Bradenton is located on US 41 between Tampa and Sarasota. The area is surrounded by waterways, both fresh and saltwater. Along the Gulf of Mexico and into Tampa Bay are over 20 miles of Florida beaches many which are shaded by Australian pines. Bordered on the north by the Manatee River, Bradenton is located on the mainland and is separated from the outer barrier islands of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key by the Intracoastal Waterway.
Anna Maria Bayfront Park located on the north end of Anna Maria island is a park overlooking Tampa Bay. The business district and community of Bradenton Beach on the southern end of Anna Maria island is oriented toward vacationers who come to enjoy the surrounding beaches. Longboat Key, the next barrier island south, is popular with shell hunters along its beaches.
Downtown Bradenton is located on the west side of the city. Home to many of Bradentons offices and government buildings, it is a lively place with new buildings currently under construction. The tallest is the Bradenton Financial Center, 12 stories high, with its trademark blue-green windows.
The Eastern side of Bradenton is growing at a rapid rate. Initially starting as the popular subdivision Lakewood Ranch, it is now becoming a heavily populated part of town. Most of the communities are newer than in West Bradenton.
Theres plenty to do in Bradenton, making it a great spot to take a break from the beach. Visitors will find a vibrant downtown with restaurants, galleries and boutiques along with the South Florida Museum (home to Snooty, quite possibly the worlds most famous manatee) as well as a planetarium, science and natural history exhibits.