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Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton, Florida: Fun Activities in a Beautiful Destination

By Heiko Obermoeller


It is a relaxed and beautiful afternoon in Manatee County on the north end of Longboat Key, a narrow barrier island off the coast of Bradenton in the Gulf of Mexico. Only a few people are walking on the beach, with its palm trees and almost snow-white sand along the turquoise waters of the gulf. Beyond its beautiful beaches, Manatee County offers many thrilling vacation opportunities for lovers of sports, adventure and shopping.

The Dream Beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key

A little bit further north and connected to Longboat Key by a bridge lies Anna Maria Island, which I visited afterwards. The sand on Coquina Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on Anna Maria Island, sparkles bright white, and almost shines like snow in the sun. Along the beach, tall trees create a shaded area where public barbecue grills and tables invite people to picnic with family and friends.

With Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Bradenton offers two dream islands along the coast of Florida that let the hearts of beach lovers beat faster. No wonder these two islands are very popular for weddings on the beach – there’s hardly a more romantic place to watch the sunset than over the Gulf of Mexico!

World-Renowned Coaching at the IMG Academy

From the beach, my journey takes me to the IMG Academy, an internationally renowned sports academy that’s home to the well-known Nick Bollettieri Tennis Program, as well as other sports facilities. This is where Steffi Graf, André Agassi and Sabine Liesicki have trained, to name just a few. IMG offers professional training for all ages in golf, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field, and the nice thing about the courses is that they’re not open only to professionals but to passionate amateurs as well. Here you can book half-day and one-day workshops, weekend camps or week-long training camps under the supervision of top coaches and trainers.

Lakewood Ranch Main Street

Lakewood Ranch’s Main Street is a walkable shopping and dining area where I strolled among the many attractive shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars. There was even a mini golf course where I saw families gathering for a round of evening putt-putt. Lakewood Ranch Main Street has an especially inviting atmosphere in the evening, when people come out to enjoy dining on the sidewalk or to catch a movie and enjoy a few drinks. The first Friday evening of every month is Music on Main. Hundreds of people crowd Main Street to listen to free live music and enjoy the family-friendly ambience. 

Shopping Trip to Ellenton Premium Outlets

I was excited to drive to the nearby Ellenton Premium Outlets, the biggest outlet center on Florida´s West Coast. In a lovely and inviting atmosphere, I wander through shops including Lacoste, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein, and am thrilled with the many great bargain prices the 130-plus shops offer.

Bradenton is a dream destination for all those looking for an active vacation, dream beaches and great shopping opportunities under the warm Florida sun! 

For more information, please visit us:

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Start exploring

Start exploring

Start exploring