1. Annie’s Bait and Tackle
4334 127th St. W., Cortez
Located on 127th Street, just before heading west over the Cortez Bridge, is Annie’s Bait and Tackle. It offers a variety of services, right on the water. The store sells live and frozen bait, has a full bait and tackle shop and offers a full bar and restaurant, fuel, boat charters and fishing licenses.
For diners in search of a good meal, Annie’s is known for its grouper sandwich. The grouper comes from a local supplier, and the fish is breaded and prepared at the shop. For those seeking an option other than seafood, Annie’s burgers are popular, too. The burgers are made with fresh patties bought locally. Annie’s motto is “fresh, never frozen.”
2. Florida Maritime Museum
4414 119th St. W., Cortez
Stop by the Florida Maritime Museum to learn about the history of Florida fishing and the Historic Cortez Village. Located in the historic 1912 Cortez Schoolhouse in the Cortez Historic Fishing Village, the museum houses permanent and revolving exhibits on Florida history and fishing, as well as events and cultural programs.
Through September, the museum is offering a “Music on the Porch” event. Bring along a musical instrument or just come to listen to a featured musical host on the second Saturday of each month. The museum is closed in September for remodeling and reinventing its exhibits.
3. Star Fish Co. Seafood Market and Dockside Restaurant
12306 46th Ave. W., Cortez
For a taste of locally harvested seafood, stop by Star Fish Co. to either buy fresh seafood to cook at home, or enjoy a meal at the dockside restaurant. The menu includes popular items, such as stone crab claws and Florida pompano. Just be sure to bring cash. Credit cards are not accepted.
Sarasota residents Thad and Carolyn Masters have been dining at Star Fish for years.
“We come here at least once a week,” says Carolyn Masters.
“We come up here on our boat,” says Thad Masters. “It’s a 40-mile-here-and-back-trip, but it’s worth it.”
4. Capt. Kathe Boat Rides and Sarasota Bay Tours
12306 46th Ave. W., Cortez
Capt. Kathe and her first mate, Pup Pup, offer boat tours for both fishing and sightseeing. Capt. Kathe’s is located on the dock of the Star Fish Co. Dockside Restaurant.
• Historic Bridge Street on Bradenton Beach
Just over the bridge after the Cortez Historic Fishing Village is Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street. The street is lined with a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. If shopping and dining aren’t on the itinerary, Bridge Street is host to many other types of merchants. Visitors can take a Segway tour with Segs by the Sea; attend a yoga class at Island Wellness; or stop by AMI Parasail next to The Bridgetender Inn’s dockside bar for a parasailing adventure.
• The Sea Hagg
12304 Cortez Road W., Cortez
To uncover some eclectic nautical treasures, stop by The Sea Hagg. Located at 12304 Cortez Road W. in the Cortez Historic Fishing Village, the shop offers a variety of items, including decorative windows and mirrors, authentic anchors and fishnets and furniture.
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