Anna Maria Island Top 10 Activities

Anna Maria Island – While visiting the island the most obvious choice for fun activities and relaxation is the beach. With over seven miles of powder sand beaches, crisp blue water, endless sunshine and spectacular shelling, the beach will always be the first choice activity. Anna Maria Island has so much more to offer than just the amazing beaches, so Island Real Estate has compiled a list of our top ten activities and things to do during your stay.

Top Ten Activities!

1. Rainy Day Activities on Anna Maria Island

If you’ve ever visited Florida, especially in the summer months, you know rain is to be expected. With this in mind there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained while waiting for clearer skies.

 

Anna Maria Island storm
A stormy day on Anna Maria Island is still gorgeous!

2. Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is a must for visitor to the island. Tour the exhibits in the recently updated Museum building, learn about the old Belle Haven Cottage originally located on the pier, and see the old city jail house. The museum is fun for all ages, and gives visitors a taste of Anna Maria Island from days past. The Museum is located at 402 Pine Avenue.

3. Catch a show with the Island Players

The Island Players Theater offers several different shows each season running from October to May. Tickets are $20 each or purchase a season ticket for $92.50 at the box office or by phone. The Island Players Theater is located at the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. A fun place to catch a play, the Players Theater is a gorgeous and historical landmark of Anna Maria.

4. Coquina Bay Walk at Leffis Key

Anna Maria Island may only be seven miles long and one mile wide, but it does offer fabulous nature viewing opportunities. One of the areas most unique nature features can be found on the south end of Anna Maria Island at gorgeous Leffis Key. Open from sunrise to sundown, Leffis Key offers amazing Mangrove tunnel lined  boardwalk trails, salt marsh lagoons and the Island’s best bird watching. Also, use this handy guide to spot both White and Brown Pelicans around Anna Maria Island’s Leffis Key!

 

Leffis key at Coquina Baywalk
Leffis Key overlooking Sarasota Bay.

5. Shopping on Anna Maria Island

There are tons of great places to shop for unique items on Anna Maria Island. Whether you are looking for island themed gifts and souvenirs, local art or just gorgeous little things, you’ll be sure to find it in one of the great shops on the island.

6. Family Fun at Anna Maria Island Parks

Across Anna Maria Island there are several great parks with kid friendly activities. Find play ground equipment, a skatepark, concessions, and all the outdoor fun your kids could hope for. If you are looking to head off island for nature viewing check out our list of parks and preserves in Manatee county.

7. Equipment Rentals

With so many equipment rental shops on Anna Maria Island there are lots of options for entertaining activities. Rent just about any type of equipment you need on the island including kayak/canoes, bikes, jet skis, beach accessories, golf carts, fly boarding, baby rentals and much more! Check out the Anna Maria Island Bicycle Guide for route suggestions and more.

8. Art Galleries

Anna Maria Island has a fabulous art scene with many local creatives offering their wares in galleries across the island. While visiting Anna Maria Island be sure to stop in one of the galleries listed, and take a piece of paradise home with you. If you visit the Island in November, be sure to visit annual event ArtsHop!

9. Anna Maria Island Dining

Dining on Anna Maria Island is always an entertaining activity. Here’s an extensive list of everything you need to know about dining island style!

10. Sunset

Sunset is one of the most magical times on Anna Maria Island. Always the best way to end the day or get the evening started, sunset is the time of day to reflect on the incredible beauty of the Anna Maria Island experience. You can’t leave the island without catching at least one sunset!

activities sunset
Anna Maria Island sunset

After perusing our list of Anna Maria Island activities we are sure you’ll have to come back a second time to experience everything the island has to offer! Enjoy your time in paradise, and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen liberally!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals and Accommodations

When planning a trip or an extended stay to Anna Maria Island, Island Real Estate has the largest inventory of vacation rental homes to choose from with almost 300 properties. You’ll find the perfect accommodation along with great customer service when you use Island Real Estate!

Holmes Beach vacation rental
Casa Sierra 205 B is a fun and relaxing Anna Maria Island vacation rental located in Holmes Beach. In the central portion of the island, Casa Sierra is two blocks from the beach. It is a great spot to enjoy island activities too! Click on the image above to reserve your stay at Casa Sierra 205 B today!

 

 

How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

For many, there is no questions on how to spend a week on Anna Maria Island. However, first time visitors often wonder about what there is to do beyond the beach.

How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

Here is a helpful daily itinerary on how to plan the perfect week and make the most of your visit to Anna Maria Island. A week may seem like a long vacation, but with so many local attractions seven days will fly by in a flash!

Saturday – Arrival

Typical check-in for Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will be 4:30. If you arrive on the island before check-in you’ll have to keep yourself occupied with easy local things to do. This is a great time to grab something to eat, or even begin exploring different beach accesses.

Hold off on the big grocery shopping trip because you won’t have anywhere to stash your groceries until you have access to your accommodations.

Get situated and don’t over plan for Saturday

Once you arrive at your vacation rental we recommend first getting situated. Divvying up bedrooms, finding where everything is and figuring out how things work. Half the fun of an Anna Maria Island vacation is enjoying a luxury home for a week.

