With over 40 years in the travel industry, Franci and her team of travel writers enjoy discovering and sharing insider tips - eat and shop like a local is their motto.
Long walks on the beach are nice, but there is only so little time and so much to see! Hop on a bike to see more than the white sands. Biking is one of the best ways to explore all that the Bradenton Area has to offer. And there are a lot of great places to ride!
Here are some of the best trails, paths and boardwalks for hitting the town (and the beach) on two wheels.
Best Biking Spots
The best bicycle rides happen in the best places – with lots and lots of good views. Whether you’re looking to cruise on the beach or under the shade of trees covered in Spanish moss, there’s a perfect place for you to bike in the Bradenton Area.
Looking for something with a little more nature? Robinson Preserve is where you should ride. Boardwalks run next to winding mangroves, putting you right in the middle of Old Florida’s natural beauty. Cruise along them under the Spanish moss–covered trees and keep an eye out for birds – especially bald eagles; the preserve is one of the best places to spot America’s favorite bird. Between the boardwalk and paved and unpaved trails, there’s a lot to discover by bike on the 487-acre preserve.
Anna Maria Island
Beach views, island vibes and laid-back rides, Anna Maria Island is where to do your beachy biking. Pedal through the calm streets of the island to get a real sense of what makes this place so special. Not to mention there’s plenty of shops, restaurants and piers for pit stops along the way. Unfortunately, it’s a little too difficult to ride directly on the beaches of AMI. The white sand is actually too soft! But if you do try to fat-tire your way to the shore, keep an eye out for turtle nests. They’re all over the beaches of Anna Maria Island.
It’s trendy, artsy and ready to ride. The Riverwalk is a local favorite in the Bradenton Area and it runs along the south side of the Manatee River. You can expect to see plenty of locals going for a stroll, unique artwork every few yards and, of course, endless views of the water. Keep an eye on the water whizzing by you; there might just be a dolphin or two trying to race you!
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys some camaraderie on your rides, try one of the group rides that occur regularly in the Bradenton Area. Locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy rides of 20 or more miles. Whether it’s a trek through the Florida preserves or a ride along the water, there’s a group ride to enjoy.
Held on the first and third Saturdays of every month, the Terra Ceia ride has something for everyone. Choose from one of three routes for your perfect ride. The first route is 22 miles and takes you right along the shoreline. The second one is 27 miles and ends at a marina in Palmetto. The third is a 39-mile ride through the countryside in Parrish and ends at the Palmetto Palms Golf Club.
Emerson Point Preserve
The Emerson Point ride is similar to Terra Ceia’s 27-mile route, but you end in the naturally beautiful Emerson Point Preserve instead. In fact, it takes you all the way to the tip of Snead Island, where you’ll find picnic tables and gorgeous views of the Manatee River meeting the Gulf.
For one of the most popular group rides in the Bradenton Area, head to Lakewood Ranch. Choose from one of five different routes ranging from 19 to 36 miles. Each route is a little bit different, including stops at favorite fishing holes, restaurants and shops.
There you have it – some of the best places to bike in the Bradenton Area.
Now you just need a bicycle. Whether you’re staying in downtown Bradenton or right on the beaches of Anna Maria Island, there’s a place nearby to rent your two-wheeled adventure cruiser.
In fact, many of the bike rental places even deliver the bike to your hotel and pick it back up, free of charge. Ride on!