Shopping Anna Maria Island – The island offers a unique shopping experience with fabulous boutiques, art galleries and gorgeous little shops great for finding that perfect memento to remember your trip to Anna Maria Island. The Island does not offer many chain stores or big box retailers giving the shopping experience a one of a kind feel.
Shopping Anna Maria Island
You’ll find access to just about everything you’ll need during your stay including groceries, pharmacies, clothes, swimsuits and beach gear, souvenirs and local art.
Groceries and more
For those from the Southeast you’ll be glad to know there is a Publix supermarket in Holmes Beach along with a CVS and Walgreens drugstore. If you must visit a big box store there is a Kmart on Manatee Avenue just a short trip over the bridge, but most of the things you’ll need can be purchased on island.
Independently owned shops pepper the island. Find hots spots located to the North along Pine Avenue, Centrally in Holmes Beach, and Bridge Street to the South. Another great way to explore shopping opportunities stress free is to take advantage of the free trolley. Don’t worry about finding a parking spot or dealing with traffic. The free trolley runs from Pine Avenue down to Coquina Beach with stops all along the way. There are several trolleys making their way around the island. So, typically you won’t have to wait more than 20 minutes for one to pass by. During high season parking can be difficult, so the trolley is worth the wait especially during a laid back island style vacation.
If you are planning on shopping while on Anna Maria Island peruse our vendor listings and blogs. linked below, you;ll find out about all the fabulous places to check out during your stay.
An Anna Maria Island Winter is absolutely wonderful! While temperatures vary, typically you won’t see day time cold weather below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during island winters.
Anna Maria Island Winter Fun Activities
Follow our list of cold weather activities and you’re sure to have a great time for your Anna Maria Island Winter vacation!
Sand Angel and Sand Men too!
We don’t have snow in Florida, but we do have sand. Tons of it! On Anna Maria Island there is over seven miles of powder fine sand coastline ready for you to play in. Instead of the traditional snow angels and snow men try your hand at a sand man or sand angel.
Dining and Shopping
Naturally, when visiting even warm winter climates, you’ll want to have indoor activities. Luckily, Anna Maria Island has tons of great dining and shopping spots! You’ll find shopping and dining spots peppered across the island, but there are a few hubs to keep in mind. Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria offers great boutiques and restaurants. The Central city of Holmes Beach has a commercial district at the corner of Marina and Gulf Drive. Then a second spot on East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue. Bradenton Beach, the southern island city, offers great shopping and dining on Bridge Street.
Since there are fewer people on the beach in the winter, your chances of finding the best seashells increases. Beach combing is a relaxing pass time. Bundle up with a thick sweater and head out to the beach for some great winter shelling!
Hot Chocolate with an Island Twist
Cold winter months were made for curling up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate! This is a great way to relax at an Anna Maria Island beach rental during the cold months. Try this recipe for Toasted Coconut Hot Chocolate and you’ll have an island twist for an old standby.
Winter is a lovely time for kayak trips around Anna Maria Island. Since the Gulf may be too cold for your liking, you can still get out and not get wet with a kayak. Often, during winter, you will find the Gulf is flat like glass. This makes kayaking fun, safe and relaxing. You could also head over to the Intracoastal side of the island to find Mangroves and diverse wildlife.
Dolphins are not hard to find around Anna Maria Island. This is especially true when you book a boat tour. Many of the local charter captains know where to find pods of Dolphins jumping and playing around the island. A trip to the island isn’t complete without spotting a dolphin.
Fishing is great anytime of year in Florida, and winter is no exception! Head to a pier, or book a fishing charter. Either way you’re sure to catch something good!
Winter Beach Rentals
While visiting Anna Maria Island in the summer is fun, the cooler months still bring a great opportunity to visit the gulf coast. You will find great economy options on beach rentals during the winter. Especially during January, rental prices are at some of their lowest! You won’t have to break the bank to escape the winter snow and ice.
Salt a Margarita instead of your driveway!
Don’t spend winter salting your driveway, come to Anna Maria Island and salt a Margarita instead!
This is the ultimate Anna Maria Island Bucket List! There are tons of great activities to enjoy during your visit, however, there are some must dos. Follow this great list and you’ll be sure to have a blast on Anna Maria Island!
The Ultimate Anna Maria Island Bucket List
Visit an Anna Maria Island vacation rental on the beach. – This is the best way to visit Anna Maria Island!
Eat a burger from both Duffy’s and Skinny’s. Locals are divided about the best burger on island, so find out for yourself.
Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking is easy and delicious if you know how. Home chefs with even the most basic of cooking skills can create fresh, convenient and enjoyable meals. Anna Maria Island is a great vacation spot for beach fun, but also offers great local ingredients for meal time. While visiting the island you’ll find fresh seafood, local produce and local made craft beers.
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Cooking Guide
Follow these easy tips, and you will have a week worth of creative easy meals you won’t forget!
