Bradenton, Florida, is an excellent destination for tourists and locals alike. This place is a great vacation destination with its beautiful beaches, exciting attractions, and stunning natural beauty. You can find something for everyone here, whether you are into adventures, sightseeing or a beach body. But do you know what’s even better? A day trip from Bradenton! 

The location is close to some of the best nature parks, piers and beaches. From Sebring and Lake Placid to Myakka River State Park and Anna Maria Island, you can experience multiple destinations during your day trips. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a relaxing getaway, here are some of our favorite day trips from Bradenton, FL!

1. Sebring and Lake Placid

Sebring and Lake Placid, Florida, have much more than their coastline. Sebring and Lake Placid are destinations just a drive away from Bradenton. They have wildlife like birds, deer, wild turkeys and even cows. While Sebring is a place to relax, Lake Placid is a more happening destination. You can plan a slow-paced escape to skip your daily life’s exhaustion. 

Nearby, there are also plenty of attractions like the Highlands Hammock State Park. It is known for its canopy walkway that provides an optimal nature view. You can also visit the Sebring Pier on Lake Jackson and view artistic murals done on the walls nearby. Both places can successfully give you a much-needed small-town feel with their quaint shops and famous eateries.

2. Boca Grande

Boca Grande is another destination known for its coast. It is a short ride from Bradenton and can be favorable for a day trip. Boca Grande is known as the Tarpon Capital of the World as it attracts fishing enthusiasts and fishermen from around the globe. You can also explore its coasts, historic sites like Gasparilla Inn, and two lighthouses. Its laidback way of life can add to the relaxing quality of your Bradenton vacation. 

3. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park 

The Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park lies south of Gainesville and is a couple of hours away from Bradenton. The park encompasses more than 21,000 acres with several park entrances. It is famous for its wild bison, horses, and views of birds, alligators, and deer. The park is a National Natural Landmark.

The areas surrounding it, including the town of Micanopy, provide a picturesque view for visitors. It exudes Southern charm with historic mansions, trees with Spanish moss, and antique and art shops. The town has quaint eateries where you can enjoy eating outdoors in the company of nature and watch people enjoy live music. 

4. Egmont Key State Park and Shell Key Preserve

Egmont Key State Park and Shell Key Preserve are close to each other. From Bradenton, you can reach both in 30-40 minutes by road and access them via boat. Egmont Key is a renowned state park chartered by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. It also housed soldiers during the Civil War. It is known for its rustic feel, old military buildings, a lighthouse, gorgeous beaches, and nature trails. You can also view gopher tortoises there, even though the place does not have stores to serve snacks. 

Shell Key Preserve is a similar destination that is known for its unique shells you can find on the beach. It is a nice spot for snorkeling and a leisurely picnic at the beach. During your vacation, if you require accommodation in Bradenton or Anna Maria Island, you can get a vacation rental from us at Anchor Down Vacation Rentals. 

5. Okeechobee

Okeechobee, also known as the cow-town of Florida is an excellent place to visit if you want to take a day to see Florida’s organic, agricultural side. According to the Florida Beef Council, Okeechobee County is one of three of the largest cattle-producing counties in the state. If you are interested in these topics, this place can be the right spot. 

Okeechobee has a small-town feel with its small shops, colorful murals, gardens and the famous Flagler Park. It is where Lake Okeechobee is situated, housing many spotted gators that you can see cruising in the water. You can also spend the day fishing in the lake, visit Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and see over 300 animals of different species there. It includes panthers, cows, deer, kangaroos, and many others. 

6. St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg in Florida is home to world-famous art galleries, the world’s oldest and largest shuffleboard club, excellent food and vibrant street art. It is a short, 28-min ride from Bradenton and can be a dynamic addition to your vacation. This town also has annual mural festivals where you can capture images and let your imagination run wild. 

If you are an art enthusiast, you can also take some time to visit the museum in St. Petersburg dedicated to Salvador Dali. The museum features a mix of paintings, architecture and other artwork that tourists can view daily.

Apart from its art scene, St. Petersburg is famous for its beaches. Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park, Treasure Island Beach, Pass-A-Grille Beach, and Sand Key Park are some of the most visited tourist attractions. Bayshore Drive can be the perfect stop if you want to grab a quick bite or have a good lunch. 

7. Myakka River State Park

If you are looking for a great day trip to explore the beauty of Florida’s natural landscape, then Myakka River State Park is the place to go. It is a 40 min drive from Bradenton and is one of the best state parks if you want to spend your day in nature. Established in 1942, Myakka River State Park is home to various wildlife, including panthers and alligators. The State Legislature recognizes the river along it as the Florida Wild and Scenic River. 

You can hike along the river, experience the cries of ospreys and limpkins, and see alligators and turtles. There is a wide variety of bird species and trees that can provide you with a relaxing experience during your vacation. It is also the right place if you are someone interested in activities like bird watching. The park can be an enjoyable experience for you if you are into adventures since it offers kayaking, canoeing, airboat and paddleboarding. 

8. Fort Desoto 

Located outside Tempa, Fort De Soto is a historical park known for its great beaches and camping spots. It has emerald-green sparkling waters that can add to your vacation. Fort Desoto has many areas to explore and is a true gem of the west-central Florida region. In addition to the incredible Florida waterfront, you can visit the fort and explore its ruins during your day trip here. There is a small museum on the island with many exciting things you can explore and learn from. 

You can also explore a trail and spend quality time with nature and the beauty of the biodiversity. Located just outside Tampa, Fort Desoto is a great place to spend the day. With a variety of activities ranging from swimming and kayaking to fishing and bird watching, Fort Desoto is a great spot for a day trip.

9. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 

If you have an extra day on your hands, head to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to experience a day of relaxation and exploration. The stunning botanical garden is home to more than 4000 species of plants, with something for everyone. It is a bayfront sanctuary that connects people with native nature and regional history. 

The 45-acre gardens have multiple exhibitions and events open for tourists. Here, you can visit the rainforest, desert, native Florida and Historic Spanish Point. The gardens have more than 50% of plant species found in Sarasota County. You can explore the parks when they are open before 5 pm by purchasing the tickets online from their website.  

10. Beaches on Anna Maria Island 

Beach TripAnna Maria Island is the perfect place for beach-centric day trips from Bradenton, FL. You can spend one or multiple days visiting the island’s exquisite beaches and tiny homes and enjoying the Old Florida vibe. Its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and plenty of activities make Anna Maria Island the perfect spot for relaxation and exploration. Walk along the beaches and enjoy water-related activities like snorkeling, dolphin-watching, boating and fishing. 

If you are traveling with your family, you can also enjoy the grills, picnic shelters and playgrounds on the island. Cortez Beach, Coquina Beach, Manatee Public Beach, Bean Point and Bradenton Beach are some of the best beaches you can visit during your trip. It also features diverse marine wildlife, bustling farmer’s markets, and plenty of recreational activities to add to your vacation. 

While taking day trips from Bradenton can be enjoyable, you also need equally reasonable accommodations. You can contact us at Anchor Down Vacation Rentals for excellent vacation rentals. We provide exquisite properties listed on our website in Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, so your stay with us is worth remembering. 

For more information, reach us at Anchor Down Vacation Rentals.