Unpack your flip flops and check into your Bradenton Beach vacation rental for the ultimate coastal getaway. Just steps from your doorway, you can swim, surf, ride a jet ski, or build a sandcastle with the kids. Moreover, head into town and grab some ice cream, go shopping, explore the museums, or test your nerves on a zip line adventure. You can immerse your family in a fun blend of pirate antics and history on a pirate-themed cruise, or a visit to the Florida Maritime Museum. To help you decide what to do, here are the best 10 things to do with kids in Bradenton Beach.

1. Swim With the Horses

Your vacation at Bradenton Beach lets you live as wet and wild as you like with paddleboarding, surfing, and parasailing. If your family loves horses, you can surprise everyone with an exciting horseback ride in Tampa Bay. Check with C Ponies Beach Horses to schedule rides that begin on the beach and then move out into the bay while you ride the swimming horses. You can purchase a photo and video package of your ride that your guide downloads to your smartphone or makes available via a website.

2. Fish off the Bradenton Beach City Pier

Your little anglers can fish safely from the Bradenton Beach City Pier where the water is calm. You can get live bait, supplies, and fishing tackle at the bait shop on the pier. You can also simply enjoy the views while walking on the pier. The historic restaurant at the end of the pier makes a great place to take a lunch or dinner break with the kids. The cuisine includes seafood and American-style burgers and fries.

3. Take a Dolphin-Watching Cruise

On any morning of your vacation, you can step outside your Bradenton Beach vacation rental and get some sand between your toes with a refreshing stroll on the beach. It’s a quiet, tranquil time of your own to collect your thoughts and plan your day before the kids awaken. Later, you might take them on a dolphin and whale watching cruise with Paradise Boat Tours. The crew helps you spot dolphins, whales, and stingrays. It’s a good idea to take binoculars and cameras along to make your sightseeing tour spectacular.

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4. Search for Beach Treasures

Only a couple of miles north of your Bradenton Beach vacation rental, Anna Maria Island features snow-white beaches where your family can relax and swim. You can take the kids on a beachcombing excursion to search for seashells and other treasures at Bean Point on the northern end of the island. If you need to put outdoor activities on hold, the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum is free to explore. Exhibits include historical information about the island’s first settlers.

5. Learn About Shipbuilding at Florida Maritime Museum

To reach Cortez, simply cross the Cortez Bridge. Shop at markets there that feature fresh seafood for sale, along with several places to eat. You can prepare your own meals at your Bradenton Beach vacation rental or eat somewhere different every day. Active families who stay on Bradenton Beach enjoy jet skiing, parasailing, and paragliding. When it’s time to change the pace, the Florida Maritime Museum, located in an old school building, offers some fun and interesting history of fishing and the shipbuilding industry of the Florida coast.

6. Visit a 16th Century Living Village

If you want to introduce your kids to some local history, De Soto National Memorial Park includes over a mile of walking trails among the mangroves and a 480-foot boardwalk. The park’s Visitor Center features a 16th-century living history camp that visitors can explore. Your family can try on period helmets and armor, watch blacksmithing, and observe cooking demonstrations in season. When you’ve had enough dry land, head over to Inshore Fishing Charters or Chummy Charters to take the kids fishing at some local spots, including the Skyway Bridge, Egmont Key, and Sarasota Bay.

7. Ride the Ziplines at TreeUmph! Adventure Park

It’s amazing how quickly a Bradenton Beach vacation can shake out jangled nerves and ease stress when you consider the sugar-white beaches on the west and the stunning Tampa Bay to the east. Nearby museums and family-oriented activities amplify every smile of your vacation. If you have an adrenaline junkie in the family, TreeUmph! Adventure Course fills the bill with zip lining adventures and rope-climbing obstacle courses. When your furkid wants to kick up his paws, Happy Tails Canine Park offers a cool spot that features a pup drinking fountain, free clean-up baggies, and an enclosed area for small dogs.

8. Take the Kids Hiking

Across from Holmes Beach, just two miles north of Bradenton Beach, you can cross the bridge to Perico Island to explore Neal Preserve. The preserve features an observation tower, shell trails, and boardwalks for hiking. On the mainland, the Robinson Preserve includes hiking trails, picnic areas, and waterways for kayaks and canoes. The reserve also features a nice view of Tampa Bay.

9. Paddle a Kayak

You can rent a boat from Cannons Marina in Longboat Key to explore the area’s beauty from the water. It’s time to round up the kids, load up the picnic cooler, and set out for a personal cruising adventure. If you prefer something smaller, Sea Life Kayak Adventures offers guided kayaking wildlife tours to explore for manatees, dolphins, manta rays, and pelicans. They also offer moonlight tours and self-guided tours. You can rent single and tandem kayaks along with paddles and life jackets. While the boat rentals and guided tours are exciting, sometimes the real vacation is about soothing jangled nerves and resetting your thoughts. Can you picture stepping out the back door of your Bradenton Beach vacation rental, strolling down to the water, and wading in for a tranquil swim first thing in the morning? That’s what it’s all about.

10. Putt-Putt in Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf

For a pirate adventure, just cross the bridge to Bradenton’s Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf. Eighteen holes of miniature golf meander across different levels through caves, pirate ships, eerie waterfalls, and past 20 or more real, live alligators. Each hole features a poetic clue in pirate lingo that tells you how to play that shot. The kids can even feed the alligators using cane fishing poles, and you can sit down in the tiki area to get ice cream and cold drinks.

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