10 Things to Do in Cortez That You Shouldn't Miss

December 24, 2017 Florencio Paulino

Cortez, a census-designated place (CDP) in Manatee County, Florida, United States, is a small Gulf coast commercial fishing village that was founded by settlers from North Carolina in the 1880s. The population was 4,491 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Bradenton–Sarasota–Venice Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Restaurants in Cortez

1. Emerson Point Preserve

Snead Island, Palmetto, FL +1 941-745-4801
Excellent
70%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 259 reviews

Emerson Point Preserve

Reviewed By RachelB54 - Washington, DC

This is a beautiful nature preserve just over the bridge from Bradington. Many peaceful trails with abundant vegetation Most of the trails are short, under a mile. I was hoping for more opportunities to walk. The preserve was not crowded. There is a small beach with lovely views, but not swimming. There is also a bit of Florida history here including evidence of the Portavant Temple Mound constructed by the original inhabitants. Bring a picnic lunch to eat under the large pavilion with picnic tables. Clean restrooms are available. This is a perfect place to spend an hour or half a day.

2. Robinson Nature Preserve

1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209-9694 +1 941-748-4501
Excellent
78%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Robinson Nature Preserve

Reviewed By Kathryn B - Lutz, Florida

Locals frequent this location with their pets in tow, or launch your canoe at the entrance to experience the mangroves from a different perspective. Personally, the trails are the way to go- whether hiking or biking. Even better, they are adding additional trails using recently donated property. Shorelines and bridges give easy access to "blueways". Geocaching is an extra. What a treat.

3. Catherine's Florida Charters

760 Broadway St, Longboat Key, FL 34228-1067
Excellent
99%
Good
1%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 114 reviews

Catherine's Florida Charters

We offer a wide range of affordable private boating excursions, from sailing adventures on a beautiful 53'ketch ("Catherine"). Which departs from North Longboat and sails the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Specializing in Sunset Sails, Day Sails, Wine & Cheese Cruises, Proposals, Couples Retreat, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Photo Shoots, Video Production & More) We also offer affordable private eco tours on our electric powered ("Catherine II") Which departs North Longboat Key and cruises inland waters of the North Island and Longboat Pass basin. With excursions to the famous "Beer Can Island & Jewfish Key Sandbar" Specializing in Sightseeing Tours, Dolphin Watches, Treasure Hunting on Beer Can Island, Sunset Cruises, Wine & Cheese Cruises. Let our USCG Captain Kurt Schulz take you on a great adventure that you and your family will remember forever!

Reviewed By Jennifer A

Our family of five had a first rate experience with Catherine charters. Every detail was explained and made it easy to have a first time sailing tour. Captain Curt really helped make the trip even better with his knowledge and laid-back demeanor. This was definitely a highlight of our family vacation, and will look forward to sailing again!

4. De Soto National Memorial

75th St. NW, Bradenton, FL 34280 +1 941-792-0458 ext. 105
Excellent
61%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 627 reviews

De Soto National Memorial

Reviewed By TFopinion - Pennsylvania

Before visiting here, the Robinson Preserve was my favorite park to visit. The dog friendly, fee free DeSoto National Monument is so much better because it combines history with a superb waterfront setting for short walks and hikes. Before you even get to the Visitor's Center (VC), you'll be drawn to the spectacular waterfront views straight ahead as you first enter. This is an explore at your own pace setting.

Make sure you stop in the VC to see the short video on DeSoto's journeys in this area of the U.S. You'll learn a lot that you might not have known before plus the video gives you a good background before you embark on the walking paths along the river. There isn't much else in the VC except a gift shop and restrooms so the short 20 minute video is a good place to start. The walking paths are nicely marked with historical markers along the way. The paths aren't lengthy but are varied including an extended walk to large cross. It's a very peaceful setting. The closer you get to the cross the easier it is to stroll along the beach with your feet in the water.

This is a really nice spot that will become an annual visit for me each time I'm in Bradenton.

5. Joan M. Durante Community Park

5550 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228-1904
Excellent
69%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 104 reviews

Joan M. Durante Community Park

Reviewed By Deborah T - Chicago, Illinois

We had to check out the park as it is so close to where we are staying this winter on Longboat Key. There’s great boardwalks and seashell trails that wind around a mangrove forest and salt marsh with several Sarasota Bay overlooks. We saw quite a few fish jumping out of the water. There are many strategically placed benches too. Checked out the Botanical Garden as well. Not much of a botanical garden but then again I am a very spoiled Chicago Botanic Garden member.

We took a leisurely 45 minute walk around the entire park. The park is in a very natural state. Only saw a few birds but I attribute that to “the early bird catches the worm” as we were there in the mid day heat.

