6 Things to Know About Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach – Traveling to the southern portion of Anna Maria Island brings you into the quiet bustling city of Bradenton Beach. This area of the island offers miles of public beaches with parking, Historic Bridge Street for sightseeing and shopping, and great dining opportunities with both family fun and a nightlife. Read on to learn six things you might not know about Bradenton Beach.

1. History

Originally called Cortez Beach for its proximity to the fishing village of Cortez, the area became Bradenton Beach during the 1920’s land boom. It’s believed that inland developers gave it the name Bradenton Beach, so potential buyers would think the Beach and the city of Bradenton were next to each other rather than seperated by Cortez Fishing Village and Palma Sola. The city was incorporated in 1953.

Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier is the site of the original, and first bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The first Bridge was wooden, and built in 1922. By the 1940’s the Bridge became rickety with wind and waves making the structure sway. It’s said that when cars went over the old bridge the wooden boards would bounce making a banging noise like a shot gun (Norwood 181). A new bridge was built in 1957 making access to the island much safer and easier.

The Historic Bridge Street Pier, now a days, offers excellent fishing, sightseeing over Sarasota Bay, a delicious restaurant with a view, shops and public day docks.

Historic Bridge
The First Bridge to Anna Maria Island built in 1922.

2. Sightseeing and Activities

There are many beautiful places to sightsee on Bradenton Beach including the Bradenton Beach City Pier, quaint Bridge Street, Coquina Beach bike path and Leffis Key. Rent a segway from Bridge Street rental company Segs by the Sea, and cruise around the city with ease.

When looking for activities on Bradenton Beach enjoy miniature golf on Bridge Street, or head over to the Tingley Memorial Library. This unique library is independent of the Manatee County Library system, and offers annual memberships for $4.

When visiting the island, especially during high season, you may want to consider using the free trolley to get around. Parking is limited in busy areas of the island, and battling traffic does not lend to a relaxing paradise getaway. The free trolley runs usually every 20 minutes taking you along almost the entire island.

Sarasota Bay sightseeing
There are great sightseeing opportunities in Bradenton Beach like this view of Sarasota Bay and the Cortez Bridge seen from Leffis Key.

3. Beaches

Bradenton Beach offers about a three mile strip of public beach with parking along the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these beach areas offer public parking making it a popular place for enjoying the shore on Anna Maria Island. To the far south is Coquina Beach with restrooms, concessions, showers, parking, picnic tables, walking path, playground, and life guards. Heading north through Bradenton Beach along the gulf brings you to Cortez Beach. Cortez Beach does not offer the same amenities, but does have plenty of parking, and an old Florida beach feel. There are three erosion groins located in an area locals call “Three Piers” this area separates Coquina and Cortez Beach, and is said to be a great surfing spot.

Coquina Beach
Coquina Beach is the southern most gulf beach on Anna Maria Island. In the background of this image you can see the 2015/2016 construction of the new erosion groins to keep south end beaches intact.

4. Events and Markets

Bradenton Beach offers two seasonal markets perfect for finding local made items, art, gifts and produce. Both happening on Sunday, The Bridge Street Market and Coquina Beach Market are a great way to enjoy the island on a Sunday Funday Morning. The Bridge Street Merchants plan several events through out the year such as the lighting of Bridge Street before Christmas. Visit the Bridge Street Merchants website for up to date event information.

Bridge Street Market
The Bridge Street Market is a great place for local produce and gifts. Photo Credit: VisitBridgeStreet.com

5. Shopping

In addition to the fabulous Seasonal Markets there are great little shops in Bradenton beach offering swim wear, beach gear, home items, art, jewelry, gifts and more. Find out about Shopping on Anna Maria Island here.

Back Alley
There are great shops on Bridge Street like Back Alley where you can find local made and hand made art, jewelry, gifts and refreshments. Photo Credit: Back Alley Facebook Page.

6. Dining

On the south end of Anna Maria Island you’ll find some really fabulous Restaurants. Any type of dining experiences can be found for all meals of the day, casual or fine dining, and dining with a beach or bay view. You’ll even find a few places open late on Bridge Street if you are looking for a little night life. Click on the links below for suggestions.

