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Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway

The Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway is a beautifully greenscaped, pedestrian friendly, waterfront highway corridor where residents and visitors can safely walk and bike. The outstanding beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps, parking and scenic vistas along the highway provide pleasant places for residents and visitors to interact with the natural environment and the island community.

The Bradenton Beach area provides unique family oriented restaurants and locally owned lodging. The island community located along the Scenic Corridor provides both environmental and historic educational opportunities that have maintained the “Old Florida” ambiance of both the architectural and natural flavor.

The carefully planned Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway is being developed and constructed through the cooperative and creative efforts of the community corridor advocacy group, public agencies, and private partnerships.

Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway

The Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway is a 2.8 mile long segment of SR 789 or Gulf Drive, as it is locally known, located on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast. The corridor begins at the Longboat Pass Bridge and extends northward through the City of Bradenton Beach to the northern city limits.

This Scenic Highway is the only continuous north-south road through Bradenton Beach serving both the local traffic needs of the community as well as the through traffic demand. State Road 789, which is a federal-aid primary road, extends southward from SR 64 linking the Manatee County Cities of Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach to each other as well as to the Town of Longboat Key and the City of Sarasota.

Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway

Anna Maria Island

Manatee Chamber of Commerce

Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce

Florida’s Gulf Islands

Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce

City of Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau


Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway


The Scenic Highway Corridor traverses a portion of Anna Maria Island that is less than one-quarter mile wide. The beautiful Gulf of Mexico is located on the Corridor’s west-side while the serene Sarasota Bay lies to the east. The waters surrounding the Corridor are home to a variety of native species, many of which are considered either endangered or threatened. One notable endangered species is the sea turtle. Five sea turtle species have been sighted in the region. The loggerhead sea turtle is considered a threatened species.

There are many bird viewing opportunities throughout the area, the most notable viewing area in Bradenton Beach is located at the Coquina BayWalk at Leffis Key. Some of the commonly seen birds include herons, gulls, brown and white pelicans, loons, bald eagles, and the endangered Florida Scrub Jay.

The warm waters surrounding the Island are coined as “the nursery” due to the large number of bottlenose dolphin that raise their young here. The endangered West Indian Manatee calls the warm waters “home” during the months of April to December. Furthermore, a variety of fish and shellfish, including sea trout, mullet, snook, clams and oysters, support a popular and profitable recreational and commercial fishing industry.

The most dominant forms of native vegetation in the area are mangroves, which provide high quality habitat protection, food sources and a water filtration system.

The barrier island is an extremely dynamic natural system that is subject to natural changes associated with storm surges, winds, and changing currents. Human induced changes from dredge and fill activities, stormwater runoff, pollution and uncontrolled dumping have negatively impacted the area’s natural resources. Numerous efforts through regulation, education and volunteer projects have improved water quality.


Gulf Drive is aligned with numerous restaurants, retail shops, and permanent and seasonal residential homes. Characteristic “Old Florida” beachside resorts and small seaside inns are found along the Corridor within Bradenton Beach. Residents that live on the Island own the vast majority of the restaurants, shops and hotels. There is only one “chain” hotel and there are no high-rise structures within the City. To ensure that the existing residential character and atmosphere of the City is maintained, the City of Bradenton Beach has instituted meticulous growth management policies which consists of strict, land use controls construction standards, and public investment policies governing development within the area.

Historic Bridge Street and the traffic circle that controls its intersection with Gulf Drive are unique features of the local community. Quaint art and craft shops, restaurants, and small offices align Bridge Street, which has evolved into an extremely pedestrian friendly environment. At the eastern end of the Street resides the City Pier and Restaurant, which where constructed on the remains of the bridge that served as the only access to the Island for 40 years. The pier is a popular local and tourist location for fishing in Sarasota Bay, nature viewing, dining and casual walking. The clock tower and boardwalk located at the foot of the Pier are also popular attractions and local landmarks.


Bradenton Beach has approximately 1,653 permanent residents and a substantial seasonal and tourist population. The residents are served by a US Post Office, Harvey Memorial Church, police and fire station, City Hall and Chamber of Commerce. One of the unique civic facilities in the community is the Tingley Memorial Library that is owned by the City, but operates without the use of tax funding. The Library is named after Beulah Rebecca Hooks Hannah Tingley, who bequeathed the funding that built and maintains the facility. Beulah Tingley was honored as a Florida 2000 People, which is a state designation honoring the deceased who significantly contributed to a municipal.

Three city parks and two county parks are accessible to residents and visitors. Popular recreational activities include sail & power boating, fishing on the bay & offshore, beach combing, picnicking, bird viewing, nature walks, swimming, para-sailing, surfing, volleyball, windsurfing, and tennis.