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never been here, but planning trip

Debbie Myers
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313 posts
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never been here, but planning trip

We are planning a family vacation this July with our 2 daughters and their significant others. I see that there are different areas of the island and I am trying to decide where we would be happiest.

We will have 2 cars, so driving will not be an issue. Ideally I would like to be as close to the Gulf as possible and in a non-commercial area. However, it would also be nice to have nearby restaurants and shopping. Also, what is there to do to keep 2 couples in their 20's happy? I know bars will be top of the list....beach bars at the tip top and live music at a beach bar on the water would be a home run!. How about cute shopping areas?

I just became aware of this area and it looks like we would love being there. I just want to make sure that we make a good choice of location.

Thanks for any help!

Bradenton, Florida
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1. Re: never been here, but planning trip

With 20 somethings I would recommend Bradenton Beach first. there are several places with live music, some right on the beach, several shops, and lots of restaurants. Look at Marbella, as they have 3 bedroom condos, right on the beach. Several other places farther south. Walkable, or take the free trolley.

The other area would be Anna Maria city. Anywhere on the north side of the island, near Pine Ave. Lots of neat new shops on Pine, the Sandbar has music and umbrella drinks, right on the beach. Other places to eat and drink, particularly on the bayside.

Tampa
Destination Expert
for Anna Maria
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4,814 posts
52 reviews
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2. Re: never been here, but planning trip

Dont get hung up on the area, the entire island is only 7 miles long so there is not a huge difference between the areas and it is easy to get from one end to the other.

Bradenton Beach has Bridge Street that has several places to eat and drink and has a lively vibe to it. We like staying at La Costa Condo's, walking distance to this area.

Northern End is a little more laid back but Palm Ave is really picking up with little shops and cafe;s, but really no bar scene. We love Sunrise Gardens, awesome pool and very tropical.

Best thing to do is find a place to stay that fits your budget and has the most things that you require and then make your reservations. Once you are on the island it all washes away and is paradise.

United States
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3. Re: never been here, but planning trip

I agree with Kris that with 20 somethings, Bradenton Beach would be the best choice. We like Holmes Beach because it is quieter and less commercial, but we are older. Your kids would enjoy the places to hang out at night at BB. There are several places that have live music. And even if they drive to them, it would be a shorter drive home after drinking.

4. Re: never been here, but planning trip

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