Bradenton Beach Bridge Tender Inn
The Bridge Tender restaurant offers great food with a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay and the Bradenton Beach City Pier.

 

Blue Marlin
Wicked Cantina
The Island Spice
Bridge Tender Inn
Beach House Restaurant
The Freckled Fin
French Table
Island Time
Joe’s Eats and Sweets
Sharky’s

Bradenton Beach Pier
Bradenton Beach City Pier 2016.

Now that you know these six tips, enjoy your Bradenton Beach vacation like a local!

 

Bradenton Beach Accommodations

Looking for the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation accommodations on south end? Island Real Estate has got you covered with almost 300 great rentals across the island!

Bradenton Beach Vacation Rental
The Bay View Inn is a 4 unit complex two blocks from Bridge Street, and just a short walk to both gulf and bay side Bradenton Beach. These 1 Bedroom units sleep 4 guests and were updated and redecorated in late 2015. Click on the image to see these adorable island style rentals.

 

Works Cited:

Norwood, Carolyne. Anna Maria Island 1940-1970 Tales of Three Cities from Bean Point to Bridge Street. Anna Maria Island: Anna Maria Island Historical Society. 2010.

 

7 Things To Know About The City of Anna Maria

Anna Maria – Occupying the northern end of Anna Maria Island is the city of Anna Maria. A coveted portion of the island, Anna Maria offers an old Florida coastal village feel with charming history, locals and sightseeing. Even if you have visited the city of Anna Maria there are likely a few things you didn’t know about this gorgeous little walkable town.

City Pier
The Anna Maria City Pier is an island landmark

History

Anna Maria has a proud and interesting history as the “Town Fig Newtons Built“. Charles Roser and his wife started the Anna Maria Beach Company to develop the land on Anna Maria Island in the late 1800’s. Charles Roser invented the machine that fills Fig Newtons, and used the money from the sale of his patented machine to begin Anna Maria Beach Company. One of the first steps to building a community on the island was to build the city pier which celebrated it’s 100th Birthday in 2011. When visiting the Island be sure to stop by the Anna Maria Historical Society on Pine Avenue to learn all about the unique history of this town.

Shopping

All along the small commercial streets of Anna Maria there are several locally run boutiques with everything from hand made to high end wares and souvenirs. There are no big box, or chain store retailers in Anna Maria making for a shopping experience full of great finds. All of the shops listed below are within walking distance of one another as is just about everything in the small city of Anna Maria. While in town check out the following shops:

Ginny & Jane E’s

Bella by the Sea

Shiny Fish Emporium

Pink & Navy

Historic Green Village

Three Island Monkeys

Restaurants

There is no shortage of fabulous Restaurants in Anna Maria from casual to sophisticated, and from gulf views to bay views you’ll be pleased with Anna Maria Dining options.

Rod & Reel Pier

J Burns

Poppo’s Tacos

Slim’s Place

Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant

Rudy’s Subs

The Waterfront

Sandbar

Ocean Star Sushi

Beaches

Anna Maria offers gorgeous beaches all around the northern tip of the island. Anna Maria beaches do not offer an abundance of parking making them more secluded and reachable by foot or bike. Enjoy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Bean Point and Tampa Bay beaches at Bay Front Park when you visit Anna Maria.

Sightseeing and Equipment Rentals

Sightseeing on the northern end of Anna Maria is truly stunning with gorgeous beaches, marine wildlife, and great views from Rod & Reel Pier and the Anna Maria City Pier. While you stay on Anna Maria you may want to rent a bicycle or other fun outdoor equipment from Beach Bums or Lux Carts.

Events

The city of Anna Maria hosts several events throughout the year happening on Pine Avenue. Anna Maria events are family friendly and offer great food, vendors and live music.

Food and Wine on Pine

Sandbar Easter Egg Hunt

Bay Fest

Christmas on Pine

Activities

When you have had your fill of the beach, or need to take a break from the beach because you are too sunburned, there are a few activities to enjoy in the city of Anna Maria.

