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21 Things to Do in 2021

A New Year brings new adventures, exhilarating encounters, and lifelong memories. With countless ways to enjoy an authentic Florida getaway in the Bradenton Area, we’ve compiled a list of 21 outstanding things experience in 2021 to get you started.


1. Get A Massage On The Beach

Everyone deserves a little pampering in 2021, and there's no better way than a relaxing beach massage. The balmy breeze and relaxing sound of waves lapping at 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 the plane, picking up your bags, and on your way to the beautiful local beaches.

4. Hunt For Seashells

Nothing is more quintessentially ‘Florida’ than spending some time in the powder-soft sand and hunting for seashells along Bradenton Area beaches. The gentle rolling of 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 build a spectacular sandcastle or 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.

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. Enjoy a Bradenton-brewed Beer

The Bradenton Area is home to award-winning breweries, distilleries, and wineries, each with their own unique atmosphere. From the largest Beer Garden in Florida to a family-friendly brewhouse, you’re sure to have a delightful time sampling some spectacular (and award-winning!) local brews.

8. 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.

9. 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 safely spending time in the canopy. Kids of all ages will enjoy the unique games and aerial perspective this unique attraction provides.

10. Spend Time In The Sand

Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key are truly 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 so fine that it has to be felt between your toes to be believed—it's nearly as soft as powder. And trust us when we say the sand 'squeaks' as you walk on it between the dunes! 

11. Sit For A Sunset

Grab your smartphone (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!

12. Rent The Whole House

Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key have 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.

13. 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.

14. Paint A Sand Dollar

The Shiny Fish Emporium is pone 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!

15. 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 talented teachers of the Salty Buddha.

16. 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 Bradenton Farmers Market on Old Main Street or the Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch.

17. 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-meets-Margaritaville 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)!

18. Marvel At Maritime History

The Florida Maritime Museum tells the extraordinary tales of life on the water in the historic fishing village of Cortez. You'll find artifacts, images, and replicas that tell the century-old tales of living on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a commercial fisherman. But this place isn’t just for looking at relics behind glass, you are encouraged to get your hands on history at their Folk Art School!

19. 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.

20. Find Hidden Gems

Don your prospecting hat and hunt for spectacular treasure, like quartz, amethyst, citrine, jasper, sharks’ teeth, and fossils at Mystic Mines. You’ll find this self-proclaimed 'largest gemstone mining outpost in the region' in the eclectic Village of the Arts. Grab your pre-filled bucket and splash your sift in the flowing waters of the flume to reveal all of the colorful treasures to take home. The best part? Each bucket contains unique riches to unearth!

21. Book Your Return

Once you experience the authentic charm of our beachside community, you’ll understand why almost everyone who visits the Bradenton Area returns. With more to see and do than you can fit into one getaway, you’ll have more than 20 reasons to return on your next trip!