With majestic pristine beaches and stunning sunsets, the barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico, Anna Maria Island is extraordinarily unique and inviting to not only visitors but to the locals as well. Another one of Florida’s hidden gems, Anna Maria Island (AMI) is a place to get away from it all.
While the state of Florida in general already brings an influx of visitors, Anna Maria Island is no exception. Although it does receive its share of beach goers, the island still provides a slower pace and quaint old Florida feel. Whether a romantic honeymoon getaway or a peaceful secluded retreat, AMI will have you yearning to discover more.
The three cities that make up part of AMI include Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and the city of Anna Maria. You have a few beaches to choose from, visit them all. The beaches of AMI are Bradenton Beach (Coquina Beach), Manatee Beach, and Bean Point Beach. Each one has its own characteristics and feel.
Although Anna Maria Island has become a favorite place for tourists to experience, it still has its wonderful Florida charm. Because of the building code restrictions here, the Island does not allow high rises or chain restaurants. They have done a nice job of keeping the laid back island beach vibes intact. You will notice the quiet peaceful feel as you get around AMI going through neighborhoods and seeing the lovely charming homes and rentals.
This beach area is slightly narrowly than the other coastlines that ride along AMI. The thing that makes this area unique is the shellfish burrowed in the sand. The several shells washing up on shore and occasionally you may even find shark teeth. You will find this beach more at the southern part of AMI.
Situated at the end of Manatee Avenue, you will journey west along State Road 64 and directly into the parking lot. A sight for sore eyes, the beach here also sometimes referred to as Holmes Beach, has an array of amenities to enjoy. You will find the large parking lot very convenient, large concessions including a shop, restrooms, and sometimes music on the weekends. Additionally, you may encounter amazing sand sculpture events here during high peak season.
Considered to be a secret spot on AMI and not real obvious to find, Bean Point is an area located at the very northern tip of the island and holds as much beauty as it does history along with it. In 1892, George Emerson Bean founded Anna Maria Island and began the plans of development with his son. He would make his home on the most northern area tip made up of 160 acres.
Don’t be alarmed when you see dozens of pelicans and sea birds falling from the sky diving for fish here! Another unique feature of this beach area is that you can actually see the changing tides of the water. The currents and rip tides can be strong at this beach; so many folks simply come to enjoy the views of the subtle sand dunes and lovely pink sunsets.
Activities to do on Anna Maria Island
But there is much more to Anna Maria Island than the white sand sparkling beaches. AMI has become a regular spot for me and my family and I want to share a list of activities that you may wish to explore.
Visit Anna Maria Island on a rainy day stop. You may think these types of days are not very convenient for activity at the beach, but I am here to tell you differently. One of the most unique and beautiful beach scenes is a cloudy, sometimes stormy day. But please take caution, and be on a lookout for lightening.
Bike the Island. There are several bike rentals on the island. Doing the island in this manner allows you to discover the true relaxed nature of the island. Take time to notice the beautiful cottages, the foliage, colorful flowers, and all the nature around the island.
Enjoy dining at Rod and Reel Pier. The stop here can be quite a busy one. You can enjoy a fresh grouper sandwhich and take in the beach and water views. If you end up waiting, you can take advantage of the $1.50 drafts and check out the several folks fishing off the pier as well.
Dine with the giant Grouper. Enjoy an evening out at the Ugly Grouper and snap a few photos with the mascot fish on property!
Anna Maria Island Experiences
- Kayak the Island. Explore nearby and around the island, immerse yourself in complete nature and enjoy a pleasant and incredible experience in true paradise. There are a few lovely nature preserves prior to reaching the island. Neal Preserve and Perico Preserve are gorgeous nature parks offering several acres of coastal habitats, mangrove forests, and uplands. Something extra special to note is the historical Indian burial ground areas dating back to 3000 BC to 1400 AD at Neal Preserve.
- Enjoy a quiet, less crowded Bean Point Beach. The perfect spot to watch the sunset. You can spend hours soaking in the beautiful seascapes, sea life, and secluded retreat like setting here at this spot.
- Horseback rides in the water. Just as the website states: A once in a lifetime memory, this is an experience like you’ve never had before. Enjoy a ride together on the Florida beach horses. Where a horse is handpicked just for you!
Indulge in sweet treats
Now you cannot visit Anna Maria Island without treating yourself to some sweet indulgence!
- Joe’s Eats & Sweets: 219 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 (941) 778-0007
- Holy Cow Ice Cream: 3234 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 (941) 779-0690
- Tyler’s Ice Cream: 11904 Cortez Road, Cortez, FL 34215 (941) 794-5333 Cortez Village
- Dips Ice Cream: 503 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216(941) 778-1706, Anna Maria
- Two Scoops Ice Cream: 101 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 779-2422
As I continue to describe these quintessential island experiences, you may also want to add the appropriate lodging options to your travel plans. Realizing just how incredible a place Anna Maria Island is, I've added a few resources on lodging choices.
Where to Stay Anna Maria Island
- Anna Maria Beach Cottages: 112 Oak Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216 1-800-778-2030
- Beach Retreats Vacation Rentals: 941-870-3846
- Anna Maria Beach Resort: 941-778-4178
- The Bali Hai Anna Maria Island: Resort and Spa 941-254-6609
- Ahh Sea Breeze Vacation Rental: 813-716-3066
If you are looking for a discreet, unique and pristine paradise that offers charm and an island vibe like no other then AMI will take your breath away! Anna Maria Island is one of the most luxurious charming beach destinations you will find. From the white powdery beaches to the golden hour sunsets, there may not ever be such a place or island experience that will impress you more.
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