Anna Maria Island Hotel and Accommodation Information – Hotels

Anna Maria Island Hotel and Accommodation Information – Hotels

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island that contains three separate cities.  Bradenton Beach is the most Southern beach and contains many condominium communities for rent as well as some single family homes.  Approximately 1,500 people call Bradenton Beach home.

Holmes Beach is the next Northern city on Anna Maria Island and has more than 5,000 permanent residents.  Holmes Beach is mostly single family homes with a fair amount of condominium’s close to the beach.  Finding accommodations in Holmes Beach needs to be done with care as it is the widest area of Anna Maria Island.  There are accommodations on the Bay as well as the Gulf of Mexico.  Many sections of Holmes Beach are not considered a flip flop walk to the beach.  There are a few thousand vacation rentals in Holmes Beach.   There are many condominium and resort rentals which can substitute for a hotel and do offer daily maid services.  Island Real Estate can offer daily maid services the same as a hotel and many agree the absence of hotels on Anna Maria Island helps to make it quaint and peaceful.

Anna Maria City is the most northern city on Anna Maria Island and much of the city coastline has wonderful views of the Skyway bridge as well as the Tampa Bay.  Anna Maria City has an estimated 1,500 full time residents and is primarily made up of single family homes with very few condominium complexes in Anna Maria.  Anna Maria City is very quiet and yes, still no hotels.  Most visitors to Anna Maria love the low key nature of the city and vacation rentals are the only option you have in Anna Maria.

Many ask why no chain hotels on Anna Maria Island?  Primarily the reason is our low key nature which also restricts drive up windows for dining such as McDonalds or Burger King.  In fact more than 30 years ago Anna Maria Island established a building ordinance which does not allow constructing a building more than 37 feet high.  I have not seen many hotels less than 37 feet high.  Have you?  Thus slowly Anna Maria Island has found other ways to allow visitors to holiday on the beaches of Anna Maria.  Vacation rental accommodations have replaced the need for hotels and most likely this will not change anytime soon.

Island Real Estate Vacations continues to offer hotel amenities in our vacation rentals.  Most of our rentals enlist in our premium linen program.  We utilize hotel quality linens which we professionally clean in our property and linen facility located in Holmes Beach.  With state of the art laundry equipment we utilize the least obtrusive cleaning process available.  Want the luxury of a Ritz Carlton hotel, no problem.  Choose one of our luxury properties.  Prefer high value like the Holiday Inn Hotel, no problem. Normally to create value most of our rentals do not include a daily maid service as you would find in a hotel.  Our standard holiday rental includes one clean at the end of your stay.  If you prefer a daily maid service similar to a hotel please ask our vacation specialists for this service and we would be happy to provide daily cleaning services.

Island Real Estate offers a free guest services area very similar to a hotel however the only difference is our guest area located at our Marina drive office is free of charge.  Don’t forget our real estate lobbies are chalked full of information on the area and things to do.  Our offices are open 7 days a week with a human operator on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Still not convinced, Trip Advisor one of the largest on line accommodations raters on hotels as provided Island Real Estate a measure of excellence when it comes to neutral reviews from visitors that stay in our rentals.

