While all the area beaches are beautiful, you’ll find that each has its own distinct features. One is popular with dog lovers while another is preferred by surfers. Most are easily accessible, while there is one that is a little more secluded. Here’s a guide to find which beach matches your needs the best!
Anna Maria Beach extends around the northern tip of Anna Maria Island. With no condo towers hovering over the water’s edge, this cozy piece of paradise doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years. The beach may not provide any facilities, but does offer plenty of space for rest and relaxation and gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. Accessing Anna Maria Beach is easy, as you can find plenty of public beach access paths at the west ends of most residential streets from White Avenue to Bean Point. If you need to drive, free parking is available in a lot at the corner of Spring Avenue and Gulf Drive.
If you do prefer a beach with facilities, then Anna Maria Bayfront Park, located at 310 North Bay Boulevard (Map), is a good place to lay your towel or chair. The park is situated between two of the oldest and most active fishing piers in Florida, “The City Pier” and the “Rod and Reel Pier” and with views the amazing Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Egmont Key, this bayside beach park offers such amenities as restrooms, shower, benches, grills, pavilions, picnic tables, an ADA playground, and water fountains. Parking is free but limited. Hours of operation are sunrise to 10:00 p.m.
Manatee Public Beach is located in Holmes Beach at 4000 Gulf Drive (Map). This beach offers something for the whole family. Amenities include: lifeguards, a concession stand, outdoor showers, children’s playground, parking lot, public restrooms, volleyball courts, and free parking. Often visited by “day-trippers,” if you have an extended stay on the island then you may find a less busy stretch of beach just a little more north in Anna Maria.
Heading south the island is narrower and because of that, so are the beaches. The first beach is Cortez Beach (also known as Bradenton Beach) which has been pretty much left untouched for those visitors who like nature the way it was meant to be, without many amenities or distractions. With no more than 140 feet of beach area, the largest public beach access is near the intersection of Cortez Road and Gulf Drive, hence the name “Cortez Beach”.
Cortez Beach is right next to Coquina Beach. Nearly one mile in length, Coquina Beach is the longest stretch of beach on AMI and is located on the island’s southernmost end also in the city of Bradenton Beach. Amenities include: lifeguards, a concession stand, outdoor showers, a children’s playground, several public restrooms, picnic pavilions, barbecues, two public boat ramps, a personal watercraft launching area, a “multi-use” path, volleyball courts, handicap accessible area with picnic tables, and free parking. Public transportation is easily accessed as this is a main stop for the Manatee County and Sarasota County Transit Systems.
Palma Sola Causeway Park is located at 9000 Manatee Avenue West (Map) in Bradenton. Amenities include: boat launch, dock, covered picnic areas, grills, restrooms, water fountain, trash receptacles, kayak rental, easy beach access and free parking. This is the only beach that allows pets.
Please remember that other than Palma Sola Causeway Park, Manatee County’s Public Beaches prohibit dogs/pets, glass bottles and alcoholic beverages.