The historic Bridge Street pier on Anna Maria Island is located at 200 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, Florida. It is certainly worth spending a few hours here whenever you’re in the Bradenton Beach community on the southern end of the island.
This tourist attraction is a former bridge that at one point was the only means of access to the island!
The free Anna Maria Island trolley stops nearby so you’ll be able to get to the pier and Bridge Street area easily without having to pay for transportation or worry about parking.
History of the Bridge Street Pier
In 1921, the Cortez Bridge was constructed, connecting the Village of Cortez to what was formerly called Cortez Beach on Anna Maria Island. It was a somewhat shoddy wooden bridge that allowed the original Ford Model T to drive to and from the island.
Prior to this, the only method of reaching the island was via boat, and Cortez Beach later became known as Bradenton Beach.
A drawbridge was opened in 1967 which ended the use of the wooden Cortez Bridge. The side of the bridge in Cortez Village was removed, while the side in Bradenton Beach remained and was later transformed into a beautiful fishing pier.
Experience “Old Florida” the way it should be at the Historic Bridge Street Pier
Although the entirety of Anna Maria Island certainly provides you with an “Old Florida” experience, it’s particularly vibrant in the Bridge Street area and near the pier. Here you’ll feel what Florida was like decades ago before skyscrapers and gigantic condominium projects started to crowd its shorelines.
It is one of the few places in Florida where you can still go for a walk along the beach and have a completely unobstructed view of the clear blue ocean and brilliant sunrises and sunsets.
Any fishing enthusiast will enjoy fishing from this scenic pier, and you’ll see plenty of traveling and local fishermen there on any given day. Families often stop here to watch the boats pass by or the pelicans and other birds feeding and flying around.
There are also many popular restaurants nearby including one right on the pier (Anna Maria Oyster Bar) as well as a popular local jewelry store, a parasailing service, and several other points of interest within walking distance.
With a quick stroll through the area you’ll see why it has become one of the island’s top tourist hotspots. It went through a major recent revitalization project with the launch of many new businesses, restaurants, stores and boutiques, along with a renovation of the pier itself and several buildings and structures.
Now Bridge Street offers historic charm and an accessible modern community that is energetic and always bustling with events and things to do.
Stop by the Bridge Street Pier and enjoy a fun day trip to this scenic and family friendly area of Anna Maria Island!