Carol’s Top Ten List of Things to Do When Visiting Anna Maria Island

Carol’s Top Ten List of Things to Do When Visiting Anna Maria Island

1)  Have lunch at Tortilla Bay after….
2)  Shopping at Irene’s – the only island Brighton retailer!
3)  Watch the sunset at Café on the Beach on a Friday night
4)  Take a photo of friends inside the Anna Maria City Jail
5)  Split a banana split at Joe’s Eats and Sweets
6)  Visit one of America top beaches and spend the day on Siesta Key beach.
7)  See a movie at Burns Court – independently owned theater in Sarasota that shows independent and interesting films
8)  Trivia night on Tuesdays at Lakewood Ranch Beef O Bradys!
9) Sarasota Main Street Friday nights Art Walk – galleries open late and all local artists showing their work
10) St. Armand’s Circle Walk – start at the South end for dinner at Tommy Bahamas and end of the 360 gets you at Kilwins for ice cream!

Amy’s Top Ten List of Activites When Visiting Anna Maria Island

Amy’s Top Ten List of Activites When Visiting Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Amy is an Island resident and vacation specialist at Island Real Estate. Here is her list of things to do when visiting Anna Maria Island. From the beach to the attractions, there is always something fun and new to experience across Anna Maria Island’s three cities! Try out some of Amy’s suggestions, and enjoy your time spent on Anna Maria Island.

10) Go to miniature golf on Bridge Street

9 ) While on Bridge Street go to Bridge Tender for lunch

8) Walk out on the Bridge Street pier

7) Ice cream  at Joe’s Eat’s and Sweet’s

6) Walk to the beach for a sunset with your ice cream

5) Kayak in Robinson’s Preserve (featured in image above)

4) Eat or visit the Rod n’ Reel restaurant

3) Visit or have a picnic at Bay Front Park

2) Dine at the Star Fish Restaurant

1) Rent or take a boat out in the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay

Shopping at the Westfield Mall in Brandon, FL

Shopping at the Westfield Mall in Brandon, FL

There is fantastic shopping to be had on Anna Maria Island however some shop-a-holics need more.  Sure Anna Maria Island has lots of shopping opportunities but if you are looking for 100’s of sneakers to choose from, 100’s of different pants, shirts, blouses or Jeans then visiting anyone of our malls within an hour drive of Anna Maria Island will fill that shopping need you have.

The Westfield Mall in Brandon is a great choice.  Realize this is not to be confused with the Westfield Mall in Sarasota which is good however the Brandon location is MUCH bigger.

The Brandon Westfield Mall has several electronic stores.  The biggest being FYI which is a huge music and electronics store.  If you are looking for some great video games then hit the game stop or maybe even the APPLE store.  That’s right, there is an Apple store for all those hard to find items you may need.  The store is outfitted with lots of computers and gadgets for you to try first hand.

The major Department stores for Westfield at the time of this writing is Dick’s which is a sporting goods store, Dillards, JcPenney’s, Macy’s and Sears.  If you are looking for some more clothing and Jewelry stores then the mall will not disappoint.  Coldwater Creek, Coach bags, The Disney Store, Fossil, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle,  Guess, Lucky Jeans, and many many more stores.   I have been told some other stores not to miss out are SEPHORA, Ann Taylor Loft and MAC cosmetics.

If you are looking for a bite to eat then there is plenty to choose from as well.  Starbucks, Cheesecake factory, Five guys a great burger joint, California Pizza kitchen and about 10 other choices.

So, with the above description I have barely dented the stores at the Brandon Mall but hopefully I have peaked your interest if you are adventures and want to leave the serenity of Anna Maria Island for a big shopping day.  If you are visiting the Brandon Mall for a specific store then be sure to visit the Mall’s information page to be sure it is there.

One last thing, another person explained going to the Brandon-Westfield mall…”you failed to describe the Euro-phobic feeling when one steps inside this palace of commerce.  The sights of shiny new things all waiting to be purchased – it gives me goosebumps!!”

