Our 10 Favorite Beaches in Bradenton, FL
Bradenton is an amazing city and the seat of Manatee County in Florida. It’s known for its historic sights and the local aquarium. When the sun is at its hottest the locals love to enjoy the beach, but where is it that they exactly go? We’ve selected our 10 favorite beaches in Bradenton, FL, so you can enjoy the water too!
When you are thinking about beaches in Bradenton, FL, your best bet is Anna Maria Island. It’s just a stone throw’s away and it has multiple great beaches. This is the place you’ll want to go first, but we’ve selected some other awesome beaches nearby so read on for more choices.
When you want to go beyond Anna Maria Island, the choices in Bradenton beaches multiply. Bradenton, FL is super close to famous beach towns like Siesta Key, Venice, or Clearwater Beach.
As you can see there are quite a few options when it comes to beaches in Bradenton, FL. There is something for everyone. Families, friendly outings, and solo trips can all be done with relative ease from Bradenton. So let’s dive in!
1. Cortez Beach
Let’s start our journey by exploring the beaches near Bradenton, FL on Anna Maria Island. More specifically in the town of Bradenton Beach. The name says it all, this is the first place to look when you are searching for the beaches in Bradenton.
Cortez Beach is one of the two main beaches in Bradenton Beach. It has beautiful white sand and plenty of space for everyone but it does get crowded on hot days. Locals and tourists love to come here as it has free parking and beautiful scenery.
The beach itself does not have any amenities. No shower, toilet, or changing rooms here. It’s not a big problem when you are coming from Bradenton as you come from close so you can plan accordingly and stay only a couple of hours on the beach if you want.
As it is with beaches in the area sunsets are amazing here and the more natural scenery adds a lot to the atmosphere.
It’s only around 20 minutes from Bradenton’s downtown area. The distance is around 10 miles.
2. Coquina Beach
TopFlightsNow Favorite Pick!
Coquina Beach is the other public beach in Bradenton, FL, and we actually prefer this one. It’s usually less crowded than Cortez Beach and it is just as beautiful.
Plus this one is a bit better on amenities. There’s even a small coffee shop here and a beach market. There are also bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms so you really can plan a full day at Coquina Beach.
Regardless of the better amenity situation, we feel like this beach manages to maintain the natural atmosphere.
The sand is amazing and fine and the water is always inviting. There were occasions when we even managed to spot some dolphins swimming by. Other animals can also make an appearance near the beach if you keep an eye open.
A superb choice for families. This is one of our favorites among the beaches in Bradenton, FL.
It’s around a 25-minute drive from downtown and the distance is around 12 miles.
3. Manatee Public Beach
We are still looking at the beaches on Anna Maria Island, but we’ve officially entered the area of beaches near Bradenton, FL. We are no longer in Bradenton or Bradenton Beach, but rather in Holmes Beach.
Manatee Public Beach is one of the main public beaches in Manatee County. It’s featuring full amenities including picnic tables, bike racks, playgrounds, grills, showers, toilets, and changing rooms.
This is a very nice choice if you want a no-frills experience. The Manatee Public Beach is just as beautiful as the other choices on Anna Maria Island and you can have a great day out here.
Oh, and before we forget: as an insider tip, you must try the pancakes on the beach. They are heavenly.
The only problem with this beach is parking. As it gets popular on sunny days, the parking spots fill up quickly and you might need to be patient to find a spot.
It is only 15 minutes from Bradenton’s downtown making it the closest beach to Bradenton, FL.
4. Bean Point Beach
A TopFlightsNow Classic Tip!
Whenever we are looking at beaches in this area we never fail to mention Bean Point Beach. It’s simply one of our favorite beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.
We also think it’s the most beautiful Anna Maria Island beach. While other beaches are pretty and atmospheric, Bean Point Beach has just a little extra to make it stand out.
The fine white sand, the very rural and natural feel, and the palm trees all make you feel like you are in the Bahamas and no longer in Florida.
It is a true hidden gem that’s not even as crowded as the other beaches in the area. We recommend that you start your journey on beaches in Bradenton, FL, right here.
