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4th of July on Anna Maria Island

4th of July on Anna Maria Island

There’s nothing better than spending the 4th of July holiday laying out on the beach, grilling a burger on the BBQ, and watching some spectacular fireworks light up the summer night sky. Luckily Anna Maria Island offers all three and then some! Every year visitors flock to our lovely island and surrounding area for the festivities and firework displays.
Below is more information on local 4th of July fun:

4th of July Parade: 

Families line the streets of the island every year to witness the annual Anna Maria Island Privateers Parade , which begins at Coquina Beach, and travels the entire length of the island to Bay Front Park.  The parade is a morning event, making it a super fun and exciting way to start the 4th!
Where: Entire length of the island
When: July 4th
Time: 10am

Anna Maria City Picnic Celebration

Immediately following the parade is the Anna Maria City Picnic Celebration. This event is held at the City Pier Park where the parade concludes. There will be food and entertainment for the whole family. The celebration starts at 12:00 om and is scheduled to run until 1:30 pm. City Pier Park is located at 103 N. Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216. It’s near many of our vacation homes, so you can beat the traffic by grabbing the bicycles from your vacation home and using them to go to the park.

Take in a Game

If baseball is America’s pastime, then what better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with a game? Maybe by adding fireworks. The Bradenton Marauders, the local minor league farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates, are out of town on the 4th, so they are celebrating on July 3rd. The team will have a fireworks display following their game against the Blue Jays. And the first 1,500 fans will get a free t-shirt! The game is at LECOM Park, located at 1611 9th St. West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Get more ticketing information and times at the team website.

Nathan Benderson Park Firework Show: 

Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota will be hosting Fireworks on the Lake. The event  includes musical groups, the chance for families to picnic on the grass, and a stunning firework show to top off the night.
Where: 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235
When: July 3rd
Time: 5pm to 10pm

Bradenton Riverwalk Firework Show: 

The Bradenton Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton will have a fireworks show on July 4th at 8:30pm. 
1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
When: July 4th
Time: 8:30pm


Have a Safe 4th Everyone

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub – Delicious Seafood & Old Florida Vibes

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub – Delicious Seafood & Old Florida Vibes

Open for lunch & dinner, Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub is a popular establishment on Longboat Key that offers dockside dining, fantastic seafood dishes, and tasty cocktails. Mar Vista is owned by Ed Chiles and is part of the Chiles Restaurant Group along with the Sandbar Restaurant and the Beach House Restaurant.

Mar Vista is located in a beach house from the early 1900’s, which gives it a wonderful “Old Florida” vibe. Here, you can choose to dine on their private beach under the trees or on the large covered patio.

When it comes to their cuisine, Mar Vista uses as much locally sourced ingredients as they can. speaking of cuisine, lets get into the menu here. If you like seafood, you’ll love Mar Vista. with dishes like their Parmesan Crusted Flounder, Miso Glazed Grouper Collars, and Baja Fish Tacos. Of course not everyone is a fan of things that swim, so its a good thing they also have menu items like their Fried Chicken Sandwich, Mar Vista Pub Steak (served after 4PM), and Kung Pao Avocado. And don’t forget to finish the meal with one of their desserts that are made fresh in their bakery.

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub
760 Broadway St, Longboat Key, FL 34228
(941) 383-2391

The Ringling -The John and Mable Ringling Museum

The Ringling -The John and Mable Ringling Museum

The Ringling museum is a great day trip from Anna Maria Island into Sarasota. The museum is located right off Sarasota Bay just a short 30 minutes drive away. This is truly an amazing museum, and a must visit for art lovers!

John and Mable Ringling built their home and museum in 1927 and left their beautiful grounds and buildings to the State of Florida. The museum opened to the public in October of 1931. The history behind this gorgeous waterfront property is incredible, to read more please go to www.ringling.org.

The museum includes the Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, Rose Garden, Ringling Courtyard, and the Ca d’Zan Mansion.

Exhibits at The Ringling

You will fall in love with the historically significant art found here. Works from Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens fill an entire room. These pieces are huge and astonishing. Additionally many other famous names decorate the walls.

The Circus Museum is fun for everyone! Yes, this is the John Ringling of Ringling Circus. You will find interesting circus history, and fun things to see.

Ca d’Zan is the summer home of John and Mable. It’s like visiting a palace on Sarasota Bay. This mansion is one of a kind. You’ll never see anything like this luxurious home. The Ringlings held amazing balls and also loved entertaining here.

One of the galleries at the museum is for rotating exhibits. This is an excellent place to catch traveling shows.

