One thing you’ll never be on Anna Maria Island is bored! There are so many activities in the area, you could plan a full day and never cross over to the mainland! From fishing and wildlife watching to lazing on the best beach in the area, our Local Scene blog has the best of the best in things to do from Holmes Beach, Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and even farther south into Longboat Key and Sarasota!
If you have visited Anna Maria Island before, then you are well aware that golf carts are one of the most popular forms on transportation on AMI. Golf Carts are legal on all the roads here on the Island, where the highest speed limit is 35 MPH. So if you are beginning to plan your next vacation to our beautiful little Island in the sun, then make sure you contact AMI Golf Cart Rentals.
AMI Golf Cart Rentals make the golf cart renting experience easy. Just let them know when you need a cart and they’ll be wherever you need them to promptly pickup/drop-off a cart. They offer electric 4 & 6 seater luxury and economy carts for single day rental, 3 day rental, and week long rentals.
Pizza is always a fun dinner – some people even enjoy cold pizza for breakfast! Pizza on vacation is an easy choice and Solo’s Pizza in Holmes Beach is worth checking out. Offering both dine in and delivery, Solo’s is open at 4pm everyday with closing times varying due to season “or weather” according to their website.
While they offer mostly traditional pizzeria fare there are also wings, subs and burgers. Solo’s makes their pizza as a thin crispy crusted pie yet their calzones are deliciously chewy. They have both meat and veggie options (not vegan) and if you’re really hungry you can order the “Super Deluxe” which includes both!
Solo’s Pizza also offers the NFL Sunday Ticket football package with several TV’s so you can watch your favorite team with a cold beer or glass of wine.
3224 East Bay Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217 941-778-8118
Anna Maria Island has a lot to offer. There is the white sand beaches, the stunning turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico, and amazing restaurants and shops. But another fantastic part about this area is the fishing. So if you are planning your vacation to AMI, make sure you include AMI Charters in your plans.
AMI Charters is a USCG licensed and insured private charter service that offers fishing trips, sunset cruises, boat & kayak tours, and fun runs. Whichever excursion you decide on, you will definitely be in good hands with Captain Scott, Captain Blake, Captain Jake, and Kayak Alex.
AMI Charters services include (check website for pricing):
4 Hour Fishing (Inshore/Nearshore)
6 Hour Fishing (Inshore/Nearshore)
2 Hour Kids Fishing (Inshore)
4 Hour Fly Fishing
4 Hour Kayak Fishing
6 Hour Tarpon Trip
2 Hour Family Boat Tour
2 Hour Kayak Tour
4 Hour Kayak Tour
Soccer. It’s a sport loved and played by many across the world. And the Labor Day Showcase is quickly approaching, which means in just a week an estimated 2,100 athletes and an additional 3,500 spectators will be flocking the area to compete in this youth soccer tournament.
The competition is for boys and girls, ages 7 – 19, and will be taking place at the Lakewood Ranch Premier Sports Campus (5895 Post Blvd, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211). This location is a 140 acre full-time sports complex, equipped with over 20 professional size fields (all being Celebration Turf), and over 40 acres of parking.
Jessie’s Island Store is located on the West side of Marina Drive in Holmes Beach, FL and is otherwise known as the Shell gas station. Jessie’s is a convenience store that offers all the normal convenience store items. Milk, chips, beverages including alcoholic, candy, maps, and other items that get you through one day or evening.
Obviously the store allows to kill two birds with one stone because you can pick up gasoline for your vehicle also. Jessie’s offers very reasonable make to order sandwiches, pre-made sandwiches, pasta salads, potato salads, chicken salad, and hot pressed Cubans. The central location on Anna Maria Island offers easy access to pick up a quick lunch on your way to the public beach, Holmes Beach skate park, or one of the piers in Anna Maria city. A quick picnic with the family is just what the doctor ordered!
5424 Marina Drive Holmes Beach, FL, 34217 (941) 778-6903
Enjoy some of the best seafood in the local area while overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway at Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina. Tide Tables is located in Bradenton at the base of the Cortez bridge. This place is definitely a favorite among visitors and locals, and for good reasons. The food is always good, the beers are always cold, and the view is unbeatable.
Lets talk about the menu. For something on the lighter side, go for their soup. They have a delicious gumbo with chicken & andouille sausage, as well as homemade soup du jour. For starters, they offer peel & eat shrimp, grouper bites, conch fritters, etc. Their sandwich options include a shrimp po boy, mojo chicken, fresh grouper, and of course a burger. For the main course, there is scallops, corvina, fish tacos, and more! If you’re not a fan of seafood, go for the BBQ ribs or the mojo chicken entree. They also have a great selection of craft and local brews/ciders that are constantly changing.
Tide Tables is open for lunch and dinner everyday, from 11:30am – 8:00pm.
The Dollar Tree in Holmes Beach is located in the Benderson Plaza by the Island’s CVS and Ace Hardware. The Dollar Tree is super convenient for those on vacation. If you live here, or have visited AMI enough, then you know how crazy busy Publix Supermarket can be. Need some condiments but don’t want to deal with the crowd at Publix? Head over to The Dollar Tree just down the road. They should have what you need, and for only a $1.00 or less! Who doesn’t love saving a little extra cash, especially on vacation!