Your probably asking yourself why choose a vacation rental versus a hotel.  Firstly as we have mentioned, if you want to stay on Anna Maria Island there are not many other choices.  Rather than focus on the fact that you cannot stay in a hotel on beautiful Anna Maria Island lets talk about the pro’s and cons to staying in a vacation rental versus a hotel.  Pro – there is a lot more room to enjoy friends and family in a vacation rental.  The average 1 bedroom vacation rental is more than double the size of most hotel rooms.  Forget about it if you have more than two people.  An average high season vacation rental with Gulf Views in high season is around $1500 USD.  Take out a two hotel rooms for 4 people and the price tag will be almost $500 a night or $3500.  Pro – you can decide if you want to dine in or dine out.  Vacation rentals are equipped with full kitchens.  Bake a birthday cake or cook someone’s favorite meal.  Sure some hotels offer one burner and a hotel size refrigerator but the only holiday feast your cooking in a hotel room is a Swanson TV Dinner.  Pro – no extra fees.  Have you ever arrived to a hotel to find out Internet is not free?  More like $15 or even $25 a day.  Oops, parking is $25 a day.  Not so with our vacation rentals.  Internet is provided for free, no parking fees.  Pro – have you ever brought a DVD from home or rented one and tried to watch it at a hotel.  Does not work well.  They have their own media center and you bet, it costs more money.  Sure, renting a DVD costs money but the last time I checked there are not many DVD’s renting for $8 a movie.  Pro – many of our rentals offer PlayStation, XBox, Wii, you name it.  Once again, free of charge and included in your rental rate.   Pro – Have you ever watched a movie or your favorite weekly show on a 55″ big screen Television in a hotel.  I have never seen a big screen TV at a hotel let alone surround sound and more.  All that can be found in a vacation rental.  Pro – would you prefer swimming in a private pool or shared pool?  Share the spa with other hoteliers?  Not so in a single family rental.  You have all the privacy in the world.  Pro – ever try to fire up the barbie at a hotel?  No such thing, there

are not barbecue’s at a hotel.  What to do when you spend most of the day out on the water and want to grill up the fresh Grouper or Snapper you just pulled out of the Gulf of Mexico waters?  You are out of luck in a hotel but in most of our single family vacation rentals we offer barbecues.  Some homes have barbecue pits or systems seen on shows like “The Rich and Famous.”   Don’t forget outdoor kitchens pool side where you can enjoy cooking, swimming and pulling your favorite beverage out of the pool side refrigerator.  I cannot remember the last time I saw a refrigerator pool side at the hotel.   Hotels let us take cold beverages in the pool.  Yes, some do and they are some pretty fancy drinks for $10 a piece.  Pro – Storage for outside activities.  Want to bring your boat to a hotel?  I don’t think so, what about storing beach bicycles or kayaks at the hotel.  Nope, not a choice last I checked.

Con – Most hotels allow you to cancel anytime for more money.  A hotel cancellation policy is easier than a vacation rental  however Island Real Estate does offer travel insurance for your stay with us.  Yes it is more money but the last time I checked hotels offer lower rates if you waive your right to cancel at any time.  Perhaps a hotel offering cancel anytime as a standard is nicer than a vacation rental but would you prefer to have the choice to waive that option and save money?  Con – Many hotels have restaurants within the complex.  Is it nice to go grab a $10 beer down at the hotel bar or pick up some food?  You bet, how about visiting the grocery store, picking up what you need with a little pre-planning and using a local concierge service to deliver any meal you want from all Anna Maria Island Restaurants.  Does this take a little pre-planning in a vacation rental as compared to a hotel.  You bet but there are still lots of options to have food delivered to your Island Real Estate vacation rental.

Too much information you say about accommodations?  You just need to stay on Anna Maria Island.  Well it is time to call Island Real Estate and we can help you find your perfect hotel like accommodation.  Our vacation specialists are on staff 7 days a week.  Make it a great day and hope to see you on Anna Maria Island soon!

University Town Center Brings Much Anticipated Shopping to the Area!

University Town Center Brings Much Anticipated Shopping to the Area!

Sarasota – When visiting it won’t take long to realize that dragging yourself away from the sugar-sand beaches of Anna Maria Island for shopping is nearly impossible! However, during times it may get a little rainy, take the day and head over to the BRAND NEW MALL in Sarasota!

The Mall at University Town Center (Mall UTC) just had it’s opening day on October 16, 2014.  The architecture of this mall is unique and attractive.  The glass brick roof keeps the mall light and bright letting the Florida sun shine through – it really compliments the fresh new mall. For us locals, it was very anticipated for the area! This multi-level, 880,000 square foot mall changed shopping for us here in Southwest Florida.

