The city of Bradenton is located just south of Tampa and its large bay. It is well worth visiting on its own, with many scenic natural spots, fascinating cultural attractions, and outstanding outdoor activities.
It is known as “The Friendly City” and lies along the slow-moving Manatee River and the Gulf of Mexico. Although most of the main attractions and museums are located near the Riverwalk, the Village of the Arts is home to many cool art galleries as well as colorful homes.
You can also explore the Gulf Coast, which is home to a variety of beautiful nature preserves as well as stunning beaches and state parks.
12. Hunsader Farms
Hunsader Farms, a fun family farm located just half an hour east of downtown, is about 30 minutes drive away. It has an excellent playground, petting zoo and antiques shop. There is also an ice cream shack and fresh produce market.
The farm was established in 1967 by a family and has grown to be a large, bustling attraction with many new activities, attractions, and events. Some people visit the farm to pick fresh strawberries or buy local vegetables. Others enjoy the many rides and performances at County Christmas and their Pumpkin Festival.
You can either stay overnight on the farm or in one of their cozy cabins if you wish to experience the slower pace of farming life.
11. Village of the Arts
The vibrant Village of the Arts is a wonderful area for exploring. It covers large swathes of the city’s center. You will find many unique galleries, studios, coffee shops, and restaurants among the hundreds of old, colorful cottages.
The brightly colored bungalows are what make this area so charming to wander around. These beautiful bungalows date back to the ’20s as well as the ’30s. They are filled with exquisite architecture that is enhanced by the pastel and pretty colors they have been painted in.
Many of these historic buildings are home to art studios, specialty shops and galleries. You can even enter and peruse their amazing collections. You can shop for photos and paintings, clothing and jewellery as well as at charming cafes along its streets.
10. Lake Manatee State Park
Lake Manatee State Park is a peaceful, picturesque spot to visit. It offers countless outdoor adventures and opportunities for wildlife observation. It is located along the south shore of large lake and follows the same route as Hunsader Farms.
The scenic coastline of the park is lined by beaches and marshes, with hardwood forests further inland and pine flatwoods. There aren’t any cute manatees, but you might spot the old alligator or osprey in the undergrowth.
You will need to be careful for hidden gators. However, the water is safe enough that you can splash around in it or even kayak and paddle your way through its waters. Tourists as well as locals alike love to camp, hike and sunbathe here.
9. LECOM Park
The charming, old LECOM Park offers a unique sporting experience that will make your visit memorable. It is located just south of downtown and home to the Bradenton Marauders as well as the spring training pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Spanish Mission-style, 1923 built ballpark is considered Florida’s Fenway Park. It is one of the most historic stadia in America and a popular choice for baseball enthusiasts due to its charming old-style appearance and electrifying atmosphere.
Because spectators sit so close to the pitch’s immaculately maintained pitches, it is easy for coaches and players to chat and interact with each other. The historic grandstands and the outdoor BBQ area add to this memorable atmosphere, making it a great place for catching a game of baseball.
8. Manatee Village Historical Park
Manatee Village Historic Park offers a wealth of information about the state’s rich past. It boasts more than a dozen reproductions of well-restored buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries.
It is now a National Historic Site. This site was created in 1976 to preserve and protect the county’s pioneering history. It includes an 1887 Methodist Church and an old courthouse from 1860. There is also a smokehouse, blacksmith shop, and a boat yard.
You can also take in their beautiful features and read about their past. Its grounds, which are located east of the center, include historical photos and plaques.
7. Palma Sola Botanical Park
The Palma Sola Botanical Park is a collection of lots of beautiful plants, flowers and trees. It can be found to the north of the town near the Robinson Nature Preserve. It is beautifully landscaped with ponds and picnic areas, as well as a playground that features beautiful butterflies and birds flying about.
The botanical garden is a haven of peace and tranquility. It was once home to a palm nursery, with many other types of exotic trees now lined its pathways. You can inspect all of the flowers, snap photos and take pictures. Also you will be able to watch the fish and turtles swoop around the lakes.
The park has been described as an undiscovered gem. It is also a great place to relax before heading out on the beach or nature preserves nearby.
6. Red Barn Flea Market
Red Barn Flea Market is undoubtedly the most popular place to shop in Bradenton. It’s located just off the S Tamiami Trail. It is open every day except Monday. The 600 stands, stalls, and shops sell just about everything.