Slip into relaxation mode then find the nearest beach access. Nearly all Anna Maria Island vacation rentals are within walking distance to the beach. Spend your first evening with a relaxing walk to the beach at sunset.

Don’t over plan your first night as you’ll likely be tired from traveling. However, Saturday arrival day is a perfect time to grab something to eat at one of Anna Maria Island’s outdoor dining restaurants. What better way to kick-off your vacation than with seafood and a view?

Sunday – Beach Day All Day

Sunday will be your first full day on Anna Maria Island. Your group will undoubtedly be excited to get the fun started.

Wake up at dawn and go for a morning beach walk. Totally worth the getting up early on vacay!

Plan to spend most of Sunday on the beach, but be careful not to get sunburned. Remember to apply a high SPF 20 minutes before you go out and reapply every 2 hours.

For those that sunburn easily, you may want to take a mid day break from the sun. This is an excellent time to put together a large grocery shopping list and plan out the meals you’ll be preparing at your rental. Stock up on food, beverages, and beach accessories.

Monday – Shopping and Trolley hopping

Now that your group has had a full day to enjoy what they came to the island for, the beach, Monday is a great time to explore island shopping!

This is the perfect time to use the free trolley too. Find the nearest trolley stop, hop on, and cruise up and down the entire island to find all the fun boutiques and souvenir shops. Some spots to stop include Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, The Island Shopping Center in Holmes Beach and Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria.

No shopping trip is complete without stopping for lunch! Stop just about anywhere for lunch really, all island restaurants are great!

Tuesday – Explore Beyond the island

While some folks prefer to spend their entire vacation on Anna Maria Island, some like to explore the many surrounding activities. Below we have suggestions on things to do off-island.

Cortez Fishing Village

  • Eat fresh off the boat seafood at Starfish Market.
  • Boat Tours of the Intracoastal.
  • Maritime Museum

Sarasota

Bradenton

  • South Florida Museum
  • Bradenton Riverwalk
  • Downtown nightlife on Old Main Street

St. Petersburg 

  • Downtown Central Ave. art districts – galleries, shops and restaurants
  • Salvador Dali Museum
  • Museum of Fine Art

Tampa

Wednesday – Early Breakfast, Eco-Tours and Wildlife Viewing

Anna Maria Island has really unique wildlife, and an eco-tour is a great way to get close. Get up early and go out for a big breakfast. This will give you plenty of fuel for a day of outdoors adventuring.

There are many local options for kayak and Stand up Paddle boarding tours. Explore beautiful Mangrove coastline. Hire a boat tour for a few hours, and your sure to see dolphins, Manatees and an array of aquatic life.

If eco-tours aren’t your forte, then head to one of the local preserves for a nature walk. Leffis Key is a fantastic spot! Located on the south end of the island, this preserve is just under a mile of walking trails. You’ll experience Mangrove tunnel board walks, salt marsh and shrubby uplands. See small mammals, an impressive variety of birds, and sea life along Sarasota Bay.

Thursday – Sightseeing

When  you visit Anna Maria Island there are certain things you must see!

Anna Maria City Jail and Historic Society

Having your picture taken at the old Anna Maria City Jail is the quintessential island sightseeing activity. For some it’s tradition! The Historic Society Museum is a great way to learn island history. Find out unique facts like why we call Anna Maria “The City that Fig Newtons Built”.

Piers

Find three public piers along the bay side of the island. Each is different, but all offer fishing, dining and gorgeous water views.

Friday – Beaches and a Big Night Out

Friday will be your last full day on Anna Maria Island. You’ll really want to just relax on the beach, swim in the pool at your rental, and soak up every last bit of the island life.

This is also the perfect time to splurge on a big night out! Make reservations at one of the fine dining restaurants like Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, or Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key. After dinner head over to Bridge Street for cocktails and live music!

Saturday – Leaving is hard, but there is always next time!

Typical check-out is 10am, but this doesn’t mean you have to leave right away! Once you hand back in your keys, you can still enjoy the beach. The three big public beaches all have bathrooms and showers. (Manatee Public, Coquina and Bay Front Park) Squeeze in one last beach trip before you go, and we’ll see you next year!

Don’t forget to book your stay for the following year. Many visitors come back every year, so be sure to book your favorite rental before someone else does!

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals make the BEST Florida Vacation

Anna Maria Island off-season rentals are the best! While many visitors prefer to vacation around popular times, many have found the “Floridian’s secret” about off-season vacations.

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals make the Best Florida Vacation

You’re probably wondering exactly when is the off-season? Traditionally, Florida’s high season is from mid-December to mid-April, but that isn’t exactly the case for Anna Maria Island. Our high season does coincide with this time range, but things don’t entirely calm down until after 4th of July. Since the island is a super family friendly destination, when the kids go back to school the island really gets quiet. August through November is that off-season sweet spot.

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals

 

Anna Maria Island Off-season vacation perks

Now that we’ve established when the slow season happens, lets explore why it is sooooo amazing!

No crowds, less traffic.

When off-season hits it’s like a switch flips. The transition really is that drastic. While Floridians love our visitors, we really do, we all enjoy a little break from the crowds.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the off-season for locals is the traffic. Suddenly your morning/evening commute is shorter and there are far fewer cars on the road.

