Group Visits & Special Events


Looking for events like "Goblin Gathering" and "A Night Before Christmas"? Visit our Signature Events page.

Beach weddings

All weddings on Manatee County property must have a special event permit. The County manages five beaches that can be reserved for a wedding ceremony:

  • Anna Maria Bayfront Park
  • Manatee Public Beach
  • Coquina Beach
  • Cortez Beach
  • Greer Island

Park and Preserve Special Event Permit

A special event is defined as a planned use, program or activity on County property, open to the public, and implemented by a person, association, or organization, other than Manatee County, involving people gathered for a designated activity other than normal park/beach activities which include swimming, picnicking and sports activities.

Examples of special events include, but are not limited to:

  • Weddings
  • Organized sports tournaments
  • Educational seminars
  • Concerts
  • Any activity where admission is charged to the general public

Special Events require a special permit. We ask that you plan ahead by completing and submitting a Special Event Permit Application at least 30 days in advance of your planned function. Beach events may also require permits from the local municipality. 

Special Event Permit Application

For questions about the permit application process, please contact Elena Burke at or at (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036

Schedule a Special Program

Book a special learning experience just for your group

Are you interested in bringing a group to the Preserve? Would you like to schedule a special archery class, paddle trip, dip net program, wagon tour...or the class of your dreams? We have a wide variety of fun and interesting hands on programs that are great for all ages. From specialty corporate tours to birthday parties, we can make your special occasion even more memorable by introducing your guests to the beauty of wild Manatee County. To book your program:

  1. Contact with your preferred dates for your trip, your group size, and to discuss program options. We will discuss program availability and fees.
  2. Book your trip and submit your payment.
  3. Enjoy your trip!

Bring Your Group to the Preserve

Help us provide the best group experience possible during your visit

Are you interested in bringing a group to the preserve? Whether you are a vendor hosting an ecotour, or someone who is bringing in a large group from a Meetup group, there is a short process involved if you want to a group of 10 or more individuals. Please be aware that we request notification two weeks in advance of your trip if at all possible to insure the best experience possible for your group members. Please follow the steps below to notify staff of your visit:

  1. Fill out the Special Event form and email it to This form is used for any type of group visit, from a paddle trip to a group tour. We request that all groups fill out this form so that we can manage group visits during periods of peak use, alert groups to any special considerations such as preserve closings or prescribed fire, let staff know groups will be visiting, and be certain that visiting group's needs are met.
  2. Let us know if you have any questions or special requests such as pavilion rentals, free copies of the Paddle Guide for your group, or a staff led guided tour.
  3. Enjoy your trip!