Comparing Local Preserves

For those who live in Manatee County, this is for you.

Many people know about the wonderful Robinson Preserve. Lots of space, something for everybody, including your four-legged friends. But I’m going to guess that fewer people know about two other preserves very close to Robinson that are pretty wonderful in their own way. They are both located on Manatee Avenue before you get to the bridge crossing over to Anna Marie.

Perico Preserve is first, on your right immediately passed Perico Bay. Here’s what I like about this preserve:

  • It feels the most natural of all three preserves. There are fewer signs of development such as pavement and wooden walkways.
  • The entire pathway can be walked in about 30 minutes, depending on your leisure.
  • There is a walkway leading you to a lookout across the bay to Robinson.
  • Much of the path circles around a rookery island.
  • Bikes are not allowed on portions of the pathways, and dogs are not allowed.


Neal Preserve is about a half mile west of Perico on the left. It is the smallest of the three with probably less than a mile of walkways. Here’s what I like about Neal:

  • I’ve been there twice and both times I’ve been the only person there. You may have the place to yourself.
  • There’s a tower overlooking the bay with the bridge to your right. It is a great place for sunset viewing.
  • There’s a nice mixture of natural and wooden walkways.
  • I believe it has the best photography and video opportunities of the three preserves.
  • Bikes not present either time I’ve been there; pets aren’t allowed.


If Robinson doesn’t quite suit you, these two just may. The weekend isn’t over..give them a look.

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