Cortez Beach! This is a unique "Old Florida" style beach, a beach with a long strand of sand, located on the southwest side of Anna Maria Island, Florida.
The beach area just has that classic "good old days" feel to it for me. Maybe it's that way for me because of the Old Florida charm that most all of Anna Maria Island encapsulates.
Also, the sheer mix of nature here is noteworthy; tall trees lining the beach along with native grasses, sand dunes and sea oats all combine with the sandy beach and beautiful gulf waters to make a picture postcard setting that you can place yourself in.
Cortez Beach picks up on its south end where Coquina Beach leaves off on its north end, but has a completely unique look, feel and character about it.
First off there are no life guard towers, so you swim or surf at your own risk at this Anna Maria Island, Florida beach.
Nor are there amenities like children’s playgrounds, or volley ball areas or beach chair rentals.
This beach is not a "picnicking Mecca" like you’ll find at Coquina Beach, although you can still reserve a picnic pavilion here and there are restrooms nearby.
All of this doesn’t mean it’s a bad beach; quite the contrary. It’s a fabulous beach. In fact, it's one of the finest Gulf of Mexico beaches along the sun coast
Cortez Beach sits on Gulf Drive South on Anna Maria Island, so
just slowly cruise the street while looking for a parking spot on the
side of the road. Keep your eyes peeled for cars pulling in and out of
the roadside parking area. Because it happens so fast you can miss out
on a parking spot really quick.
You basically pull off Gulf Drive South and on to the side of the road to park. This is one of the things that I find so neat about this beach; the way the parking is set up.
You just pull off the side of the road, jump out of your car and scurry down to the beach and jump in the water. It's such a cool location and feeling.
This is a beach where you can enjoy the Florida surf, sand and sun and make an exceptional day of it! Blue skies. Warm, salty air. Beautiful beach.
Now, during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, we may experience tropical depressions and storms, if not a downright hurricane.
But whenever there is a weather system forming, the Gulf of Mexico can start churning out some pretty large waves. That's when you'll see the surfers hit the waves at Cortez beach.
As you can see from the photos, it's a great beach for surfing.
This Manatee County Beach is open daily from sunrise to sunset and close
enough from Sarasota Beaches to make it a worthwhile drive across
scenic Longboat Key and up to Anna Maria Island.
Directions from downtown Sarasota: Go over the Ringling Bridge and on to St. Armand’s Key and follow Rt. 789 around St. Armand’s Circle to the north and on to Longboat Key.
Stay on Gulf of Mexico Drive north on Longboat Key until you cross the bridge to Anna Maria Island.
Coquina Beach will be the first beach you come to on the left. Cortez Beach will be the next swath of beach just north on Gulf Drive South on the left.
During high season, from downtown Sarasota, it could take an hour to get there.