• Photo: Steve Carroll / Shutterstock
  • Photo: spirit of america / Shutterstock
  • Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelejames/7046315577/">Beach Forest</a> by Michele James
  • Photo: Mark Winfrey / Shutterstock


In 1539 Hernando de Soto landed near this Manatee River city, which has some 20 miles of beaches. Bradenton is well situated for access to fishing, both fresh- and saltwater, and it also has its share of golf courses and historic sites dating to the mid-1800s. Orange groves and cattle ranches mix with farmlands between Bradenton's beaches and Interstate 75. Anna Maria Island, a nearby barrier island connected to Bradenton by a causeway, contains the towns of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach.


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