Thinking of taking a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of Bradenton? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore some of the most exciting and enjoyable day trips you can embark on from this charming city. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply some relaxing time away from it all, we’ve got you covered. So pack your bags, hop in the car, and get ready to discover the best day trips from Bradenton that will leave you refreshed and inspired.
Beaches and Islands
Anna Maria Island
Just a short drive from Bradenton, Anna Maria Island is a beautiful barrier island that offers pristine beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. You can spend the day soaking up the sun on the soft white sand, or take a stroll along the shore and enjoy the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Anna Maria Island is also known for its charming beachfront cottages and quaint shops and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or a fun-filled day of exploring, Anna Maria Island is definitely worth a visit.
If you’re looking for a more upscale beach experience, Longboat Key is the perfect destination for you. This exclusive barrier island is known for its luxurious resorts, world-class golf courses, and beautiful beaches. Take a leisurely walk along the white sand beaches, go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters, or simply relax and soak up the sun. Longboat Key is also home to some of the best restaurants in the area, so make sure to indulge in some delicious seafood and waterfront dining while you’re here.
Siesta Key is famous for its powdery white sand beaches, which have been ranked among the best in the world. The sand on Siesta Key is 99% quartz, giving it a cool and soft texture that feels like powder beneath your feet. Spend the day lounging on the beach, build sandcastles, or take a dip in the turquoise waters. Siesta Key also offers a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues to enjoy in the evening. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or a lively night out, Siesta Key has something for everyone.
St. Pete Beach
Located just a short drive from Bradenton, St. Pete Beach offers miles of sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters. This lively beach town is known for its vibrant atmosphere and wide range of activities. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go for a swim, try your hand at paddleboarding, or embark on a fishing adventure, you’ll find plenty of options at St. Pete Beach. The town is also home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, making it the perfect destination for a fun-filled day trip.
Nature and Wildlife
Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks, offering visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including alligators, herons, and deer. You can explore the park by taking a scenic drive, hiking one of the many trails, or renting a kayak and paddling along the river. Myakka River State Park also offers camping facilities, allowing you to spend the night and truly immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
De Soto National Memorial
Step back in time and immerse yourself in Florida’s history at De Soto National Memorial. This memorial park commemorates the landing of Hernando De Soto and his expedition in 1539, which was the first European exploration of the American Southeast. Take a leisurely walk through the park and learn about the Native American cultures that existed before European arrival. You can also explore the nature trails, go birdwatching, or have a picnic by the water. De Soto National Memorial is a great place to connect with nature and learn about the rich history of the region.
Emerson Point Preserve
Emerson Point Preserve is a hidden gem located just a short drive from Bradenton. This 365-acre preserve offers stunning views of the Manatee River and is home to a variety of native plants and wildlife. Take a hike along the trails and keep an eye out for birds, turtles, and maybe even a manatee or two. Emerson Point Preserve also offers picnic facilities, so you can enjoy a meal surrounded by nature. Don’t forget your camera – the views from the observation tower are absolutely breathtaking.
For a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the water, head to Manatee Riverwalk. This scenic riverfront park stretches for 1.5 miles and offers beautiful views of the Manatee River. Take a peaceful walk on the paved trail, or rent a bike and explore the area at your own pace. The Riverwalk is also home to a variety of public art installations, making it a great place to admire local talent. Whether you’re looking for some exercise or just want to relax and enjoy the view, Manatee Riverwalk is the perfect spot.
Historical and Cultural Sites
Ringling Museum of Art
The Ringling Museum of Art is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This impressive museum is home to a collection of over 10,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Explore the galleries and admire masterpieces by artists such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Titian. The museum also houses the historic Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, which offers a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Ringling family. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful gardens and grounds surrounding the museum.
Island Gallery West
If you’re looking to support local artists and discover unique artwork, head to Island Gallery West. This artist-run cooperative gallery showcases a wide range of original pieces, including paintings, photography, pottery, and jewelry. Take your time and browse through the collections, chat with the artists, and maybe even find the perfect piece to take home as a souvenir. Island Gallery West is a great place to support the local arts community and find one-of-a-kind treasures.