The mall which includes over 100 stores to shop, 12 places to get some food (including casual dining, fine dining and quick eats) as well as a list of upcoming events such as styling from Aveda Salon, Eye Wear Trunk Show, Designer appearance and fashion show at Dillard’s, and more!

Mall UTC  is located at 140 University Town Center Drive in Sarasota, FL 34243, which is only 30-35 minutes from AMI.  Time for some serious shopping fun!

Here is the Mall Directory:

  • 3D Crystals
  • Abby Iron Doors
  • Aerie
  • Aldo
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Ann Taylor
  • Anthropologie
  • Apple
  • Arhaus
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Aveda
  • Banana Republic
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Blend Bikinis
  • Bluemercury Cosmetics & Spa – Inside Macy’s
  • BOSS
  • Brighton Collectibles
  • Brio Tuscan Grille
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Brow Art 23
  • Buckle
  • Candy Barrel
  • Champs Sports
  • Chico’s
  • Chiquinho Ice Cream
  • Chubbies
  • Cinnabon
  • Claire’s
  • Clarks
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Cosmo Nail Bar
  • Crate & Barrel
  • Dillard’s
  • Elite Home Gamerooms
  • Everything But Water
  • Express
  • Express Men
  • Fabletics
  • Fast Fix Jewelry, Watch & Phone Repair
  • Fit2Run
  • Florida Currency Exchange
  • Foot Locker / House of Hoops
  • Forever 21
  • Forever Flawless
  • Fracassi Lashes
  • Francesca’s
  • Free People
  • Gap
  • Gap Kids
  • Gelato-Go
  • GNC
  • Go! Calendars, Games & Toys
  • Godiva Chocolatier
  • Great American Cookies
  • H&M
  • Hollister
  • House of Samsonite
  • Icing
  • iFixandRepair
  • Invicta
  • Janie & Jack
  • Jetsons Clothing
  • J.Jill
  • Johnston & Murphy
  • Journeys
  • Just in Case
  • Kahwa Coffee
  • kate spade new york (Inside Dillard’s)
  • Kay Jewelers
  • Kendra Scott
  • Kids Foot Locker
  • Kona Grill
  • Le Macaron
  • LensCrafters
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • L’Occitane
  • LOFT
  • Louis Vuitton
  • LoveSac
  • Lucky Brand
  • lululemon athletica
  • LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
  • MAC
  • Macy’s
  • Mandarin Express
  • Masterpiece Group: Keller Williams Realty of Manatee
  • Mayors / Rolex
  • Michael Kors
  • Microsoft
  • Mimmic
  • Nespresso
  • New York Jewelers
  • Nrsh
  • Oakley
  • Obsessed Boutique
  • Organic Nail Bar
  • Perfume Plus
  • Piercing Pagoda
  • PINK
  • Pottery Barn
  • Relax Spa
  • Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza
  • Robert Graham
  • Royale
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Seasons 52
  • SEE Eyewear
  • Sephora
  • Shoe Elegance
  • Shoes Di Oggi
  • Skin Laundry
  • Soft Surroundings
  • Solstice Sunglasses
  • Soma
  • Sophie’s (inside Saks Fifth Avenue)
  • Starbucks
  • Starbucks (inside Macy’s)
  • Stuart Weitzman (Inside of Saks 5th Avenue)
  • Sunglass Hut
  • Sutra Beauty
  • Swarovski
  • Talbots
  • TeBella Tea Company
  • Tesla Motors
  • The Art of Shaving
  • The B12 Store
  • The Capital Grille
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • The Walking Company
  • TINA Stephens (Tees By Tina)
  • T-Mobile
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Tricho Salon
  • Tumi
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Vans
  • Venus Med Spa
  • Vera Bradley
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Vineyard Vines
  • Visit Sarasota County Information Center
  • White House | Black Market
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Yankee Candle Co.
  • Zagg
  • Zales
  • Z Gallerie

Local Medical Centers – Anna Maria Island

Local Medical Centers – Anna Maria Island

No one wants to get hurt or sick while living on Island time. And while there are not any medical centers on Anna Maria Island, there are some in the local area.

