By Joanne Hunt

The Bradenton area, otherwise known as hidden Florida, is located about 45 minutes from Tampa and a short one and a half hour drive from Orlando. This tropical paradise has beautiful white sand beaches, wildlife and a string of unspoilt islands to explore.

Take a peek at this handy check-list of things to do in Bradenton. 

Take a walk with the turtles

Bradenton is home to five species of sea turtles including the endangered Loggerhead turtle and green sea turtle. From May every year they hit the beach and lay over 100 eggs each! You can become a volunteer for the day and take part in FREE nesting beach tour with Anna Maria Islands Turtle Watch during the early morning hours of June, July and August. Families will not want to miss out on the fascinating sight of the baby turtle's first dip into the crystal clear waters off The Bradenton Area shoreline.

Visit the South Florida Museum

Bradenton’s South Florida Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a natural and cultural history museum, specializing in the history of Florida's gulf coast. It houses exhibits highlighting Florida history from the prehistoric to the present.

Be an Agricultural tourist at Mixon Fruit Farm

Take an exciting tram tour of the famous citrus grove before stopping at the Wildlife education area where you can experience an up-close look at wild animals that include deer, raccoons, hawks, owls, iguanas and pythons. When you’ve worked up an appetite you can head to the deli and enjoy a delicious array of snacks before tasting the famous Floridian Orange Swirl Ice Cream. 

Surf with Horses

Bradenton is the world capital for horse surfing. Visitors are invited to not just horse ride on the beach but swim in the surf, try standing up on the horse and for the more adventurous horse lovers even ski behind it! Great World Nature Tours is one of the only companies in the world that offer this exciting experience to horseback ride along Palma Sola Bay during the sunset and then glide into the waves for a swim

Paddle in Paradise

Paddle-boarding is one of the fastest-growing water sport in Britain, and the Bradenton Area is one of the best places to hit the surf and have a go! This new global sport is a combination of surfing and kayaking and a great way to keep fit and simultaneously explore Bradenton’s stunning coastline. Go on an incredible journey through the crystal clear waters of Anna Maria Island Sound, the stretch of ocean on the east of the island, to Giligan’s Island for a sunset bonfire on the beach. You can also spot some of Florida’s incredible sea life including manatees, bottlenose dolphins and turtles.