Are you planning to go on a beach vacation? If yes, Bradenton, Florida, can be your right spot! There are many vacation spots, beaches, museums and restaurants that you can visit for a rich experience. Bradenton has a rich history, culture, and fantastic ambiance, ensuring you spend a relaxing time here on your holiday. 

However, if you are traveling here on a tight budget, you may also need to enjoy some inexpensive or free things. Bradenton has multiple scenic destinations that you can experience at no cost. 

Here are some free things to do in Bradenton:

Bradenton Riverwalk

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a scenic 1.5-mile stretch along the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida. It is popular among locals and visitors alike, offering a variety of recreational activities, including walking, jogging, cycling, and fishing. 

The Riverwalk features a wide paved path that is wheelchair accessible and provides stunning views of the river and the downtown skyline. Benches and picnic areas allow visitors to relax and enjoy the view. 

The Riverwalk is home to several landmarks, including the 400-seat Mosaic Amphitheater, which hosts concerts and other events throughout the year, and the South Florida Museum, which features exhibits on Florida history and marine life. 

You can also see several public art installations along the Riverwalk, including sculptures and murals. There is a splash park for children, a skate park, a fishing pier, and restaurants and cafes offering various dining options with scenic river views.

Palma Sola Botanical Park

Palma Sola Botanical Park is a beautiful 10-acre garden in Bradenton, Florida, just a few miles away from the Bradenton Riverwalk. The park is a popular destination for locals and visitors, offering a peaceful and scenic environment to enjoy nature and learn about plant life. 

It features various plant species, including native Florida plants, exotic plants worldwide, and an extensive collection of bromeliads. The gardens have themed areas, including a butterfly garden, a palm grove, and a tropical fruit garden.

You can take a self-guided park tour and enjoy the gardens’ many walking paths, benches, and gazebos. There are also several small ponds and water features that add to the park’s tranquility. 

Palma Sola Botanical Park is also home to various wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and turtles. It is a popular spot for birdwatching and photography.

Robinson Preserve

Robinson Preserve is a scenic nature preserve located in Bradenton, Florida. Outdoor enthusiasts prefer this destination as it offers a variety of recreational activities and beautiful natural scenery. 

The 600-acre preserve features miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through mangrove tunnels, salt marshes, and wetlands, providing visitors with opportunities to see a wide variety of native Florida wildlife, including birds, fish, and reptiles.

In addition to the hiking and biking trails, Robinson Preserve also offers kayaking and paddleboarding along its beautiful waterways, which provide unique opportunities to explore the preserve from a different perspective. 

Visitors can bring their equipment or rent kayaks and paddleboards on-site. The preserve is home to several observation towers and wildlife viewing areas, including the famous 40-foot-tall tower that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

If you are with your family, Robinson Preserve also has a large playground, picnic areas, and a nature center that features educational exhibits and interactive displays that teach visitors about the history and ecology of the preserve.

IMG Soccer Academy

IMG Academy is a world-renowned sports training academy located in Bradenton, Florida. It is known for its state-of-the-art facilities and highly experienced coaching staff, which attracts elite athletes worldwide to train and compete. 

The academy’s soccer program, in particular, is highly regarded and is among the most prestigious and competitive youth soccer programs in the United States. 

In addition to soccer, IMG Academy offers training programs in a wide range of sports, including tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, and football, among others. If you are interested in soccer or any other sports, you can visit this academy to take a campus tour to learn about the fascinating world of soccer. 

Art Center Manatee

Art Center Manatee is a non-profit art organization located in Bradenton, Florida that offers a variety of art classes, workshops, and exhibitions for artists and art enthusiasts of all levels and ages. The art center’s courses and seminars cover various mediums, including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, pottery, and more. 

The center also hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, featuring local, regional, and national artists in various mediums. You can also browse their gift shop, which sells handmade items created by local artists, including jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and more. If you are an art enthusiast, this destination can be the right fit for your Bradenton trip. 