Everything is just a little easier in the off-season. You don’t get stuck trying to cross the bridges, grocery store lines are a breeze, and there is no wait for a table at ANY of your favorite restaurants. Crazy right?

Beach rentals are cheapest in the off-season

Across Anna Maria Island’s off season you’ll see the prices on beach rentals drop to the lowest rates of the entire year. This is the perfect time to plan a vacation, or even a last minute getaway. Suddenly that direct beach front, luxury single family home you’ve always dreamed of is now totally in your price range!

This is the time to search for the best deals. You might even luck out and find discounts stacked on top of these already low rates. Many vacation rental owners purchase their homes for investment purposes, and are willing to slash prices to ensure their investment continues to earn all year. When high season comes around discounts are not super common, however, always be sure to check the Island Real Estate Sunshine Specials for an up to date list of discounts any time you are planning a visit.

See the “real Florida”

When you visit Anna Maria Island in the off-season there are fewer tourists, and therefore, you really can get a feel for the authentic local flavor. That “real Florida” vibe that only locals know about is a bit watered down when there are so many visitors. When slow season comes around you’ll find locals are just a little calmer, and have more time to chat about the island life.

Weather, rain and Florida heat

You may notice the off-season coincides with a very hot time of year, and also hurricane season. While this may not seem like the ideal time for a vacation, Floridians will disagree.

There are several benefits to planning a vacation in the middle of the hot summer. First, it’s a great time for swimming. That is obvious. Second, your relatives will think it’s too hot and won’t want to come with you. Not that family vacations aren’t fun, but it can be hard to manage the vacation schedule of a large group. You’ll actually get to relax on this vacation!

Florida off-season weather may be a deterrent, but really, you can plan a vacation ANY time of year in Florida and end up with more rain than forecasts predict. If you are worried about a hurricane interrupting your stay then opt for travel insurance. It will cover you in the event a named storm makes land fall and evacuation is necessary.

There is something special about experiencing a heavy Florida storm. They seemingly come out of nowhere, and disappear just as fast. The booming thunder and crack of lighting can be both exhilarating and relaxing at once. Snuggling up in a luxury vacation rental with Netflix while rain falls outside is a nothing short of paradise to any Islander.

Enjoy hard core air conditioning

Any Floridian will tell you ALL buildings and indoor places have air conditioning. We aren’t just talking about little window units either. Hard core, blasting on ultra high, fresh air conditioning. Yes it will be hot outside, but Floridians know how to keep cool.

Customer service standards don’t suffer

When visiting during the off-season you’ll still find the same great customer service and friendly faces that you experience during the high season. This time of year may be a break from the hustle bustle, but employees in the travel and tourism industry work just as hard to impress visitors no matter the time of year. In fact, you may even find people are just a little friendlier and have more time to really go the extra mile.

 

Anna Maria Island high season
Anna Maria Island beaches in high season.
Anna Maria Island beaches in off-season.
Anna Maria Island beaches in off-season.

 

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals are the best, so what are you waiting for? Plan the best Florida vacation you’ve ever experienced today with Island Real Estate!

Anna Maria Island August Events and Activities

Back to school is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Anna Maria Island August events and activities!

Anna Maria Island August Events and Activities

Since August tends to be very warm on the island we have also added great indoor activities to keep you cool! However, this is the start of the island’s off-season, so be sure to soak up those quiet beaches while the crowds begin to head north.

Studio at Gulf and Pine Summer cooking class series ends. August 3

August 3 will be the last of the Culinary Art Cooking Class at the Studio. Chef Rich Demarse of Mar Vista will discuss the many varieties of fruit you can find in local neighborhoods and what to do with them.  Call 941-778-1906 or visit www.studioatgulfandpine.com for more information. The class will be 10am-1pm. The cost is $75/person or $275/group of 4. Includes glass of wine, apron and more!

Culinary Arts Cooking Class Studio at Gulf and Pine
Culinary Arts Cooking Class at the Studio

Back to School Tax Holiday August 4-6th.

Manatee County goes back to school August 10th, so be sure to take advantage of the 2017 Tax Holiday August 4-6th. Here is a link to items on the tax free list!

Back to School Tax Holiday
Back to School Tax Holiday August 4-6, 2017.

The Center Community Cookout August 19

The Anna Maria Community Center will be hosting a community barbecue August 19th from 6-8pm. Harry’s Grill will be cooking for the event. Children under 12 are free, members $5 and non-members $10.

Anna Maria Island August Events and Activities
The Center Community cook out Anna Maria

Small Town Creamery

Check out the island’s newest ice cream shop in Holmes Beach Small Town Creamery! Not only do they have a huge selection of flavors, but you’ll also find great homemade Fudge, homemade waffle cones, toys, candy and more. Open daily from 11am-10pm.

Small Town Creamery Holmes Beach
Small Town Creamery

Take a day trip to Tampa’s Glazer Children’s Museum

Why not end Summer break with a super fun kids day in Tampa? Glazer Children’s Museum is the perfect way to transition from Summer mode to the school zone. They offer tons of hands on STEM activities well-suited for elementary aged children that will get those little brains back into learning. This three level facility offers hours of family fun. Activities include climbing equipment, theater, legos, art and all types of opportunities to learn about math, science and world culture too. After the little ones get tired head over to Tampa Pizza Company nearby for a bite to eat.

