Bradenton is quintessential Florida with white baby-powder beaches, friendly people and fresh seafood. You can spend all of your time here outdoors, soaking in the sun or choose to visit the many museums that will help you understand the old-Florida past. Either way, stay with Choice Hotels in Bradenton, Florida to explore the area’s attractions, which include:
A shining example of what can happen when natural habitat is restored to its original beauty, the Robinson Preserve comprises 487 acres of mud flats, mangrove swamps and beaches. Climb to the top of the five-story observation tower to see Anna Maria Island, Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto and even St. Petersburg and the Sunshine Skyway. And speaking of seeing things, this is one of the best birding destinations in Florida. You can also explore the various trails for hiking and cycling, or rent a kayak and paddle around.
If you are interested in more challenging physical activity than hiking or kayaking, then the TreeUmph! Adventure Course is for you. You will be completely safe—the gear and guides alike are excellent—but you will feel a rush of adrenaline all the same as you whiz through the treetops. The summit is 60 feet high and the view from the top is breathtaking; getting there—via ziplines, rope swings and more—will leave you even more breathless. Guides are present on every part of the course but maintain a distance so you can feel independent. This is a great family activity (children seven years old and up are welcome) with special sections just for kids. You will want to bring both water and gloves, but do not worry if you forget: they can be purchased at the course.
Keep your feet out of the treetops and on terra firma as you explore the past at the De Soto National Memorial. The conquistador Hernando de Soto arrived in Tampa Bay in 1539 to search for gold and glory; he and his entourage spent four years and covered four thousand miles in the quest that cost him his fortune and ultimately his life. A small museum at the memorial park tells his story, and rangers and volunteers show you how to use various weapons and other artifacts. Special living history demonstrations are available at different times in the year, including the winter Spanish Encampment series. After visiting the past, enjoy the present as you hike through the park, eat a picnic, go on one of the free weekend kayak tours, walk your dog or just drink in the quiet beauty of the area.
You will go on a three-for-one adventure when you visit the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Manatee Aquarium. The museum will take you on a natural history tour of Bradenton from the Pleistocene to the present. The planetarium presents astronomy and laser programs. The aquarium is home to the oldest known living manatee. The museum also hosts special events and workshops, including the Wednesday “Think and Drink” science programs, Film Fridays and Family Nights.
It is called the Riverwalk, but the name does not come close to giving you a sense of all the things your family will enjoy here. Still, start with the walk itself, where you will go over boardwalks and along paths where you will see outdoor sculptures and can stop at one of the many benches to enjoy the views. Beyond the walkway itself, there are several playgrounds, a skateboard park (where you will see some very impressive moves), a splash park, docks, a fishing pier, a tidal discovery zone … the list goes on and the fun never stops. There are occasional music events at the outdoor amphitheater and a First Responders’ Memorial that is well worth taking a moment of your time for recognition and gratitude.
Play ball! Baseball happens all year-round at McKechnie Field, the spring-training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the home for the rest of the year of the A-level Marauders team. The stadium is small enough to ensure that all seats are excellent; the prices are affordable and the atmosphere is enthusiastic. This is the oldest MLB spring-training park in the country—it was built in 1923—but has been completely renovated and is sleek, clean and comfortable.
Manatee County is in so many ways the epitome of a Florida dream destination, and when you stay at one of the Bradenton hotels listed below you will be able to enjoy the year-round sunshine, the beautiful warm tropical climate, water temperatures that average 80 degrees and many fun attractions. It is easy to see why this might just be the perfect family vacation!
Bradenton, FL, US, 34207
Bradenton, FL, US, 34208
Saint Petersburg, FL, US, 33713
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