Before making your way to an Anna Maria Island vacation rental, get an idea of what is in season. Food can be a factor when picking a vacation destination. Every region of the world is known for a unique seasonal food, so if you plan to cook, plan on enjoying what is readily available. Picking foods at their seasons peak is the best way to enjoy eating.
Popular Seasons on Anna Maria Island
Spiny Lobster – Begining of August through March. Stone Crab Claws – Mid October through mid May.
Mullet – Peaks in the Fall; Thanksgiving through January.
Tomatoes – Year round except July, August and September.
Strawberries – December – April.
Citrus – All year with the exception of summer months.
Learn more about when and what is growing in Manatee County here.
Go Local with Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
Eating seasonally is only part of what makes a great vacation rental cooking experience. You must also shop local. Anna Maria Island is home to several specialty shops run by locals. Check out Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost, The Island Fresh Market and Starfish Market to find a variety of specialty items. From fresh off the boat seafood to fresh baked bread these locals run specialty shops are a big hit.
Keeping it Simple and One Pot Meals
Save fancy fussy meals for dining out when staying in an Anna Maria Island vacation rental. Keep meal time easy, so you don’t become stressed out. Fight the urge to try out a new complicated recipe, and let professionals wow you instead. Complicated and messy meal preparation doesn’t lend to the laid back style of the island.
Preparing large dishes that can last through the week is a smart option.
For breakfast try make ahead options like quiche using a store bought pie crust. Make quiche ahead of time, and simply re-heat in the morning. A large batch of chicken salad can create beautiful sandwiches, or simply sit on top of a bowl of dressed greens for easy lunch options.
Try one pot meals for dinner time.
There is nothing easier than throwing some fresh local ingredients all in one pot. You can create many delicious meals, and have little to clean up when you try out these great one pot meals from Martha Stewart.
Take a kitchen equipment inventory
When you get to your Anna Maria Island vacation rental take an inventory of what kitchen equipment is available. You may want to inquire what is available ahead of time if you decide to bring food with you. Some dishes require special equipment. Inquiring is also a good idea if you have a particular dish you’ll be making. This way you won’t have to buy special equipment for your stay.
Splurge on Quality
You’re on vacation, so treat yourself like it! Splurge on buying quality ingredients, and not just the generic or less expensive versions of items. Vacations are about relaxing and enjoying things you don’t usually experience, so go all out.
Avoid bargain bulk buys
Often when shopping for groceries, shoppers will buy the items with a great bang for buck ratio. Doing so leads you to buying large portions of individual items. This practice may not be appropriate for a vacation rental kitchen. After your week long vacation you probably don’t want to transport food home, so consider buying smaller portions from the grocery store. Only what you need during your stay. The exception to this rule would be for those vacationing with very large groups.
Grill out with your fresh catch
Anna Maria Island is the perfect Florida vacation destination for a fishing excursion. With access to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Intracoastal Waterways, fishing is great on Anna Maria Island. Many of the Island Real Estate vacation rentals offer propane or charcoal grills. A Florida style backyard barbecue with your fresh catch is a vacation tradition for many. If fish isn’t really your forte, then try grilling up some nice steaks for dinner.
Local Craft Beer
There are many craft beer breweries within an hours drive from Anna Maria Island, but you don’t have travel to find great beer. Find beers from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Sarasota on Anna Maria Island. Visit Publix shopping center, Walgreens liquor store, or Hurricane Hanks liquor store to find local craft beers. All these retailers are in Holmes Beach, but restaurants along the entire island offer local brews.
Recipes for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes with gorgeous kitchens
Island Real Estate offers Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and beach houses with great kitchens! Whether you just need a small kitchen for a few guests, or you need to accommodate a large group with a big kitchen. Island Real Estate has the perfect Florida vacation rental to fit your needs. Reserve your Anna Maria Island today with Island Real Estate!
Find the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental, and enjoy eating during your Florida vacation! You may not be the worlds most creative chef, but follow this guide for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking ideas!
Holmes Beach – If you’ve ever been to Anna Maria Island you probably are familiar with the middle island city called Holmes Beach. This island community is the largest of the three island cities with a population of less than 4,000. A quiet coastal Florida town, Holmes Beach is a wonderful place to live and vacation.
Holmes Beach was at one time dense jungle where it wasn’t uncommon to see Panthers, Rattle Snakes and a variety of Florida wildlife. The middle section of the island was first homesteaded in 1896 by Sam and Annie Cobb. Shortly after the Cobbs moved into their 160 acres they were followed by John R. Jones and Jose Casanas. John piloted boats from Tampa to Cuba, and Jose had moved from the Canary Islands in search of Mullet.
Holmes Beach got it’s name from Jack Holmes who developed 600 acres of the island after World War II. The city became incorporated in 1950.
In 1947 Jack Holmes used a 30 acre space to build an air strip because he believed World War II air pilots would be interested in using it. While the strip was being laid, Jack Holmes was contacted by the movie giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to use the strip to help in producing the film “On An Island With You”. The filming of the movie created great excitement which fueled Jack Holmes development of the Holmes Beach. Eventually the airstrip was removed in 1970, but excitement about Anna Maria Island has never waned.