Do note that there are no amenities and parking is hard to come by. There aren’t a lot of access points so this beach needs you to work a bit for it. The reward is however amazing.
The distance from Bradenton is around 12.5 miles or 25 minutes of driving.
5. Lido Key Beach
Lido Key Beach is like a smaller version of Siesta Key. It’s not as crowded but just as beautiful. A great one if you are searching for a beach with amenities but no huge crowds.
Parking is free and there is a nice bar near the beach that sells everything you could wish for. Alcoholic drinks, virgin cocktails, and snacks.
There are also bathrooms available and they are very clean. The beach is generally well kept and not ruined by mass tourism.
Just like most Gulf Coast beaches, this one has fine white sand and breathtaking water. It’s a good choice to spend your day.
You can find Lido Key in the extended area of beaches near Bradenton, FL, but it’s still only around 25 minutes of driving.
6. Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach is a famous option among the beaches in Bradenton, FL. It’s loved by tourists for the beautiful coastline and the spacious beach.
Regardless of the big size it can and does get crowded during the height of the tourism season but we’ve found it acceptable even when it’s crowded.
Siesta Key Beach has a great atmosphere and beautiful scenery all around. It’s a classic beach experience that’s fun for the whole family.
What visitors love about this place is how they manage to provide fully equipped amenities, be family-friendly, yet maintain a very natural scenery. Siesta Key is a great choice from Bradenton, but you’ll have to drive a bit to reach it.
It’s around 35 minutes of driving from Bradenton, FL. The road distance is just a touch over 20 miles.
7. Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach is on the coast south of Siesta Key. This beach is less crowded than other beaches in areas there are no bigger towns nearby.
Regardless, the access is easy with parking available. There are minimal amenities available, but there is one place where you can rent kayaks for example.
The fine white sand that’s so characteristic of Siesta Key is not present on Turtle Beach. Although just as beautiful, the sand is much rougher around these parts. You might want to think about bringing proper foot protection.
The beach itself is a lovely choice if you are looking for a natural and not crowded place. It’s one of those beaches in Bradenton that are usually only visited by locals and not by tourists.
It usually takes around 45 to 50 minutes to drive to Turtle Beach. The road distance is 22 miles.
8. Venice Beach
Not to be confused with Venice Beach in California! This one’s in Florida.
The town of Venice Beach was named one of the happiest towns in America a few years back and we can definitely see why.
It must be the amazing shoreline. When you can walk out to the beach each morning and take a quick dip in the water, or enjoy some running on the coast then you’ll definitely feel great for the rest of your day.
This beach is not only beautiful but very well equipped as well. You will find all amenities you can think of when you are thinking of a great beach, including a lifeguard.
The distance is around 36 miles or 45 minutes of driving from Bradenton, Florida.
9. Clearwater Beach
Whenever you are looking at the beaches near Bradenton, FL, you have an opportunity to visit one of the most famous Gulf Coast beaches, which is none other than Clearwater Beach.
Honestly, if you’ve been to most of our other picks we think that Clearwater can’t provide that much extra but it’s still a well-known beach and a beautiful one at that.
One of the most known features is the fine white sand that is on the shore and the inviting clear blue waters of the Gulf. It’s a fully equipped beach as well.
You’ll have restaurants, bars, lifeguards, showers, toilets, parking, changing room, and rentals of all kinds available here.
It’s also super popular and can get crowded and it’s a place to avoid during spring break.
It’s around 47 miles or 1 hour and 15 minutes of driving from Bradenton.
10. St Pete Beach
Lastly, another beach in the Tampa/St Petersburg area. St Pete Beach is rightfully loved by travelers from around the nation.
The shore is lined with hotels of all shapes and sizes and it’s a place to catch some sun and enjoy the calm waters.
St Pete Beach is just as well equipped as any other beach in the area but it’s usually not as crowded as its neighbors.
This one is also a great pick for families.
It’s only around 35 minutes from Bradenton.
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Beaches in Bradenton, FL – FAQ
Manatee Public Beach is the closest being only 15 minutes away from downtown.
Coquina Beach is our favorite beach in the Bradenton area.