About Bridge Street on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island has managed to retain the charm of laid-back Florida. Instead of high-rise condos and shopping malls, you will find boutique style shops and restaurants along with sugar-white beaches and emerald gulf waters. You can enjoy a sunrise overlooking Tampa Bay in the morning and a sunset overlooking the Gulf of Mexico that evening. The turquoise Island Trolley will take you the entire length of this beautiful 7 mile island free of charge stopping off at any one of the 80 conveniently located trolley stops to dine, shop or just stroll along the historic streets or along the miles of beautiful beaches.

Bridge Street History

Up until 1921, the only way to access Anna Maria Island was by boat.  That is the year that the island was connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge extending from the village of Cortez to what was then called Cortez Beach making it the center of the island community.  In the late 20’s, Cortez Beach became known as Bradenton Beach.

In 1967, the current drawbridge was opened to 5th Street North ending the use of the original wooden bridge as a means to access the island.  While the side of the bridge in Cortez village was removed, the Bradenton Beach side of the old wooden bridge was saved and converted into a fishing pier at the eastern end of Bridge Street. This fishing pier still stands today and is the site of a restaurant and gathering place for locals, tourists and little ones trying to catch the big one.

Bridge Street Today

When the bridge moved just a few blocks away in the late sixties, some of Bridge Street’s popularity went with it. In recent years, the area has been revitalized.  A strong Merchant’s Association, coupled with a widespread rejuvenation project, that included renovation of the fishing pier breathed new life into the area.

Historic Bridge Street is once again the bustling center of activity in this historic beach community. What’s now known as the Historic Old Town District is great for day trips, weekend getaways, or an entire vacation. Bridge Street offers a walkable community with spectacular water views from the both the pier and the gulf beach.