature of the area. From living history demonstrations to guided nature walks, these events offer a hands-on and interactive experience that brings the memorial to life.


Entrance to De Soto National Memorial is free, making it an accessible and affordable destination for history buffs and nature lovers. Pack a picnic and enjoy your meal amidst the serene surroundings, or simply find a quiet spot to relax and soak up the beauty of the riverfront.


A visit to De Soto National Memorial is an opportunity to step back in time and appreciate the cultural and natural heritage of Bradenton. Discover the stories of exploration, encounter the local flora and fauna, and gain a renewed appreciation for the region’s rich history and ecological diversity.


Explore the Bradenton Farmers’ Market

Indulge your senses and immerse yourself in the local flavors of Bradenton at the weekly Bradenton Farmers’ Market. Held every Saturday in downtown Bradenton, this bustling market is a vibrant hub of fresh produce, artisan goods, and lively community spirit.


Strolling through the market, you’ll be greeted by a colorful array of stalls filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables. From juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce to tropical fruits and fragrant herbs, the market offers a diverse selection of seasonal produce that reflects the rich agricultural heritage of the region.


Not only can you find fresh produce, but the market is also a treasure trove of unique artisanal goods. Browse through the handcrafted jewelry, pottery, artwork, and clothing made by local artists and craftsmen. These one-of-a-kind creations make for perfect souvenirs or gifts that showcase the talent and creativity of the community.


As you explore the market, tantalize your taste buds with the diverse culinary offerings. Treat yourself to freshly baked bread, gourmet cheeses, decadent pastries, and other delectable treats from the local bakeries and food vendors. Indulge in international flavors with offerings from various cuisines, including mouthwatering street food, homemade sauces, and exotic spices.


One of the highlights of the Bradenton Farmers’ Market is the live entertainment that fills the air with music and laughter. Enjoy the tunes of local musicians and take part in the festive atmosphere as you mingle with fellow market-goers. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with the community and experience the vibrant spirit of Bradenton.


While at the market, take the chance to chat with the farmers, growers, and artisans to learn about their craft and the stories behind their products. They are often more than happy to share their knowledge, offer tips on how to best enjoy their offerings, and provide insight into sustainable farming practices.


The Bradenton Farmers’ Market is not just a place to shop; it’s a community gathering spot that fosters a sense of connection and togetherness. It’s a place where you can gather with friends and family, support local businesses, and take pride in the bounty of the region.


Whether you’re seeking fresh produce, unique artisanal goods, or a lively community experience, the Bradenton Farmers’ Market is a must-visit. Experience the flavors, sights, and sounds of this vibrant market and discover the vibrant local culture that defines Bradenton.


Visit the Robinson Preserve

Nestled along the picturesque shores of Tampa Bay, the Robinson Preserve is a nature lover’s paradise and a hidden gem in Bradenton. This expansive nature preserve spans over 487 acres and offers a peaceful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the beauty of the surrounding ecosystem.


Step onto the trails that wind through the preserve and you’ll find yourself immersed in a lush and diverse landscape. From mangrove forests and saltwater marshes to expansive tidal flats and wetlands, the Robinson Preserve showcases the natural wonders of coastal Florida.


Embark on a scenic hike or bike ride along the well-maintained trails that meander through the preserve. Marvel at the incredible biodiversity as you spot various bird species, including herons, egrets, and ospreys. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as turtles, rabbits, and even the occasional alligator sunning itself on the riverbanks.


For an elevated view of the area, climb the observation tower situated within the preserve. From the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Tampa Bay, the vast salt marshes, and the sprawling preserve below. It’s a perfect spot for photographers, birdwatchers, or anyone looking to take in the natural beauty of the area.


Water enthusiasts will delight in the opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding along the serene waterways of the preserve. Navigate through the mangrove tunnels and explore the winding trails that lead to hidden coves and peaceful lagoons. The calm waters and the stunning backdrop of the preserve create a tranquil and unforgettable paddling experience.


If you’re looking for a place to have a picnic or simply relax amidst the beauty of nature, the Robinson Preserve offers scenic picnic areas and lush green spaces. Spread out a blanket, savor a meal, and take in the sights and sounds of the preserve.


Whether you’re an avid nature lover, a bird enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, a visit to the Robinson Preserve is a must-do in Bradenton. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this natural oasis, reconnect with the beauty of the environment, and experience firsthand the preservation and conservation efforts taking place in the area.


Discover the Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark

For adrenaline junkies and skateboard enthusiasts, the Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark is a must-visit destination. This state-of-the-art skatepark, located along the scenic Bradenton Riverwalk, offers thrilling challenges and a vibrant skateboarding community.


The Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark is renowned for its innovative design and diverse array of features, catering to skaters of all skill levels. From beginners honing their skills to seasoned professionals pushing the boundaries, there’s something for everyone at this world-class facility.