Local Medical Centers

Urgent Care Center at Pinnacle Medical Group:
(Closest to Anna Maria Island)
315 75th St W, Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 761-1616

Blake Medical Center:
(Closest hospital. Featured in image at top of page)
2020 59th St W, Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 792-6611

Manatee Urgent Care:
4647 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-5999

Manatee Memorial Hospital:
206 2nd St E, Bradenton, FL 34208
(941) 746-5111

Of course, if you find yourself in an emergency while on Anna Maria Island, call 911. Island emergency services have quick response times.

If you need information about pharmacies on Anna Maria Island, visit our Pharmacy Information Page.

How to Find the Elusive Sand Dollar on Anna Maria Island.

How to Find the Elusive Sand Dollar on Anna Maria Island.

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.

See our rental listings anna maria island real estate vacation rentals

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 beach 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.

Tips For Finding A Sand Dollar

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 the 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’s 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 be 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. Worst-case scenario ~ you spent a great day at the beach!

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Whether you’ve been planning your trip for months or are looking for a last-minute getaway, there is so much to see and do when you stay on Anna Maria Island, from the beautiful sugar-sand beaches to the quaint shops and restaurants you’ll never get tired of exploring all this island has to offer. Whether you’re renting a beachfront house and hoping to find a sand dollar to capture a picture of, or you like lounging by your private pool at your rental property, Anna Maria Island is the perfect place to book your next vacation. And if you are looking to spend more time at Bean Point, browse through our Bean Point rentals to find the perfect place to stay during your getaway.

If you have any questions about booking an Anna Maria Island beach rental or other questions about the island like where to eat or how to rent a golf cart – please feel free to call the office at 877-778-6066 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable booking experts, or click “chat” in the lower right-hand corner! 

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Holmes Beach Public Basketball Court

Holmes Beach Public Basketball Court

Anna Maria Island has one public basketball court located in Holmes Beach.  The basketball court is located across from the tennis courts just at the end of 62nd street just East of Island Real Estate.  It is a full basketball court fenced in so errand balls will remain in play.  I have used the court several times and have never seen others playing on the court so having the court available is a fairly good bet.

The closest vacation rental we have to the basketball court if you are looking to play everyday would be North Beach Village.



Anna Maria Oyster Bar of Bradenton, FL Is Child Friendly

Anna Maria Oyster Bar of Bradenton, FL Is Child Friendly

Old Florida charm is what this great seafood Bradenton, Fl restaurant is all about.  The local Anna Maria Island newspaper poll has hailed Anna Maria Oyster Bar as winner of the best all around restaurant and best seafood restaurant for 2008.  Anna Maria Oyster restaurant offers a great selection of seafood including but not limited to stuffed flounder, fried clams, scallops and of course oysters.  The Bradenton, Florida restaurant offers great money saving extras for families.

When you walk in the door of the Cortez Road location they have a height chart to measure the children in the dinner or lunch party so that families only pay according to the height of your child.  For example, if your child is 52 inches, you pay $0.52.  If your child is 35 inches, $0.35 for your child’s meal.  To good to be true you say, na ah.  It’s the truth.   A great value for children in your group, Monday through Thursday’s.

While you are there you may also want to check out the daily specials.  Anna Maria Oyster bar has great dinners for two and drink specials as well. This Bradenton restaurant not only has great food but the atmosphere is also special.  Need a souvenir?  Almost all of the decor  you see in the restaurant is for sale.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar (Cortez)
6696 Cortez Road
Bradenton, FL
(941) 792-0077

Anna Maria Oyster Bar (Landside)
6906 14th St W
Bradenton, FL
(941) 758-7880

Anna Maria Oyster Bar (Ellenton)
1525 51st Ave E
Ellenton, FL
(941) 721-7773

AMOB on the Pier
200 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, FL
(941) 778-2662

Why Morning Walks are the Best 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.

