There’s no shortage of beaches in Florida. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, you’ll want to head straight to the beaches in Bradenton, Florida. This Gulf Coast region is home to some of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the state, making it the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day by the water.
With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to narrow it down to a few good beaches. Fortunately, we have you covered – we’ve reviewed the beaches in the Bradenton area, picking out seven beaches for you to consider.
Read on to discover the best beaches in Bradenton, FL and its surrounding islands!
2650 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island
This seven-mile stretch of white sand is on the southern end of Anna Maria Island. It’s the perfect balance for those looking for a beach with a good range of amenities but not too big a crowd.
The beach is completely flat, the sand is nice and fine, and the water is warm, clear, and beautiful – perfect for swimming. There’s a large shallow area, which is great for kids and novice swimmers. That said, watch out for the sharp rocks that are scattered across the ocean floor in some areas.
There is a wide range of amenities, with public restrooms, showers, changing areas, a picnic area, a playground, and a volleyball court, among other things.
However, traffic can get bad on busy days. We recommend going to Coquina Beach in the early morning or evening to beat the rush.
Manatee Public Beach
4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island
There’s no beach easier to get to than Manatee Public Beach, which is at the far end of Anna Maria Island Bridge when coming from Bradenton.
The sand is mixed, boasting both soft, white sand and rough shell. It’s good for walking and building sandcastles, and the beach itself is clean. The water is typically clear with tinges of blue and green. However, the currents may become treacherous if the weather turns stormy.
There is a complete range of amenities available, including paddleboard rentals. The only other downside is that summer weekends tend to be crowded. Come early to beat the rush.
698 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island
The sand at Cortez Beach is powdery and white – we highly recommend strolling barefoot on the beach to feel the soft sand between your toes. The water is also calm and warm, making it quite welcoming to swimmers.
If you surf, we recommend going to Cortez Beach from June to November. That’s when the waves build up enough for a fun surfing experience.
Keep in mind that there aren’t any facilities – even the nearest restrooms are a walk away. This also means that there are no lifeguards, so be careful while you’re out in the water.
Admission is free, but note that the beach isn’t open all day. Its hours are only from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Bean Point Beach
793 North Shore Drive, Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island
Bean Point Beach is on the northern end of Anna Maria Island, and it’s the perfect beach if you want to avoid the crowd. It boasts soft, white, and powdery sand as well as translucent water. There’s a gradual slope going into the water – the mix of both shallow and deep parts caters to swimmers of all levels.
While it is known as the hidden gem of Anna Maria Island, there are no amenities or lifeguards stationed at the beach. The currents are strong, so be extremely careful while in the water.
Note that parking can be inconvenient, so it’s best to come early.
2198-2100 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island
There are many beaches in the Bradenton area, and one good place to start is the eponymous beach. Bradenton Beach lends its name to both the southern part of Anna Maria Island and a specific section of the beach.
The sand is hard-packed and white, good for walking and building things. The water is clear and blue, with large shallow areas and lifeguard stations.
There is a wide range of amenities available on the beach, such as restrooms, showers, changing areas, and snack bars for basic needs. You’ll also find many restaurants and shops near the beach, just a short walk away.
When visiting Bradenton, there are two things to keep in mind. Since it’s one of the easier beaches to get to, you may have to deal with a large crowd. Come early to get a parking space and beat the rush. Additionally, there are stingrays in the water, so be careful while swimming.
Palmetto Avenue Beach
100 Palmetto Avenue, Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island
The north end of Anna Maria Island hosts quite a few beaches that hardly anyone goes to. If you want a nice, quiet beach experience without too many people around, Palmetto Avenue Beach is an excellent choice.
The beach sand is soft, white “sugar sand”, and we recommend walking the beach barefoot for the full experience. The water is clear and turquoise, and you won’t run into many other people while swimming.
However, there’s a downside to the quiet and privacy: there are no facilities of any kind. This also means that there are no lifeguards, so swim with caution.
Gulf Of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
Longboat Key is just south of Anna Maria Island, and it has quite a few good beaches to go to. It’s less crowded than the other islands, so if you want to have a beach day without running into anyone else, any beach on Longboat Key is perfect. But if you’re looking for just one beach to hit up, consider going to Whitney Beach on the northwestern end of Longboat Key.
Whitney Beach has soft white sand and clear, calm waters. You won’t find any crowds here, but there are also no amenities and no lifeguards. Pack your own supplies and be careful while in the water.
There are plenty of great beaches in and around Bradenton, Florida. With so many options, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, or even just relaxing.
Keep in mind that not all beaches have services, amenities, or lifeguards, so pack and exercise caution as needed. Have fun and stay safe!
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.