The year-round sun and warmth of Florida make it the ideal destination any time of year you need a break, and the Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity to take a break and enjoy a long weekend that’s also the unofficial end of summer. Enjoy a vacation full of sand, water, sun, and fun with loved ones before fall arrives. The Sarasota and Bradenton area are mainland Florida destinations that provide the ultimate experience in beach vacations for Thanksgiving in Florida. Not only do they have their own beaches, but they’re also close to several barrier islands that offer a different beach vibe for your Thanksgiving respite.


Turn to the fully equipped kitchen of your vacation rental in Bradenton or Sarasota! It has all the basics for preparing and serving the delicious holiday meal. If you’ve decided to take a break from everything, including cooking, this year, the area has some delicious eats, too. Michael’s on East is preparing the meal with dine-in and pick up options. Also, the Ritz-Carlton will be hosting a Thanksgiving brunch in the grand ballroom. Other restaurants serving up the feast may include the three Mattison’s locations, Bevardi’s Salute Restaurant, and others. Make sure to call first to check availability and to make reservations if necessary.

Ditch the Beach, Dig the Grass

After the big meal, get some exercise. Restoration Church of Sarasota will be hosting its annual volleyball tournament. The day starts with “pool” play to qualify to play in the gold and silver division bracket play. Teams of four players each MUST be co-ed. Register through their Facebook page by Thursday, November 23rd. Gold bracket champs win a $1,000 cash prize! The event takes place Saturday, November 25, 2023. Check-in is at 7:30 a.m. with play beginning at 8 a.m.

Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries

Set aside some “adults only” time during your Thanksgiving retreat and visit the area’s wineries and distilleries. There are several breweries and distilleries that call Bradenton and the surrounding area home, including Naughty Monk Brewery, Darwin Brewing Company, Loaded Cannon Distillery, and more. Wine lovers will want to add a stop at Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard, where the wines are made from grapes grown at the on-site vineyard. Enjoy a tasting or tour or book a special private event. Once you’ve tasted the offerings, choose your favorite wines, beers, or spirits to take back to your rental to pair with your Thanksgiving feast, or another home-cooked meal.


An escape to beach locations like Bradenton and Sarasota over the Thanksgiving holiday means spending plenty of time on the beach. With the warmer weather of Florida in the fall, you and your loved ones can spend a little extra time out in the sun and in the water, with a less-intense sun. Sunbathe, change up your exercise routine with a walk or run on the beach, or brave the cooler waters for a swim, snorkel, or SCUBA adventure in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Boat Tours

A great way to get to know the area you’ve decided to call home for the Thanksgiving holiday is to get out and explore on land and on water. While exploring on land is easy – just hop in your rental car, take a walk or bike around, you’ll want to get familiar with the waters of the area too. There are several companies that offer tours on the waters surrounding Bradenton and Sarasota. Guides are full of fun information about the area’s history and ecology, so you’ll learn some fun and interesting trivia while enjoying time at sea. Keep your camera ready and your eyes peeled for sea life like dolphins, manatees, rays, and more! Book a private tour for you and your loved ones and pack a picnic of Thanksgiving leftovers, including your favorite alcoholic beverages.

The Keys

Give your Thanksgiving break an island twist. Off the coast of Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding area is a group of barrier islands that protect Sarasota Bay from the sometimes harsh waves of the Gulf of Mexico. Choose a destination like Anna Maria Island, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, or Siesta Key this Thanksgiving for a fun day trip. Each island has its own unique flair as well as plenty of Florida fun like parasailing, boat tours, plus some Thanksgiving fun, without the traffic of the mainland.

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Florida

Enhance your Thanksgiving retreat to Bradenton and Sarasota with a private vacation rental provided by Anchor Down Vacation Rentals. We offer units as small as 1-bedroom for a solo or sweetheart excursion, all the way up to 8-bedrooms for a Thanksgiving gathering that includes all your loved ones! After a long day of activities, make a home-cooked meal in your unit’s fully equipped kitchen, and enjoy it in the spacious living/dining areas of your unit, or a private outdoor space. Relax in a private bedroom or gather the group and watch your favorite holiday movies or TV show episodes.

Contact us today!