Free Transportation on Anna Maria Island – Monkey Bus

What?  You heard it right, free transportation on Anna Maria Island.  Maybe you are planning a night out on the town taking in some libations and you want someone else to do the heavy lifting?  Perhaps you want to enjoy the sights of Anna Maria Island without worrying about traffic, pedestrians in cross walks, you name it.  After all you are on vacation!  Locals refer to the service as the Monkey Bus.

free trolley anna maria
Photo courtesy of www.annamariaislandchamber.org

The crown jewel of Anna Maria Island is our free Trolley service that travels the entire island.  The trolley definitely has limited hours it shuttles patrons around Anna Maria Island so be sure if you are hitting some local night spots that you plan appropriately to get home or prepared to call a taxi.  The Anna Maria Island trolley does accept donations.

Another free transportation is what Anna Maria Island locals refer to as the “Monkey bus.”  It is really not free as they accept tips but a great way to get around the island if you have time to spare.  They operate fairly late but at the time of our post their hours are noon to 3 AM.  They can seat any number of passengers from their 8 passenger golf cart to their mini bus.  They make travel fun and can be reached at 941 565-6542.  They can handle special occassions as well but require reservations.

Of course you can always plan to pay using a taxi service and several other options on Anna Maria Island.

Why Morning Walks are the Best on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – As someone who is typically not a morning person, I can say I don’t go for morning walks all that often. However, if I was waking up by the beach every morning I’d be up by the crack of dawn! Why you might ask? Here’s five reasons why morning walks on the beach are the best.

5 reasons morning walks are the best

1. Sunrise

If you’ve ever seen a Florida sunrise, you know how beautiful they are. But can you imagine what it looks like by the beach? While Anna Maria is known for it’s sunsets, it’s sunrises are equally as beautiful. A few good places to watch the sunrise would be Bean Point, the boat ramp at Coquina Beach, or the pier at Bridge Street.

sunrise on morning walk
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise on Anna Maria!

2. Look for shells

One of the best features of Anna Maria Island are the gorgeous seashells that can be found on the shoreline. While you can find shells at all times of the day, the morning is when you can find the newest and prettiest shells. This is because they haven’t had the chance to be stepped on or picked up by other people. You might even be able to find full shells from hermit crabs!

shells on your morning walk
Find shells on your morning walk!

3. Watch Coquinas burrow

Even though I have been a Floridian all my life, I still love watching coquinas burrow into the sand. These cool little creatures look just like any other shell, except they’re alive! Because there’s less people around in the morning, it’s easier to spot them digging through the sand, just look by the shoreline! However, we do ask for you to be gentle with them and return them to the ocean as they do need water to survive!

coquinas on your morning walk
Find Coquinas!

4. Watch the scampering birds

If you’ve seen Finding Dory, you know that little short film called ‘Piper’. Well, those birds are actually real and we have them right at our beaches! These little birds called sandpipers are known for scampering around and finding clams on the shore to eat. You can especially see them in the morning when they have more room to run around! Here’s a snippet of the short film if you didn’t get the chance to see it:

5. Help clean the beaches

As a good civilian, it is everyone’s duty to help keep our beaches clean so we can continue enjoying them. By waking up early, not only do you have the chance to do everything listed above, but you can help out our environment at the same time. A great way to do this would be to bring a bag with you on your walk so you can pick up litter. Even just cleaning up behind yourself helps a lot more than you may think!

pick up litter on morning walks
Help out our beaches by picking up litter on your walk!

Bean Point – Anna Maria Island’s Secret Serenity

Bean Point footbridge
The footbridge at Bean Point

Bean Point is the very northern tip of Anna Maria Island.  It is a local secret that provides breathtaking views of the sunset on a pristine, and serene beach.  Named for George Emerson Bean, the first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island, Bean Point is located on a secluded stretch of beach at the northern end of what was Bean’s original homesteaded property.

You won’t find a parking lot, or any large signs, to direct you to this treasure of nature.  To get there you’ll need to head North of the City Pier in Anna Maria on North Bay Blvd.  The “main entrance” to Bean Point is located at a small crossroads.  You will notice the tree lined path that divides the two properties at the the intersection of North Bay Blvd & North Shore Dr.  If you ride your bicycle, you can ride right up the path, and park just to the side of the classic, wooden footbridge that sets the tone for your Anna Maria beach experience.  If you drive your car, you have a few options.  There are actually entrances at the corners of Fern St & N. Shore Dr, and Gladiolus St. & North Shore as well.  Each of these entrances is marked by a small white posted sign that merely states “Public Beach Access”.  Using the intersection of North Bay blvd and North Shore will provide immediate access to the famed “Bean Point” but half the fun is getting there?  Using the public beach access point to the South will allow you to walk along the beach and take in the sites where the Bay and Gulf meet.  When parking you can choose a spot near any of these entrances, and take the path out to the beach.   Local Tip: parking regulations are strictly enforced on Anna Maria Island.  If it says No Parking, don’t do it, unless you want a ticket.  If you do park on the roadside be sure your tires are off the asphalt street.  If just 1″ is on the street you likely will return with a bad suprise after your liesurely stroll along the beaches of Anna Maria.  There are spots along the side streets, including Gladiolus and Fern.  To park near the footbridge entrance, I would recommend heading down to Jacaranda to find an empty (and legal) parking place.