Glazer Children's Museum
Glazer Children’s Museum

Soap Making Class at Florida Maritime Museum August 12

Head over to Cortez Fishing Village and learn how to make artisan soaps! The class will be held from 10am-12:30pm and tickets cost $35 each. Contact 941-708-6120 for additional information.

Glazer Children's Museum
Join in on one of many classes hosted at the Maritime Museum!

Funky Island Essentials

Funky Island Essentials is a new shop in Holmes Beach. Find a great selection of home goods including hand painted furniture, art and all the latest trends in decor. They also offer interior design services! You’re sure to find something to bring home that reminds you of the island life!

Funky Island Essentials Holmes Beach
Funky Island Essentials on Marina Drive in Holmes Beach

 

Enjoy Anna Maria Island August Events and Activities!

Anna Maria Island Summer Beach Rentals 2017

Anna Maria Island Summer beach rentals are the best way to enjoy the hottest season of the year! Here is our 2017 list of the best places to check out for your Summer getaway.

Anna Maria Island Summer Beach Rentals 2017

While Island Real Estate offers amazing gulf front luxury rentals, this list has more laid back options. These are definitely great for money conscious folks that are just looking to relax by the gulf. Summer is for enjoying time off without stress, and all these rentals are just perfect for that! From couples retreats to family getaway there is something for every group.

Anna Maria Island Summer Beach Rentals 2017

Safari Suite – Sleeps 4

Safari Suite is a great one bedroom Bradenton Beach condo just across the street from gulf beaches. This laid back unit offers a king bed and queen sleeper sofa. While this unit might be one bedroom, it won’t feel too cramped for groups of 4. Enjoy stainless steel appliances and nice peeks of the water from the open balcony.

Bradenton Beach Summer rental
Safari Suite in Bradenton Beach 2017 Summer base rates: $800-$1200/week.

 

Katie’s Beach Bungalow – Sleeps 5

Katie’s Beach Bungalow is a great old Florida cottage charmer. Located on the south end of AMI on a narrow portion of Bradenton Beach, this cottage is just a short walk to gulf beaches. Find a king, queen and day bed to sleep 5 guest in this 2 bedroom home. The backyard is like your own private oasis with a heated pool and spa, propane grill and plenty of room for lounging in the sun.

Katie's Beach Bungalow Bradenton Beach
Katie’s Beach Bungalow Bradenton Beach 2017 Summer base rates: $1050-$1600/week

Villa 5 – Sleeps 6

Villa 5 is a two bedroom unit just a short walk from EVERYTHING in Bradenton Beach. Nestled in a quaint four unit complex this condo has all you need for an easy vacation by the coast. Walk to beaches, shopping, nightlife, dining and free trolley stops. Also enjoy the heated community pool and propane grills. Sleeps six guests with one king, one queen and a queen sleeper sofa.

Bradenton Beach rental
Villa 5 Bradenton Beach 2017 Summer base rates: $850-$1250/week.

 

Palm Gables – Sleeps 6

Palm Gables will make you very pleased. Here you’ll spaciously sleep 6 guests with three bedrooms. Find great amenities like stainless steel appliances, a heated community pool and open balcony with water views. This unit may only have a modest silver rating, but it truly offers a luxury beach experience.

Palm Gables Holmes Beach Rental
Palm Gables Holmes Beach 2017 Summer base rates: $2240-$3010/week.

 

Holly Jewel – Sleeps 6

Holly Jewel offers a lovely slice of island living just a short walk from secluded Bean Point beaches. This single family home has three bedrooms with a king, queen and two twin beds. Relax on the upstairs deck, or in the lush backyard looking over the canal.

Holly Jewel Anna Maria beach rental summer
Holly Jewel city of Anna Maria 2017 Summer base rates: $$1243-$1707/week.

Long board and Short board – Sleeps 6 each or 12 total.

Located on the popular White Avenue in the city of Anna Maria, Long board and Short board are fun for both large and small groups. White Avenue is one of the island’s most notorious surfing spots, so this duplex is aptly named. Each side sleeps 6 guests, or you can reserve the entire home for up to 12. There is a shared heated pool with a waterfall feature and lovely outdoor lounge. This house is perfect for a Summer vacation to Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria beach rental White Avenue
Long Board 2017 Summer base rate: $1250-$1450/week. Short Board 2017 Summer base rate $950-$1450/week.

 

Enjoy Summer while it lasts with one of our Anna Maria Island Summer Beach Rentals of 2017!

14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

There are things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers. While you may be an expert at the island life, chances are at one time you were new to the scene.

14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

Anna Maria Island is a quirky little island that both locals and vacationers love. Here are 14 things you may, or may not, have know about this place we call paradise.

Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

1. Three cities

Anna Maria Island might only be seven miles long, but we have three distinct cities. The north end is called Anna Maria or the city of Anna Maria. In the middle we have Holmes Beach, and to the south Bradenton Beach. Each has it’s own vibe, but all are beautiful.

2. Sunblock

Sunblock is crucial, and you need to put it on BEFORE you get to the beach. Lather SPF on at least 20 minutes before you plan on being in the sun. REAPPLY every 2 hours. Yes you can get sunburned while in the water. The sun also reflects off the surface of the water and sand, so under an umbrella doesn’t make you safe from damaging rays. Higher SPF’s are better protection, and spray on sunblock, though convenient, typically isn’t as effective. Also, drink lots of water.

