Gateway to the Gulf

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Find the gateway to the Gulf - explore Bradenton area beaches.

Scouting a good base from which to access the Gulf of Mexico is like finding the perfect patch of sand once you've selected the beach - it should be close to the water, within reach of the car and yet removed enough from both so sunbathers can quietly savor a good book or have a nap.

If you're looking for a gateway to the Gulf's manifold charms, Bradenton area beaches will afford you passage onto parasails and kayaks, as well as into volleyball games. And whether you linger beachside or prefer to get wet, the area is the home base for Gulf-inspired activities of all kinds. Soak them up from every direction.


Above the Beach

Let Fun & Sun Parasail hoist you skyward for a bracing flight along the coast, a bright sail billowing behind you. Leaving from colorful Bridge Street on Anna Maria Island, Fun & Sun's skilled crew promises to raise you gently from the back of their custom-made boat to a sizeable height of 500 feet.

Fun & Sun skirts the southern tip of the island before bringing parasailers out over the Gulf. As you soar above the blue-green water, your legs swinging and the salty wind on your face, look down to spot dolphins and sting rays. Dip your feet in the Gulf on your way down, or just enjoy the spray of the surf as you glide smoothly to meet the boat again.

Don't want to go it alone? Fun & Sun lets you parasail with one or two other people, and those who want to observe from the boat are welcome to go along for the ride when space permits.


In the Waves

There's no better way to take advantage of the balmy surf than to plunge right through it on a Yamaha Wave Runner. Cut a swath through a six-mile ride area in the Gulf on a jet ski from and Discount Water Sports.

Wave running lets you chart your own course and offers one of the Gulf's most buzzworthy thrills. Plus you'll get a different perspective of the area's bridges, coastline and birdlife.


Beyond the Surface

Slip seamlessly through the mangroves and tidal flats of Anna Maria Island by kayak. The quiet, intimate channels are a wildlife lover's delight, with birds and manatees visible to the careful observer. Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures will instruct paddlers in all things eco-oriented as they explore.

If it's more of the Gulf you want, let Almost Heaven lead you on a tour of the barrier islands and the Gulf. Experience the difference in the rhythms and patterns of the water as you leave the mangroves for the open waves of the bay.


Among Wildlife

Head out to sea with Cortez Kat for a chance to catch the one that got away. Cortez Kat offers fishing charters in the Gulf, and everything from the fishing license to the fish cleaning is conveniently included. They even guarantee you’ll catch a fish or you won’t pay a dime. 

For naturalist tours on land, turn to Around the Bend Nature Tours. Their guided walks will lead you right up to native animals and plants of the region.


On the Shore

The Gulf is a compelling enough reason to leave the beach towel and umbrella behind, but Bradenton's nine beaches give you plenty of reasons to stay grounded too - beach volleyball, sunbathing and shell collecting are just a few sandside adventures that offer quiet exhilaration.

Cool off with a refreshing ice cream, the perfect companion for any day at the beach. Come sunset, take a shoreline stroll, have a beach picnic or dine al fresco on a sandy deck overlooking the Gulf.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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andy rowe
andy rowe May 6, 2013 1:16 PM
Looking for motels at Madeira Beach