Little free Library

Players Theater

Community Center

Vacation Rentals in the city of Anna Maria

If you are looking for the perfect vacation rental home in the city of Anna Maria, Island Real Estate has over 60 gorgeous homes within the city limits.

Anna Maria vacation rental
Gorgeous Direct Gulf Front Anna Maria Vacation Rental “Wind Song”. Click on the image to learn more about this property. 

Top 7 Things Locals Know About Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Experiencing the island life like a local is the ultimate way to enjoy your time on Anna Maria Island. There’s a few things all locals know about their beautiful seven mile long barrier island that we’ll gladly share with you. Discover Anna Maria Island’s best of the best!

1 Getting Around the Island

Locals know that Anna Maria Island is a fabulous community for alternative forms of transportation. When visiting Anna Maria Island during the peak season months street traffic can make getting around by car a bit difficult along with creating limited public parking.  Locals love walking or bike riding to their destination because it’s an amazing way to enjoy our gulf breezes and tropical scenery. If you’re going from one end of the island to the other the free trolley is absolutely perfect! If you are visiting the Island consider renting a golf cart or scooter for a super fun way to get around in style.

Anna Maria Island trolley
Anna Maria Island Locals LOVE the free trolley!

2 Island History

All locals know a thing or two about the history of the island. A community rich in Florida culture, Islanders love to reminisce about Anna Maria City Pier, the first bridge connecting the island to the mainland, the first island settlers and the “day trippers” culture that still enlivens this beautiful vacation destination. Visit the Anna Maria Island Historical Society on Pine Avenue to enjoy the Island’s history, or head over the bridge to the Florida Maritime Museum to learn about the historic Fishing Village of Cortez.

Cortez Bridge history
Historic Cortez Bridge connecting Bradenton Beach to the mainland of Cortez Village.

 

3 Fishing and Seafood

Naturally Anna Maria Island has always been a fabulous place for fishing, and fresh seafood. Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and the Intracoastal waterway, Anna Maria Island is perfectly situated for premium fishing. Many local seasonal specialties such as Stone Crab, Mullet, Spiny Lobsters and Sunray Venus Clams can be found at just about any restaurant serving seafood. Visit The Island Real Estate Fishing Report page for local fishing updates and conditions.

Fishing on Anna Maria Island
Locals love fishing on Anna Maria Island.

4 Dining and Restaurants

With no shortage of delectable eateries, Anna Maria Island has just about any type of cuisine you are looking for. Whether it’s dining with a view, fabulous happy hour specials, or the top ten island restaurants, Anna Maria Island has it all!

Rod and Reel Pier
Rod & Reel Pier offers some of Anna Maria Island’s most delicious seafood!

5 Shopping

Anna Maria Island is a unique shopping destination offering only independent and small shops and boutiques. Find fabulous wares from beach accessories, to jewelry, local art, high end finds and souvenirs. When visiting the Island during peak season enjoy fabulous local markets!

Shopping
Find fabulous shopping finds on Anna Maria Island!

6 Beaches

With over seven miles of coastline, Anna Maria Island offers tons of great beach spots. From secluded Bean Point to the bustling Manatee Public Beach access read all about Anna Maria Island beaches here.

beach
Anna Maria Island beaches are gorgeous.

7 Wildlife

Anna Maria Island locals are absolutely crazy about our precious wildlife. With great efforts from organizations such as the Anna Maria Island Shorebird and Turtle Watch, and Wildlife Inc animal rescue, Island animals are held near to the hearts of locals. Many types of wildlife can be found on and around Anna Maria Island including Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins, Manatee and Turtles. Visitors often wonder about the possibility of seeing Crocodiles or Alligators, but any local can tell you these kind of critters haven’t been spotted around the island in decades.

Turtles and Wildlife
Baby Loggerhead Turtles nest on Anna Maria Island from May through October.

If you’re looking for the best vacation rental properties on Anna Maria Island visit IslandReal.com to peruse our selection of almost 300 gorgeous homes!

