VIBE: Relaxed, Family Friendly
1300 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Are you craving white sand, emerald water and quiet beauty? Coquina Beach is the answer and one of our favorite places for sunshine on the Gulf of Mexico.
When we first moved to Florida, we lived near this beach and it is our TOP choice for relaxation on the Gulf of Mexico. Why? Tons of free parking, lots of amenities, and a roomy beach with a large expanse of silky, white sand. It was often less crowded than other Anna Maria Island beaches too. There was always something to see: dolphins, manatees, birds, drones and ultralight aircraft. Never boring - always relaxing!
Coquina Beach Sand
White silky sand adorns this Gulf beach. It is more compact than Siesta Key or Clearwater Beach so it is great for walking. It really is beautiful against the water and blue sky of Florida. There is nothing better than taking long, romantic walks along the beach. Coquina Beach is perfect for that. Take a stroll to the inlet and watch boats go by or people fishing. We think it is one of the most stunning beaches on the Gulf coast...as good as Destin!
Coquina Beach Gulf Water
It is always difficult to capture the true nature of the water at Florida beaches. At Coquina Beach, it is breathtaking and is a lot like the Caribbean. Clear and calm, it reflects the sky. You can see right down to your feet. You will be able to see all the fish swimming around you...there will be many! Like any other beach, watch out for jellyfish. If the purple flag is flying at the lifeguard station, take extra care.
Coquina Beach Parking & Amenities
Did we mention the FREE PARKING?! There is lots of it too. Even space for RV's. The other bonus is there is not a long haul to the shore from the parking lot. Just grab your beach gear and go. Some beaches like Sand Key Park and Siesta Key Beach have long walks across the sand. It can take you forever to get to the water.
Coquina Beach is popular with families. When it is busy, there will be no shortage of children so be prepared to take some time to find a spot. Many people just relax in the water or throw a ball. Snorkeling, paddle-boarding and fishing are popular. Watch the boats and jet skis go by or take a snooze. It's Florida...anything goes! If you get hungry Coquina Beach has a beachfront cafe and you can even order breakfast. Otherwise enjoy salads, burgers, chicken tenders, fish tacos and more. Want to do your own cooking? Use one of the convenient grills in the shade.
Coquina Beach Activities
Aside from the incredible water activities at this beach, we want to mention the Market. You will find local artists, jewelry, fresh produce, baked goods, gourmet foods, local honey, apparel, health, and beauty items, and a variety of unique gifts. They even have a band! The Beach Market is at 2650 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach at the trolley stop, concession stand area. Ride the FREE trolley to the market or park in the FREE parking lot. Manatee County does not allow dogs anywhere in Coquina Park. The market is stroller, walker, and wheelchair accessible. Find out more at: https://discoverbradenton.com/business/beach-market-at-coquina-beach/
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Coquina beach is our favorite on the west coast of Florida. It offers so many amenities. Every beach visitor will find something to please them, from families to seniors. The facilities are well maintained and clean. Despite the free parking however, finding a space after 10 a.m. can be challenging. We recommend you avoid weekends and Beach Market Days. Like many other beaches mentioned in our posts, crawling bumper to bumper in traffic is to be expected. This is because of the single lanes and lift bridge over the causeway. There is the Anna Maria Island free trolley that regularly visits the middle Coquina Beach entrance.
What We Really Think About Coquina Beach
Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island is our top Gulf beach so far. We missed going there so it was a joy to visit once again. If you are thinking of visiting we recommend staying on the island so you can move around with minimum traffic woes. The closest hotel to the beach is the Bridgewalk Resort or check out some vacation rentals.
Coquina Beach Hotels
The closest hotel to the beach is the Bridgewalk Resort or Bungalow Beach Resort. There are also some vacation rentals.
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.