Are you vacationing in Bradenton Beach with children?
While the beach is our #1 favorite and free activity there is a lot more for you and your family to explore while in the area. Bradenton Beach has Coquina Beach as a main convening spot for beach goers, there is a life guard, beach café, playground area and an expansive public grill strip that runs beach side. Spend a picture perfect beach day thereon Sunday, hanging out on the shore and then shopping the local farmers market right there on the beach where you can grab a variety of food or keepsakes.
Bridge Street is another big draw in the city, serving as the local Main. St in Bradenton Beach the road spans from the aquamarine coastline to the Bradenton Beach City Pier which is situated over the Sarasota Bay waters. A well mixed combination of fun retail, upscale boutiques, phenomenal menu options and recreational entertainment for all ages line Bridge Street (check out our full directory and printable map here). For a full fledged day on Bridge St. start with breakfast at the Island Creperie, walk some of it off while you browse Back Alley Treasures (a great local store with something for everyone) and on your way out grab a latte’ at their adorable coffee bar, head down to The Fish Hole for mini golf, finish with a stroll down the AMOB pier, do some relaxing and possible fishing (rent poles on your way in) and grab dinner right there or at one of the many inviting restaurants along the strip.
Have a group of teenagers your vacationing with? They’ll love this idea-visit Segs by the Sea on Bridge Street and book a Segway tour around Bradenton Beach! They offer self-guided, standard group or customized group tours. Zip around and explore Anna Maria with this new and modern fun way to tour (if you have a Go-pro for vacation this would be the time to use it)!
Slightly North on Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach is the John Chappie park, there you can rent a variety of recreational watercrafts: catamarans and jetski rentals are available for older family members, kayaks are perfect for the whole family and are available in single or tandem
Looking for something more low key?
Here are some less involved outings to add to your itinerary:
Flip Flops & Ice Cream: Throw on your favorite pair or make an outing of it – head over to Bridge Street Bazaar and buy an AMI pair. The off Bridge Street to Joes Eats & Sweets for one of their legendary sundaes (map here). Flop on over to the beach with your picture perfect new treats and keep cool in the Florida heat.
Sunset Bike Ride: Head up Bridge Street where you can find multiple bike rental shops or order one delivered to you for free by Fun & More Rentals. They rent a variety of bike styles including a tandem bike and bike trailer to tow your little one safely behind you. Head South onto Gulf Dr. from Bridge Street and enjoy the pastel skies over the beach, at the end of Gulf Drive you will dead end into the Coquina Bay Park, a perfect beach park area to park your bike, throw out your blanket and take in the sunset with your loved ones. If you packed a picnic lunch make use of their free beach grills!
Picnic on the pier: The Island Publix is really the only place to do thorough grocery shopping on the island, they have certified organics and your standard groceries along with a vast selection of household, beauty, healthcare and beach items. Pick up some picnic supplies (including a lunch basket if you need it) and head to Bridge Street, you can park right by the board walk and it offers several areas where you and your family can enjoy a picnic on the pier (under the bell tower, any of the sitting areas along the pier or at the large pavilion at the end of the pier). They also have an outside restaurant with a self-serve cafeteria set up so you can quickly grab a drink before heading down the boardwalk. Make sure not to forget your camera and enjoy a picture perfect, family friendly outing.
Stargazing at the beach: Have Amazon Prime? Then this one’s for you!
If not there are still a lot of places (Walmart, ToysRus etc) that offer overnight shipping for this activity. Buy a telescope and after dinner head out to the beach for some stargazing! A perfect beachy end to the night and an affordable activity that is great for families of any size! A list of constellations can be found here and we recommend heading to the Coquina Beachside North pavilion (this area is not recommended for swimming or for children who are unable to be supervised, the undercurrent tied can be deadly). Bring a beach blanket, the family and your new telescope to the beach park, there’s lots of cushy shore to spread out on and no commercial lights to block out the stars.
Paint Sand Dollars: Visit one of the Bradenton Beach shell shops (we list 2 below) and purchase some bleached sand dollars. You can pick up paint and supplies from the Arts & Craft isles at Publix Walgreens or CVS and grab some free local publication papers on the way out to protect the flooring while you paint. Then it’s time to head to a beach pavilion or make use of your homes lovely outdoor space if you have it and make some island art. All ages will have a blast being creative and making some original keep sakes to bring home, don’t forget to leave them out in the sun overnight before packing them up so they don’t get broken during travel!
- One Stop Shell Stop – 101 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
- Green Turtle Shell & Gift Shop – 701 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Florida Hiking: Check out some of the local nature trails, there are 3 major preserves on the Island, the two in Bradenton Beach are Grassy Pointe Preserve and Coquina Bay Trail. Just over the causeway you’ll find the other two walkable trails which are Robinson and Neal Preserve. All of them offer cleared pathways to explore and are kid friendly and easily navigated by foot or bike. Both Robinson and Neal have huge observation towers that offer 360 degree views of the surrounding area and audubon enthusiast will love the variety of local birds. We suggest bringing walking shoes, waters, sunscreen, binoculars and a camera!