15 Best Things to Do in Palmetto (FL)

Located in west-central Florida’s Manatee County, Palmetto is a city of 12,000 residents that’s ideally situated to give visitors a wide range of activity options.

Palmetto is close to Tampa, one of the state’s largest cities, and the Gulf Coast region is particularly known for its more laid-back vibe than many of its east coast cousins.

Fishing and relaxing on the beach are popular vacation pastimes, but there are also a number of historical and cultural attractions nearby as well, and a few world-class theme parks are just a short drive away.

Below are 15 things to do in Palmetto, Florida that rank high on many visitors’ to-do lists.

1. Blackstone Park

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Dave Peterson / Facebook
Blackstone Park

For sheer variety of recreation options, there’s no better place to visit for energetic travelers than Blackstone Park.

The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is conveniently located on 14th Avenue West near downtown.

Amenities include baseball and softball fields, racquetball courts, a soccer pitch, and a playground for the little ones.

There’s also a skate park that’s popular with the teen crowd. For those who’d rather eat onsite than leave and come back, there are food concessions as well.

The sports fields are often reserved for leagues, but most of them are open to the public when not in use.

2. Manatee County Fair

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Carol (vanhookc) / Flickr
Manatee County Fair

The Manatee County Fair is approaching its 100th year, which makes it one of the Sunshine State’s oldest.

Though it started small, it’s grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It’s now one of the region’s premier annual attractions and includes agricultural and livestock events, theme park-style rides and games, live entertainment, and lots of tasty food options.

The fair is held at the Manatee County Fairgrounds and takes place over 11 days from the middle to the end of January.

With so much to see and do, it’s worth checking out their website to make sure you don’t miss anything.

3. Independence Day Celebration

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Buganvilla / shutterstock
Independence Day Celebration, Palmetto Bay

During Independence Day, small towns all over the country come to life with parades, festivals, and firework displays, and many of them have been going on continuously for generations.

Palmetto Bay Park is the venue for Palmetto’s 4th of July celebration, and though the fireworks don’t start until after 9:00 PM, it’s a full-day event that includes rides and games, arts and crafts, and plenty of great food.

Previous guests have commented that though the fireworks display was short, it packed a big bang, and was more impressive than they were expecting.

The event is free to the public, but evening parking tends to get scarce quickly, so consider arriving early if possible.

4. De Soto Seafood Festival

Things to do near palmetto flSource: De Soto Seafood Festival / Facebook
De Soto Seafood Festival

Rumor has it that when Hernando de Soto landed on the Florida coast in 1539, the first thing he said was, “When’s the Seafood Festival?”

It turns out that De Soto was a few centuries early, but every year since 1986, the town that bears the explorer’s name has been holding an event dedicated to the state’s fantastic seafood, and it takes place over three days in April.

The festival draws seafood lovers from all over the state and region, and by some estimations, there are more than 100,000 annual visitors.

It’s a great way to experience local culture, eat some great food, and support the community.

5. Boca Ciega Bay Sunset Cruise

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Jeff Kinsey / shutterstock
Boca Ciega Bay

Palmetto’s location on Florida’s western Gulf coast makes it the perfect place to take in a magnificent sunset or two. Though it’s possible to do it from land, there’s something special about watching the sunset over the horizon from the deck of a boat.

Boca Ciega Bay Sunset Cruises sail from Dolphin Landing in St. Petersburg and generally last about two hours.

Cruises include complimentary soft drinks; beer, wine, and cocktails are available as well for an additional cost.

Even during the summer months, the temperature on the water can be downright chilly, so take an extra sweater or sweatshirt just in case.

6. Calypso Breeze Tropical Party Buffet Cruise

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Calypso Breeze / Facebook
Calypso Breeze Tropical Party Buffet Cruise

Sunset cruises are great options for visitors looking to enjoy the state’s picturesque natural setting, but for those interested in more lively pursuits, the Calypso Breeze Tropical Party Buffet Cruise would be just the ticket.

Calypso Breeze cruises include buffet-style meals, great music, tasty drinks, and plenty of dancing.

