World-class beaches line Manatee County, providing residents and guests with plenty of diversions and gorgeous views. The sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and Manatee County's mainland are ideal for a day with the family and offer a distinct experience for beach lovers. Activities range from swimming, fishing, kite surfing and parasailing to scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and more. There are 30+ marinas and eight boat ramps, allowing for quick access to miles of waterways, bayous and rivers that wind throughout the county, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.
The waters of Manatee County are renowned as fertile fishing grounds, teeming with pompano, flounder, redfish, and trout to name a few, while grouper, tarpon, mackerel and kingfish abound in the Gulf waters, providing fishermen of every skill level plenty of fish tales about "reeling in the big one". For those who prefer to fish from the coastline, there are a host of public fishing piers, including the world's longest fishing pier, which extends more than a mile and a half from the Skyway Bridge. Anna Maria's City Pier at Pine Avenue and Rod 'n Reel Pier along Bay Boulevard are also favorite fishing spots, along with Bradenton Beach Fishing Pier at Bridge Street and the Manatee Beach Fishing Pier on Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.
Standing as one of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park encompasses one of the most diverse natural areas in Florida. In addition to the Myakka River, which has earned the designation as a "Florida Wild and Scenic River", are two lakes offering ample activities including boating, freshwater fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Hiking, camping and wildlife viewing are also popular pastimes.
The area is also home to Lake Manatee State Park, which is comprised of a 2,400-acre lake that is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, boating, swimming and fishing. Traversing over three miles of the south shore of Lake Manatee is a 556-acre recreation area offering visitors opportunities for hiking, bird watching, picnicking, camping and just relaxing in the shade.