A Great Egret at Myakka River State Park

Manatee County is located in west central Florida on the Gulf Coast, just south of Tampa Bay. Manatee County was officially formed on January 9, 1855 and now contains 741 square miles of land area and 152 square miles of water surface. The county seat is Bradenton.

Manatee County might have been the landing site for the Hernando De Soto Expedition in May, 1539. Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness is just offshore to the north of Anna Maria Island in Manatee County.