Here in Bradenton, we like to think of ourselves as the Sea Life Capital of the World. And while we may be a little biased, it’s hard to deny that we’ve got some of the best sea life around. From dolphins and manatees to rays and shrimp, there’s something for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular sea life around Bradenton and what you can do to see them up close and personal.



There’s nothing quite like seeing a dolphin breach the surface of the water. These friendly creatures are always a joy to watch, and luckily for us, they’re quite common in the waters around Bradenton and Cortez. If you’re hoping to see some dolphins on your vacation, your best bet is to go on a dolphin watching tour. These tours typically last about 2 hours and will take you out into the bay where you’re most likely to see dolphins. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at dolphin kayaking. With this activity, you’ll paddle out into the bay in a kayak and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins. Dolphins are a common sighting by customers visiting the Cortez Kitchen so come grab a bite and a drink and see if you can spot a dolphin in the waters of Sarasota Bay right next to the restaurant.

Sea Life Around Bradenton, Florida


Manatees are another one of Bradenton’s most popular sea life attractions. These gentle giants are often seen cruising around the shallows in search of food. If you want to see some manatees up close, your best bet is to go on a manatee tour. These tours will take you out into the waters where manatees are most likely to be found and give you the chance to see them in their natural habitat. You can also try your hand at manatee snorkeling. This activity allows you to get in the water with these gentle giants and get an up-close look at them as they feed on aquatic plants. However, it should be noted that manatees are a protected species, so it’s important to be respectful when viewing them and not disturb their natural behavior. If you visit the Cortez Kitchen, chances are you will see a manatee up close and personal right here off the dock next to the restaurant!



Rays, or sting rays, are another common sight in the waters around Bradenton and Cortez. These fascinating creatures can often be seen gliding through the water on the beaches of Anna Maria Island. Visit the beaches of Anna Maria Island, enjoy the beautiful sunshine and water and see if you can spot a school of stingray swimming by. There are also many tours that can take you out into the waters where rays are most likely to be found. You can also rent a kayak, go on a kayak tour, or go snorkeling. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water!


As you can see, there’s no shortage of sea life around Bradenton and Cortez, Florida. Whether you’re interested in seeing dolphins or rays up close or just want to learn more about the ocean’s many inhabitants, there’s something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Grab your sunscreen and head on down to Bradenton for an unforgettable vacation filled with plenty of fun (and educational) marine adventures!