Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island: If flat, wide, soft sand beaches are your desire, then this is your place. This is public beach and it fills up quickly in the winter months. Parking is alongside the beach. Go early on the weekends to get a spot.
Beer Can Island Beach, Longboat Key: Located at the northern tip of Longboat Key, this is a secluded stretch of shallow beach, perfect for shelling. You can walk the island at low tide.
Manatee Beach, Located at the west end of Manatee Ave in Holmes Beach, Manatee Beach has public access and is one of the busiest beaches on the island. There are public bathrooms, picnic tables, grills and a large covered pavilion that serves breakfast and lunch. In addition to food, there is a limited bar that serves alcoholic beverages. During the winter months, you can enjoy live music on the weekends. Breakfast early in the morning is a must at least once while you are on the island. There is nothing better than sitting by the sea, with a cool breeze and a cup of coffee. There is public parking at this beach, however, it does fill up fast. If you are staying on Anna Maria Island, take the trolley. It stops there throughout the day. Manatee Beach also has a small gift shop that sells ice cream and small water floats.
Coquina Beach Gulf Side, Located at the south edge of Anna Maria Island. There is a large open lot for parking. The trolley does stop at this beach too. Public restrooms, changing facilities, picnic tables and large pavilions available to rent for getting together. Coquina Beach also has a snack bar, grills and gift shop. This is one of the largest beach available to the public. You can access Coquina Beach from Longboat Key as well.