Bradenton Riverwalk is a vibrant waterfront park that offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages. Take a leisurely walk along the riverfront and enjoy beautiful views of the Manatee River. The park is also home to a skate park, splash pad, and playground, making it a great place for families with children. Don’t forget to bring your fishing gear – there are plenty of spots along the Riverwalk where you can cast a line and try your luck. Grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants and enjoy a picnic by the water, or simply sit back and watch the sunset over the river.
South Florida Museum
For a dose of history and culture, visit the South Florida Museum. This museum is home to a variety of exhibits that explore the natural and cultural history of the region. Learn about Florida’s native peoples, explore the world of paleontology, and marvel at the impressive collection of fossils and archaeological artifacts. The museum is also home to the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, where injured manatees are cared for and eventually released back into the wild. Don’t miss the opportunity to see these gentle giants up close and learn about the conservation efforts that are being made to protect them.
TreeUmph! Adventure Course
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled adventure, look no further than TreeUmph! Adventure Course. This aerial adventure park offers a variety of courses that are designed to challenge and thrill visitors of all ages. Climb, swing, and zip your way through the treetops as you navigate obstacles and zip lines. TreeUmph! Adventure Course is a great place to test your limits and push yourself to new heights.
Paddling the Manatee River
For a peaceful and scenic outdoor experience, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the calm waters of the Manatee River. Paddling allows you to immerse yourself in nature and observe the diverse wildlife that calls the river home. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, and a variety of bird species as you glide along the water. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a beginner, paddling the Manatee River is a fantastic way to spend a day outdoors.
Golfing at Lakewood Ranch
If you’re a golf enthusiast, make sure to schedule a tee time at one of the world-class golf courses at Lakewood Ranch. This master-planned community offers several championship golf courses that are known for their impeccable greens and challenging layouts. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced golfer, you’ll find a course that suits your skill level. After a round of golf, relax at the clubhouse and enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the course.
Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico
Bradenton is known for its fantastic fishing opportunities, and a day out on the Gulf of Mexico is a must for any angler. Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, you’ll find plenty of options in the area. Charter a fishing boat and head out into the Gulf, where you can fish for a variety of species, including snapper, grouper, and kingfish. If you prefer a more laid-back fishing experience, head to one of the local piers or beaches and cast a line from shore. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico offers the chance to catch your own dinner and create unforgettable memories.
Shopping and Dining
Ellenton Premium Outlets
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, head to Ellenton Premium Outlets. This outdoor shopping center offers a wide range of designer and brand name stores, where you can find great deals on clothing, accessories, home goods, and more. Take your time and browse through the stores, and make sure to stop by the food court for a quick bite to eat. Ellenton Premium Outlets is a great place to find high-quality products at discounted prices.
The Village of the Arts
For a unique shopping and dining experience, visit The Village of the Arts. This vibrant neighborhood is home to a community of artists, who have transformed the area into a colorful haven of creativity. Explore the art galleries, studios, and boutiques, where you can find a variety of handmade items, including pottery, paintings, jewelry, and clothing. The Village of the Arts is also home to several restaurants and cafes, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of coffee. Take your time and explore the streets of this charming neighborhood, and maybe even discover a new favorite artist.
Just a short drive from Bradenton, Downtown Sarasota offers a wide range of shopping and dining options. From high-end boutiques to unique specialty stores, you’ll find something to suit every taste and style. Take a leisurely walk along Main Street and explore the charming shops and galleries that line the street. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, choose from a variety of restaurants that offer everything from casual comfort food to fine dining experiences. Downtown Sarasota is also home to several theaters and performance venues, so make sure to check the schedule and catch a show while you’re in the area.