The museum offers complimentary tours with admission of the Ringling Museum and the Circus Museum.

Saturdays at the Ringling Museum are family fun days with story time, exploration stations, family friendly exhibition tours and more all with paid admission.

Also located on the grounds, Banyan Café and the Treviso Restaurant are great for dining.

 Located at the end of University Parkway on beautiful Sarasota Bay.

For more things to do in Sarasota, visit our top ten list.

Top 10 Local Family Photographers on Anna Maria Island

Top 10 Local Family Photographers on Anna Maria Island

Love and Style Photography – Summer & Becky Whitton are a husband and wife team located in the Bradenton-Sarasota area. They serve the gulf coast area, and are also available for travel sessions. Sea Song is the perfect beach front rental for those sunset photos!

11:11 Studio – Jennifer is the owner and photographer out of Anna Maria Island. She loves capturing those raw moments of joking, holding hands and hugging. Sand Dollar Dream can help you make wonderful memories.

Sandhill Photography – Emma-Rose is the owner and lead photographer based out the Bradenton area. Emma’s favorite thing about photography is….Weddings!

Chi Photography – Paul Nguyen is the owner and lead photographer based out of Palmetto. Paul has documented over 1,000 weddings. He stays active and practices his skills on his 5 daughters.

Sherri’s Island Images Photography – Sherri is the owner based out of Ellenton. She maintains, “you can count on the beach sessions to be fun and relaxed”. Did you say fun beach sessions? Hidden Cove 3 won’t disappoint.

M Brigham Photography – Monique Brigham is the owner based out of Bradenton Beach. She claims, and I must agree, “there is no better way to preserve memories than capturing them in a picture”. Anna Maria Island Club 40 is the best of both worlds; a pool feet away from the white sandy beaches, located in Anna Maria Island Resort

Everence Photography – Jessica & Jordan Chaplinsky are the husband and wife team specializing in weddings and lifestyle portrait photography. They serve the Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg areas. The Dodt House can provide a beautiful location for photos

Ella’s Photography – Owner Angela Mascari named her business after her one-eyed wiener dog who is her “most used and least enthused model”. Angela provides service on the gulf coast including Anna Maria Island, Sarasota, Bradenton and Treasure Island. At South Beach Village 111 you can photograph your pet all day long in this pet-friendly rental.

Nuance Photography – Owners Jacob & Samantha Andrews are based out of Bradenton. “Whether you are on vacation or a local Floridian, we would love to be your photographer. Vista Grande #1 Sul-mare will make any photo look fantastic!

Peter Obetz Photo – Peter is the owner and is based out of Bradenton where he lives on a sailboat! He photographs people, places and things and will also teach other how to do the same if interested.

The Monkey Bus offers Free Transportation on Anna Maria Island and Beyond!

The Monkey Bus offers Free Transportation on Anna Maria Island and Beyond!

What?  You heard it right, free transportation on Anna Maria Island!  Maybe you are planning a night out on the town to take in some libations and you want someone else to do the driving. Perhaps you want to enjoy the sights of Anna Maria Island without worrying about traffic, pedestrians in cross walks, you name it.  If you need some tips on places to visit while on your vacation be sure to check out our Anna Maria Island Vacation Itinerary page that has plenty of ideas for large and small groups. Got a group of friends and want to charter your ride? Even just going to the airport can be fun on the FREE, “rides for tips” Monkey Bus.

The Monkey Bus travels all over Anna Maria Island, Cortez and across the bridge by request, whether you are staying in one our beachfront vacation rentals, a resort rental, or house rental they offer prompt door-to-door service. You can call 941-565-6542 to schedule a ride anywhere from 12 noon to 3 am – 7 days a week. “Rides for Tips” is their slogan as there is no official charge for this service. And the monkey bus accommodates service animals – so is an easy choice if you’re staying in one of our pet friendly vacation rentals

There are no scheduled stops like the Island Trolley or County Bus service so calling for a pick up is best, however, I personally have seen the Monkey Bus while walking and flagged it down where they cheerfully picked me up. I don’t suggest counting on that occurring ever again though lol.

The Monkey Bus seats up to 16 so gather your tribe and schedule a ride! Have fun and remember to bring cash for driver tips.

If you have any questions about this free service please call 941-565-6542 or 941-527-6266.


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 and with convenient transportation methods like the monkey bus you’ll be happy to leave the car parked in your luxury home rental.

If you have any questions about booking an Anna Maria Island beach rental or about golf cart rentals – 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! 

