Some of Manatee County's more popular beaches are:
Anna Maria: Access to the beach is at the end of the streets that come off Gulf Drive and North Shore drives. A favorite spot is at Bean's Point at the northernmost tip of Anna Maria Island. Anna Maria Bayfront Park is a narrow stretch of beach on North Bay Boulevard, just north of the humpback bridge. Amenities include a large picnic shelter with grills, children's playground and restrooms. The Anna Maria City Pier, home to City Pier Restaurant, is a popular spot for tourists and anglers, providing spectacular views of the Sunshine Skyway.
Manatee Public Beach: This beach is at the westernmost end of State Road 64 in Holmes Beach and is the crown jewel of the county's six public beaches. Manatee Public Beach is favorite location for families and seniors. Shady groves of large trees lead to the wide expanse of sandy beach. Cafe on the Beach, a full-service restaurant, provides breakfast and lunch along with cool refreshments. There also is a playground, volleyball courts, picnic tables, a fishing pier and restrooms. Lifeguards are on duty during park hours.
Cortez Beach: This beach starts at 77th South and runs south to 13th Street along Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach. There's plenty of native vegetation and a tranquil feel. There are no restrooms, concessions or lifeguards, but it's a popular spot for fishing.
Coquina Beach: Just south of Cortez Beach, this sandy spot is at the southernmost tip of Anna Maria Island. Coquina Beach offers the most parking, and good thing because this popular with the weekend and holiday crowds. The beach has a concession stand, playground, picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, volleyball courts and restrooms. Lifeguards are on duty during park hours.
Coquina Bayside Park: This is on the bayside of the southern tip of Anna Maria, across Gulf Drive from Coquina Beach. If you want to see wild water's edge of Florida, this park provides a wonderful nature trail on Leffis Key, a restored dredge island. For the boaters, there is a ramp with plenty of parking for trailers, and some access to the water at the southern end of the park for fishing in Sarasota Bay. Also available are picnic shelters with grills and restrooms. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Greer Island: The only county park on Longboat Key, this is located at the northern tip of Longboat Key at the north end of Beach Road. Sometimes called Beer Can Island by the locals, it's secluded and very family friendly beach. Parking is limited and there are no amenities. Because of the recent beach erosion, access is difficult and you will have to wade through the surf, but there's plenty of sand, and a great place to walk to beach, especially north to the tip to watch the fishing boats and sailboats cruise through Longboat Pass.
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