 

Halloween's Top 5 Beach Costumes

Halloween is a fun time of year where we get to play pretend and live out our imaginations.  If you’re imagination is full of thoughts of the beach, here are our five favorite beach-inspired Halloween costumes:

 

5.  THE HULA GIRLhula girl

 

Luaus and hulas might be a Hawaiian tradition, but we have to respect the beautiful tradition and overall appeal of the hula girl.

 

 

 

child-mermaid-costume

4. MERMAID/MERMAN

No humanistic character has a closer relationship to the sea than the mermaid.  We can’t help but be jealous of life spent in the ocean and love to see the little mermaids who stop by the Island Real Estate office to trick or treat.

 

 

 

 

 

lifeguard costuem3. LIFEGUARD

These are some of our heroes.  Lifeguards and other first responders who protect our beaches and keep our loved ones safe are near and dear to our hearts, so grab shorts and tank tops and  represent for the lifeguards this Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

Shark-costume-baby-on-the-beach  2. SHARK BABY

Not everyone can pull this one off.  But if you have the chubby cheeks for it, you can’t go wrong with a shark baby disguise.  It’s both ferocious and irresistible at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAMI baby costume No. 1 TAMI SEA TURTLE

Tami the sea turtle is our Island Real Estate mascot and our favorite Halloween costume concept.  Just imagine all of the extra candy you can store in that shell!!

 

 

The Top Tens of Anna Maria Island for 2013

The Top Tens of Anna Maria Island 2013!

Top Tens of Anna Maria Island Header
So you’re thinking about visiting Anna Maria Island? What are you going to do when you get here? Or maybe you’re already here? :0 Well have we got the resources to help you make some decisions! Let’s start with counting by tens (because we know that’s much easier than threes or fours or any of those other boring numbers)!
Anna Maria Island Restaurants

Anna Maria Island’s best restaurants

Check out Jason’s Anna Maria Island restaurant picks! Follow it up with some of our selections for ice cream and desserts and you are ready to start doing what you really came here for. For a full list of recommendations visit our Anna Maria Island restaurants section.

Anna Maria Island Activities

We know you came here to do everything on our endless list of activities! That’s right, every last thing!
Anna Maria Island Activities for Kids

  1. Let’s start with some great family fun!  It’s fun for the whole family with these activities for kids!
  2. There’s plenty of don’t-miss adventure to be had on the island!  Try some of these daytime activities!
  3. Or let’s take a short trip just south of the island, to participate in Sarasota activities, with lots of fun options and some more beautiful scenery!
  4.  How about all the fun, none of the cost?  Don’t forget to enjoy some of these free activities!
  5. Get the inside scoop on area fun by checking out some of our staff’s Favorites Lists. Don’t miss the tips on things like shopping and nightlife, from Carol’s, Amy’s, and Kacey’s Top 10 lists!

Read The Best of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Activities to do on Rainy Days

Anna Maria Island Family Activities

Anna Maria Island Activities to do With Your Pets

Anna Maria Island salons, spas, and relaxation activities

Still have some time before the day is over? Let’s check out Anna Maria Island’s best shopping spots! And it doesn’t end there because we have more of Anna Maria Island’s must shop locations.

So now it’s night time. What is there to do? Sleep? Not a chance! You’re on vacation so let’s keep the party going! Check out a couple prime locations to watch the sunset and then get ready for the nightlife. Do you sing in the shower or the car? Not anymore because now you’re going to be singing in front of a crowd that is cheering you on as you croon through each chorus at one of the numerous karaoke bars in the Anna Maria Island area. Doesn’t sound quite like your glass of beer? Then check out our favorite night spots!

Stay in Shape During Your Visit to Anna Maria Island

Top 5 Ice Cream Places on Anna Maria Island

Hey dudes and dude-ettes!!  You’re back with The Island Kid right here on Kids Corner, the best place to get the best news on Anna Maria Island.  I’m here today to tell you guys about the absolute best places on the island to get your ice cream fix. Now, here on Anna Maria Island, there are plenty of places you can go if you want a frozen treat to eat. But if you’re unsure of which places are best and which places to rule out. Read on for good info!coffee ice cream

            Best Places for Ice Cream on Anna Maria Island

ice cream
1: Two Scoops: This ice cream shop is a small shop nestled between Two Sides of Nature and across from the Anna Maria City Pier. With 32 rotating flavors, some as weird as blueberry pie and as normal as your classic vanilla, your pallet will always be pleased. They also have pastries, assorted lunch foods, and candy bars.