Today the island’s middle city is a quiet and bustling town welcoming thousands of visitors every year with pristine beaches and beautiful vacation rentals.
Holmes Beach offers approximately three miles of powder sand Gulf of Mexico beaches peppered with public accesses and beach front homes. Where Manatee Avenue/State Road 64 comes to an end is where you’ll find the most popular beach area in Holmes Beach called Manatee Public Beach access. Manatee Public Beach offers tons of fabulous amenities including life guards, public restrooms and changing facilities, showers, a playground, volley ball courts, picnic areas, trolley stops, tons of parking and gorgeous tall Australian Pines that the island is known for. You’ll also find concessions at the AMI Beach Cafe along with Florida’s oldest Surf Shop.
Heading north or south from Manatee Public Beach you’ll find plenty of smaller beach accesses many of which offer public parking.
Holmes Beach offers no shortage of great places to enjoy a meal and a cold drink. From laid back to fine dining, and breakfast to dinner you’re sure to find a delicious place to eat in the middle of Anna Maria Island. In the center of the island you will also find the local chain grocery store Publix along with CVS and Walgreens Pharmacies. Click on the links below for information.
Holmes Beach offers many fun events throughout the year including Spring Fest, Winter Fest, The Halloween Trail of Treats, and Art Walks.
In the middle island city you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you entertained. In addition to beautiful beaches, you’ll find The Island Branch Library on Marina Drive along with the baseball field, shuffle board courts, skate park, the city play ground and the dog park.
While visiting Anna Maria Island, vacationers like to rent many different types of equipment to enhance their stay including bikes, kayaks, paddle boards and more. When looking for equipment rentals there are several options including Just 4 Fun, Island Scooter Rentals, Fun and More and AMI Beach Fun Rentals.
Holmes Beach Vacation Rentals and Accommodations
Island Real Estate offers almost 200 vacation rental homes in Holmes Beach. Whether you are looking to accommodate a couples getaway, or a family beach holiday, Island Real Estate has the perfect accommodations.
Bradenton Beach – Traveling to the southern portion of Anna Maria Island brings you into the quiet bustling city of Bradenton Beach. This area of the island also offers miles of public beaches with parking, Historic Bridge Street for sightseeing and shopping, and great dining opportunities with both family fun and a nightlife. Read on to learn six things you might not know about Bradenton Beach.
Originally called Cortez Beach for its proximity to the fishing village of Cortez, the area became Bradenton Beach during the 1920’s land boom. It’s believed that inland developers gave it the name Bradenton Beach, so potential buyers would think the Beach and the city of Bradenton were next to each other rather than seperated by Cortez Fishing Village and Palma Sola. The city was incorporated in 1953.
Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier is the site of the original, and first bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The first Bridge was wooden, and built in 1922. By the 1940’s the Bridge became rickety with wind and waves making the structure sway. It’s said that when cars went over the old bridge the wooden boards would bounce making a banging noise like a shot gun (Norwood 181). A new bridge was built in 1957 making access to the island much safer and easier.
The Historic Bridge Street Pier, now a days, offers excellent fishing, sightseeing over Sarasota Bay, a delicious restaurant with a view, shops and public day docks.
2. Sightseeing and Activities
There are also many beautiful places to sightsee on Bradenton Beach including the Bradenton Beach City Pier, quaint Bridge Street, Coquina Beach bike path and Leffis Key. Rent a segway from Bridge Street rental company Segs by the Sea, and cruise around the city with ease.
When visiting the island, especially during high season, you may want to consider using the free trolley to get around. Parking is limited in busy areas of the island, and battling traffic does not lend to a relaxing paradise getaway. The free trolley runs usually every 20 minutes taking you along almost the entire island.
Bradenton Beach offers about a three mile strip of public beach with parking along the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these beach areas offer public parking making it a popular place for enjoying the shore on Anna Maria Island. To the far south is Coquina Beach with restrooms, concessions, showers, parking, picnic tables, walking path, playground, and life guards. Heading north through Bradenton Beach along the gulf brings you to Cortez Beach. Cortez Beach does not offer the same amenities, but does have plenty of parking, and an old Florida beach feel. There are three erosion groins located in an area locals call “Three Piers” this area separates Coquina and Cortez Beach, and is said to be a great surfing spot.
In addition to the fabulous Seasonal Markets there are great little shops in Bradenton beach offering swim wear, beach gear, home items, art, jewelry, gifts and more. Find out about Shopping on Anna Maria Island here.
On the south end of Anna Maria Island you’ll find some really fabulous Restaurants. Find any type of dining experiences for all meals of the day, casual or fine dining, and dining with a beach or bay view. You’ll even find a few places open late on Bridge Street if you are looking for a little night life. Click on the links below for suggestions.