Spread across 23,000 square feet, the skatepark boasts a variety of ramps, bowls, rails, and ledges, providing endless opportunities for tricks and stunts. Whether you’re looking to master an ollie, execute a kickflip, or conquer a vert ramp, the skatepark has it all.


Challenge yourself on the street-style obstacles, where you can navigate ramps, stairs, and rails to perfect your technical skills. Alternatively, test your abilities in the bowls and transition sections, where you can carve, grind, and catch some air.


One of the standout features of the skatepark is the flow bowl, which offers a seamless and continuous run that allows skaters to maintain momentum and perform fluid tricks. This unique feature draws skaters from all around, making it a vibrant hub of activity and camaraderie.


Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a newcomer to the sport, the skatepark provides a supportive and inclusive environment. There’s a strong sense of community among the skaters, who are always willing to offer tips, share tricks, and encourage one another. It’s a space where friendships are forged and skills are honed.


Not a skateboarder but still want to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere? The skatepark offers a viewing platform where you can watch the action unfold, admire the skills of the skaters, and soak up the energetic ambiance of the park.


Adjacent to the skatepark, you’ll find amenities such as restrooms, water fountains, and ample parking, making it convenient and comfortable for skaters and spectators alike. The park is well-maintained and supervised, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all.


So whether you’re a seasoned skateboarder or simply looking for some thrilling entertainment, the Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark is a must-visit destination. Grab your skateboard, embrace the adrenaline, and immerse yourself in the vibrant skateboarding culture of Bradenton.


Experience the Vibrant Nightlife

When the sun goes down, Bradenton comes alive with a vibrant and exciting nightlife scene. From lively bars and clubs to cozy lounges and live music venues, there’s something for everyone to enjoy after dark in this bustling city.


Start your evening by exploring the downtown area, where you’ll find a variety of bars and pubs offering craft beers, creative cocktails, and a lively atmosphere. Whether you prefer a casual beer garden or a stylish rooftop bar with panoramic views, you’ll find a spot to suit your tastes and preferences.


If live music is your passion, Bradenton has a thriving local music scene with venues hosting a wide range of genres. From intimate coffee shops featuring acoustic acts to larger venues that attract well-known bands and performers, there’s always something exciting happening in the world of music in Bradenton.


For a more relaxed scene, seek out the charming lounges and wine bars that offer a cozy ambiance and an impressive selection of wines and cocktails. These establishments often feature live jazz or acoustic performances, creating an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere for a night out.


If you’re feeling lucky, try your hand at one of the local casinos or gaming establishments. Test your skills at poker, blackjack, or slot machines, and feel the exhilaration of gambling in a lively and entertaining environment.


Immerse yourself in the cultural scene by checking out the local theater productions and performances. Bradenton is home to several theaters and performance spaces that showcase a range of artistic talents, from plays and musicals to stand-up comedy and improv shows.


Foodies will find plenty of options for satisfying late-night cravings. From trendy food trucks offering unique and delicious bites to late-night diners and eateries serving comfort food classics, you’ll never go hungry during your nocturnal adventures in Bradenton.


Don’t forget to explore the lively events and festivals that take place after hours. From night markets featuring local artisans and food vendors to street parties with live music and dancing, these events add an extra spark of excitement to the already vibrant nightlife of Bradenton.


It’s important to note that the nightlife scene in Bradenton has something for everyone — whether you’re seeking energetic crowds and dancing or prefer a more relaxed and intimate setting. Regardless of your preferences, you’ll find a place to mingle, socialize, and make lifelong memories during your nights out in Bradenton.


So, after you’ve enjoyed the sun-kissed days exploring the attractions of Bradenton, make sure to immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife scene and discover the city’s after-dark offerings.



Bradenton, Florida, is a destination that offers a delightful mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a lively atmosphere. From exploring the scenic Riverwalk to immersing yourself in the vibrant art scene of the Village of the Arts, there are endless opportunities for discovery and adventure.


The stunning beaches of Bradenton beckon visitors with their pristine shores, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water sports, or fishing excursions, the beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable day by the coast.


History buffs will appreciate a visit to the South Florida Museum and De Soto National Memorial, where they can delve into the rich cultural heritage of the region. And for outdoor enthusiasts, the Robinson Preserve offers a tranquil escape into nature, with its scenic trails and abundant wildlife.


Food lovers will delight in the Bradenton Farmers’ Market, where they can sample fresh produce, artisan goods, and savor the unique flavors of the region. And after a day of exploration, the vibrant nightlife scene of Bradenton awaits, offering a variety of venues where you can unwind and create unforgettable memories.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply seeking a relaxing beach getaway, Bradenton has something for everyone. Its blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a welcoming community make it a destination worth exploring.


So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to make lasting memories in Bradenton, Florida. From its stunning beaches to its diverse cultural offerings, this charming city is waiting to welcome you with open arms.