I document life chasing three young children, renovating a house, traveling in an Airstream and just being me.

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Things to Do in Bradenton, Florida (Locals Pick)

Things to Do in Bradenton, Florida (Locals Pick)

Things to do in Bradenton, Florida.

Things to do near Anna Maria Island, Florida. 

My picks for what to do while visiting Bradenton, Florida (my hometown.) Anna Maria Island is just off of Bradenton on the Gulf of Mexico. Besides, your normal beach activities these are also attractions not to be missed!

Activities for Families in Bradenton

  1. Go to the Beach. (North End of Anna Maria Island) I had to list it at least. The sand is wide, deep and white! If you go all the way to the north end don't swim because of the riptide. Stick just south of the north tip to enjoy swimming. There are usually pools of water up there for little ones to splash in safely. Bring lunch, sunscreen and shade and stay the day. You aren't far from Pine Ave, which deserves a stroll and stop at The Donut Experiment. Just trust me... they are special donuts! 
  2. Mixon's Fruit Farms. Get the Orange Swirl Ice Cream & take the tram tour. (Oh and they have a play space for kids.) They even have a pavilion for weddings.
  3. Drive Riverview BLVD You can drive this on your way to the  beach if you take Manatee Ave/ SR 64. Heading west on Manatee Ave, take a right onto 26th St W. Then a left on Riverview Blvd. It is a pretty road with lots of big houses on the water. Just please go the speed limit or pull over to let the locals pass.
  4. South Florida Museum  - Snooty, the oldest living Manatee in captivity lives here. Plus, they have a Planetarium and other cool displays that teach you about Florida's diverse history.
  5. Desoto National Monument - Many locals never visit this National Monument but they are missing out. It isn't a large park but has some beautiful paths. If you have kids take advantage of the Junior Ranger Program and the coloring tables inside the visitors center.
  6. Robinson Nature Preserve - Hit this up either before or after the monument. This county owned park has kayak trails, biking trails and hiking trails. The area is being restored to its true Florida landscape. There are picnic spots and a small play area. (If Geraldson's Farm is open when you are there stop just down the street for some fresh, organic produce.)
  7. Manatee Village Historical Park- This historical park features restored buildings and an old train. They have demonstrations and a small chapel you can even tie the knot inside. Plus, it is free to visit during the day! This photo is one of my favorite wedding photos (plus, it is my friend's) and it was taken at the village.
  8. Florida Railroad Museum - This is in really east Manatee County but for anyone who loves trains it is a must stop! Make is a weekend stop to ride the Diesel engine train they operate. Or if you just want to check out the museum they are open from Wednesday - Sunday. Check the website for special events, like the Polar Express and Thomas the Train.
  9. Egmont Key- You will need a boat for this one. This is a pristine island northwest of Anna Maria. The island has a rich history, with the ruins of an old fort. Bring your lunch and plenty of water; there is none available on the island. There is, apparently, a ferry from the St. Petersburg area but I have never personally taken it.
  10. Ancient Oak Gun Club- The reason I included this activity is because it is sport shooting and fun! It is like playing putt-putt or going bowling, except that you have to be extra safe about it. If you have never been sport shooting it is challenging. The staff is always very nice here.
  11. O'brien Family Farms- When the weather is nice this is a favorite spot of ours. They have tons of you-pick fruits, veggies and greens. Make sure to check their website for what is currently ready to be picked.
  12. Just Bounce- I added this to the list because it does rain in Florida... so what do you do on a rainy day? The South Florida Museum (listed above) is my first pick but if you just want a place for the kids to run Just Bounce is pretty good. It isn't in the prettiest area of town but it is indoors and every time I have gone it has been a pleasant experience. (There is also Sky Zone but that is in Sarasota... it is a trampoline place. Very fun and clean and new but might be a far drive.)
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Hot Springs NP in Arkansas

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