2: Dips: An ice cream shop near Three Island Monkeys and The Loft #5 in Anna Maria, this itty-bitty place packs the punch when it comes to ice cream. With thousands of flavors and topping variations, your experience will never be a bore.  Plus the classic candies and toys on the wall are great for a trip down memory lane.

3: Stir it Up: Recently opened on Pine Avenue, this is a frozen yogurt shop with some colorful walls. . . and toppings, too! Pick a flavor or two, or all of them, then add the topping(s) of your choice. This place charges frogurtby the ounce, so take as much as you desire. With many revolving flavors and 36 different garnishes, the possibilities are endless! 🙂

4: Joe’s Eats and Sweets: This place is the bomb.com. It’s got everything from chocolate to cotton candy & nerds and more! They also have pie on a stick-yes, on a stick- and various types of milkshakes and malts. This place is big colorful building right near Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, so climb the steps, and check it out!

5: Holy Cow: No, I’m not shocked, they just have really good ice cream!  This place has many different combos of flavors and toppings, plus much more. They include a little mini gift shop inside the shop, plus indoor and outdoor seating. So feel free to enjoy your ice cream while browsing the trinkets.

(Bonus Insider Tip:   One more for good measure- Tyler’s Ice Cream is just over the bridge in Cortez Village.  Well worth the jaunt to enjoy some delicious gourmet flavors-literally hundreds over the years!  They have locally themed, as well as delicious classic flavors…and finding out what their latest is, is always part of the fun.  Their ice cream sandwiches are delish!  But creating your own flavor of shake just can’t be beat!

Bonus Bonus tip – about 15 minutes off Anna Maria Island is a fantastic custard shop called Sweet Berries.  They mix all kinds of goodies in their custard ice cream and call it a concrete.  yum!

Whether you’re looking for just one spot or want try them all, these places are the best on the island.  So next time you’re visiting, go check ’em out! Let us know what you thought, and check back with us here on Kid’s Corner.

Anna Maria Island – Top Ten Happy Hours!

Going out for a night on the town? Drinks always taste better when you’re getting a good deal on them. This blog will help you find the local night spots with the best deals around.

Island Time Bar & Grill: Island Time Bar & Grill is located at the beginning of Bridge Street directly next to the traffic circle and right across the street from the beach. The location makes for a perfect place to hang out after spending the day in the sun. Happy hour is Monday thru Saturday from 11:30am – 5:00pm with $1.87 Bud light bottles and $2.50 well drinks with live music playing during every happy hour. Call Island Time Bar & Grill for more details (941) 782-1122. For more information visit their page.

 

Island Time Grill

Island Time in Bradenton Beach on Historic Bridge Street.

Island Gourmet Grill: Island Gourmet Grill’s happy hour is on Friday and Saturday from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Happy hour specials include $5.00 specialty appetizers and $5.00 wines at the bar. Local musician Trevor Bystrom can be heard performing live during most happy hours. Island Gourmet Grill can be reached at (941)778-0333. For more information visit their page.

Hurricane Hanks: Hurricane Hanks offers great food, great atmosphere and great prices! Happy hour is everyday from 11:30am to 7:00pm  with reduced pricing for Miller Light and Bud Light at $1.50 and well drinks for $4.25. Call Hurricane Hanks for more information at (941)778-5788. For more information visit their page.