BEST Anna Maria Island Pizza Places

BEST Anna Maria Island Pizza Places

If you’re looking for great pizza on Anna Maria Island, then this is the post for you. Keep reading to learn more about the Island pizza places:

Solos: If you’re craving pizza, but everyone else you’re with is not, Solos is the place you need to stop by. Located on Holmes Beach, Solos is a conveniently located and economical place to get not only pizza, but also burgers, subs, wings, and salads. Of course we suggest the pizza because of the various amounts of toppings you can get! Make sure to stop by!
3244 E Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-8118

Oma’s: Oma’s is the perfect place to get a pizza from if it’s late at night (open till 12AM). Their pizza is always fresh and delicious and it’ll have you eating way after you should have called it quits. So definitely stop by and enjoy Oma’s friendly environment, and their yummy pizza and calzones.
201 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

The Feast Restaurant: The Feast is one of our top restaurants in general on the island. They have amazing food in good sized portions (plan for leftovers), though their pizza is absolutely fantastic. Trust me, once you just look at the pizza you will be impressed. It is the perfect balance of sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Compliments to the chef!
5406 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-5092

Pizza Social: The Pizza Social on Pine Ave is the newest (as of 2020) pizza place on Anna Maria Island. They specialize in handcrafted pizzas and fresh salads; the prefect combo! While they have an array of specialty pizzas and salads on their menu, you can also opt to Build Your Own pizza or salad as well.  Their brick oven fire cooking method turns the crust yummier than you can imagine! Make sure to add an order of garlic parmesan nuggets – your belly will thank you! 
308 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
(941) 251-4070

Samurai Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi in Bradenton, Fl

Samurai Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi in Bradenton, Fl

The Samurai is a recently opened restaurant in Bradenton, Fl. All seating is inside and the restaurant has he a fairly large bar area. The Samurai Steakhouse has 8 areas where you can sit down in front of large Hibachi grills. Japanese chefs come out and put on a nice show using knives, spatula’s, food and other items to both entertain and serve great Japanese food. The Hibachi grill has choices of chicken, Shrimp, Calamari, Steak, Tuna, Salmon and Lobster. The chef comes out and first fires up the grill with a pretty good flash of flames. Then the vegetables are cut up followed by cooking up some rice and meats. It is a good show with knives clanging and flipping and the food is fantastic. They offer two sauces with your meal and I happen to really like the cream base sauce. They call this yum-yum sauce. The Hibachi grill meals come with a clear broth soup and small salad.

If a Hibachi dinner is not your style that is ok. They serve lots of sushi as well as entrees. There are over 50 choices of Sushi as well as Tempura, fried rice and noodle based dishes. They also offer some unique soups and salads. Seaweed salad, Kani salad which is Crab meat mixed with cucumber and fish eggs. You can always try one of their 15 appetizers. Calamari, Chicken Tempura, Tofu or Edamame. The Samurai also serves Hibachi lunches as well as sushi rolls.

The Japanese Steakhouse is just a fifteen minute drive from Anna Maria Island. It is very close to the Desoto mall which is a great after lunch or dinner spot to slip in some shopping. The Samurai is fairly expensive at about $20 per entree. The food is fantastic and it is entertaining. Our younger son loves it as the chefs are very interactive with the crowd. They toss vegetables in his mouth as well as make volcanoes out of onions. The Samurai has a full bar with lots of unique beer choices.

The Samurai has dine in or take out and is open for lunch and dinner.  I do consider the Japanese steakhouse to be child friendly.  Our son of seven likes the chicken which is around $8 for his meal and he loves the hibachi show as they cook the rice, chicken and vegetables.

3611 1st Street #110
Bradenton, FL 34208
(941) 747-6300

Below find the map from Anna Maria island to the Samurai restaurant.

View Larger Map

McCurdy’s Comedy Club – Sarasota, Florida

McCurdy’s Comedy Club – Sarasota, Florida

If you are visiting Anna Maria Island, Longboat, Bradenton, or Sarasota then McCurdy’s could be just what you are looking for.  McCurdy’s is a great comedy club that is sure to get you laughing.   They bring in great comedians all year around.  The night we attended was a to be announced week which is very unusual for this comedy club.  The opening acts warmed up the crowd well and the club finished up the night with some improvisation which was fun and got the crowd involved.