6. Longboat Key

Longboat Key, FL 34228
Excellent
78%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 44 reviews

Longboat Key

Reviewed By carmen4409 - Longboat Key, Florida

Longboat Key is quieter and more charming than the bustling commerce around St. Armands. Beaches are beautiful and a diverse neighborhood. High rise fancy water front properties and 1050s converted motels (my favorite) where you walk out to the beach every morning. Loved the peace and quiet - and the proximity to so many other attractions when you need it.

7. Cannons Marina

6040 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228-1706 +1 941-383-1311
Excellent
70%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 60 reviews

Cannons Marina

Cannons Marina is located on Longboat Key, a beautiful barrier island just off of Sarasota and Anna Maria. We have the area's best boat rentals, water skis and tubes for your day on the water. It's super fun and seriously easy to rent a boat by the day, week or month.Here at Cannons Marina, our mantra is simple: We’re passionate boating people! When you buy a boat or rent a boat from us, you’re dealing with an award-winning boat dealer who wants you to have the best and safest boating experience. We have impressive line-up of new boats for sale and used boats for sale, including Grady-White fishing boats and Yamaha Motors. We also offer used boats, used yachts and yacht broker services. And if you are looking for a boat rental - we have the area’s nicest fleet of boat rentals for you and your family.

Reviewed By sanderson57 - Orange Park, Florida

Down here for business with my wife and stayed over the weekend. Rented a 23' deck boat for a full day. Staff was friendly, the price was reasonable comparable to competition. They did not have RENTAL plastered all over the side of the boat like...MoreHi there sanderson57 - Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback. We are happy that your rental boat expeicece here at Cannons Marina was great. Thank you again.

8. Riverwalk

101 Waterfront Drive, Bradenton, FL 34205 +1 941-621-6471
Excellent
59%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 558 reviews

Riverwalk

Reviewed By AnKnee448 - Waterloo, Canada

What a lovely place for a relaxing stroll in Bradenton. The views are calming and there are people to nod to along the way. Wearing the Tshirts from our hometown was a sure conversation starter for our fellow Canadians. We spent more than one day enjoying the Riverwalk, culminating with a bit of a nosh at Mattison's City Grille. This was a wonderful Find for us.

Good Job, Brandenton!!!!

9. Florida Maritime Museum

4415 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215 +1 941-708-6120
Excellent
57%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 59 reviews

Florida Maritime Museum

The schoolhouse was constructed in 1912. It was the second schoolhouse to be built in Cortez, a small fishing village that was established in the 1880’s. For many years, it served not only as a school, but also as a community center and hurricane shelter. After the school closed in 1961, it was eventually sold to master weaver Robert Sailors. Sailors made the building his home and studio. As a resident he made some lasting contributions to the property, including the “surprise fountain”. It was not until December of 1999, with assistance from the Florida Communities Trust, that Manatee County purchased the schoolhouse and an adjoining parcel to create the Cortez Nature Preserve. Residents of the Cortez community are passionate about preserving the past and ensuring that both residents and visitors of Manatee County understand the significance of the village and this schoolhouse. Because of their passion, the building was reopened as the Florida Maritime Museum in 2006.

Reviewed By Taylor B - Chicago, Illinois

The Florida Maritime Museum was founded on the importance of the regional commercial fishing industry. Located at 4415 119th Street West in the historic fishing village of Cortez, it tells a number of stories pertaining to all aspects of Florida's maritime history. Exhibits include historic photographs, boat models, tools, instruments, a large collection of shells from the Gulf of Mexico and other historic artifacts. Housed in a 1912 schoolhouse on the 95-acre Cortez Nature Preserve, the museum is dedicated to preserving the past and ensuring that current and future residents and visitors to Manatee County understand the significance of Cortez Village and the maritime history of the area. The museum also is home to a research library that contains a variety of books, plans, logs, diaries, periodicals, letters, records and related archival material whose content is relevant to research concerning maritime subjects with special emphasis on Florida's Gulf Coast. Among the exhibits are works by Richard Estabrook, a nature photographer for over 35 years whose special interest is close-up photography concentrating on flowers and insects. Another exhibit focuses on the Cuban fishing ranchos in Tampa Bay. For more than 100 years, Cuban fishermen established seasonal fishing camps along the Gulf Coast where they would catch fish, salt them and ship them back to Cuba to sell. The exhibit explores what brought the Cubans to Florida and what happened to them.

10. Palma Sola Botanical Garden

9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209-8153
Excellent
57%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 115 reviews

Palma Sola Botanical Garden

Reviewed By 764miltonc - Bradenton, Florida

This place isn't that big or fancy, but I like to visit a couple of times a year to enjoy the peaceful shady atmosphere. Sometimes we bring a picnic to eat at the picnic tables. It's a nice place to hold weddings and birthday parties and such. I think they have yoga here too.

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