Tours sail from Madeira Beach and take place aboard a 70-foot vessel with two enclosed and air-conditioned dining areas that are decorated in an island theme.

The buffet includes a huge variety of food, including soups, fruit, salads, and seafood, beef, and chicken dishes.

Alcohol is only available to those 21 and older, and children under two get in free but must be included when registering.

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7. Outerlife Studios Escape Room

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Outerlife Studios – Escape Room St Pete / Facebook
Outerlife Studios Escape Room

Escape rooms have caught-on in popularity in recent years, and though many travelers don’t consider them vacation activities, they’re the perfect way to experience something new and spend a few hours out of the elements.

Outerlife Studios is one of St. Petersburg’s most popular escape rooms. It offers several options with different themes that have been created to instill anxiety and excitement in participants.

Escape rooms are great double-date ideas, and they’re also fun for corporate events and wedding parties.

Reservations are suggested, especially on the weekends, so make yours well in advance of your visit if possible.

8. Emerson Point Preserve

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Ric Schafer / shutterstock
Emerson Point Preserve

Emerson Point Preserve is comprised of more than 360 acres on Snead Island set amidst the Manatee River.

The preserve’s land is about as pristine and undeveloped as you’re likely to find anywhere in the area. In addition to its natural beauty, the preserve is home to many historically significant sites as well.

Views of Boca Ciega Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge make for amazing photo-ops, especially in the evening when the sun is slipping below the horizon.

The preserve’s multi-use trails are open to walkers, joggers, and bikers, and there’s a canoe and kayak launching slip and a number of covered seating areas.

9. Manatee County Agricultural Museum

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Manatee County Agricultural Museum, Inc. / Facebook
Manatee County Agricultural Museum

Agriculture has always played a significant role in the history and development of Manatee County, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum is the area’s premier attraction for those who’d like to learn about it.

The museum’s exhibits touch on citrus farming, livestock, and even commercial fishing, and include photographs, farm equipment, and first-hand accounts of those who settled in the area more than a century ago.

The museum is open from Tuesday through Friday, and on the first and third Saturdays of each month as well.

Admission is free, but most visitors leave a few dollars to help with the museum’s maintenance and upkeep.

10. Florida Maritime Museum

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Florida Maritime Museum / Facebook
Florida Maritime Museum

Like its agricultural past, Florida sports a long history of maritime commerce and exploration; it goes all the way back to the 16th century, when Spanish explorers first landed on the Atlantic coast.

The Florida Maritime Museum is located on 119th Street West in nearby Cortez, and the museum grounds include a historic schoolhouse building and an extensive collection of equipment, memorabilia, and artifacts relating to the area’s nautical past and history in general.

Items on display include ship’s logs, maps, newspapers, and boat replicas. Most guests end up staying more than an hour to take it all in.

11. Village of the Arts

Things to do near palmetto flSource: psyberartist / Flickr
Village Of The Arts

Located on 12th Avenue in nearby Bradenton, Village of the Arts is a unique and eclectic community of artists that features, homes, galleries, studios, and many restaurants and coffee shops.

The village is spread over nearly 40 idyllic acres, and the homes are from the 20s and 30s and house visiting artists from all over the world.

Village of the Arts is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon strolling, drinking coffee, and looking for a work of art that you won’t find elsewhere. For much of the year, there are live entertainment events and festivals and fairs as well.

12. Tampa Museum of Art

Things to do near palmetto flSource: VIAVAL / shutterstock
Tampa Museum Of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art was founded in 1979, and its works include both modern and contemporary pieces, as well as some that are centuries old.

The museum is housed in one of Tampa’s most architecturally unique buildings, located on West Gasparilla Plaza along the scenic shores of the Hillsborough River near the downtown area.

It’s convenient to see in conjunction with other nearby attractions. In addition to their permanent and temporary exhibits, the staff offer educational programs, workshops, and guest speakers throughout the year. During the cool winter months, they host outdoor shows and special events too.