Bridgetender Inn & Dockside Bar
For a true waterfront dining experience, head to the Bridgetender Inn & Dockside Bar. This iconic restaurant has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike for over 30 years. Located on the banks of the Manatee River, Bridgetender Inn offers stunning views of the water and a relaxed atmosphere. Choose from a variety of seafood dishes, including fresh fish, shrimp, and crab legs, or opt for one of the restaurant’s other delicious menu items. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio and soak up the beautiful surroundings, or grab a seat at the dockside bar and watch the boats go by.
Water sports and Boating
Kayaking in Robinson Preserve
Robinson Preserve is a beautiful nature reserve that offers a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking. Rent a kayak and explore the mangrove tunnels and waterways that wind through the preserve. Paddle along the calm waters and keep an eye out for birds, turtles, and other wildlife that call Robinson Preserve home. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, kayaking in Robinson Preserve is a peaceful and enjoyable way to connect with nature.
Jet skiing in Sarasota Bay
Get your adrenaline pumping and explore the waters of Sarasota Bay on a jet ski. Rent a jet ski and cruise along the bay, feeling the wind in your hair and the spray of the water on your skin. Speed across the waves and take in the breathtaking views of the coastline. Jet skiing in Sarasota Bay is a thrilling way to experience the beauty of the area and create long-lasting memories.
Parasailing in Anna Maria Island
For a truly unique and exhilarating experience, try parasailing in Anna Maria Island. Strap yourself into a harness and let the wind carry you high above the water as you take in panoramic views of the island and the Gulf of Mexico. Parasailing offers a bird’s-eye view of the stunning coastline and is a great way to get a different perspective on the area. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for a unique adventure, parasailing in Anna Maria Island is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Boat tours to Egmont Key
Explore the natural beauty and rich history of Egmont Key on a boat tour. Egmont Key is a small, uninhabited island located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and is home to a variety of wildlife, including gopher tortoises and nesting shorebirds. Take a guided tour and learn about the history of the island and its role as a military fort and lighthouse. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the remains of the fort and spot dolphins and manatees along the way. A boat tour to Egmont Key is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the Gulf Coast and learn about the history of the region.
Amusement Parks and Entertainment
For a day of fun in the sun, head to Adventure Island. This water park offers a wide range of thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, making it the perfect destination for families and adrenaline junkies alike. Cool off in the refreshing water, race down the slides, or simply relax and float along the lazy river. Adventure Island also offers dining options, so you can refuel and recharge before continuing the fun.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Explore the wonders of the ocean at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. This research facility and aquarium is home to a variety of marine animals, including sharks, manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins. Immerse yourself in the underwater world as you walk through the aquarium and learn about the importance of conservation and research. Mote Marine Laboratory also offers interactive exhibits and educational programs, making it a great destination for visitors of all ages.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
Step into a tropical paradise at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. This botanical garden is home to a variety of exotic plants and flowers, as well as a diverse range of animals, including flamingos, parrots, and alligators. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens and admire the lush surroundings, or attend one of the many animal shows and presentations that take place throughout the day. Sarasota Jungle Gardens offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of nature’s most fascinating creatures.
Manatee Performing Arts Center
For a night of entertainment, head to the Manatee Performing Arts Center. This state-of-the-art theater is home to a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, and dance shows. Check the schedule and catch a show by a local theater group or a touring production. The Manatee Performing Arts Center is a cultural hub in the community and offers a range of performances that are sure to entertain and inspire.
Wineries and Breweries
Bunker Hill Vineyard & Winery
Indulge in some delicious wine tasting at Bunker Hill Vineyard & Winery. This family-owned winery offers a variety of wines made from locally grown grapes. Take a tour of the vineyard, learn about the winemaking process, and sample some of their award-winning wines. Bunker Hill Vineyard & Winery also offers a charming tasting room where you can relax and enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
For beer lovers, Motorworks Brewing is a must-visit. Located in a historic automobile dealership building, this craft brewery offers a wide range of beers that are brewed on-site. Take a tour of the brewery and learn about the brewing process, or simply relax in the spacious beer garden and sample some of their unique brews. Motorworks Brewing is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, and their laid-back atmosphere and great beer make it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring.