Westfield Brandon Mall
459 Brandon Town Center
Brandon, FL 33511
(813) 661-5100

Kacey’s Top Ten List of Things to Do on Anna Maria Island

Kacey’s Top Ten List of Things to Do on Anna Maria Island

1.    Lay out in the sun is the top thing I’d do!!!
2.    Karaoke out on Siesta Key Captain Curts
3.    Dinner at Waterfront Restaurant
4.    Site seeing on Mystic Dolphin
5.    Deep sea fishing – Used to use Flying Fish Fleet before they moved to Marina Jack’s in Sarasota
6.    Mote Marine
7.    Shopping at St. Armand’s Circle
8.    Dinner at the Columbia House Restaurant on  St. Armand’s
9.    Ride the Trolley with no set destination
10.    Breakfast and coffee at Ginny and Jane E’s.

Cold Stone Creamery – Gourmet Ice Cream Just off Anna Maria Island

Cold Stone Creamery – Gourmet Ice Cream Just off Anna Maria Island

Looking for gourmet ice cream?  Try Cold Stone Creamery just off Anna Maria Island.  It is on the corner of Cortez and 75th Street West in Bradenton, Florida.  It shares the same building as Starbuck’s.  Cold Stone’s claim to fame is there great creamy ice cream as well as creating special mixes within their ice cream.  They use an ice cold slab to mix up ice cream with your favorite mixings.  Berries, peanut butter cups, cookie pieces, M & M’s, you name it.  The staff takes their great ice cream and with two scoops manually mixes in the extra’s.  Our family loves the Birthday cake mix special which you guessed it, tastes just like birthday cake.  It is fantastic.

So if you are looking for a special treat and can wait a few minutes for the staff to delicately prepare your custom order of ice cream with mixins, try a quick drive off Anna Maria Island to Cold Stone.  Cold Stone sells ice cream cakes pre-made as well as a few other ice cream treats including ice cream cookies and drinks.   Of course you can purchase larger servings of your custom order ice cream.

Cold Stone Creamery
7476 Cortez Road West
Bradenton, Fl, 34210
(941) 761-3252

Check out our Top 5 ice cream places on AMI!

Chipotle Mexican Grill Is Quick, Fresh and Cheap – Mexican

Chipotle Mexican Grill Is Quick, Fresh and Cheap – Mexican

Chipotle is a national chain however Anna Maria Island is lucky enough to have one in Bradenton, Fl.  Chipotle is the Subway of Mexican.  Just on Cortez Chipotle is only a 15 minute drive from Anna Maria Island.  If you are looking for an inexpensive, healthy, quick bite to eat for lunch of dinner then look no further.  In the same plaza as Lowes, Dicks and Best Buy there is plenty to do before or after eating.

You walk in to Chipotle to an industrial atmosphere that is very simple but comfortable.  Walk up the glass domed bar and order up your favorite burrito.  They serve vegetarian, Pork, Chicken or steak.  Most of the dishes are served with a soft tortilla however you can take it “naked.”  They put everything in a dish and you eat it like a salad.  Choose your meat then grab black beans, pinto beans, grilled onions, grilled peppers, fantastic white long rice with what appears to be Cilantro mixed in with sour cream, cheeses, and three salsas to choose from.  Mild, Medium, or hot.  I love the medium because it is a corn salsa and really hits the spot.  Don’t forget to grab a bag of nachos with some salsa, guacamole or sour cream or what the heck, your on vacation – all three!  They have a fountain drink machine or plenty of specialty soda’s to choose from.  Most can eat for less than $10 and you are in and out within a half an hour.

My favorite is a Carnita – Buritto bowl.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.   Take a look at the picture supplied, it is most of the menu.

Chipotle
1608 Cortez Road W
Bradenton, FL, 34209
(941) 752-0425
(941) 758-5926 Fax

Chipotle – Sarasota
97 N. Cattlemen Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
(941) 359-6757
(941) 355-8728 Fax

Need to drive in to Sarasota – No worries there are a few Chipotle Mexican Grill’s in Sarasota, too.  Just a 20-30 minute drive from Anna Maria Island.