13. Tampa Riverwalk

Things to do near palmetto flSource: ESB Professional / shutterstock
Tampa Riverwalk

Not all of Florida’s popular attractions cost a small fortune to visit; the Tampa Riverwalk is one destination that’s free to visit, easy to get to, and offers visitors an array of exercise and activity options.

The Riverwalk’s paths mainly follow the Hillsborough River and include amazing views of both urban and natural areas. Along the way, there are waterfront parks, galleries, museums, restaurants, and even a few live entertainment venues.

The Riverwalk is particularly popular during the afternoon and evening hours, when the temperature and sun are dropping, and many bars and restaurants are offering happy hour specials.

14. Big Cat Rescue

Things to do near palmetto flSource: Joseph M. Arseneau / shutterstock
Big Cat Rescue, Tampa

Sometimes, even gargantuan, man-eating wildcats need a helping hand. When they do, they often end-up at Big Cat Rescue on Easy Street in Tampa.

Big Cat Rescue is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating big cats that have been injured, orphaned, or abandoned. Their ultimate goal is to release as many of them back into the wild as possible.

The Rescue was founded in 1992 and is now home to more than 100 cats across a wide range of species – both native and exotic.

Guided tours are the only way to see the facility, so do a little searching online and make reservations prior to your visit.

15. The Glazer Children’s Museum

Things to do near palmetto flSource: VIAVAL / shutterstock
Glazer Children’s Museum

Located just down the street from the Tampa Museum of Art, The Glazer Children’s Museum includes dozens of distinct areas designed to engage and entertain inquisitive young minds.

Each area has its own theme, and altogether, there are more than 150 interactive exhibits that touch on engineering, animals, the natural world, history, and technology.

Regardless of the ages and interests of the children you’re traveling with, there will likely be something that fascinates them. During the summer months when schools are closed, the staff offer a number of special programs that include guided tours, field trips, and hands-on learning experiences.

— Update: 19-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 15 Best Things to Do in Palmetto, FL from the website www.travellens.co for the keyword things to do near palmetto fl.

Palmetto was once a simple ground where Samuel Sparks, the “Father of Palmetto,” built churches, a park, a women’s club, and a public library upon his arrival in 1868.

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The city was later incorporated in 1897, followed by the establishment of a railroad in 1902.

This led to a steady supply of bricks to the area, advancing the development of buildings and, eventually, the business district.

Today, Palmetto is recognized as a city that offers a suburban feel to its residents and visitors.

But while the city is plagued with highways, railroads, and seaports, Palmetto is also recognized for its nature reserves that locals and tourists love.

Here are 15 of the best things you can do while in Palmetto, Florida:

Go on a Scenic Hike at Emerson Point Preserve

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ken Schulze / shutterstock.com

Immerse yourself in Palmetto’s natural wonders by going on a scenic hike at Emerson Point Preserve in West Palmetto.

March along the Pioneer Trail and get to know the history of Emerson Point with the interpretive signs that plague the area.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This trail also leads to an overlooking view of wild coffee from below, as well as a shell path that will lead you towards the Manatee River.

Discover an abundance of live oaks and wild balsam apples by taking the Restoration Trail route, or you can also opt to go the Terra Ceia way.

The Terra Ceia Trail leads to an enchanted mangrove forest and directs you toward the Terra Ceia Sound, where you can spot the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hit the Throttle at Andersen Racepark

Andersen Racepark gives visitors the ultimate Florida karting experience.

The track is designed with slow and medium-speed corners that give the perfect challenge for kart and small formula car drivers.

Push the pedal to the metal around the facility’s 18 acres and 13-turn race track.

Visitors who are trying to learn the basics of racing can also enroll in open lapping sessions available for kids and adults.

Meanwhile, pro racers can rent one of the race park’s 10×20 garages located directly on the pit lane.

Learn about the History of Palmetto at Palmetto Historical Park

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Palmetto Historical Park on 10th Avenue offers visitors a glimpse of the city’s pioneer lifestyle.

