West of Bradenton on Anna Maria Island, the snorkeling off Bradenton Beach is generally known for its sand flats. There are, however, three pier structures extending from the beach. The northern most pier structure (aka Third Pier Reef) offers some interesting snorkeling with a variety of soft corals and colorful sponges. There are thousands of gobies and blennies surround the pier which tend to attract grouper, snapper, needlenose fish and snook.
The best time of year for snorkeling at Bradenton Beach is late April through May when the water is the clearest. The best time of day is during a slack low tide to locate the wreck, but slack high tide is better for the water clarity. The mornings are known for low wind and therefore low surf conditions. Use of a dive flag is highly recommended.
To reach the dive site from US75, use Exit #220. Head west on SR64 (aka Manatee Avenue). Turn left on Gulf Drive and park in public area along the beach. Snorkeling on the Florida Gulf Coast, such as at Bradenton Beach, is not known for good visibility. Matter of fact, the snorkeling is known for very low water clarity in the range from 1 foot to 7 feet most of the year.