Soak up the sun of The Sunshine State. Take advantage of the outdoor adventures and advantages of the Gulf Coast. We know our beaches are some of nature’s best work but did you know there’s much more great outdoors to offer in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Anna Maria Island area than just our beautiful beaches? We’ve rounded up some beautiful and fun excursions to get some fresh air and fresh perspective.
Located in Northwest Bradenton, this 487-acre preserve, is a great place to work out or watch the sunset from the observation tower. Resources for low-impact environmental activities include hiking and biking trails and a canoe/kayak launch. Additional amenities include observation towers and platforms, picnic areas, and a visitors center.
Located just before the Manatee Avenue bridge onto Anna Maria, Neal Preserve’s 120 acres include both coastal habitats such as mangrove forests and salt terns, as well as pockets of oak hammock uplands. Featuring passive outdoor recreation opportunities including a 20 foot tall observation tower, shell trails, and boardwalks that wind through the coastal environment.
DeSoto National Memorial
Northwest Bradenton’s waterfront DeSoto National Memorials’s mission is to commemorate the 1539 expedition of the Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto. The park’s activities include living history programs and 16th Century native village demonstrations. The walking trails are open year-round and during summer the park operates guided kayak tours in the surrounding water and bays.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
This urban, bayfront oasis showcasing a living collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants truly flourishes. The Gardens, located in Sarasota, is also a respected world leader in the study and conservation of plants, particularly epiphytes–plants adapted to live in the tree canopy, including orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns.
ECO Tours at Mote
Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, just past Longboat Key, offers ECO Tours! Hands-on, educational and fun on-the-water experiences — guided by experts. Sarasota Bay Explorers, working with The Aquarium at Mote, offer interactive, hands-on eco-adventures on the Sea Life Encounter Cruise, Guided Kayak Tours, Nature Safari and private charters aboard the Miss Explorer. These tours are a fun and fascinating extension of any visit to The Aquarium.