A Guide to Cortez, FL 

Cortez, Florida, is home to a rich fishing history. Whether you’re looking to kick back and enjoy some fresh seafood or maybe try to do some fishing in Cortez, you’re sure to enjoy yourself.

You can walk around this one-time fishing village and learn all about the rich maritime history. Cortez, Florida, will have something perfect for you with so many restaurants, shops, and attractions!

Here’s what you can expect when you visit Cortez, just a short trip from your Anna Maria Island vacation rental.

Cortez History

Cortez, Florida, is an incredible destination for a town taken from history. What was once a tiny fishing village on the peninsula in Sarasota Bay has exploded into a place of culture, history, and attractions. Cortez’s main thoroughfare is Cortez Road, the same road that connects Bradenton with Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria Island. In Cortez, you won’t find trendy restaurants or chain stores. This is a living community filled with weathered houses and fishing companies with remnants of fish nets, crab traps, and floats. The bay is filled with all kinds of old and new boats.

The town of Cortez was founded in 1890 by families from Beaufort, North Carolina. These families were Guthrie, Bell, Taylor, and Fulford. You can still find representations of these families in modern-day Cortez. Since Cortez is a fishing village, the maritime heritage is proudly showcased at the Florida Maritime Museum, currently located in a restored 1912 schoolhouse on the Cortez Nature Preserve.

Things to Do

If you’re looking for things to do in Cortez, you’ll never run out of options! You can explore the Florida Maritime Museum, where you’ll learn about the rich fishing in Cortez history. You will learn about the fishing roots here in Cortez and how the fishing community helped the area of Cortez bloom. 

Those craving some adventure will find that Bradenton Beach Parasailing is the perfect way to hit the water for the day. You can go on a guided tour on the water where you’ll get to see the village of Cortez from the sky! The guides with Bradenton Beach Parasailing will help you get off the ground and into the air safely to enjoy your time in the skies.

If you’re looking to do a little fishing in Cortez, hit the Cortez Kat Deep Sea Fishing Charters for some deep-sea fishing fun! The captains here with Cortez Kat will take you out on the water for a full day of fishing so that you can catch fish you’ll only find here in the Gulf of Mexico. You can choose how long you want to go out fishing, and you can rent boats for private charters or join an alliance for a day of catching fish with family and friends. You can book charters with Legend Fishing Charters as well. If you need bait and tackle, make sure you hit Annie’s Bait and Tackle for your fishing needs. They’ll even tell you a story or two about fishing here in Cortez!


Cortez is home to some of the best restaurants in the Anna Maria Island area. You will find restaurants that prepare fresh meals right on the waterside. You’ll be able to sit out by the water and enjoy your meal at one of these fine restaurants. Here are some Cortez, Florida, restaurants for you to enjoy!

cortez beach
Photo from Shutterstock

Located dockside on the waterfront in Cortez, the Starfish Company is a testament to Cortez’s long-standing history. It was founded in the early 1920s as a seafood market that slowly developed into a retail market and finally a restaurant. Over time, the kitchen and dining areas were built, making them into today’s restaurants. If you’re looking for great fried fish, the Seafood Company is the place to go! Most of the fish on the menu have been caught locally in the waters right near the restaurant. You’ll find fresh fish on the menu like grouper, mahi-mahi, salmon, and more! You’ll even find shellfish like scallops, shrimp, oysters, crab, and stone crab claws. Here, they offer simple meals prepared in the simplest of ways. You can order your meal fried, grilled, blackened, or sauteed. The Starfish Company makes sure you have a simply fantastic meal from the main dish to the sides!

For live entertainment with your meal, stop into the Swordfish Grill. Here, you’ll find a waterfront restaurant with a unique ambiance, fresh food, and so much more. They have an in-depth menu that is sure to satisfy all guests. You can sit out by the water and listen to the live music that plays here every day while enjoying your fresh fish dinner and allowing their expertly trained staff to take care of everything for you. Whether it’s a cocktail or a beer or one of their excellent entrees, you will have only the best when you dine at the Swordfish Grill!

For cool, casual dining, Slicker’s Eatery is one of the best options. Slicker’s offers something different and exciting for the Cortez area. They ensure that everything they do is simply the best, from their ingredients to their impact. Slicker’s invests in their team to ensure that they have staff dedicated to their cause. This eatery also donates to local charities and makes sure they stay away from frozen or fried foods. This helps them use fresh and locally sourced ingredients so that their menu items always come out tasting fresh. They are committed to being different and standing out in the restaurant industry. You’ll find fantastic favorites like slicker sliders, charcuterie plates, and oysters when you look at the menu. You’ll discover petit filets, shrimp BLTs, and the Arroz Congri con Pollo for their entrees. The chefs prepare each dish, especially for you, and only use their freshest ingredients.

Plan Your Visit

Our Anna Maria Island rentals are made to be your luxurious home away from home experience. We want to help make your vacation here in Cortez the best it can be. Ready to book your Anna Maria Island vacation rental? Contact us today to get started!

Book Your Anna Maria Island Rental

Whether you need a small rental or a large house, here at A Paradise Rentals, we have it all for you! With our extensive catalog of rentals on Anna Maria Island, you will find the place you need, no matter how large your party is. Our large family homes are perfect for those who need to sleep eight or more. Each rental comes with spacious bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and large living rooms ideal for relaxing or entertaining!  

After a long day exploring Cortez, what’s better than taking a dip in the pool? With A Paradise Rentals, some of our rentals come with their own private pools! You will have your oasis right outside your back door. These Anna Maria Island rentals with pools are perfect for families that love to lounge around in the water during the day in the beautiful Florida weather.