The Waterfront Restaurant: The Waterfront Restaurant is located on the northern end of Anna Maria Island offering gorgeous views of Tampa Bay. Their happy hour is everyday from 4:30pm – 6:30pm with the special including $3.00 beers on tap and $2.00 domestic bottled beer. For more details contact The Waterfront Restaurant at (941)778-1515. For more information visit their page

 

waterfront restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria

Beachhouse: The Beachhouse is located right on the beach offering beautiful views of the Gulf. Monday thru Friday from 3pm until 5pm at the bar you can enjoy reduced priced appetizers for $5.99 each and well drinks for $2.50, domestic drafts for $2.00, house wine for $3.00 and frozen drinks for $4.00. For more information call The Beach House at (941)779-2222. For more information visit their page.

Gulf Drive Cafe: Gulf Drive Cafe is one of the few restaurants on Anna Maria Island with a bar right on the beach. Happy hour is on Monday thru Friday from 2:00pm-5:30pm offering great food and drink prices. You can order domestic beers for $2.00 and well drinks for $4.00.  Contact Gulf Drive Cafe now for more details (941)778-1919. For more information visit their page.

7 Bridgetender Inn: The Bridgetender Inn is a dockside bar located at the end of historic Bridge Street. Docking is also available for boaters to pull in and dock to have some on-land fun. Happy hour offers discounted prices for beers, well drinks and house wine everyday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. For more information call The Bridgetender Inn at (941) 778-4849. For more information visit their page.

The Sandbar: The Sandbar restaurant is an Anna Maria Island landmark, and the perfect spot for sunset cocktails. Located in the city of Anna Maria, The Sandbar not only boasts an amazing selection of libations, but offers delicious food. The Sandbar is open daily until 10pm.

 

Sandbar restaurant

The Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria.

Lobstahs: Lobstahs is a New England themed restaurant flying in Maine Lobsters to our sunny island daily. Their happy hour special includes discounted appetizers, beer, wine and well drinks running from 3pm-6pm. Lobstahs can be reached at (941)779-1000. For more information visit their page

10 Dcoy Ducks: Dcoy Ducks (or better known by the locals as The Duck) is a favorite spot for the locals of the island. Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm to 9pm you can enjoy 2 for 1 drinks with a band playing at 9:30pm. Call Dcoy Ducks for more details at (941)778-5888. For more information visit their page.

 

D Coy Ducks

D Coy Ducks in Holmes Beach

Anna Maria Island Top Ten Restaurants

Anna-Maria-Island-RestaurantsLooking for tasty food while you’re on the Anna Maria Island? Well you’re in luck we have composed list of island restaurants from fine dining, to beachfront restaurants, pizza, and where to get the best burger on the island. We have plenty of tasty restaurants to choose from on AMI but the ten restaurants below are a MUST VISIT!

1) Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach – Enjoy fine dining on the Gulf of Mexico with an excellent wine selection and amazing entrée’s.

6600 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-6444

2) Sign of the Mermaid in The City of Anna Maria – A unique dining experience on Anna Maria Island with award winning key lime pie.

Gulf Drive
Anna Maria, FL, 34216
(941) 778-9399

Continue reading Anna Maria Island Top Ten Restaurants

Andrew’s Top Ten List of Things to do for Free

  1. Siesta Beach Drum Circle
    • Every Sunday night on Siesta Beach during sunset both professional and amateur drum players get together and bring in the night to a beat. Dancers, tumblers, and jugglers move to the beat of the drum as darkness falls onto the beach. The Drum Circle is definitely something to experience.
  2. The Ringling Museum
    • Every Monday the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota has free admission to their art museum. An original cast of the Statue of David by Michelangelo is on display in the courtyard of the museum. If you enjoyed the Art Museum you can also check out the Circus Museum and the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion for a fee.

    Continue reading Andrew’s Top Ten List of Things to do for Free

Anna Maria Island Top Ten Ice Cream Shops

This information page provides Anna Maria Island top ten ice cream shops.  Well summer is here once again!  Nothing is better than spending a day on the beach soaking up the warm Florida Sun, and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. One of my favorite things to do after a day at the beach, and one of the best ways to cool down during the summer heat on Anna Maria Island is to grab an ice cream treat.  So I spent the day traveling the Island in search of the best ice cream and candy treats in the area.

Continue reading Anna Maria Island Top Ten Ice Cream Shops