3 Keys Brewing & Eatery
Enjoy craft beer and delicious food at 3 Keys Brewing & Eatery. This family-owned brewery and restaurant offers a variety of unique beers that are brewed on-site, as well as a menu of mouthwatering dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Take a seat at the bar and chat with the friendly staff, or grab a table and enjoy a meal with friends. 3 Keys Brewing & Eatery is the perfect place to relax, enjoy some great beer, and savor some tasty food.
Dakin Dairy Farms
For a unique agricultural experience, visit Dakin Dairy Farms. This family-owned and operated dairy farm offers tours that allow visitors to learn about the dairy industry and see firsthand how milk is produced. Take a tour of the farm, meet the cows, and learn about the milking process. You can also visit the farm store, where you can purchase a variety of fresh dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream. Dakin Dairy Farms offers a fun and educational day out for the whole family.
Gardens and Parks
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Escape to a tropical oasis at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This stunning garden is home to a variety of exotic plants and flowers, including orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, or attend one of the many events and workshops that take place throughout the year. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens also offers a café where you can grab a bite to eat and admire the beautiful views of Sarasota Bay.
Palma Sola Botanical Gardens
Located just a short drive from Bradenton, Palma Sola Botanical Gardens offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This 10-acre garden is home to a variety of native and exotic plants, as well as a butterfly garden and a koi pond. Take a peaceful walk along the winding paths and admire the colorful blooms, or find a shady spot and relax with a good book. Palma Sola Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers.
Florida Railroad Museum
Step back in time and explore the history of railroading at the Florida Railroad Museum. Located in the town of Parrish, this museum offers a variety of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the importance of the railroad industry in Florida’s history. Take a ride on one of the vintage trains and experience the thrill of traveling by rail. The Florida Railroad Museum also hosts special events throughout the year, including themed train rides and holiday celebrations. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience, the Florida Railroad Museum is a great place to visit.
Lake Manatee State Park
Located just east of Bradenton, Lake Manatee State Park is a beautiful park that offers a range of outdoor activities. Take a swim in the clear waters of Lake Manatee, go fishing or boating, or simply relax on the sandy beach. The park is also home to several hiking and nature trails, where you can explore the unique ecosystems and observe native wildlife. Lake Manatee State Park offers a peaceful and scenic retreat, perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Just a short drive from Bradenton, Tampa offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Explore the vibrant downtown area, visit the Tampa Museum of Art, or catch a game at Tropicana Field. For a thrill, head to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a world-class theme park that offers a variety of rides and entertainment options. Tampa is also home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and nightlife venues, making it a great destination for a day trip or a night out on the town.
Located just a short drive south of Bradenton, Sarasota is a cultural hub that offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Explore the Ringling Museum of Art, visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, or take a leisurely stroll along St. Armands Circle, where you can shop at a variety of boutique stores and dine at delicious restaurants. Sarasota is also known for its beautiful beaches, including Siesta Key Beach and Lido Beach, which offer soft white sand and sparkling turquoise waters. Whether you’re looking for cultural attractions, outdoor activities, or beautiful beaches, Sarasota has something for everyone.
Just across the bay from Bradenton, St. Petersburg is a vibrant city that offers a range of attractions and activities. Visit the Salvador Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dali’s works outside of Spain, or explore the beautiful Sunken Gardens, a lush oasis in the heart of the city. St. Petersburg is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife venues, making it a great destination for a day trip or a night out on the town. Don’t forget to take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the stunning views of Tampa Bay.
Located just south of Sarasota, Venice is a charming coastal town that offers a laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Take a leisurely walk along the Venice Pier and enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, or explore the Venice Historic District, where you can find a variety of shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Venice is also known for its beautiful parks and nature preserves, where you can go hiking, birdwatching, or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or an opportunity to explore the outdoors, Venice is a fantastic day trip destination.