Once your car is settled, head up the nearest path to the gorgeous turquoise waters where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Tampa Bay.   After your leisurely stroll down the path, turn right when you get to the sand, and head north to the point, for spectacular views that include the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.    If the tide is low, you can see the sand bar just off the coast.  Just a little wading into the warm water will take you there, and you can shell ‘til your heart’s content!  The views are amazing, the water is inviting, and the atmosphere is relaxed and serene.  There are quiet spots to sit and enjoy the view, and watch the waters and the wildlife.  I love where the water collides as the tide shifts from the East side of Anna Maria Island to the West side.

There are signs of life relaxing all over the Point.  My children love pointing out the crab holes in the sand.  There are a few turtle nests marked off right now, that are ready to hatch by the end of this month.  There is always something to delight the bird watcher too…with several different birdies to entertain you as they guard their beach turf from one another.  Off in the distance you can see the shores of Egmont Key, and there are always the boats to enjoy watching as they pass by.

So, head to Bean Point to capture a quiet beach moment, or a breathtaking sunset, and enjoy one of the most relaxing spots on an island famous for its relaxation.  Check out Vacasa’s Vacation Rentals to find your perfect spot to capture all that Anna Maria Island has to offer.    Call them toll free, at 800 778 6066, and one of our Vacation Rental Specialist can help you find your perfect spot.

Looking for a vacation rental close to Bean Point?  Grand Haven is just a few properties to the South and is a great bet for a Bean Point vacation as well.

Top Fitness Activities – Anna Maria Island

When visiting Anna Maria Island there are plenty of fitness activities to keep you feeling healthy during your paradise getaway. Enjoy a great vacation guilt free when you try out these Top 11 fitness activities on Anna Maria Island.

Top 11 Fitness Activities

1. Going to the gym: Kick boxing class with Reggie is best! I love working out with my personal trainer Brenda and doing the different boot camps offered!  Recently Island Fitness has relocated to the Anna Maria Island Center formerly known as the Anna Maria Island Community Center.
Island Fitness: 407 Magnolia, Anna Maria City, FL 34216
– Phone: (941) 778-5200

2. Fit Crew: Great boot camp style work out (very similar to CrossFit) sometimes they have a beach work out on AMI!
– First class is free! Come and see if you like it!
– 608 19th Ave West, Bradenton, FL 34205
– Phone : (941) 447-9272

3. Bike riding from the Anna Maria Island to the Robinson Preserve and back. If you are looking for other parks nearby check out our list here.
– I love the 11 mile back ride, easily done in 1 hour, always able to spot local wildlife!
– Robinson Preserve: 1112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
Phone: (941) 748-4501

bicycling on anna Maria Island
Riding a bike is a great fitness activity on Anna Maria Island.

4. Bike riding to Harry’s Continental Kitchen on Longboat Key.
– The food is amazing!
– This is about a 16 mile bike ride.
– Harry’s continental Kitchen: 5600 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, FL 34228
– Phone: (941) 383-0777

Insider tip:  The Coquina Bike path is a great low key bike path that takes you off the streets and lets you bike on a side walk close to the Beach!

5. Paddle boarding or kayaking around the bayous and gulf side. Love the workout and being able to be out on the water while getting a tan!

6. Playing golf at one of the many area golf courses.

7. Rollerblading around the many back streets on Anna Maria Island.

8. Playing tennis at the local free tennis courts, or shooting some hoops at the public Basketball Court.

Fitness activity
Tennis is a great fitness activity during your Anna Maria Island vacation.

9. Go Legs Spin Studio very close to IMG Academies. Hour long spin sessions and toning with weights.
– 2 projectors in the studio to watch music videos and replays of real
Cycle races such as the Tour de France.
– 3549 53rd Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34210
– Phone: (941) 896-7885

10. Activities at the Anna Maria Island Community Center are great for keeping you in shape during your stay on Anna Maria Island.

fitness activities
The Anna Maria Island Community Center offers great fitness activities

11. Last but not least: going on a sunset beach run along the water. I love taking pictures and watching the day end as I get a good run in!