Explore the Parks

Several parks in Bradenton offer a variety of outdoor recreational activities. You can explore destinations like the Robinson Preserve, a 682-acre park that offers hiking and biking trails, kayaking and canoeing, and fishing. 

There is also an observation tower for birdwatching and a playground if you are traveling with kids. Another great park in Bradenton is G.T. Bray Park. It offers a variety of sports facilities, including softball and soccer fields, tennis and pickleball courts, a skate park, and a large pool. The park also features a playground, picnic areas, and walking trails. 

You can also visit the Jiggs Landing Preserve, which offers similar perks. It also features a playground, picnic areas, and a small museum showcasing the area’s history. Lastly, there is the Emerson Point Preserve which has excellent hiking trails. The park also features a historic Native American village site, a butterfly garden, and a small beach area.

Village of the Arts

The Village of the Arts is a unique neighborhood in Bradenton that has the arts district designation. It is a vibrant community of artists and art galleries just south of downtown Bradenton. 

The location is home to over 30 art galleries, studios, and several restaurants, cafes, and other small businesses. The neighborhood features a colorful array of restored historic homes and buildings converted into galleries, studios, and shops.

Visitors can explore the neighborhood on foot, taking in the eclectic mix of art and architecture that characterizes the Village of the Arts. The community hosts regular events such as the monthly ArtWalk, during which galleries and studios stay open late to showcase new exhibits and art demonstrations. 

In addition to visual arts, the Village of the Arts is home to several performing arts organizations, including the Manatee Players theater company and the Jazz Club of Sarasota.

Picnic at Beaches in Bradenton

Bradenton is close to Anna Maria Island, where several scenic beaches are famous for their crystal white sand, calm waters and gorgeous sunsets. To enjoy a picnic with your family or relax alone, you can visit Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach, and Manatee Beach.

You can also consider visiting the Palma Sola Causeway Park on the mainland side of Bradenton. It has a rocky beach, and you can spend time swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. 

However, you should also know local regulations or rules regarding fires, grilling, and alcohol consumption.

Perico Preserve

Perico Preserve is a 176-acre nature preserve located in Bradenton, Florida. The preserve is on the eastern side of Anna Maria Island, home to various habitats, including mangrove swamps, tidal ponds, and salt flats. 

It offers several hiking and biking trails that wind through the preserve, allowing visitors to explore the area’s natural beauty. The trails are easy to navigate and provide scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

One of the main attractions of Perico Preserve is the lookout tower, which offers stunning panoramic views of the preserve and the surrounding area. The tower is accessible via a short boardwalk trail, and visitors can climb to the top to get a bird’s eye view of the preserve. 

Perico Preserve has free admissions and is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The preserve offers a peaceful and natural escape from the hectic city life. If you need such a break, this preserve can be the right place to visit.  


Many people view fishing as relaxing, even during their vacations. In Bradenton, fishing is popular, and there are several places where you can fish for free. You can go fishing at Bradenton Riverwalk, Coquina Beach, Anna Maria City Pier, Braden River and many other places. 

A few of these destinations are on Anna Maria Island. Since the island is only a 15 minutes-drive from Bradenton, you can easily travel there to go fishing or explore its exemplary beaches. 

When fishing in Bradenton, follow all local fishing regulations and guidelines, including catch limits and size restrictions. Also, be sure to obtain any necessary permits or licenses before fishing.

More Free Things to Do in Bradenton

Watch SunsetYou can also check out the Bradenton Farmers Market, take a self-guided walking tour exploring downtown Bradenton’s historic buildings and architecture, watch beautiful sunsets, or attend free events like Bradenton Blues Festival or ArtSlam Festival held here. 

If you want to enhance your vacation further, consider choosing your accommodation with us. At Anchor Down Vacation Rentals, we provide customized properties and luxurious rentals in Bradenton and Anna Maria Island.

So if you are a traveler considering exploring things in Bradenton, visit our website to learn more.