Motorworks Brewing and Tampa Bay Brewery to Coquina Beach and Beer Can Island, we have a great weekend in Bradenton, FL. 

Bradenton, Florida, once a sacred American Indian burial ground, has no records of a direct storm hitting the area dating back to eighteen seventy-one. At least five years since I have seen some of my favorite family, I was excited for a return visit. We found an inexpensive, direct, round trip flight with Spirit Airlines from Pittsburgh International Airport to Tampa International Airport. After dropping off our bags, we began our evening with a great show by The Fabulous Two Tones, Ricky and Franky, at the Bradenton Moose Lodge, before visiting a nearby brewery.

Motorworks Brewing

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With about eighteen beers on tap, Motorworks Brewing has a beer for everyone from Lavender Verbena Pale Ale and Bourbon Coffee Cake Porter to Birthday Carrot Cake Brown Ale.
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There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, an outdoor music stage with live performances, corn hole, giant outdoor games, and complimentary popcorn. Customers can order from a rotating line up of five different food trucks in lieu of a kitchen.
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Before ending our first night, we stop at McCabe’s Irish Pub in a small section of restaurants and bars on Old Maine Street. We return to this area our last night and check out Cork’s Cigar Bar before enjoying a delicious pizza for dinner at Loaded Barrel.

Coquina Beach

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The next morning we uber to Coquina beach. Named for the abundance of tiny coquina clams, it is one of the longest stretches of beach on Anna Maria Island. Located on the southern tip of the island, the white sand beaches are less crowded than the central beaches. A free trolley travels the length of the island from Anna Maria City Pier to Coquina Beach from 6:00am-10:30pm.
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Walking a few steps up the beach, we have a beautiful view of the ocean as we drink our coffees and wait for our breakfast sandwiches. Coquina Beach Café serves breakfast, lunch, beer, and frozen drinks from 8:00am until 4:00pm. No shoes required.

Beer Can Island

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After a day at the beach, we start our next morning at Florida’s Premier live aboard and large boat marina, Regatta Point Marina. Boarding our pontoon boat, there isn’t a cloud in the sky as our captain heads to Beer Can Island.
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After a delicious picnic on the beach, we begin to explore. Walking along the white sand beach, we discover a section of the island with smooth, sun bleached drift wood and colorfully painted trees.
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Swings of difference sizes are scattered throughout the island. Small lizards scurry about in the shade of the trees.
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Beyond the drift wood is pier, with an uninterrupted view of the ocean…except for a couple of fisherman.

Manatee Avenue Bridge

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The second bridge built to access Northern Anna Maria island, Manatee Avenue Bridge, connects Bradenton and Holmes Bach. After a perfect day on Beer Can island, we pass over the bridge just as the sun disappears into the ocean in an array of pinks, purples, and oranges.

Skinny’s Place

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A trip to Bradenton isn’t complete without a visit to Skinny’s Place, serving the number one burger since nineteen fifty-two. For non-burger lovers, chicken, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and a veggie burger are also on the menu. Enjoy the reggae music, original decor, and relaxed beach vibes with a cold mug of beer.

Lecom Park

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This year, our visit to Bradenton didn’t align with the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training at Lecom Park. In 2013, I was able to cheer on the pirates behind home plate at that time known as, McKechnie Field.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company

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After a great weekend of perfect weather, beautiful beaches and lots of laughs, we stop at Tampa Bay Brewing Company on our way to the airport. Only a few minutes from Tampa International Airport, we continue to enjoy the sun on the outdoor patio. We order a flight from the ten beers on tap while we wait for our lunch to arrive.

February 2018