Historic City Pier Anna Maria – Take A Stroll on Tampa Bay

City Pier Anna Maria The city Pier Anna Maria is a great site to see when visiting Anna Maria Island, Florida.  (Sorry, since 2017 Irma the City pier is temporarily closed.  However, there is still plenty to do in the ara and all the below information is accurate) Grabbing an ice cream at Two Scoops and walking the pier is a must!  Another great past time, swing over to Two Sides of Nature and do some shopping. Stop in at the Waterfront. restaurant, across the street, for a great bite to eat.

At the end of the pier you can grab dinner and lunch, or pick up some hand made jewelry.  If you like fishing then stop in to gab with the fishermen on the pier and see what is biting.

City Pier Anna Maria is a historical site

The sign at the entrance of the City Pier Anna Maria says it all.  “The Anna Maria Development Company built this pier and wharf in 1911-1912 to provide dockage for ships from St. Petersburg and Tampa.  It has since withstood hurricanes and lesser storms too numerous to mention.  Although parts were damaged in storms in 1918, 1935, 1974, 1988, 2017 it has each time been restored to its approximate  original form.  Unfortunately the pier as of 2017 is closed for major repairs.  The City of Anna Maria as well as Manatee County are initiating plans to repair the pier and brint it back to all it’s glory.  The Anna Maria City pier is 678 feet long so it is no small task to repair it’s infastructure.  The wharf extends another 58 feet into Tampa bay. Over the years it has nurtured the hopes of fisherman and the dreams of lovers. Provided roosts for pelicans and other sea birds, and has also been a friend to residents and visitors alike.

Over the center of the tin roof, from the third shore bench to the south of this marker, on clear nights can be seen the North star. Guardian of the mariners since the first sailor looked up for guidance of the night sea.

When the pier opens again, hopefully soon… walk the planks. Beneath the Roof of this City Pier is the Place to sit with Shrimp and Beer. While Lightening in the distance plays and thunder rumbles across the bays. “Summer Storm”…CMV ”

Anna Maria Beach Real Estate

There are plenty of gorgeous Anna Maria beach cottages available through Island Real Estate! Check out the selection of homes, and be sure to seek real estate advices from one of our full time sales professionals.

Top Ten Night Spots – Libations Anna Maria Island

If you are looking to enjoy a little night life while visiting Anna Maria Island we have got you covered! Here is our top ten night spots on Anna Maria Island.  By the way in no particular order and tried to include the normal outfits found for patrons visiting the night spot.  We would classify night spots into three categories; Motorcycle bar, Coastal Vacationer bar, Local bar or a mixture of Vacationer and Local.

Top Ten Night Spots

1. Hurricane Hanks– Laid-back sports bar with a fantastic menu!  I have never had a bad meal at Hurricane’s so grab a drink and enjoy some great eat’s.  My father love’s grabbing a gin and tonic with the scallops and bacon appetizer.  Business casual is normally the outfits found at Hurricane Hanks and this is a mixture of Coastal Vacationer and Locals.

5346 Gulf Drive,
Holmes Beach, FL
(941) 778-5788

mermaid drinks
Enjoy a fruity drink for the ultimate mermaid experience!

2. Island Time Bar & Grill– Great atmosphere with live music & a tasty menu!  Coastal casual wear is what would be found at Island time and this is a mixture of Coastal Vacationer and Locals.

111 Gulf Drive
South Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
1st Floor
TEL: 941-782-1122

3. Cortez Kitchen– Located not too far off the Cortez Bridge, this outdoors, laid back restaurant most likely will have a live band, good food, and a good time in store for you.  Good mix of coastal visitors and locals makes this a good choice for any type of evening you are looking for.

4528 119th Street West Cortez, FL 34215
(941) 798-9404

4Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar– Inside is the sports bar and restaurant, outside’s a tiki bar with live music, right on the water, and even a flat screen for game days!  Located in Bradenton Beach just of Bridge Street.  Parking can be a challenge so bring your patience or ride the trolley!  Good mixture of Coastal Vacationers and Locals.

155 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-4849

5. Dcoy Ducks – Great nightspot with live music, poker nights and more!  Located in the heart of Holmes Beach right next to the Feast.  Go grab some fabulous food at the Feast and walk less than 30 feet to Dcoy Duck’s!  Normal outfit would be a tshirt with some casual shorts.  Leather could be included but this is a good mix of visitors and locals that patronize this bar.  Mixture of locals, coastal vacationers and motorcyle patrons.