3. Wildlife

Please mind the wildlife and NEVER FEED THE GULLS. Don’t let the kids chase birds, stay away from turtle nests, and call Wildlife Inc. if you find injured or sick animals. Not only does Anna Maria Island have nesting sea turtles, but we have two species of tortoise. If you find a turtle on the beach and it doesn’t have flippers then leave it on the beach. It’s likely a box turtle or Gopher tortoise. They live in the dunes not the water. From May to October DO NOT leave anything on the beach, fill in holes and flatten sand castles. Be sure all beach facing lights are off, so nesting turtles and hatchlings don’t become disoriented.

4. Bugs

Bugs happen. They just do. Invest in a bottle of deet spray if you are a mosquito magnet. Even the cleanest homes, shops and restaurants will have the occasional pest. Welcome to Florida! Luckily Florida also has Lizards, Geckos and a unique wildlife food chain to help keep bugs in check. Here is a link to the Manatee County Mosquito Control Schedule.

5. Where is the…

Before you come to the island, take a look at a map. You’ll notice there is really only one main road that runs the length of the island. It does change names, Gulf Drive, East Bay, Marina Drive, and isn’t necessarily straight, but it is the main drag. Often tourists wonder about getting lost, and ask how to get places. Getting around is extremely simple once you catch your bearings. The free trolley is a great way to get a feel for the area. Often if you are unsure where your destination is the trolley driver can help. Island Real Estate does offer local maps too!

6. Gators don’t like the beach

Yes, Florida is home to some crazy prehistoric, bite your arm off, big scary Alligators. However, salt water is not the natural habitat of the gator, and none have been spotted on AMI in decades. Ask any Anna Maria Island native and they’ll laugh at the idea of a gator on the beach. If you plan on visiting any fresh or brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh) that is an entirely different story. Any non-salt body of water is fair game for gators. Even if you don’t see “do not swim” signs near fresh water, it’s probably best to avoid getting in or near it.

7. Respect the Gulf of Mexico

While visiting the beach always check for the color coded swimming condition signs. The gulf is a powerful body of water. On a rough day even the strongest adult swimmers can be quickly caught up. Always use extreme caution, look for rip tide warning signage, swim with a buddy, and never allow children to swim without an adult. If your group has inexperienced swimmers consider avoiding the very northern beaches where under currents are strongest. Always respect the power of the gulf.

8. Locals

Yes, people do live on Anna Maria Island year round, and no they are not all fat, happy, tan retirees.

Anna Maria Island is a unique community. We have our own elementary school, people work full time jobs, and no our houses are not completely filled with tons of sand. Okay, maybe our houses have a little bit of sand though… The island community is unlike anywhere else in Florida. If you are looking to make the island your full time home contact an Island Real Estate Sales Agent!

9. Weather

Don’t even try to figure out EXACTLY what the weather is going to be like for your stay.

Trying to figure out the rain is like herding gators. Pointless and stressful. Visitors love to ask locals what they think the rain will be like. Nobody likes a vacation ruined by rain, but there isn’t one solid answer.

Predictions change regularly, but some trends are constant. Florida is a sub-tropical climate so we get rain all seasons of the year. During the summer months we have rain roll in around 4-5pm, almost daily, for an hour and then it clears before sunset. Late summer is usually the wettest. Winter is mild. Spring and Fall are warm and sometimes hot.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1st through November 30th. If you get travel insurance for your trip you’ll be covered for evacuations due to named storms. The great thing about modern weather tracking is the ability to closely monitor large storms. In the rare event that the island needs to be evacuated you’ll have ample time to do so.

10. Don’t collect live shells.

Shells play an important roll to local ecosystems. Collecting living shells is not only illegal without permit, but ethically in poor judgement. You must hold a saltwater fishing license to collect any living shell including Sand Dollars, Starfish, Whelks, Conchs, Urchin and many others. Bag limits are 2 per person per a day.

People love to collect Sand Dollars, but be sure they are white in color as these ones are already dead. Living Sand Dollars will be more of a gray color. It is okay to gently touch them but please put them right back.

While beach combing is relaxing and fun please don’t over collect dead shells. Limit yourself to less than a quart size container. Even dead shells play an important roll in the gulf. If you take all the dead shells where will hermit crabs live?

11. Pick it up!

Don’t leave any trash on the beach. Millions of sea and shore birds around the world die every year due to ingesting plastics and garbage. Sea life can become entangled too. Trash on the beach isn’t just dangerous, but unsightly. If you do see trash, do your part to help, and pick it up!

12. Stingray Shuffle

The Stingray shuffle might sound like a funny dance move, but it is a sure way to avoid a ray run-in. Stingrays are extremely non-aggressive animals but they carry a unique defense mechanism. By simply shuffling your feet you can avoid a painful trip to the beach.

13. Where to park.

Parking can be limited on Anna Maria Island, but we have a few suggestions. First, if you can avoid driving and use alternatives such as the Trolley, Uber and local shuttles you won’t have to deal with parking. Here is our guide to alternative transportation.