The Sarasota comedy club has plenty of showtimes and it is always suggested to buy tickets prior to showtime by calling the box office for reservations… (941) 925 – 3869.  At the time of this post McCurdy’s has show times Wednesday through Sunday with lower weekday show prices and higher rates for Friday and Saturday shows.  One great option for McCurdy’s is many of the comedy shows are NON-SMOKING.  In addition, they rate each show with a brief description of what kind of jokes and profanity the comedian will use.  This is helpful for larger families traveling to Anna Maria Island.

Some quick rules of the comedy club… There is a two item purchase minimum per person.  They of course have beer, mixed drinks, non-alcoholic drinks and offer a quick bite to eat if you need a snack.  The average cost of a drink is about $8 plus tip and taxes.  I would not call their food a meal so plan on grabbing a full meal before or after.  All visitors of the comedy club must be at least 18 years of age.

Be careful with Google directions as it tried to take us off Tamiami to the comedy club and McCurdy’s is directly right off Tamiami only about 15 or so blocks to the South of the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.

McCurdy’s Comedy Club
3333 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, Fl, 34234
(941) 925-3869

Golf Cart Rentals on Anna Maria Island

Golf Cart Rentals on Anna Maria Island

There are plenty of ways to explore the beautiful Island of Anna Maria, including golf carts! It is nice to travel the island via a golf cart, due to limited parking at beach access points and cool trade winds – it’s always pleasant to enjoy the open gulf breezes.  

Luckily, the Island has plenty of different golf cart rental options that you can rent for a few days, part of your stay, or for the whole time you are visiting Anna Maria Island. They can be especially handy when traveling with a furry friend and staying in one of our pet-friendly rentals since other modes of transportation on the island do not allow pets.

Whether you’re renting a home in Anna Maria City, or staying in a condo in Bradenton Beach, getting around with a golf cart is a snap! 

Anna Maria Island Golf Cart Rental Companies 

Take a look at all the lovely rental companies on AMI that are able to get you all set up with easy transportation for you’re time in paradise.

Beach Bums
Beach Bums on Pine Avenue provides 4 seat golf carts, 6 seat golf carts, and 8 seat golf carts. You can rent a cart for an hour, a day, 3 days, or a whole week.
Address: 427 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
Phone: (941) 778-3316

Golf Coast Carts
Located in Anna Maria City, Golf Coast Carts offers 4 seat golf cart rentals and 6 seat golf cart rentals. Their carts are able to be rented for a single day, 3 days, or a week.  This company will deliver your cart and pick it up, no need to go anywhere to pick it up yourself!
Phone:  (877) 778-7264

Fun and More Rentals
Offering free delivery and pickup for their rentals is Fun and More Rentals in Holmes Beach. They have 4 seat, 6 seat, and 8 seat golf carts to pick from. You can do a single-day rental, a 3-day rental, or a week rental.
Phone: (941) 462-2719

Lux Carts (represented by Beach Bums)
If you’re looking for something a little more “fancy” than your average golf cart, Check out Lux Carts! Lux Carts only does weekly rentals rather than daily or 3 day rentals. Though, they have a nice variety of different carts. There are three different 4 seat golf carts (Luxie, LuxVader, and Lux Taxi), two different 6 seat golf carts (Big Lux and DeLux), and an 8 seat golf cart (Lux Limo).
Phone: (941) 254-7775

AMI Beach Buggys
AMI Beach Buggys in Holmes Beach has 2015 Polaris GEM® electric golf carts for rent. They have 4 seat carts and 6 seat carts available. This company will also drop off, and pick up your golf cart.
Phone: (941) 773-3800
Address: 5348 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Robinhood Rentals AMI
Unlike the other golf cart rentals on Anna Maria Island, Robinhood Rentals AMI offers gas-powered golf cart rentals, rather than electric. They have 4 and 6 seat carts available that can be rented for a single day, three days, or one week.
Phone: (941) 920-1996
Address: 9802 Gulf Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216

AMI Golf Cart Rentals
This golf cart rental company makes getting and getting rid of your golf cart rental a breeze. Just give AMI Golf Cart Rentals a call and they will be there ASAP to pickup/drop-off a cart. They offer eclectic luxury and economic carts that can be rented for a single day, 3 days, or a full week.
Phone: (941) 212-2402

A golf cart company that promises unrivaled customer service. They boast great reviews to prove it. Call ahead of time to have your island ready vehicle waiting for you on arrival. Not only that but if you use the PROMO code “IREAMI6101” and get $35 dollars off your rental.
Phone: (833) 966-6276

Stay On Anna Maria Island

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 and with convenient transportation methods like golf carts you’ll be happy to leave the car parked in your luxury home rental.

If you have any questions about booking an Anna Maria Island beach rental or about golf cart rentals – 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!