5410 Marina Drive,
Holmes Beach, FL
(941) 778-5888

6Drift Inn– Small town bar on historic bridge street.  Normal outfit could include a little leather but likely includes a t-shirt and some torn up blue jeans.  More of a feel of motorcycle patrons along with locals.

120 Bridge Street,
Bradenton Beach, FL
(941) 778-9088

7Anchor Inn– Friendly bar with pool tables and darts.  This is one of several local bars located just South of Publix.  Normal outfit would include a little leather.  More of a feel of motorcycle patrons along with locals.

3007 Gulf Drive,
Holmes Beach, FL
(941) 778-3085

8Bortells – Pinball, video games, and pool tables.  Normal outfit would include a little leather and some blue jeans.

10002 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria, FL
(941) 778-5487

9.  The Doctor’s office is located within a short 2-3 minute stroll from the Feast or Dcoy Ducks.  The Doctor’s Office is a craft cocktail bar.  They have small bites, wine, beer and some unique cocktails to offer.  This is a very quaint and cozy bar that reminds me more of a cigar parlor with comfy seats and fabulous staff that works to meet your every whim.  Normal outfit would be business casual and this has strong coastal vacationer feel.

5312 Holmes Blvd
Holmes Beach, FL
(941) 213-9926

10. Slim’s– Great place to watch sports! Great food, billiards and live entertainment.  This for sure is a local hang out and many nights they host after party teams from the Anna Maria community Center extracurricular evening sports activities.  Normal outfit would be coastal wear with some shorts.  Coastal vacationer and local hangout.

9701 Gulf Dr.
Anna Maria, FL
(941) 567-4056

We have plenty of more suggestions for places to visit while on Anna Maria Island.  Visit our nightlife information page.

Anna Maria Island Real Estate

Island Real Estate has dominated the Anna Maria Island Real Estate market for more than two decades.  Visit with one of our full time sales professionals or view our real estate listings to get your “peace” of paradise.

By the way – there is no reason to drink and drive on Anna Maria Island.  Check out the free monkey bus or the free Anna Maria Island Trolley for plans to let someone else handle the heavy lifting while out on the town!

Anna Maria Island Theater – Island Players

Anna Maria Island Theater

If you are in town while the Island Players are in session be sure to visit the Anna Maria Island theater!

Take in a fantastic “home grown” play at the historical Players theater at 10009 Gulf Drive in the city of Anna Maria. Usually the Island Players have five different shows that go on from middle of October to the middle of May. They claim to be “the best little playhouse in Florida” and also the oldest community theater in Manatee County.

The Island Players Theater seats 143 in tiered rows. Tickets cost $25/person or season tickets can be purchased for $92.50. Tickets can be bought at the box office in person or by phone at (941) 778-5755.

Locate their web site at Island Players.  Visit Island Real Estate for Vacation Rentals or Homes in Anna Maria City. Also visit the Island Real Estate Local Scene page for tons of fabulous suggestions for things to do while visiting Anna Maria Island.

Island Players
10009 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria City, FL, 34216

Anna Maria Island theater

Top 5 Activities for Teens on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Activities for teens – As a teenager myself I know it can be hard to find fun activities for teens on Anna Maria Island without the parents that won’t worry them like crazy. However, here on the island there is such a variety of activities it will seem almost too easy to get away and make memories with your friends.

Anna Maria Island Activities for Teens

1. Bike around the island

A great way to experience the island is biking. With the island only being seven miles long the trip isn’t strenuous, and is a great way to find shops and explore the island. Also, it’s a great way to keep in shape and help the environment, which is something Anna Maria prides itself on. Some great places to rent bikes are Beach Bums, Just 4 Fun, and AMI Beach Fun. Check out the Anna Maria Island bike guide here!

2. Go paddle boarding

Paddle Boarding around the island is one of the most fun ways to explore new places and sea life. For beginners, it’s recommended to find a place with calm water to learn on. Some good places to launch off of are the pier on 63rd street, Bimini Bay, and Bayfront Park. Many places are accessible by Anna Maria’s free trolley that goes through Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Find the trolley schedule here.

Anna Maria Island Activities for teens
Bay Front park is a great place for Paddle boarding!

3. Catch ’em all

With the newest app Pokémon Go being released on July 6th, 2016 Anna Maria has become the perfect place to find tons of poke stops and gyms during your stay. Not only is the game extremely fun, it gives you the chance to explore the island, and meet new people along the way. Collect pokeballs and powerups at the Florida Friendly Demonstration Garden while experiencing a place you might not have known about otherwise. Also, since you’re so close to the ocean you get to find water Pokémon such as Psyduck and Squirtle. This helps add to your collection AND find better Pokémon to battle with! Want a playlist to catch ’em all to? Click here to add some spunk to your adventure! Just remember if you’re driving to be safe and #DontCatchAndDrive.

