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Why go?

With 16 miles of picturesque beaches, balmy sunsets and a laid-back Florida vibe, the Bradenton/Anna Maria Island/Longboat Key area is a hidden treasure on Florida’s west coast, ideal for a fun-filled family getaway.

Activities

Turtle tours - Choose something different from your usual beach break and enrich your children’s minds by taking part in a turtle tour. The nesting beach tours take place twice a week, during June and July, followed by daily educational talks for the kids to learn about the different types of turtles found on the Florida coast, and their life cycle. Families with children of all ages can walk along the local beaches helping the guides to monitor the turtle nests and count how many eggs have hatched. If you’re lucky, you could even see them hatch!

Horse Surfing - It’s not every day that you get to surf on a horse. Take a gentle ride along Palma Sola Bay before heading in to the water with your friendly four-legged companion. Once you’ve made it through the waves and the water is chest deep, it’s time to hop on your horses’ back and put your balance to the test. Don’t worry about falling off; making a splash is all part of the fun!

Meet Snooty, the World’s Oldest Manatee - Snooty, the local celebrity and mascot of the Bradenton area, has been officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living manatee in captivity. This year, he reached the grand old age of 67. Snooty loves attention so make sure you stop by the South Florida Museum and say hello.

Accomodation

Best known for the stunning multi-coloured chocolate box beachfront properties, Anna Maria Island offers cosy cottages, intimate resorts, boutique inns and smaller, low-rise condos that dot the picturesque landscape.

Due to strict building regulations on Anna Maria Island, chain restaurants and commercial sky-rise buildings do not exist, meaning you won’t find a building here measuring more than three-stories in height.

Mainsail Beach Inn - Overlooking the pristine Holmes Beach, Mainsail Beach Inn offers 12 rental accommodations that combine the furnishings and features of a luxury home with the services and amenities of a world class hotel. Prices start from around £275 per night.

Montego Bay - Just seconds from the beach, Montego Bay on Anna Maria Island is a fully equipped, five-bedroom holiday home with its own private swimming pool, a roof deck that offers fantastic views of the Island and the Gulf of Mexico, outdoor BBQ, six bikes a table tennis table. Prices start from around £395 per night.

The lowdown

British Airways fly direct from London to Tampa, with return flights from £472 per person. The Bradenton area is just a 45 minute drive from Tampa airport.

Alternatively, land just 15 minutes from the beach and fly straight in to the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, with a flight from London via Atlanta with Delta from £702 per person.