Florida Beaches - Venice: Coquina Beach And Cortez Beach

Two distinctive beaches with something for everyone on Anna Maria Island

The Bradenton area is known for being quite hip and swanky with many artists and writers choosing Bradenton as a place to visit, and often as a place to call home. The beaches near Bradenton on Anna Maria Island are no different. Both Cortez and Coquina Beach offer a stylish perspective of Sarasota Bay while still offering the same famous untouched beauty of the gulf coast of Florida.

Much of the available beach area surrounding Bradenton has been taken up by condominiums or hotel developments, adding to the enchanted feeling you get on your way out of the city to the keys and Anna Maria Island. Once you arrive on the island there is the feeling of peace and serenity as the local beaches are kept in beautiful conditions. Anna Marie Island is a retreat from the civilized life of Sarasota and Bradenton, but still close enough to allow access to the cultural energy after a hot sizzling afternoon at the beach.

Coquina Beach and Cortez Beach, also known as Bradenton Beach, are right next to one another. Cortez is the smaller of both beaches, with no more than 140 feet of beach area, but this makes for a cozy, quiet afternoon since most beach goers stay on the Bradenton side or head to the larger Coquina Beach down the road. Cortez Beach is left untouched for those visitors who like nature the way it was meant to be, without many amenities or distractions.

My favorite part about Coquina Beach is the expanse of pine trees that surround the park entrance. The pine trees seem surreal so close to the water’s edge and this makes for an even more exciting beach experience. This is also a great place to get a break from the sun’s heat if you aren’t up for taking a dip in the water. At Coquina Beach, you will find a great concession stand area with a variety of snacks, a picnic and barbecue area, playgrounds, volleyball courts and lifeguards, making this a good place to bring the kids! There is also a place to launch boats or other watercrafts. Across the street from Coquina Beach is the Coquina Baywalk or boardwalk, which is a newly restored walkway area surrounding 30 acres of uncultivated landscape and wildlife. If the beach gets too crowded, you can always slip away to view the natural beauty of the Florida gulf oast.

If you are in the Bradenton area, definitely take the opportunity to enjoy these two beautiful beaches and the Sarasota Bay. From the south in Venice, take Tamiami Trail (US-41) all the way through Sarasota and before Bradenton you will hit Cortez Road/684. Take a left and head away from the city to Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. You will run right into Cortez Beach from Cortez Road, and just south of this will be Coquina Beach as well.