|The gang at Downtown Disney|
Once in Bradenton we had to do some upkeep on the house my mother left to me and my brother, but we spent most of our free time at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. The weather was gorgeous and the water was warm enough to hang out in, unlike the beaches here in North Carolina. The kids built sand castles and kicked the soccer ball on the sand. It was so great!
|Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island|
If you've never been to Anna Maria Island, it is a small island (about 7 miles long) on the Gulf Coast of Florida, south of Tampa Bay. It's full of vacation rentals, restaurants and small tourist shops. The beach extends the entire western coast of the island. It is a beautiful sandy beach which is kept very clean. At Coquina Beach there is ample parking (except on Easter, which we found out the hard way), grills and picnic tables, life guards and public restrooms. It's a perfect place to spend the day with the family.
If you like to explore, you can rent scooters for an hour or more. We rent from Island Scooter Rentals on Gulf Dr. It's in a great spot and their rates are reasonable. My cousin and her boyfriend rented a scooter for half a day to check out the island. They had to show their driver's licenses and give a credit card for the refundable deposit, but they didn't need any parental permission since they're 18. They opted for helmets, but in Florida it's only required if you're under 16. After a brief training and several practice laps, they were off for 4 hours!
While they scooted, we ate ice cream at Joe's Eats and Sweets. They have a large variety of sundaes that they make with their homemade ice cream. It is a little bit pricey, but so worth it! They have great homemade waffle cones too!