When it comes to a guy’s vacation there are 4 things that we need to make a trip amazing. Great food and drinks, secret spots to explore, a little adventure and of course, a great location.
So let’s start with location. If you want to head somewhere hot, with great beaches, a super laid back way of life, along with all the modern day comforts that we love, then you have to visit Bradenton, Florida.
Located on the Gulf side of the state, Bradenton lies about an hour south-west of Tampa. I recently made my way out to this stunning location to stay on Anna Maria Island at the quiet and comfortable Tropic Isle Beach Resort. Nestled just a few steps from the beach, this little hideaway is the perfect place to stay. It’s right by the water and in the middle of the island, close to stores, bars and restaurants.
There really is so much to do in the Bradenton area, so for the guys we have narrowed it down to the essential things that you need to put on your list when you are planning your next guys’ getaway.
The is no shortage of great eats in Bradenton and we made sure to try and taste it all. With fresh seafood literally all around us, and the locals using the freshest products and produce from the area, we found out pretty quick that the people there are very serious about their food, and having a great time.
Anna Maria Oyster Bar offers more than just oysters, featuring the freshest seafood, steaks, pasta, and so much more. Not only that, this spot is perched on the boardwalk, which offers a stunning view of the water. They also have a killer breakfast that will have you starting your day off right.
Tip: Try the breakfast burrito, you’ll be so glad you did.
Gulf Drive Café sits directly on the sands of Anna Maria Island, (very close to our hotel) offering indoor and outdoor seating under the 450 square foot tiki hut. The Café is a tropical eatery that serves breakfast (named one of the “Best Breakfasts in Florida” by Southern Living Magazine), lunch and dinner as well as tropical cocktails and other island-inspired specialties.
The food is oh so fresh, the staff is so friendly, like hometown friendly, and you can come back as often as you feel like a meal, a snack, or a cocktail.
The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, is located on the bayside of North Longboat Key in the heart of Longboat Village. Originally built in 1912, and spared when a hurricane in 1921 wiped out large chunks of the Island, this Old Florida style restaurant is considered one of the twelve oldest surviving structures on Longboat Key, and the food, well it’s insane.
I can’t remember the last time I did catch and cook but after a day of fishing we came back to MarVisita and they had prepared our catch to perfection, with amazing sides and delicious cocktails (photo featured above).
Sitting by the water, after a long day of fishing and enjoying such a well prepared and truly special meal was surely one of the highlights of our trip.
Anna Maria Island’s only donut shop features made-to-order donuts. Start with a vanilla cake donut, pick your icing and topping and watch the donut be prepared in front of you. They always have a minimum of four icings and 14 toppings to choose from, so the possibilities are endless.
Also shown above, these donuts may very well be the best I have ever had, and that says a lot. They are made right in front of your eyes, laid to cool, and then topped with the combination of your choice. They’re so great, they also made Nadia’s Gal’s Guide.
Needless to say, we attempted to eat the whole box.
On Anna Maria Island you can’t go wrong when it comes to amazing views. There’s breathtaking scenery at every turn.
Bean Point (one of my fav spots) is the very northern tip of Anna Maria Island. It is a local secret that provides breathtaking views of the sunset on a pristine, and serene crisp white sandy beach.
It should be mentioned that the day we went out with the amazing ladies from the Bradenton Communications team, we managed to spot dolphins AND manatees, which for most, seeing either just makes your day.
Along the way back to the Bridge street pier, you are sure to see some beautiful sights, and once you arrive at this stunning spot you’ll be able to check out all the boats heading past, and maybe even another dolphin.
As you drive around the area and onto Anna Maria Island and venture around the coastline, you’ll actually be hard pressed to find a bad view anywhere. The entire time we were there it was blue skies, shining sun, and even when it did rain, it was warm, tropical and beautiful.
The last check that almost every guy has on his list is a little adventure, and we found that there was no shortage of that while we were in Bradenton. From fishing with the coolest captain I’ve ever met and learning from the best how to really fish, to adventures in beer tasting and learning first hand from the great team at Darwin Brewery Company, there was so much in the way of discoveries of the taste, sense and the outdoors.
Fishing Charter with Captain Trek Hackney
We departed early in the morning on our second day in Bradenton from the Kingfish Boat Ramp, and set out to adventure, catch some sun, and learn how to fish from a man who does it for a living.
The day on the water was so peaceful, so much fun, and who knew that I would love fishing. Not only that, we took what we caught back to MarVista restaurant and they cooked us up a meal fit for a king from what we caught along with some special fixin’s.
Darwin Brewing Company brews chef-inspired, culinary-centric, well-balanced ales and lagers evolved from the flavors of Florida and Latin America. Their beers are designed to complement cuisine and have the depth to stand on their own. They incorporate ingredients indigenous to Florida and Latin America creatively into their brews, offering year round beers like Summadayze IPA, Circa 1926 Tangerine Wheat, Pirata Pilsner, and Llama Mama Milk Stout to name a few.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about these guys and their fantastic brewery. I arrived in the worst mood that day and 20 minutes in we were tasting some truly great beer and learning about why and how they make such a great selection of craft beer, and before I knew it, I was happy and loving our tour.
If you go anywhere near the area, make this a stop on your list, once you’ve tried the beer for yourself, you’ll thank me.
Thrill seekers, this one’s for you! This jet propulsion pack allows you to hover, rise up to 35 feet in the air, spin, and even dive like a dolphin. While we didn’t get to try this for ourselves, I have before and I would highly suggest it. It feels a bit insane at first, but once you get into it, you’ll be glad you did.
So there you have it, the perfect guys getaway done right.
The equation is the perfect balance between fantastic weather and location, great food, fun excursions, and most of all, and what made our trip truly something special, the amazing people we met along the way.
Now, aren’t you ready for your guy’s getaway? You don’t even have to come up with a plan, all you have to do is book your ticket and follow where the adventure takes you.