Bradenton is not a beach...
Bradenton is not a beach town, per se, but it has storied relationship with the Gulf of Mexico and its islands. Here you can discover the West Coast islands of Anna Maria Island & Longboat Key. There are 4 county-run, gulf facing beach parks here (Anna Maria Bayfront Park, Coquina, Cortez, and Manatee), all with rest rooms, picnic areas, and free parking. A “key” is a small, generally under 10 acres, low-lying island. There are 882 keys in Florida. Anything smaller is classified a shoal, reef or sandbar. The word derives from the Spanish cayo, which hass been shortened to cay in the Caribbean, and is pronounced “key”.
madira bickel archeological mounds
the madira bickel archeological mounds are located in the tiny town of terra ceia on US 19. at the site are a 20 foot high ceremonial mound and a small burial mound. this area was inhabited by native americans over 2,000 years ago. admission is free.
to get to the mounds take US 19 north past the town of palmetto. about two miles north of palmetto turn left on bayside drive and go 1 1/2 miles to the site.
Bradenton and the Gulf of Mexico
We visited Bradenton several times on our way to Anna Maria island.
You can take entire vacation on this island, northernmost in the chain of barrier islands stretching from Tampa Bay to Sarasota. Anna Maria claims 7.5 miles of white send beaches. The island communities (Anna Maria, Holmes Beach & Bradenton Beach) are popular with family vacationers and seniors, offering a variety of public beaches, fishing piers, and inexpensive motels.
In 1539 Hernando DeSoto, the Spanish conquistador, landed at the current site of DeSoto National Memorial and began his 4000 mile search for El Dorado, the lost city of gold. One of the next settlers who came to the area in the 1800's was Joseph Braden, a sugar planter for whom the city was named.