Bridge Street is located in Bradenton Beach, on the southern tip of the island, south of Cortez Bridge. It is easily identifiable by the delightful roundabout at the west end of the street. Getting there takes a little longer than a trip to the shops and restaurants located on Pine Ave and Gulf Drive in Anna Maria, or the downtown area of Holmes Beach, but it is worth your time to explore. We don’t really like to drive (or park), so we often take the trolley, or call Monkey Bus when we head down that way. If you are here during the quieter times of the year, parking is not a problem.
Bridge Street (and Gulf Drive, before you turn onto Bridge Street) offers many good restaurants for lunch and dinner: French, Mexican, Italian, Ice Cream, and of course plenty of seafood offerings. We really enjoy the variety of food options.
Up until last week, I had not spent much time there, other than walking straight to dinner or lunch. So we hopped on the trolley and headed out for a morning of fun on Bridge Street! When we arrived, there were two people set up with a table and bowls at the corner of Bridge and Gulf selling ‘the best ice cream in town’. Hmmm… sounded good, but a little too early for ice cream.
First, we did some shopping in the cute gift shops. Some were touristy (with great options for take-home gifts and mementos), while others offered locally produced and unique items. While waiting for others to purchase their new finds, I watched a Segway lesson take place. Segways can be rented by the hour/daily, or you can join a guided tour.
After finishing up shopping, we found our way onto the pier and watched boys wading and looking at a conch shell. The view out there was beautiful with boats and pristine clear water. We were able to view downtown Sarasota on the horizon (that’s a trip for another day)!
Next, it was time for some put-put golf. They were very friendly and let us play the back 9 holes since a large group had just started in front of us. Halfway through, we passed by the pond and fed some fish along with an ‘alligator’. After tallying up our scores and taking our picture in the photo booth, we headed back to the trolley.
By this time, ice cream sounded just wonderful! We stopped and found out they were selling flash freeze ice cream (frozen with nitrogen). Each order was made in front of you with fresh ingredients and they even let my daughter help make hers! I chose apple pie sherbet and it tasted just like apple pie with lots of apple chunks. The servings are very generous; easy to share. They are not out every day, but if you see them, I would definitely try it out!
We really enjoyed our time on Bridge Street and know you will too! There are many reasons to head down there – including the many festivals and markets they host. Recently, they held the first outdoor movie night and there is always live music playing in the evenings. Check out the Bridge Street Merchants Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest activities.
Check out some other great articles with local information about Anna Maria Island: