Located on Anna Maria Island off the Gulf Coast and a brief drive from Bradenton and Sarasota, Bradenton Beach is a small town known for its fishing piers, sugar-sand beaches and a quaint strip of shops, restaurants and other family-owned businesses.
The pace noticeably slows on this Gulf retreat. Exhibit A: Drive-through restaurants are prohibited here. Exhibit B: On Pine Avenue, near the northern end of the island, you’ll find French-milled soaps, specialty olive oils, handmade clothing and small art galleries. Pine Avenue also is home to the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum, Artspace Studios and Gallery, Anna Maria Accommodations (which can help you find a place to stay) and Beach Bums, which rents bikes, kayaks and paddleboards.