Manatee County is located on the central-west coast of Florida, and there are plenty of things to see and do with your family that won’t put a huge dent in your wallet. Here are 11 of our favorite places to visit:
Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile-long public park located along the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida. The five-acre park features a skate park, 400-seat amphitheater, play grounds, and a splash pad.
Check out RealizeBradenton.com to learn more.
A 487-acre mosaic of mud flats, mangrove swamps, and beaches, Robinson Preserve is a testament to the spirit of Aldo Leopold. Formerly farmland in a district of Bradenton known for its tropical plant nurseries, this expanse of waterfront habitats has undergone extensive restoration, from removal of invasive species to re-creating tidal creeks and basins nourished by the rise and fall of Tampa Bay. Its most notable feature is a 5-story observation tower. Climb to the top for a treat: a sweeping vista of Tampa Bay, with views of Anna Maria Island, Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto, and even St. Petersburg and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. While walking through the preserve, you’ll enjoy some of the best birding on the Gulf Coast, no matter the time of day. With trails for hikers, cyclists, and paddlers to explore, this family-friendly preserve is an excellent coastal destination.
Visit RobinsonPreserve.com to learn more.
DeSoto National Memorial
De Soto National Memorial is a National Park just five miles west of downtown Bradenton. This park commemorates the 1539 landing of Hernando de Soto and the first extensive organized exploration by Europeans of what is now the southern United States. The memorial includes 26 acres, where the Manatee River joins Tampa Bay. There are kayak tours, a kid’s camp, fishing clinics and an escape room.
Learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/deso/index.htm
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, located in downtown Bradenton, is a natural history museum specializing in the history of Florida’s gulf coast. It houses exhibits highlighting Florida history from the prehistoric to the present. There is also a state-of-the-art planetarium with digital projections!
Explore the museum at: https://bishopscience.org
LECOM Park is a major league baseball field located in downtown Bradenton. It is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates minor-league affiliate. Formerly known as McKechnie Field, it is named after the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), which has an expansive campus in Lakewood Ranch, with the main campus in Erie, PA.
Buy tickets at: https://www.mlb.com/pirates/tickets/spring-training
Mixon Fruit Farms
Citrus grove with a play park, alligator encounters and a store serving orange-flavored ice cream. They also have trolley tours of their orange groves. It is a great place to spend the afternoon exploring.
Learn more: https://market.mixon.com
Manatee village historic park
Their mission is to preserve and share the heritage of Manatee County’s founding period (1840-1918). They do this through their museum exhibits and a collection of historical and replica buildings set on nearly four acres under the shade of hundred-year-old oak trees.
They have two permanent exhibits: “One Century Plus of Ranching in Manatee County” in the Wiggins General Store and “Life on the Florida Frontier” in the 1912 Settlers House. In addition to their exhibits, they also host special events throughout the year like lectures, book signings, festivals, workshops, and demonstrations. (One of our loan officers was married at the church!)
Check it out: https://www.manateevillage.org/
Manatee Public Beach
Park featuring a beach, a playground, picnic tables, grills, bike racks, restrooms, showers and more. Amazing sunsets can be seen while frolicking in the water. Also located here is a free trolley that will take you the entire length of Anna Maria Island, where you can hop on and off and explore.
Learn more at: https://www.mymanatee.org
Check out Anna Maria Island: https://www.mymanatee.org
Visit Coquina Beach:
Anna Maria Island historical museum
Museum set in a 1920s icehouse featuring exhibits on local history, plus the city’s original jail.
Explore the museum at: https://www.amihs.org/
More To See & Do
This is only a short list of the many things to do while exploring Manatee County. Do you have a favorite place to go? Let us know! The information provided above about the various places came from Wikipedia or the website of the place of interest.