The vast flea market has been owned and managed by the same family since 1981. It also features food courts, farmers markets and plaza shops. Some sections sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Others are home to tools, toys and even t-shirts. Others still offer soap, shoes and watches as well as women’s clothes and video games.
You can browse the almost endless array of products, but you also have the option to stop by the food court for a quick bite or a drink before moving on to your next shopping trip.
5. Robinson Nature Preserve
Robinson Nature Preserve is sure to please nature-lovers and outdoor lovers alike. It covers large swathes of northern Bradenton. You can bike and hike along the park’s lush trails or climb up observation towers.
Although most of this preserve is located near Tampa Bay’s shores, the mangroves and marshes extend quite far inland. You can enjoy a peaceful paddle around the waters, where you may spot dolphins, manatees or other marine mammals.
Visitors can rent kayaks or paddleboards. They also have the option to walk, cycle, or run along the meandering pathways or watch birds from its tower at 53 feet tall. You can enjoy some great fishing or picnicking in the ever-changing coastline ecosystem.
4. Cortez Beach
Another spot you can relax in the beautiful surroundings is not far from where you will find a place to unwind, enjoy nature and get lost in it. You can get a tan at Cortez Beach, Anna Maria Island. Or you could stroll the sands and swim in the sparkling Gulf of Mexico.
It is undeveloped and untouched. The soft, white sands of the beach are protected by rolling dunes that have some vegetation. There are also shady trees overlooking this expansive stretch. Three piers extend out to the sea, offering fishing opportunities. There are also hiking and biking trails that lead you towards the south end of the island.
You can enjoy the sun, the sea, and the sand, as well as surfing the small waves.
3. National Memorial to De Soto
The charming De Soto National Memorial is located just west of Bradenton and offers a perfect blend of nature and history. It is located at the point where Tampa Bay meets the Manatee River and commemorates both the 1539 arrival of the famous explorer, as well as the first large-scale European expeditions to the South.
Nearly 500 years ago Hernando De Soto, a Spanish conquistador companion of Francisco Pizzaro, arrived at Tampa Bay along with his army to search for land, gold, and the key to eternal life. It boasts a visitor center that allows guests to learn more about the voyage, brutal encounters with Native Americans, and view amazing antique armour, weapons, and maps.
You can explore the beautiful waterfront after watching a brief video about this battle-hardened man. You can also fish, hike and enjoy a picnic here. There are often thrilling historical reenactments that take place in the park’s cooler months.
2. Bishop Museum Of Science And Nature
The Bishop Museum Of Science And Nature is located in the middle of town and one of the top attractions. Its many artifacts, exhibits, and archaeological finds, which mainly focus on Florida’s Gulf Coast are truly fascinating.
It is located right beside the city’s bridge over Palmetto and pier. The huge collection occupies an impressive modern building. The displays and dioramas show the state’s history from prehistoric times to the present. There are ancient fossils, pots that date back centuries and modern artifacts.
The complex includes a planetarium, where science can be viewed and a rehabilitation center for manatees where they can be seen before being released to the wild.
The Bradenton Riverwalk is just a short distance from the museum. It’s one of the best places in the city. It offers beautiful views of the water and bridges. There are also plenty of green spaces and play areas that children and adults can enjoy.
It is located alongside the Manatee River and includes everything you need, including an outdoor amphitheater, tide pool, and a sandy beach. You can also walk, jog, or cycle the boardwalk, which is approximately a mile long.
You can picnic on the lawns or fish from its pier. Or, you can play volleyball on its sandy courts. Live music is also a common feature.
A Map of Things To Do in Bradenton Florida
Hernando DeSoto Bridge
Overlooking the Manatee River, the Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile park spanning downtown with many features. The Manatee River is known for its variety of native fish, including snook, redfish, and trout. The Fishing Pier is one of the best spots in the area for anglers.18-Jun-2018
The bridge is named after E. P. Green, a member of the board for what was then called the state Road Department. Green advocated for the project. The existing replacement bridge opened in September 1986.08-Nov-2019
The per capita income in Bradenton in 2018 was $28,045, which is middle income relative to Florida and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $112,180 for a family of four. However, Bradenton contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Bradenton is an extremely ethnically-diverse city.