Last updated: 3/15/2018
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Manatee County FL
Manatee County is located in Southwest Florida, a region consisting of several counties collectively marketed as the Suncoast. This county was established in 1855 and named after the iconic Florida sea cow endemic in the Gulf Coast area.
Manatee County has a land area of about 740 square miles, vastly reduced from its original 5,000 square miles before it was subdivided into seven different counties. Largely untouched though were Manatee’s water resources still covering 150 square miles or 16.8 percent of its current territory which includes some of Florida’s finest beaches.
Manatee’s county seat and largest city is Bradenton situated on the mouth of the Manatee River, a rustic waterway which also lends a unique character to the county aside from its pristine Gulf Coast beaches. The other municipalities of Manatee County include Palmetto, the City of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and the Town of Longboat Key
Some historical accounts claim that it was on Manatee County’s shores where Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto first landed with his 1539 expedition to explore Florida. In this event’s commemoration, a De Soto National Memorial Park has been set up in Bradenton. This historic landmark offers not only exhibits about De Soto’s exploits. The park has kayak tours, hiking trails, boating and birding facilities, and hiking trails.
Real Estate Choices
The population of Manatee County is approaching the 390,000 mark as of the 2017 U.S. Census. The number of the county’s residents, as well as visitors, rise significantly each winter, because of so-called “snowbirds” from northern U.S. and Canada moving to their second homes in Manatee or renting a place in the county.
The real estate market of the county is largely influenced not only by these snowbirds but also baby boomers settling locally for their retirement. As a consequence, home buyers in the county can find a wide variety of choices ranging from single family homes, multifamily units and high-rise condos.
Robust Transport Mix
The influx of seasonal residents during winter shows in numbers from the Sarasota‒Bradenton International Airport. Located on the Manatee‒Sarasota County border, this airport serves over a million passengers annually, with the peak arrivals coming in wintertime. Notably, Manatee’s Southwest Florida area is also covered by the Amtrak Train Service and the Greyhound Bus routes.
Inexpensive inter-county public transportation in Manatee is provided by the Manatee County Area Transit System. In Anna Maria Island, one of the top travel destinations in the county, a free trolley service is available for residents and visitors alike.
Other points of interest in and around Manatee are easily accessible by car. Interstate 75 and the Tamiami Trail are the vital road corridors traversing north and south through the county.
Besides tourism, agriculture is a major driver for Manatee County’s economy. Local commerce and industry likewise draw strength from the Port of Manatee, which is among Florida largest and fastest growing seaports. The county is also home to the headquarters of large businesses, like Bealls Department Store. Remarkably, commercial fishing still thrives in Manatee, mainly at the Village of Cortez west of Bradenton.
Several higher learning institutions have presence in Manatee County. These include the State College of Florida and the University of South Florida, plus the sports campus of the IMG Academy in Bradenton. This city is also notably host to the spring training camp of the Pittsburgh Pirates.