Also be sure to read our Anna Maria Parking Guide to help you find less popular parking areas and avoid getting a ticket too!

14. Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals are absolutely fantastic! AMI offers a huge selection of rentals and none are too far from the beach! Typically rentals are offered Saturday to Saturday and ALL beach rentals have a 3 night minimum. Book your next stay today!

Now you can enjoy your next Anna Maria Island vacation in the know. You won’t even have to ask the things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers!

5 Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals Kids will LOVE

Summer is here and you need to do something fun with the kids! Here is our list of 5 Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals kids will love visiting.

5 Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals Kids will LOVE

 

5 Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals Kids will LOVE (2)

Sure, everyone needs a little downtime to relax and do nothing, but the entire Summer doesn’t have to be filled with your kid’s face stuck in an electronic devise. Give your little ones the best beach adventure of their childhood with these 5 great Anna Maria Island beach rentals!

In addition to these 5 suggestions we snuck in 2 extra options just like you sneaky parents that try to add a vegetable into your kids meal. (We see you with that butter pasta and broccoli.)

Fun in the Sun – Sleeps 6

The name of this rental tells it all! Fun in the Sun is a great spot for a kids Summer vacation. Here you’ll find plenty of space for up to six guests with one king, one queen and two twin beds. Enjoy the sparkling backyard pool with a fun fountain feature and covered lounge area. Inside you’ll find a DVD player with movies, or rent a new release from the Red Box at Publix super market or CVS Pharmacy.

Holmes Beach Rental
Fun in the Sun 2017 July/August base rate $1450-$1600.

Not only is Fun in the Sun just a short walk to the beach, but it’s also near free trolley stops. Kids adore riding the free trolley!

Anna Maria Island kid friendly rentals
Fun in the Sun in Holmes Beach

Playa Casanas North – Sleeps 4-6

Playa Casanas North is a no frills beach rental where kids can play like kids. Enjoy direct gulf front accommodations in this cozy low key destination. All parents know that getting ready for a beach trip can be a pain, but when you have a rental right there everything becomes easier. You don’t have to worry about packing the cooler, snagging a parking spot or finding a bathroom. When mom and dad can relax everyone has a better time.

Holmes Beach gulf front rental
Playa Casanas July/August base rates $1200-$1400/week

Inside Playa Casanas North you’ll find a queen bed, two twins and a queen sleeper sofa. One of the nice features of this rental is the price point is extremely reasonable for the amazing location. Give your kids a beach vacation that won’t break the bank. If you plan on vacationing with relatives or another family rent Playa Casanas South too!

Direct beach front rental Anna Maria Island
Playa Casanas North in Holmes Beach

 

Banyan Breeze – Sleeps 12

This beach rental will have both kids and parents in love with island living. This spacious 5 bedroom home comfortably sleeps 12 guests, and is only separated from the beach by 6 houses! Mom and dad will love the style and luxury amenities of this platinum rated home. Banyan Breeze is colorful with a touch of beach whimsy.

Anna Maria beach rental
Banyan Breeze July/August base rates $3750’$4500/week.

Of the 5 rooms, one bedroom offers two twins and another offers a bunk bed. There are plenty of options for kids to sleep comfortably without having to share a bed with a sibling or cousin.

Banyan Breeze in the city of Anna Maria.
Banyan Breeze in the city of Anna Maria.

Turtle Nest – Sleeps 6

This is a great laid back beach rental for when you just need to get away and relax on the beach. You’ll find 2 bedrooms with a queen, two twins and a queen sleeper sofa. Nothing about Turtle Nest is “too fancy” for the kids, but you’ll still find great amenities.

Holmes Beach vacation rental
Turtle Nest July/August base rates $1000-$1250/week.

Turtle Nest is a duplex, but you’ll have your own private pool and outdoor shower. The kids will think the little turtle in the bottom of the pool is super cute! On the other half of this duplex you’ll find Sunray, which is equally as laid back and accommodating.

Holmes beach duplex rental
Sun Ray in Holmes Beach next door to Turtle Nest.

North Beach Village 54 – Sleeps 6

North Beach Village 54 is a fun rental updated Spring of 2017. Here you’ll find everything for a comfortable stay for 6 with 3 bedrooms and a den. There is one king, one queen, a twin/double bunk and one twin and a day bed. None of the kids will have to share a bed, and they will love you for it!

North Beach Village rental
North Beach Village 54 July/August base rates $1100-$1250/week.

The decor is colorful and beachy, so the kids will feel right at home. Plus your right next to the community pool! Bring your dogs up to 25 pounds for this Summer getaway.

North Beach Village condo rentals
North Beach Village 54 in Holmes Beach.

 

Every kid needs a trip to the beach during the Summer! Plan a trip your kids will be talking about for years to come with one of these Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals Kids will LOVE.

After you reserve your accommodations head over to the Top 10 Anna Maria Island Kids Activities Guide!

Anna Maria Island is the Blue Space You Need in Your Life

For decades now, researchers have studied and proven the health benefits of green space, but more recent findings point to blue space as a far superior influence on the health of people and communities.

Blue Space

What is green space and blue space?