Set for demolition in 1880, Palmetto’s original post office was saved by a group of locals, leading to the development of other historical infrastructures in the area.

Explore the grounds and make your way through the Carnegie Library, one of the first libraries built in South Florida.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Walk around the library’s modernized halls and learn about the library’s establishment as well as other historical facts about Palmetto by browsing archives, maps, photographs, slides, and more.

You can also check out Palmetto’s one-room schoolhouse built in 1936, which served as the city’s first public kindergarten.

Wander for a few more minutes, and you’ll arrive at the Heritage Chapel, a replica chapel built in 1999 and modeled after the first Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches in Palmetto.

You can also sneak a peek at an early 1900s bungalow owned by a fireman named Joe Stevens.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Fishing at the Green Bridge Fishing Pier

Spanning approximately 643 meters, the Green Bridge Fishing Pier was once a link between Palmetto and Bradenton.

It was built sometime between 1926 and 1927 and was named after E.P. Green, Manatee County’s former representative to the State Road Department.

After some time, a portion of the bridge was demolished while the other half was converted into a pier.

Today, the Green Bridge has become a popular fishing spot for Palmetto locals where they can catch native fish.

From the pier, you can also indulge in the breathtaking view of the Manatee River and a panoramic view of Royal Palms that decorate the riverwalk.

Chill Out at the Palmetto Estuary Park

There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to the whistling wind as you sit on a bench at the Palmetto Estuary Park.

This tranquil haven and award-winning park spans 20 acres overlooking the Manatee River.

It is also recognized as Manatee County’s largest park.

Enjoy a picturesque sight of a mangrove swamp and estuarine habitat from a distance at this park on 7th Street.

The park also features a solar canopy where you can park your car to feed clean energy back into the electric grid.

Set Up Camp at the Frog Creek RV Resort and Campground

Frog Creek RV Resort and Campground offers a natural wonderland where tourists can relax and get away from the busy city life.

Located along Bayshore Road, the campgrounds are right next to Frog Creek and a 2,000-acre nature preserve.

Enjoy the great outdoors by setting up camp under a canopy of majestic live oaks and live the rustic lifestyle in this recreational campground.

The resort and campground is also a popular site for water sports activities, such as kayaking and canoeing.

And the best part? Frog Creek RV Resort and Campground is a pet-friendly area, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your furry friends behind for this adventure.

Get to Know Manatee County’s Agricultural Heritage at the Manatee County Agricultural Museum

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Manatee County Agricultural Museum gives visitors a preview of the early agricultural practices and developments in the county.

This museum on Sixth Street sits atop an original firehouse and public works building in Palmetto, which was converted into the museum it is today in 1995.

The museum boasts an impressive display of special and core exhibits documenting historic breakthroughs in the county’s agricultural development.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum also has a hall of fame that celebrates significant contributions from local agriculturalists.

Check out the museum’s Citrus Room and discover tools and other ephemera that were used from local groves and businesses.

You can also visit the Horticulture Exhibit and learn more about the gardening process and how advancements have been made over the years.

There’s also a Farm Shop and Garage Exhibit where you’ll see a restored 1925 Model T Ford Pickup that farmers used during the 1920s.

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Go Birdwatching at Felts Audubon Preserve

Spanning a total of 28 acres, the Felts Audubon Preserve makes a great bird-watching spot for those visiting Palmetto.

Cool off under the shaded areas in the preserve and simply sit back while you wait for dozens of birds to pass by the waters and perch on branches.

Over 150 species of birds have been spotted in this nature preserve.

Watch out for shorebirds like the Solitary Sandpiper or a large flycatcher like the Western Kingbird.

Warblers like the Northern Waterthrush also roam the area, as well as other species like the Blue-Crowned Parakeet, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, and more.

Explore Florida’s Waterways with Born Blue Scuba Diving and Charters

Born Blue Scuba Diving and Charters gives tourists the ultimate tour around Florida’s best waterways.

Learn the basics of scuba diving with certified instructors before embarking on your journey to the deep blue waters.

Scuba dive at Egmont Key and Bird Key and tour the underwater wonders of the state.