Activities for teens on Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is a really fun place to explore with Pokemon Go!

4. Eat!

I can proudly say eating different food is one of my favorite parts of vacationing, and Anna Maria doesn’t let down. Start your day off with Minnie’s Beach Cafe for breakfast on Holmes Beach, where they serve delicious pancakes and sandwiches! For lunch try Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe where they serve delicious sandwiches and platters. Dinner is served at Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier where there is yummy sea food and a pretty view.  Also, if you’re craving a treat The Donut Experiment makes tasty made-to-order donuts, or Two Scoops is the home to 32 different flavors of ice cream.

Activities for teens on Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) on the pier is a great place to eat for teens on a budget!

5. Shop Shop Shop!

Who doesn’t love to shop while on vacation? The Island has the coolest shops, providing fun presents for the family and fun activities for teens on Anna Maria Island. Some of the best shops are:

Anna Maria- Three Island Monkeys, Two Sides of Nature, White Egret LLC

Holmes Beach- Sand Dollar Gift Shop, Island Bazaar, West Coast Surf Shop

Bradenton Beach- Bridge Street Bazaar, Green Turtle Shell and Gift Shop, The Hive Creations

Family Fun on Anna Maria Island

Family fun on Anna Maria Island is all about love, and we have plenty of things you’ll love to do with your family while vacationing on Anna Maria Island.

Family Fun on Anna Maria Island!

Robinson Preserve Treehouse
Make it a day trip and visit some of the Manatee county parks which are as close as a bike ride to Anna Maria Island or check out some of our other day trip recommendations! There are plenty of other parks to have a picnic or you can spend a day with the kids at the local children’s playgrounds.  (Note, the tower in the picture can be found at Robinson’s Preserve which has fantastic views in all directions!)

Restaurants – Dining

Robinson Preserve Kayak
If you’re looking for a family friendly restaurant try checking out one of the island’s Gulf Front or Bay Front restaurants featuring live entertainment and a comfortable inviting atmosphere.  If you are looking for general dining information visit our restaurant summary page for more dining out choices.

Things To Do – Family Fun

Florida Aquarium
If you’re getting tired of swimming or visiting the many beaches in the area there are plenty of public pools to visit as well. Take a trip to one of the area aquariums to get a close up look at the sea life! A short trip to the Florida Maritime Museum will be both educational and fun for the whole family.

If you’re visiting during the summer there are plenty of additional options, such as participating in the turtle watch which takes place between May 1st-October 31st. The kids can learn about the local turtles and see some of the nesting grounds that are penned off with stakes and tape right on the beaches. Kids can also learn to surf with the kid’s summer surfing camps!

Ellenton Outlet Mall also offers plenty of family fun. Featuring shops, restaurants, and sights galore there is plenty to keep you in the area for a full day. There is also the Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach to check out.
Island Pearl
Take a water shuttle trip on the Island Pearl to various locations and maybe even see some dolphins! Or for those who prefer solid ground the Anna Maria Island Trolley the Crown Jewel will take you around the island for free!

If you would like you can take a video tour of Anna Maria Island before you visit to get acquainted with some of the sights and locations!

Video Tour

Invite your kids to share their opinions or check out more activities in our Kid’s Corner or check out the Top Ten Kid’s Activities.

Coquina Bike Path ~ Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Island’s Best on The Beach

Anna Maria Island is a great place to take a family walk, bike ride, or just enjoy the breath taking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t let the name fool you, the Coquina Bike path is not for just bikes but includes patrons strolling down the Gulf Waters.  The Coquina bike path is paved and stretches between Coquina beach and Cortez Beach.  Located in Bradenton Beach just south of Bridge Street, you will find Cortez Beach.

This beach offers free parking and lots of it!  As you move further south into Coquina Beach, you will find public restrooms, picnic tables, beach showers, and lifeguards on duty.  Coquina beach also has a café that serves burgers and hot dogs right on the beach.

One of my favorite things to do is take a nice, easy bike ride through Coquina Beach. I start at the south end of the island under the Long Boat Key Bridge and head north towards Cortez Beach along the paved path. Take the time to enjoy island wildlife as you are greeted by squirrels, native birds like the Blue Heron, and if you are lucky, you may see dolphins or manatees enjoying their Florida lifestyle.

If you can’t bring your own bicycle, there are lots of places to rent them on Anna Maria Island.   Most folks love Bradenton Beach because there are plenty of accommodation choices as well as dining and shopping within a stroll away.