22 Things to Do in 2022
A New Year brings new adventures, exhilarating encounters, and lifelong memories. With endless ways to enjoy an authentic Florida getaway, we’ve compiled a helpful list of 22 things to experience in the Bradenton Area in 2022!
1. Get A Massage On The Beach
Everyone deserves a little pampering in the New Year, and there’s no better way than a relaxing beach massage. The balmy breeze and relaxing sounds of the shore are the perfect backdrop to this serene cabana in the sand dunes. Contact the helpful staff at Sea-Renity Beach Spa & Eco Boutique to schedule your session.
2. Spot Some Dolphins
The Bradenton Area is unique to Florida because it borders the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, and the Manatee River. From estuaries to the open water, there are endless habitats that are home to native sea life, including the playful bottlenose dolphin. Take a 90-minute voyage with Paradise Boat Tours to witness these extraordinary creatures first hand.
3. Fly Nonstop to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)
You’ll want to savor every minute of your vacation to the Bradenton Area, and flying to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) means spending less time lingering in long lines and more time basking in the Florida sun. At SRQ, you’re literally minutes from walking off your plane, picking up your bags, and getting on your way to the beautiful local beaches.
4. Hunt For Seashells
Nothing is more quintessential to a Florida vacation than spending time in the powder-soft beach sand hunting for seashells. The gentle waves along the edge of the water is the perfect place to scout for colorful shells, like the giant cockle, kitten’s paw, or sea scallop. Bring your favorite beach pail, you’re sure to find some shells to take with you!
5. Reel In ‘The Big One’
Our local waters teem with remarkable gamefish, which are perfect for sustainable catch-and-release fishing. Grab your pole and head for the famous Anna Maria City Pier, Jiggs Landing, or one of the many other hotspots. Need a guide? No worries, local charter captains will provide all of the necessary gear to safely and responsibly fish the local reefs, grass flats, deep sea, and more. If you’re an angler looking to enjoy the abundance from the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll be delighted to learn that many local restaurants offer hook-and-cook service, like the Seafood Shack. Simply bring in your catch and the chefs will prepare your meal just as you like it, complete with all the accoutrements.
6. Dine Dock-To-Table
With a lengthy coastline stretching along the bountiful Gulf of Mexico, the Bradenton Area is home to some of the best seafood in Florida. It’s easy to find fresh, local fish and shellfish, especially when dining in the Historic Fishing Village of Cortez. You’ll find fishermen unloading their daily catch dockside, which means that the tastebud-tingling freshness of this cuisine is unmatched.
7. Make A Souvenir
ArtCenter Manatee is one of the best places to view varied exhibitions and to go hands-on with art to make a truly unique souvenir. Classes are held throughout the week and offer workshops in many mediums, including painting, drawing, pottery, jewelry design, photography, and more. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced artist, you can explore your creativity through the skilled guidance of the teachers to make a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
8. Take To The Treetops
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to experience the Bradenton Area from above? Check out TreeUmph! Adventure Park, a place where you can have fun defying gravity by spending time suspended in the canopy. Kids of all ages will enjoy the unique games and aerial perspectives provided at this unique attraction.
9. Spend Time In The Sand
Bradenton Area beaches are special because the sand that lines the shore is almost entirely comprised of 100% quartz crystal. Although nearly as hard as a diamond, the texture of this gemstone is crushed so finely that it has to be felt between your toes to be believed—it’s nearly as soft as powder.
10. Sit For A Sunset
Grab your phone (or camera!) and head for one of the many beaches to witness a famous Bradenton Area sunset. The clouds explode with vibrant, pastel colors as the sun slowly slips into the Gulf of Mexico. Every sunset is unique, so be sure to compare your photos after uploading them to Instagram. Don’t forget the #BradentonArea hashtag!
11. Rent The Whole House
The Bradenton Area has an abundance of whole-house vacation rentals that are perfect for your getaway or staycation. You won’t find any towering condominiums here, but a variety of unique places to call “home” for the next few days. From modern, multi-story houses to beachfront bungalows and charming cottages, you’ll find all of the necessities—and maybe a little more.
12. Be Amazed At The Bishop
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In addition to the vast collection of local artifacts, you’ll find a manatee rehabilitation aquarium, an all-digital planetarium with mind-blowing shows, and The Backyard Universe, a place to get hands-on with nature.
13. Paint A Sand Dollar
The Shiny Fish Emporium is one of the most colorful shops on Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island. You’ll find beach-glam gifts next to unique souvenirs and toys for kids of all ages. You can purchase a hand-painted sand dollar to take home—but we encourage you to paint your own!
14. Practice SUP Yoga
The Anna Maria Island is a popular place for outdoor yoga. The gentle Gulf breezes and warm sun offer the perfect setting to quieting your mind and tuning out the stresses of everyday life. Harmonize with a little H20 and practice yoga on a stand-up paddleboard with the seasoned instructors of the Salty Buddha.
15. Shop The Farmers Markets
With a lengthy growing season, you’ll soon learn why local produce is readily available at our farmers markets. Stop by and chat with farmers as you shop for vegetables at the Anna Maria Island Market or the Bradenton Farmers Market on Old Main Street.
16. Have A ‘Cheeseburger In Paradise’
We all know the song, now sink your teeth into the real ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ at Bar & Chill in Margaritaville’s Compass Hotel. This lobby bar is the perfect place to enjoy the vistas over Anna Maria Island sound as you dine on that one-of-a-kind burger—cooked to order, and topped just how you like it (we suggest some lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and french-fried potatoes)!
17. Beaches and… baseball?
You probably already know that the Bradenton Area is synonymous with spectacular beaches, but it is also celebrated for its deep roots with baseball. Located in downtown Bradenton, LECOM Park has been the Spring Training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates for over fifty years. This historical ballpark is also set to host the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) U-18 Baseball World Cup, which takes place September 9–18, 2022. This elite tournament is one of the premier, international youth baseball competitions around. Don’t forget to take a seventh-inning stretch along the seven-mile stretch of beaches on Anna Maria Island!
18. Shop ‘Till You Drop
With 130 shops featuring well-known name brands in apparel, accessories, and home furnishings, you’re sure to spend the entire day (or two!) shopping Ellenton Premium Outlets. This covered, outdoor mall has lush landscaping, an ample food court, and places to rest your feet during your wallet-friendly shopping excursion.
19. Catch the Blues
The Bradenton Area is never lacking for live music, but one of the absolute can’t-miss events in the annual Bradenton Blues Festival. A 3-day long event, the Blues Fest is always a foot-tapping good time!
20. Go Top Speed
The Bradenton Area can be paradise for thrill seekers too! At Andersen RacePark, you can speed around in karts and leave your friends in the dust.
21. Peruse a Preserve
The Bradenton Area is home to a dozen nature preserves that are found across the destination—but not all of our preserves are alike. Some are hundreds of acres, some are small natural wetlands, and some are relics of an ancient time. But one thing’s for sure, each one offers you the experience of exploring the untouched beauty of Florida’s west coast.