Enjoy Spring Weather in the Bradenton Area

The Bradenton Area is synonymous with sunshine, and what better way to enjoy the picture-perfect weather than by spending time outdoors. But don’t be fooled, there is more to the destination than just the beaches! From leisurely hikes in unspoiled preserves to dining dockside on the freshest seafood around, there are endless ways to soak up some Florida sunshine.

Enjoy Spring Weather in the Bradenton Area

Roam the Riverwalk

Located in downtown Bradenton, the Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile-long public park that parallels the Manatee River. Featuring Florida-friendly landscaping, public art, playgrounds, a skate park, and fishing docks, you can spend your entire day enjoying this cool outdoor oasis. And, with the recent Riverwalk East expansion, this popular public park has nearly doubled in size. The expansion offers ample open-air activities, including boardwalks that stretch into the river, an ADA-accessible observation tower and plenty of broken shade beneath towering pine trees. This expanded section of the Riverwalk is more than meets the eye, it also has deep connections to the past. Previously known as Mineral Springs, it was a source of fresh water utilized by American Indians, and it even has historical connections to the Underground Railroad.

Enjoy Spring Weather in the Bradenton Area

Explore Bradenton Area Nature Preserves

More than a dozen nature preserves can be found across the Bradenton Area. These special parks are an ideal way to explore the great outdoors in true Florida fashion. From small-but-important preserves like Leffis Key, to hundred-acre sanctuaries like Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, nature enthusiasts to history buffs will enjoy exploring these unique sites. For birding enthusiasts, check out Felts Audubon Preserve, where over 194 bird species have been documented by members. If kayaking through mangrove tunnels and exploring salty shallows is your thing, don’t miss Robinson Preserve. And, history aficionados will marvel at the Portavant Mound in Emerson Point Preserve. At approximately 1,200 years old and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it is one of about 15 constructed in the region by American Indians!

Viva la Village (of the Arts)!

The Village of the Arts is one of the largest artist communities in the region. This eclectic neighborhood features colorful cottages that serve as both homes and gallery spaces for residents. Affectionally referred to as “VOTA” by the locals, visitors will find a variety of restaurants, healing arts and galleries throughout the village. ArtWalks — on the first Friday and Saturday of each month — is a time when VOTA’s galleries, restaurants and shops open their doors to the public for a vibrant experience. You’ll find event-goers strolling the sidewalks, mingling with artists and enjoying all that VOTA has to offer.

Enjoy Spring Weather in the Bradenton Area

Al Fresco, please!

To locals, dining al fresco is a way of life. Food tastes better with an open-air view, especially when accompanied by ample sunshine and balmy breezes. You’ll find plenty of outdoor feasting opportunities on the Island, including toes-in-the-sand dining at the Beach House and Gulf Drive Café. Truly as unique as the area, you’ll find dockside dining in the historical fishing village of Cortez. Grab a table at Star Fish Co. or Cortez Kitchen, where you can spot fishing boats unload their catch as you dine on some of the freshest seafood around. Further inland is downtown Bradenton which offers fine-dining and relaxed options with outdoor eating space. Between century-old buildings lies Old Main Street, where you can dine streetside on chef-inspired cuisine at O’bricks, Fav’s Italian Cucina, or Jenning’s Provisions. Don’t miss Oak & Stone, where you can enjoy artisa wood-fired pizza at the rooftop bar nearly 10 stories in the air!

An Angler’s Delight

With waterways galore, numerous fishing piers and an old-Florida fishing camp, the Bradenton Area is an ideal destination for anglers. No worries if you don’t have a boat, you can cast a line at Rod & Reel Pier or Anna Maria City Pier. Both are extremely popular for fishing (and sightseeing)! With year-round perfect weather, the destination is also home to countless fishing charters, where the captains will allow you to use their gear and ferry you to their secret fishing holes. If a self-paced angling excursion is more of your style, visit Jigg’s Landing. Found on a lush peninsula jetting into Evers Reservoir, this freshwater reservoir is full of prized catches. The fishing camp also features boat and fishing-pole rentals, as well as quaint, dockside cabin rentals for an overnight fishing getaway.

Enjoy Spring Weather in the Bradenton Area

Sun, Surf & Sand!

No trip to the Bradenton Area is complete without a visit to Anna Maria Island or Longboat Key. With powdery soft sand and unbeatable views of the Gulf of Mexico, you just can’t beat the tropical atmosphere. You’ll find a variety of beaches stretching along the seven-mile shoreline of Anna Maria Island, each with its own character. Bean Point is perfect for that remote, away-from-it-all feeling, while Coquina Beach, with ample parking, restrooms and concessions, is ideal for families. But one thing that these beaches share is the extraordinary quartz sand which needs to be felt under foot to really appreciate. From waving at sailboats passing at Longboat Pass to building Instagram-worthy sandcastles at Manatee Beach, there’s a beach for every mood—and every one!