Green space is a term referring to an area of grass, trees and foliage often found in urban areas. Green spaces are typically created for recreational, aesthetic and environmental purposes. Blue space is similar to green space, but refers to rivers, marinas, ponds, lakes, fountains, oceans and bodies of natural or man made water.

Both green and blue spaces have a great impact on human health, but a 2016 study has concluded that blue spaces have greater benefits than green spaces. Researchers note that blue space has a much more dramatic effect on our mental health than green space. People feel less depression and psychological distress with blue space. While green space does have benefits, blue space has more of a profound impact.

Blue space makes people healthy and happy.

A trip to Anna Maria Island is the blue space you need. There are tons of reasons why spending time with the clear blue gulf waters surrounding the island are good for your health!

Blue spaces gives us down time.

It seems like everyday our brains and lives are filled with things to do, schedules to stick with and obligations to complete. When you visit Anna Maria Island you get time to relax and unwind from the stress. Everybody needs down time to do nothing, think about nothing and quietly gaze at the blue gulf waters.

Blue space makes us calm.

Staring at liquid blue brings us to a state of calm. Watching the waves crash, smelling the salt air and feeling the warm breezes all lull us into a perfect state of calm and serenity.

Blue space is uplifting to our emotions.

Enjoying blue water views sends the blues away. Blue space has proven to help with depression. Everyone gets a little down, and for some, depression and anxiety are a daily battle. Spending time at the beach with water helps clear negative thoughts and emotions that lead to depression. Perhaps looking at such a large blue body of water like the gulf makes our own problems seem small in comparison to the great big world.

Blue space makes us more creative.

It’s hard not to be inspired by blue hues. The beauty of water is memorizing and lets our brain drift to our aspirations. Those who spend time meditating on blue scenes are better able to unlock the creative portions of their brain. When you aren’t feeling the stress and worries of daily life, your brain can take a step back and re-approach problems and ideas from a more creative perspective.

Blue space brings people closer together.

When you visit these spaces with friends and loved ones its hard not to form closer emotional bonds. The collective experience of enjoying blue space is infections like the domino affect of a yawn. The color blue is psychologically associated with honesty, loyalty and trust so its easy to see how blue surroundings can make us feel those emotions toward our friends and family.

Many studies site blue as the most popular favorite color, so it’s no wonder that people love these environments. Anna Maria Island is surrounded by blue making it the perfect place to get a dose of the blue stuff!

Plan an Anna Maria Island vacation with Island Real Estate and get more blue space!

 

 

Top 5 Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues

When planning your big day there are many options for Anna Maria Island wedding venues. Have your perfect dream destination ceremony and reception with toes in the sand.

Top 5 Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues

While there are tons of places throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties for weddings, this list offers some of the most popular on both Anna Maria Island and the mainland. All five locations can accommodate both a ceremony and reception.

Harrington House Beach Front Bed & Breakfast – Holmes Beach

Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues Harrington House
The Harrington House Gazebo is a lovely spot for a beach destination wedding.

The Harrington House is a wonderful spot for a more intimate wedding experience. This quaint B&B was built in 1925 of Coquina-block shell walls and pecky cypress floors. It’s old Florida charm and direct beach front location make it an amazing destination wedding venue.

You’ll find three unique wedding packages offering an all inclusive experience for up to 24 guests. Enjoy a ceremony on a private section of beach, or in the beach front gazebo.

The Harrington House is also a lovely spot for a honeymoon and can accommodate guests over the age of 12 in their many lovely suites.

The Sandbar Restaurant – Anna Maria

The Sandbar Restaurant Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues
Enjoy a toes in the sand ceremony followed by a memorable reception under the Sandbar wedding pavilion

The Sandbar offers one of the most popular Anna Maria Island wedding venues in the area. Their event coordinator and staff will assist you in every aspect of your ceremony and reception, and they have a top of the line selection of vendors.

Their beach front pavilion can hold well over 100 guests for a magical event rain or shine! Choose from a large selection of services, menu items, decor and more from this award winning venue.

The Beach House Restaurant – Bradenton Beach

The Beach House Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues
Let the Beach House Restaurant take care of all your wedding day needs!

The Beach House is the sister restaurant of The Sandbar, so you know you can expect the same great service!

They offer a separate wedding area from the main facility. As of Spring 2017 The Beach House added a new bridal suite where the bride to be can prepare to walk down the isle.

Expect all the same great options from this beach front venue that you’ll find at the Sandbar.

Gulf Drive Tiki Bar – Bradenton Beach

Gulf Drive Tiki Bar Anna Maria Island wedding venues
Exchange your vows under the Tiki Hut at Gulf Drive Cafe!

Enjoy a fun Tiki style wedding at Gulf Drive Cafe and Tiki bar. There are four different spots on site to choose from for your event accommodating groups of 20 to 175 guests.

You’ll find a variety of individual packages for both the ceremony and reception. This location is super fun with the largest Tiki hut on the island and gulf views.

Peruse their helpful list of wedding vendors covering every aspect of the day from bridal services to florists, steel drum musicians and more. You can have the quintessential beach wedding at Gulf Drive Tiki Bar!

The Seafood Shack – Cortez Village

Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues Seafood Shack and Neptune Room
The staff at Seafood Shack will make your wedding day perfect!