Another great aspect is that you can pickup some pool noodles and beach toys. There’s no point in spending a pretty penny on things you’ll only use for the week, so go here first for your beach/pool accessories. Of course they also have the typical household items, cleaning supplies, food, snacks, etc. The Dollar Tree in Holmes Beach is definitely worth stopping by and seeing what they’ve got before you go shopping anywhere else.
3260 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 (941) 242-6753
Sea cookies, snapper biscuits, sand cakes, pansy shells, or cake urchins. It doesn’t matter what you call them, we all want to leave the beach with at least one perfect specimen to add to our shell collection.
While many visitors come to Anna Maria Island for the ocean breeze, the turquoise water, and the sunshine, you can also add shell collection to the list. The Florida waters are home to thousands of different forms of sea life that wash up on our shores, but few are more sought after than the elusive sand dollar. They adorn frames, vases, candles, necklaces and so much more. It is often said that the sand dollar is worth more than the real dollar.
I find the best beaches on Anna Maria Island for sand dollars is Bean Point. With some good detective work you can find them on Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach or Anna Maria City Beach and everywhere between.
Rule #1~ Know and love your tide chart. Sand dollars are often found just slightly beneath the mean low water line. In other words, the lowest level reached by the sea at low tide. They can be found on top, or just beneath the surface of the sand in those areas.
Rule #2~ Use your very best sleuthing skills. Scour the sand for round patches or depressions in the sand. The natural holes around petal shaped middle will allow sand to fall in, creating just a hint of a round depression.
Rule #3~ Gently dig to the very bottom of the natural piles of shells. When the shells aggregate on the shore there is usually at least one hiding in there somewhere.
Rule #4~ Look for the spare change. (That’s what my family calls the little broken pieces of sand dollars.) Living sand dollars love to hang out together. According to the brilliant folks at The Bishop Museum of Science and Art there can be as many as 600 in a single square yard. If you find a lot of broken pieces in the same place then look a little further out into the water. There just may be an intact sand dollar that hasn’t washed up yet.
Rule #5~ Never, EVER, take a live sand dollar (or anything else living for that matter) from the beach. There are many cities where it is illegal and the fines are substantial. The legality aside, it would be a poor environmental choice. The ocean is a very delicate ecosystem. The clear, clean water we enjoy is brought to you in part by the living sand dollars. Sand dollars feed on small food particles in the sand, typically microscopic algae and tiny fragments of other dead animals. You wouldn’t want to go body surfing in that! If the sand dollar still has spines and feet then gently place it back in the water.
Sand dollars can somewhat tricky to find, but that is why it is so exciting when you find one! Hopefully you learned a trick or two that will help you in your hunting. Worse case scenario~ you spent a great day at the beach!
It is storming on the island today. The kind of storm where the rain seems to be falling horizontally and the palms sway with such exuberance that you think they may snap. That is great news for anyone who is interested in shelling on any of Anna Maria Island beaches.
During a storm the wind and wave action can wash up all sorts of treasures. From fossils and bits of coral to some of the more rare specimens. The longer the period of time between storms, the more will wash up. When the waters are calm the shells accumulate on the edges of the sandbars. A good ole tropical storm will break up even the most dense aggregate and send them toward shore. If you walk the beaches hours, even a day, after a good storm you are in for a treat. More than likely you will wander across little hills of shells scattered on the sand. Spend some time gently sifting through the collection. Some of the best finds are at the very bottom!
The tide plays a significant roll in the amount of shells to be found on any given beach as well. You will often find more shells 2-3 hours prior to low tide or an hour or so after. You can access a simple tide chart for Anna Maria Island here. If you want to get really technical, the shelling may be even better if you can go the days closest to the full moon. With the full moon comes the increased gravitational pull that can cause tidal extremes. With those extremes comes the shells that are normally still under water.
Don’t be afraid to do the shell shuffle! I have made some of my greatest finds that way. Stand in the water at about waist high and slowly, gently dig around with your toes in the sand. Proceed with caution, some may be sharp!
While enjoying the bounty the ocean has provided, make sure you do your part to protect it. Any garbage is detrimental to the delicate ecosystem of our oceans. Bring two bags, one for shells and one for litter. Sometimes the litter can be its own treasure. You can make a game of it, like a trash treasure hunt. If you want to get really creative make a scavenger hunt list for each member of the shelling group and the winner gets a triple scoop of ice cream from any of Anna Maria Islands fabulous ice cream shops!
You will find shells on any of Anna Maria Islands fabulous beaches. Most people you ask will have their favorite spot. My personal favorite is the path less traveled, Bean Point on the northern part of the island. If you opt to stay in one of the Anna Maria Island waterfront rentals your favorite spot just may be your ‘front yard’. Happy Shelling!
We love our furry family members, so why leave your pet behind when Island Real Estate Vacations has so many Anna Maria Island pet friendly properties. The island is very dog friendly with water bowls randomly placed and lots of restaurants that allow pets in outdoor seating areas. Unfortunately, Anna Maria Island does not have any pet friendly beaches but there are plenty of other options. By the way, not sure if this is the exact order but they are all great things to do!