An Afternoon at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, Florida


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

We’ve been road tripping to Florida for Spring Break for a number of years because in addition to loving the area, we have great friends there who welcome all six of us into their home with open arms every time we go. They are really great friends to let 6 crazies into their home and lives for entire weeks! We’re so lucky to have them.

Spring Break Florida 2016

We’ve learned over the years of visiting them that Florida is a lot more than beaches and Disney. While we love the beaches and Disney, we also really enjoy a lot more about Florida. And one of the sites we really liked on this most recent visit was Robinson Preserve outside Bradenton. We had a great time time there. It cost nothing and was very educational too. Check out all the great things Robinson Preserve offers and add it to your next trip to the Bradenton/Sarasota area!

Robinson Preserve, Bradenton Florida

Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

Robinson Preserve is a 600+ acre coastal preserve located in northwestern Bradenton. It features hiking paths, a 53′ observation tower, mangrove forests, a picnicking area and playground, and canoeing and kayaking waterways too. We spent a really nice afternoon checking out what all the park has to offer.

Observation Tower at Robinson Preserve in Bradention, Florida

Observation Tower 

The first thing we did after arriving at Robinson Preserve {after eating of course, because we can’t get 15 minutes away from home without eating…} was take a short hike to the Observation  Tower. We climbed to the top and oohed and awed over the scenery.

Skyway Bridge at Robinson Preserve

From the top of the tower you can see the Skyway Bridge over the Tampa Bay. One kid griped about being scared of heights, but it’s really not that high. We enjoyed the view of Tampa Bay from the top of the tower.

family photos at Robinson Preserve

The top of the tower is also a nice place to “try” to take a family photo. But if your kids are like my kids, don’t expect any cooperation during the photography session. You can tell from these pictures what my kids think of smiling for the camera. 😀

Hiking Paths and Mangrove Forests

Hiking at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, Florida
hiking at Robinson Preserve Bradenton Florida

After climbing down the tower, we set off on one of the hiking paths around the preserve. We enjoyed looking for birds, fish, and other wildlife and the kids had a great time finding horseshoe crab shells.

Valentine House at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, Florida

We took off through a paths in the mangroves and somehow the kids ended up in the water. Big surprise there. Take the kids out of wintery Iowa and just try to keep them out of the water! Not possible at all. We saw herons, ibises, fish, and other birds. I read you can sometimes see manatees and dolphins out there too, but we didn’t see any of them sadly. 

Valentine House at Robinson Preserve

The last site I looked during this visit was the Valentine House. This pretty house is the visitor’s center and was closed on the day we were there, but I thought it was super interesting that the building was moved out to Robinson Preserve via truck and barge. We also moved the barn we restored onto our property via hydraulic jacks and trucks, so I’m familiar with that part of the process! I would have enjoyed watching this house float down Tampa Bay on a barge. It must have been quite a sight! By the way, if you’re curious, you can read the story of our barn move and restoration on the blog. The story starts here with my post about running far, far away if you’re ever offered a free barn.

Robinson Preserve was our first Spring Break stop this year, but we did a lot more fun things! Stay tuned for more. I hope to share a few more posts about the places we went on our Spring Break.

Did you go any where exciting this year? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

For more fun in Florida, check out these posts:

Family Fun at the Grove Resort Orlando

Top 11 Secrets to Planning a Trip to Walt Disney World on a Budget

Fun, Affordable Family Skiing at Sunlight Mountain Resort

Sarasota Bayfront Park

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Florida looks amazing, we could all do with some sunshine now. It’s still so cold although we should have a bright few days now at the beginning of April here. The house looks very interesting. I enlarged and read about its 8 mile trip. Oh to have a wrap around porch! Enjoy the rest of your trip ?

    1. Oh and we went to Portugal for a month a couple of days after Christmas in our Motorhome, it was awesome!

      1. Our winter was very mild this year which was a really nice change but we still thoroughly enjoyed our sunny days in Florida. We’re back home now. I’ve never been to Portugal but would love to go!! How fun! Did you have trouble driving on the right in a motorhome? When we lived in Japan we drove on the left and I was always so messed up going back and forth between left and right driving. 😀