Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Palmetto, FL

  • Published 2022/03/24

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.

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

lookout point with view of the water at Emerson Point Preserve

Ken Schulze /

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.

Sand steps of Emerson Point Preserve

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.

Trees at Emerson Point Preserve

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

Exterior of Palmetto Historical Park's post office

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.

Palmetto Historical Park's old Carnegie Library

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.

Palmetto Historical Park's heritage chapel

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

Exterior of Manatee County Agricultural Museum

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.

Name sign of Manatee County Agricultural Museum

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.

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

Name sign of Sutton Park

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.

Sutton Park's grounds

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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