Cortez, Florida is one of the last small coastal fishing villages in Florida, located right off Anna Maria Island across the Cortez Bridge.
Founded in the 1880s by settlers from North Carolina, you will find that Cortez still has the same antiquated charm speckled with a few modern amenities. This timeless fishing community is located in the most perfect place possible, next to the glittering Gulf of Mexico, completely enveloped in traditional maritime heritage.
You won’t find very many high rises here as the city officials retain that Old Florida spirit. There are just some small beach bungalows, cottages, and single family homes along the waters of Cortez.
These maritime traditions run deep through Cortez’s streets where you will find restored boats proudly displayed. Modest bungalows from the 1920s pack the streets of the village. Fishing has been the primarily industry here for decades. The people of Cortez are quite proud of their history and preserving the legacy of this area. It is labeled on the National Register of Historic Places.
A Look at Cortez
Cortez is known for its quiet and mild crowds, unlike many other areas in Florida that have become overdeveloped for the tourism industry. Regardless of its laid-back lifestyle, you can still enjoy many activities such as fishing charters, kayaking and jet skiing. Affordable local providers offer daily and weekly rates for any and all water equipment you made for your stay.
Stop and pick up your watersport rentals before heading off Anna Maria Island. AMI Adventure Rentals has everything your family could need.
Or find a few shopping spots nearby such as The Beach Stop (11904 Cortez Rd W, Cortez, FL) offering a pleasant selection of beach wear and gear or the Cortez Surf & Paddle Shop (4110 127th St W, Cortez, FL) offering kayak SUP and bike rentals, clothing, swimwear, souvenirs and other gear rentals.
However, when you come to Cortez, you often want a historical experience. Many visitors love to walk around and see the remaining houses that belonged to the original founding families of this village. Most of these are still standing today.
Further, the historical village atmosphere is still well intact. Local fisheries like Star Fish Company still sell fresh grouper and shrimp to local restaurants and even visitors directly. Walking through Cortez is like walking through a time machine.
Dining on Cortez Beach
Speaking of restaurants, you have waterfront views at every turn. Join the casual atmosphere of Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina (12507 Cortez Rd W) for some tasty seafood.
Or indulge in the relaxed ambiance of Star Fish Company (12306 46th Ave W, Cortez, FL), with its local reasonably priced seafood served in picnic-table seating – one of the most popular attractions in the village and a long-time fish market.
Another de-facto seafood stop on Cortez is undoubtedly the lively Cortez Kitchen (4528 119th St W, Cortez, FL) overlooking the water, and with local live music almost nightly.
The Charming Cortez Fishing Village
Cortez is the ideal fishing spot for many because the deep water surrounding the area that’s buffered by the barrier islands. There is probably no better place to learn about fishing than this charming old fishing village.
It is tucked away from most of the commercialism because of the community’s strong ties to its historical roots. It is the epitome of the idea of what Old Florida used to be- the Florida you would hear about from your grandparents. Make some time to hear the locals tell you about the area so you have plenty of stories when you go home.
You can find more about the community’s maritime legacy at The Florida Maritime Museum. This museum offers exhibits and classes so you can learn the skills of the past to share with family and preserve the maritime history through tradition.
Classes includes knot tying, constructing a fishing rod, Native American heritage, and even sailing. The Maritime Museum is located at 4415 119th St W, Cortez, FL 34215 and is open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where To Stay
Cortez is like nowhere else in Florida. You can experience all that this area has to offer without having to battle hordes of tourists. Stay minutes away from this picturesque village in a dream vacation rental on Anna Maria Island.
A family vacation on Anna Maria Island is not complete without a visit to Cortez which is filled with charm.
If you are interested in experiencing Florida the way it used to be, consider visiting Anna Maria Island today! Cortez is just across the bridge, and there’s plenty to do before and after your trip including amazing beaches, restaurants, ocean sports, other historic sites and more.
Contact us today to learn more about Cortez as well as our nearby beach rentals on Anna Maria Island at 941-778-4178.