Miniature Golf Course "Fish Hole" on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach

Miniature Golf Course "Fish Hole" on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach

Mini Golf Bradenton FL – When you’re visiting the Island with your family sometimes this question comes up: “What is there to do on the Island after the beach?” Now there is an answer.
Located on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is a wonderful 18 hole miniature golf course. The “Fish hole” offers entertainment for the entire family. It goes way beyond traditional miniature golf calling itself adventure golf with waterfalls, lagoons, and treacherous handicaps and with a little local history and fishing education mixed in.
The ice house and water tower, complete with running water are based on actual buildings which once existed in the historic Cortez fishing village and the old wooden bridge represents the original bridge from Cortez to Anna Maria. They are continually gathering historical information about Anna Maria and Cortez to be placed around the beautifully landscaped grounds.
Each of the 18 holes is named after a different fish – the black tip shark, the grouper, the barracuda and the tarpon are some examples. But what makes the 18 holes even more interesting is the degree of difficulty of a particular hole is directly tied to the degree of difficulty in catching the fish the hole is named for. A lesson in fishing and golf rolled into one. At night, The Fish Hole’s park-like setting become even more magical when the “village” twinkles.

They have clubs for all heights from children to tall adults, and if you need a break, you can rest in one of their colorful rocking chairs. They also have party packages that are great for birthday celebrations and family get together.
Try it out and (to use The Fish Hole slogan) “get hooked”!

For more ideas and other great activities on the Island visit our Anna Maria Island Blog.

The Fish Hole
115 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217
Phone (941) 778-3400

Olive Garden Is a Great Bradenton Italian Restaurant

Olive Garden Is a Great Bradenton Italian Restaurant

Olive Garden is a great economical place to eat if staying on Anna Maria Island or in Bradenton, Florida.  The Bradenton

Olive Garden Restaurant has outdoor seating for the great balmy nights of the West coast of Florida.  The restaurant has a bar for waiting or just to eat or have a quick cocktail or bit to eat.  Typically the Olive Garden is a great place to eat for busy nights on Anna Maria Island.  The restaurant is about a 20 minute drive from Anna Maria Island.

The Olive Garden is primarily Italian although they do have a few traditional dishes.  Beef, Pork and Fish dishes.  The restaurant often offers all you can eat bread as well as soup or salad.

The Olive Garden has great spaghetti, chicken Parmesan, heck anything Italian is good.

Olive Garden Restaurant
4420 West 14th Street
Bradenton, Fl, 34207

Want another great Italian choice just off Anna Maria Island?  Try Oma’s just off Anna Maria Island on Manatee Avenue.

Beach House Restaurant – Outdoor Dining and Great Florida Seafood

Beach House Restaurant – Outdoor Dining and Great Florida Seafood

The Beach House restaurant is located in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island  just past the street light after the Cortez Bridge heading south.

Experience great waterfront dining on the Gulf of Mexico with breathtaking views and fresh Florida seafood. It is the perfect place for family dining with plenty of room for all the kids to play on the beach while you sip on a tropical drink and enjoy great food while listening to live entertainment by local artists. You can choose, if you like, to have your meal inside the dining room or on the waterfront deck. There is even a covered Gulf front area, which makes it perfect rain or shine.

Beside the regular lunch and dinner menus, Beach House offers a happy hour menu at the bar including delicious libations and small plates.  In addition to fresh local seafood you can find farm fresh produce on the menu. The Grouper sandwich is a popular menu item, but be sure to check out any seasonal offerings like the stuffed squash blossoms from Gamble creek farms.

The Beach House is a wonderful spot to enjoy a gulf sunset after a long day at the beach. If you like to take a look at some spectacular sunset pictures visit our Anna Maria Island  blog and get in the mood for a nice dinner at The Beach House.

It is also a great place to have a wedding. The Beach House is an award-winning location for beach weddings, receptions or any special event. Maybe if you are in luck you’ll witness one of the happy couples exchange their vows.

You can even do a little shopping in their gift and souvenir shop located at the entrance area of the restaurant.

The Beach House Restaurant
200 Gulf Dr
Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217
Phone (941) 779-2222