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!

 

Our favorite places to shop on Anna Maria Island – 2014

Anna Maria Island – When you day dream of Anna Maria Island, what do you see? Sandy Beaches? Bright sun? Wildlife? So many things that make Anna Maria Island the paradise that it is. There is one thing though, that is probably not the first to jump to mind, and that is shopping. Whether it be a stroll on Pine ave or a brisk walk on Bridge Street, the island is full of shopping potential. Here is our list of the Top 10 best places to shop on Anna Maria Island in no particular order.

Bella by the Sea – Bella By The Sea carries a wide variety of clothes geared for modern women who are all about comfort, and also offers home furnishings that are Renewed, Refurbished, or Recycled.  Named after her English Bulldog Bella, Jo-Ann Lefner opened Bella By The Sea because she was inspired by the quaint northern end of Anna Maria Island. To find Bella by the Sea on Facebook click here!

The Hive – Special selections of imported silver jewelry from Bali, Denmark, Italy, South Africa, and Tibet as well as locally hand-made jewelry will suit your individual personality.If you would like to see their website to take a closer look at what The Hive has to offer, click here!

Back Alley on Bradenton BeachBack Alley – Local is the order of the day at Back Alley on Bridge St. work from local artists, a full gift shop and a wine and beer bar round out Bridge Street’s most quaint shopping option. To find out more about Back Alley click here!

Artspace – Artspace Studio & Gallery, located above the Post Office on the north side of Palm Ave, Anna Maria, is the quirkiest little gallery on Anna Maria Island. Artists in residence, Deborah Webster and Lex Halakan along with select friends, show their original creations and hold regular classes to help bring out the inner creative in all of us. To find more information about Artspace and what they have going on click here!

Tide & Moon Jewelry – Tide & Moon provides some of the most unique hand-crafted jewelry on Anna Maria Island. This Pine Ave shop, located next to a A Room with a Hue, is where you can find the super cute Anna Maria Island pendants that you may see while spending time on our island paradise. To see what Tide & Moon has to offer click here!

Sand Dollar – The Sand Dollar Gift Shop is one of Anna Maria Island’s finest for its ambiance and style.  When you take your first step into the store you are instantly surrounded by the great smells of exotic scented candles and stones for the home.

A Room with a Hue – Moved from it’s previous location just off the island in the Cortez Fishing Village, A Room with a Hue has the cutest hand-painted furniture on Anna Maria Island. To find A Room With A Hue online click here!

West Coast Surf Shop – Bikini’s, board shorts and the beach are what you’ll find at West Coast Surf Shop. An island staple for decades, West Coast Surf Shop carries the latest in ocean side trends in their second story shop along the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t forget to check out the mural by island artist Chad “Cheeta” Ruiz along the north facing wall of the building. To follow West Coast Surf Shop on Facebook click here!

Island Gallery West – A rich variety of art by talented local and regional artists awaits the art lover at Island Gallery West. To keep up with what’s going on at Island Gallery West click here!

Bridge Street Jewelers – Bridge Street Jewelers is the the first certified master jeweler and gemologist to the island and were the first to introduce the Anna Maria Island destination bracelets which are patented and trademarked. To find out more about Bridge Street Jewelers click here!

 

 

Anna Maria Island Top 5 Jewelry Stores

Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria Island offers many locally owned and operated shops, boutiques and very unique jewelry stores. We have chosen our Top Five Jewelry Stores on Anna Maria Island, and will share them with you! From Pine Avenue to Bridge Street, there are many shops carrying high quality, hand-crafted, beach, wedding and destination jewelry to remember your visit to Anna Maria Island. Though it was tough trying to narrow down our favorites list, We have picked five of our favorite places to shop for jewelry.

Creations by LCreations by L is in Holmes Beach and will delight those who must have that special “one-of-a-kind” piece. Lois incorporates semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and gorgeous beads into her designs. She also offers classes from May through October, and you can take home your own hand-made memory. Her very special wedding collection is amazing and she will customize jewelry to your wishes. So please stop by Creations by L to browse the selection at our number 5 pick!

Restless Natives

The number 4 choice for jewelry shopping actually has 2 locations, Restless Natives in Holmes Beach and the Back Alley in Bradenton Beach.  About 25 local artists display their pieces, including beer bottle cap pendants and “green” jewelry.  One peek in either shop and you will know why we love them!Sand Dollar necklace

The Sand Dollar comes in our third favorite place for jewelry on Anna Maria Island. Known more for their unique beach style home goods and gifts, this “must” visit store on every list. But the jewelry at the Sand Dollar is amazing too!  Here you will find accessories like nowhere else on the island…rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, many of these are statement pieces to wear and you will want to come back again! The Sand Dollar has a great online store too, for your fix when you are not in Holmes Beach: Sand Dollar.

The Hive

The Hive Gifts and Arts, once located in The Old Post Office Plaza of Anna Maria, is now one of the merchants of Bridge Street. Special selections of imported silver jewelry from Bali, Denmark, Italy, South Africa, and Tibet as well as locally hand-made jewelry will suit your individual personality.

Finally, the number Bridge St Jewelersone choice for jewelry shopping on Anna Maria Island is Bridge Street Jewelers.  They brought the first certified master jeweler and gemologist to the island and were the first to introduce the Anna Maria Island destination bracelets which are patented and trademarked. To coordinate with the destination jewelry line, they also have Anna Maria Island rings, earrings and pendants.  Bridge Street Jewelers also carries a selection of fine jewelry from diamond engagement rings to sapphire starfish earrings.

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