Go offshore diving and shipwreck spearfishing, and try your luck catching some groupers, snappers, sheepshead, hogfish, amberjacks, and more.

You can also book a snorkeling trip to Egmont Key and marvel at the corals and fishes gracing the area.

Wander around Sutton Park

Things to do near palmetto fl
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a break from touring the city and enjoy the fresh air surrounding Sutton Park.

Enjoy sitting on the fresh grass and soak in some sunlight while watching the clear skies.

Things to do near palmetto fl
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll also get to see a memorial plaque in the middle of the park commemorating the efforts of war veterans.

You can also relax by the swings on a summer day.

Nearby, you can spot the Olympia Theater, the first movie theater established on the west coast of Florida.

Relieve Stress at A Little Twisted Yoga Studio

A Little Twisted Yoga Studio down in 10th Street has a wide selection of yoga classes for beginners and experts alike.

Headed by a team of professional yoga instructors, this yoga studio is the perfect place to relax and stay fit without the heavy lifting during your vacation.

You can enroll in single classes, or if you’re planning to stick around Palmetto for quite some time, you might want to avail a monthly membership.

Burn those calories by taking a heated yoga class, or try the studio’s All Levels Yoga一a Hatha-based class for active students interested in striking moderate to difficult poses.

You can also check out the studio’s specialty classes and workshops like Full Moon Yoga, a sporadic Pop Up Class, BASI Mat Pilates, and more.

Drink a Glass of Beer at the Corporate Ladder Brewing Company

If you’re looking to end your day on a relaxing note, head down to 96th Street and take a swig of local brews from the Corporate Ladder Brewing Company.

Founded in 2018, Corporate Ladder Brewing Company has been a go-to place for those who simply want to switch off their nine to five working modes.

The brewing company specializes in fruited sours, adjunct stouts, barrel-aged sours and stouts, and more.

Indulge in over 10 flavors of draft beers, and take your pick from a great selection of packaged beers, too.

If you’re looking to get a kick out of your drink, try CLBC’s Barrel Aged Moon Pie.

You might also want to check out other dessert-themed drinks, such as the Pineapple Shortcake, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and Cherry Pie A La Mode.

Shop for Great Finds at La Pulga

La Pulga, also known as the Midway Flea Market, is a shopping district with everything you need一from clothes and jewelry to fresh produce and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

This Spanish and Mexican-themed shopping district has over 250 vendors selling their products at very affordable prices.

So, if you’re looking for souvenirs that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, make sure to swing by La Pulga.

Aside from great finds, the district also celebrates Spanish and Mexican culture through music, food, and crafted products.

Swing by Botas 3 Hermanas and check out western-style boots, hats, and everything else that can turn you into a cowboy-looking tourist.

And to cap off your shopping spree, make sure to explore western cuisines at the parked food trucks near the area.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Travel to Snead Island

On the west of Palmetto is the beautiful Snead Island, a residential area with about 500 people.

Its frost-proof environment proved to be a great farming area during the 1800s.

A small bridge connects this island to Manatee County, but you can also ride a boat going to this peaceful land.

Today, visitors flock to this residential island to catch a scenic view of the Manatee River, meeting the Terra Ceia Bay.

Snead Island also gives visitors a sneak peek of a rustic lifestyle, with west-style houses and Florida ranches decorating the landscape.

Throw Some Axes at Ax Habits in Palmetto Bay

What better way to blow off steam than heading over to Ax Habits and throwing some axes?

The facility encompasses 12 sports competition targets and two end-grain targets for children.

Take a crash course from one of the facility’s experts and learn everything you need to know before throwing some axes on your own.

Play a game of “21” or “Around the World” with your friends, and find out who among the group is gifted with sharp throwing skills.

Final Thoughts

Palmetto is a city where tourists are welcome to go on adventurous trips and relax at the same time.

And with the many sights to see and things to try, you’ll definitely want to stay in this city for more than a few days.

Don’t miss out on the wonders Palmetto has in store for you, and book your trip today!

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