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!

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!

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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!


Whether you’ve been planning your trip for months or are looking for a last-minute getaway, there is so much to see and do when you stay on Anna Maria Island, from the beautiful sugar-sand beaches to the quaint shops and restaurants you’ll never get tired of exploring all this island has to offer.

If you have any questions about booking an Anna Maria Island beach rental or more activities available on Anna Maria Island for your family – please feel free to call the office at 877-778-6066 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable booking experts, or click “chat” in the lower right-hand corner! 

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Best Coffee Shops on Anna Maria Island!

Best Coffee Shops on Anna Maria Island!

One of the beautiful things about Anna Maria Island is the escape from the norm. You won’t find many of your run of the mill coffee places, you will discover something better! As a fellow coffee connoisseur I may have a few suggestions on where one might find the perfect cup on the island. This list is in no particular order, consider it a map.

If your vacation rental is near Bradenton Beach then you will more than likely visit the fabulous staff at Back Alley Treasures on multiple occasions, sometimes twice in the same day. To start with…great coffee, locally roasted and fresh ground. Add to that the fresh baked goodies and a great little wine selection and you have the makings of a perfect little pit stop! You can also order online if you are on a mission to be the first footsteps on the beach.

If you chose a Holmes Beach Vacation rental then you will more likely find yourself getting your caffeine fix at Fifty Three Fifty Pour House. This little coffee house has everything you need to kick start your morning, from rich espresso to full leaf teas and even wine for when the clock crosses from “wake up” to “wine o’clock”. They also have a wonderful medley of pastries and little breakfast sandwiches.

If you opted to stay at The Wave and Sea in Anna Maria City you have a great option that is probably within walking distance, or at least biking distance! Aptly named the North Shore Café, this is a great new addition to the northern coast of the island. This coffee shop is located directly at the end of a canal on Pine Ave with a spectacular backyard with tables, chairs and even cornhole. Great smoothies, homemade granola and some expert baristas make this a must stop. The café does not have a website yet but I will add a link as soon as they do.

I would wager that most of the Anna Maria Island rentals have a coffee maker, but you are on vacation after all. Sometimes it is just nice to pamper yourself and let someone else do the brewing for you. The best days always start with coffee on the beach. Enjoy!

Florida Strawberry Festival | Plant City, FL

Florida Strawberry Festival | Plant City, FL

If you are visiting Anna Maria Island in the Spring then the Florida Strawberry Festival is a great event to visit.  The Florida Strawberry festival takes place in Plant City, Fl and typically lasts 10 days.  The Festival started in the 1930’s and has been going strong since the early 1950’s so planning to make the Florida Strawberry Festival each year seems like a safe plan!  Plant City is about 45 minutes from Anna Maria Island and is a fabulous day trip for the entire family.

They typically have 30 + rides for smaller children at the Florida Strawberry Festival.   There are crafts you can purchase, plenty of choices for lunch or dinner and of course every variety of strawberry dessert you can imagine.  There is a fee to enter the festival as there is often free entertainment throughout the day.  Each night there is headline entertainment and typically a few mature acts that you will recognize.  For example, Blake Shelton, Boys II Men, and the Oak Ridge Boys have been recent entertainers.  The headline entertainment requires separate tickets and the stadium seats about 3,000.

Below you can find details to get an idea of the great things to do at the Florida Strawberry festival.  Just a hop, skip and jump away from Anna Maria Island.  We provide many other ideas for things to do while visiting Anna Maria Island.  Visit our top ten things to do as a family post.  Might provide for some more ideas!  Enjoy.

The Florida Strawberry Festival
303 N. Lemon Street
Plant City, FL 33564-1869
(813) 752-9194