The Seafood Shack restaurant is where new Florida flavors meet that charming old Florida feel. Here you’ll find a professional staff dedicated to making your wedding perfect.

There are three unique spaces at this facility with two banquet rooms, and a Marina Pavilion all overlooking the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway. They can accommodate groups of up to 425 guests, so this is truly the spot for those large weddings.

Every detail of your special day will be taken care of when you let The Seafood Shack host your wedding!

Anna Maria Island Honeymoon beach rentals

When planning your perfect wedding destination plan your honeymoon too! Book a luxury gulf front Anna Maria Island beach rental with Island Real Estate!

Anna Maria Island honeymoon and wedding
Plan a romantic Anna Maria Island Honeymoon!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Vacation – Activities and Fun Guide

An Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation should be on everyone’s bucket list! What better way to spend the day than relaxing while the family enjoys swimming in the gulf on a hot Summer day?

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Vacation
Independence Day family fun at the beach!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Vacation

4th of July on Anna Maria Island is an experience unlike any other holiday. There’s a buzz of excitement in the air that words just can’t explain. A feeling like the day will be one you’ll never forget.

4th of July beach prep

This holiday is one of the busiest beach days every year, so you’ll want to come prepared. The biggest benefit of planning a vacation centered around Independence Day is you’ll already be on the island, so you won’t have to fight traffic. Smart right? Even better, since you’ll be staying in a vacation rental so close to the beach, you can pick your spot ahead of the crowd!

Find some really great deals on 4th of July beach rentals at IslandReal.com!

Plan on purchasing everything you’ll need one or two days prior. Why stress last minute? Beach vacations are supposed to be relaxing.

Be sure to put on Sunblock 20 minutes before you’ll be in the sun, and re-apply every two hours. Over exposure to the sun can cause symptoms such as fever and nausea. A sunburn is a sure way to ruin a beach vacation.

The Privateers 4th of July Parade

Every year The Privateers, a non-profit organization, host the Anna Maria Island 4th of July parade. There is nothing better than a small town parade, and this one is fun and heart warming. Starting on the south end of the island on Coquina Beach the parade runs the entire length of the island ending at Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria. Catch candy and beads and be sure to watch out for the squirt guns! This family fun event is free and starts at 10am.

Hanging out on the beach

Since the parade ends around noon you’ll have the entire rest of the day to wait for the evenings fireworks.  This is when all the fun really happens!

For something different at the beach try renting a paddle board or even beach games from one of the many great rental companies on AMI. Find some suggested here.

Obviously you’ll want to have some great food and drink items. We have put together a list of great picnic and dining ideas along with a fun selection of beach games on Pinterest.

Sandbar Fireworks Display

While enjoying an Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation you’ll get the chance to catch a great show on the beach! The only fireworks allowed on the beach are Sparklers. However, you can gather along the coast and catch the Sandbar Restaurant’s annual display. From just about anywhere on the beach you’ll have a view of the fireworks, but for a real fun time purchase tickets for a front row view. Follow this AMI fireworks guide to book your seat!

When you visit the beach for this holiday you’re sure to feel like you Independence Day is complete with fun, family and beach time. Plan your Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation today!

 

The Perfect Anna Maria Island Father’s Day – The Gift Dads Actually Want!

The Perfect Anna Maria Island Father’s Day is easy to achieve, and the special guy in your family will be super pleased. Forget the tie clips, golfing socks and the grilling gear. Dads just want to relax on the beach!

The Perfect Anna Maria Island Father's Day

The Perfect Anna Maria Island Father’s Day

What better way is there to tell dad thanks than with a beach trip? Whether the entire family is going, or you’re sending him with his best pals, a beach trip will have dad is full relaxation mode.

The Gift dads Actually Want.

Peace and quiet. That’s it! Dad’s just want a day where they can enjoy doing nothing quietly. A Sunday without a schedule, without grass mowing, without the racket of cartoons blasting from the family room. Just peace and quiet.

When you plan an Anna Maria Island beach trip dad is sure to have quiet time!

Anna Maria Island Beach Rentals

The perfect Anna Maria Island Father’s Day starts with the perfect beach rental! First pick out a no-frills beach house from Island Real Estate. Whether the dad in your family likes to be pampered in luxury or is the type that can sleep anywhere, Island Real Estate has accommodations to fit any dads needs.

Dad’s beach trip

Once you find the perfect accommodations for dad’s beach trip, get him all ready for a day of lounging in the sand.

Pack up a dad style picnic! Make some of his favorite snacks and throw some waters in the a cooler. Dads usually aren’t too picky. Half of what they eat is whatever the kids left on their plate anyway, so dad will likely be happy with whatever sandwiches or crackers get tossed in. Keep it simple.

Before he goes out for the day make sure he gets thoroughly sun tan lotioned. Sunburned dads are fussy dads. He’ll need help getting his back and don’t forget to lotion that bald spot too!

If you do decide on gifts

Surprise him by sneaking a gift into his beach bag. Something he can use at the beach like a new ball cap or nice pair of sunglasses. A small gift to open at the beach will be the icing on the cake!

After a long restful day at the beach dad will be one happy dude. The perfect Anna Maria Island Father’s Day is waiting! Tell dad thank you this year with a gift he really wants, and plan him a beach trip!