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Manatee at a Glance
|Anna Maria, Cortez, Holmes Beach, Longboat
Key, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto
||Myakka River State Park
|Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail
|State Parks & Lands
|Beker State Park
|Gamble Plantation Historical State Park
|Lake Manatee Lower Watershed
|Lake Manatee State Park
|Little Manatee River
|Madira Bickel Mound Archaeolgical State Park
|Myakka River State Park (Sarasota)
|Skyway Fishing Pier State Park (Hillsborough, Pinellas)
|Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve
|Terra Ceia Perserve State Park
|Upper Myakka River Watershed
|De Soto National Memorial
|Passage Key National Wildlife Reserve
|Bays & Inlets
|Miguel Bay, Palma Sola Bay, Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay,
Terra Ceia Bay
|Rivers & Paddling Trails
|Little Manatee River, Myakka River, Manatee
River, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Circumnavigational
Saltwater Paddling Trail
Manatee County's 27 miles of white sand
beaches edge the gulf sides of
Anna Maria Island and
Longboat Key, barrier islands that attract more than two million visitors
per year. Much of the population lives along estuarine bays dense with
seagrasses and mangroves. The Manatee River, a popular spot for fishing,
bird-watching and water sports, flows into Tampa Bay midway along the coast.
Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve portion of Tampa Bay edges most of the coast
north of the Manatee River; Palma Sola and Sarasota bays separate much of the
southern coast from the barrier islands.
Anna Maria Island connects to mainland Bradenton by two drawbridges. A
free, north-south trolley links the island's three cities, Anna Maria, Holmes
Beach and Bradenton Beach. The only county beaches that provide full
Manatee Public Beach (accessible from most Holmes Beach side streets) and
Coquina Beach (the island's longest beach with remnants of old piers
jutting out in the water).
Bradenton Beach, north of Coquina beach, offers unique shops and casual
Cortez Beach has no amenities, but has calm waters that are inviting to
Bradenton, south of the Manatee River on Tampa Bay, is the county's
busiest city with a large arts community (Village of the Arts), antique
shops, a history-archaeology museum, planetarium, manatee aquarium,
waterfront district, and international airport. Five miles west,
De Soto National Memorial commemorates Spanish explorer Hernando De
Soto's 1539 landing with rangers and volunteers presenting daily
living-history programs in period dress. A third drawbridge crosses
Longboat Pass south to 12-mile-long Longboat Key's three public beaches with
Beer Can Island Beach offers 2,000 feet for shelling;
Whitney Beach has 1,300 feet of uninterrupted beach; and
Long Boat Key Beach on the island's south is in Sarasota County.
Other points of interest
Gamble Plantation Historic State Park - an antebellum mansion with
Lake Manatee State Park on inland Lake Manatee.
Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site - a 2,000 year-old,
Native American ceremonial mound near Tampa Bay.
Myakka River State Park - a vast, diverse natural area with
canoeing, boat tours, trails, cabins, primitive and full-facility
camping, horseback riding, biking, suspension bridge and tower.
Florida Wild and Scenic Myakka River and the
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park - remnants of the old Sunshine Skyway
Bridge converted to a very long fishing pier.
Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve - edged with mangroves, oyster bars,
seagrass, hard and soft coral, saltwater and freshwater fish, white
pelicans, reddish egrets, bats and migratory birds.
- Port Manatee, a deepwater seaport.
- FISH Preserve, 95 acres of environmentally sensitive land on
- Historic Bradenton Beach City Pier, Cafe and Parker Manatee
- Annual county events: Manatee County Fair, Anna Maria Island Art
League's Winterfest, Kayak and Outdoor Festival, De Soto Heritage
Festival and Fishing Tournament, Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, and
the Florida Maritime Museum's Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival.