Coquina Bike Path ~ Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Island’s Best on The Beach

Anna Maria Island is a great place to take a family walk, bike ride, or just enjoy the breath taking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t let the name fool you, the Coquina Bike path is not for just bikes but includes patrons strolling down the Gulf Waters.  The Coquina bike path is paved and stretches between Coquina beach and Cortez Beach.  Located in Bradenton Beach just south of Bridge Street, you will find Cortez Beach.

This beach offers free parking and lots of it!  As you move further south into Coquina Beach, you will find public restrooms, picnic tables, beach showers, and lifeguards on duty.  Coquina beach also has a café that serves burgers and hot dogs right on the beach.

One of my favorite things to do is take a nice, easy bike ride through Coquina Beach. I start at the south end of the island under the Long Boat Key Bridge and head north towards Cortez Beach along the paved path. Take the time to enjoy island wildlife as you are greeted by squirrels, native birds like the Blue Heron, and if you are lucky, you may see dolphins or manatees enjoying their Florida lifestyle.

If you can’t bring your own bicycle, there are lots of places to rent them on Anna Maria Island.   Most folks love Bradenton Beach because there are plenty of accommodation choices as well as dining and shopping within a stroll away.

Eat Anna Maria Island Oysters While Vacationing

Anna Maria- When vacationing on the coast eating fresh seafood is a must, and Anna Maria Island Oysters are no exception. With countless restaurants on the island, finding some delicious oysters to eat is easier than ever!

Anna Maria Island Oysters

Many people believe humans have eaten oysters since the Roman times from evidence of oyster farms in France and the United Kingdom. Crazy right?

Oysters can be found in all of the world’s oceans. They are bivalve mollusks that have rough irregular shells. While most oysters are edible, there is a difference between food oysters and pearl oysters. Even though it is possible, most food oysters don’t produce pearls. Both are also in two different families of bivalves.

Surprisingly enough, oysters breathe much like fish, using both gills and mantle. They can be both male or female, and can change genders one or more times throughout their life.

Health Benefits

Oysters are one of the most nutritionally balanced foods because they have proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids in them. Just eating four or five medium sized oysters supply the recommended daily source of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese and phosphorus!

Where to celebrate!

With so many restaurants on the island, there’s plenty of options for eating Anna Maria Island Oysters! Here’s a few to think of going to:

AMOB on the Pier– Located in Bradenton Beach, enjoy delicious oyster platters such as Grandma Georgie’s Chipotle Oysters, Rockefeller or an oyster sampler.

Anna Maria Island Oysters
Eat at AMOB on the Pier!

 Island Gourmet Grill– Serving baked oysters with toppings such as cheese, bacon, and jalapenos, there’s no way to go wrong here! You can find Island Gourmet on Holmes Beach.

Anna Maria Island Oysters
Enjoy yummy oysters at Island Gourmet!

Island Fresh Market– Specializing in locally caught and grown food, the Fresh Market serves oysters caught right around the island! You can order them cooked or raw. You can find them on Holmes Beach!

Be sure to enjoy Anna Maria Island Oysters on your next visit!

Beach Warning Flags – Swim Safely on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – While relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island you may notice beach warning flags. A notice of swimming conditions, You’ll see them flying from the lifeguard stands at Manatee Beach in Holmes Beach and Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. These are color coded flags to warn you about different conditions that you as a beachgoer should be aware of.

What the beach warning flags mean

Double Red – No swimming allowed

Red – Swim with extreme caution due to strong currents or rough surf

Yellow – Swim with caution due to strong currents or rough surf

Green – Swimming allowed, calm conditions

Purple – Presence of marine pests such as jellyfish, sharks, stingrays or red tide

In 2005 the Florida Legislature introduced the uniform beach flag system. Florida’s beach flag program uses four colors accompanied by interpretive signs along the beach to explain swimming conditions. All public beaches in Florida with lifeguards must use the state flag system. With a quick glance at the lifeguard stand beachgoers are informed about the existing water conditions. Life guards will monitor conditions changing the flags throughout the day in order to keep patrons informed. Follow the link for swimming conditions prior to your beach visit.

Just in time for the summer season 2014 additional beach flags will be posted at two fire stations in MANATEE COUNTY. One fire stations is on the island: Fire Station No. 1 at 6001 Marina Drive on Holmes Beach next to the Island Real Estate office and the second fire station is on the way approaching the island via Cortez Road: 10350 Cortez Road, Bradenton.

Lifeguards will communicate with firefighters to change the flags as necessary.

So, just check today’s beach flag color, apply sunscreen and enjoy your day on the beautiful beaches on Anna Maria Island. You might also like to check out what the Island Real Estate team brings along in their beach bags or take a live look at the beach via the Island Real Estate beach cam.

 

Tuesday Turtle Talks on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – The Tuesday Turtle Talks begin this month at the Anna Maria Island Community Center and will continue through the summer at the Annie Silver Community Center in Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Island TurtlesAnna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers will take kids in the Center’s after school program to the beach on May 12 and May 19 at 4 p.m. to search for sea turtle and shorebird nests, with a final activity at the Center on May 26. From June through August, Tuesday Turtle Talks will move to the Annie Silver Community Center on 23rd Street one block off Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach from 10 to 11 a.m.

The talks will replace morning tours of the nesting beach and will include a presentation, handouts and Q&A time. In August, volunteers will demonstrate nest excavations on the beach, Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said.

All summer a new event, Turtles on Bridge Street, will be featured with scavenger hunts to find turtles, free temporary turtle tattoos in Bridge Street businesses and other events.

If you would like to register your child to attend the Anna Maria Island Community Center Tuesday Turtle Talks, call 941-778-1908.

 

 

Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll

Bradenton beach – Don’t miss the Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll on Saturday May 9th at 9am.

A family fun run/walk coming in two flavors, a one-mile course and a 5k course, is an event whose proceeds go to the United Way of Manatee County. Registration is $35 for one adult and up to four kids, $50 for two adults and up to four kids, $25 for an adult up to April 30th and $30 after that, $15 for teens between 14 and 17 and $5 for each additional kid ages 3-13. Adults who sign up before April 30th will get a complimentary event t-shirt. The first 200 to register will also get a free stuffed koozie.

Registrations start at 8am with the walk/run starting at 9am and is located on Coquina Beach at 2650 Gulf Drive South in Bradenton beach.
United Way addresses our community’s most challenging issues by focusing on the building blocks of a good life; Education, Financial Stability and Health. By participating in the Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll, participants help give Manatee County children the opportunity graduate from high school on time, help residents have access to opportunities to create financial stability for themselves and their families, and help community members make healthy choices, be safe from violence, and have access to healthcare and healthcare supports.

Online registration and additional information available is available HERE.  Contact Katie Becker at kbecker@uwmc.net or  for more information.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.

Respect our feathered friends while relaxing at the beach

Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria Island birds and wildlife are very important to locals, and the success of our environment. Bird nesting season is here and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FWC for short, is asking beachgoers to watch out for and avoid disturbing nesting shore birds. With nests built out of sand, respecting local wildlife is especially important during high traffic times like Spring Break. A lot of these birds face conservation challenges and taking into consideration a few do’s and don’t can go a long way towards helping preserve our local ecosystem.

Anna Maria Island birds and wildlife

Rules for beachgoer’s

Keep your distance, whether on the beach or paddling watercraft along the shore. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. A general rule is to stay at least 300 feet from a nest. Birds calling out loudly and dive-bombing are giving signals for you to back off.

Never intentionally force birds to fly or run. They use up energy they need for nesting, and eggs and chicks may be left vulnerable to the sun’s heat or predators. Teach children not to chase shorebirds and kindly ask fellow beach-goes to do the same.

Respect posted areas. Avoid posted nesting sites and use designated walkways when possible.

Do not take pets to the beach.

Keep the beach clean and do not fee wildlife. Food scraps attract predators such as raccoons and crows, which can prey on shorebird chicks. Litter on beaches can entangle birds and other wildlife.

Rules for wildlife photographers

Remain beyond the posted area, with no part of you or your camera equipment extending beyond the string or signs.

Restrict photography to no more than 10 minutes. Too much time photographing near the nest may stress birds.

Don’t “push” birds around the beach. Stay far enough away so the birds do not change their behavior in response to your presence. They need to feed and rest without disturbance.

If you see someone disturbing nesting birds report their behavior to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC(3922), #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or by texting Tip@#MyFWC.com.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer feeding it’s babies during nesting season on Anna Maria Island.

Respect Dolphins Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins may be one of our nicest finned friends, but they are still wild animals protected under law by the Marina Mammal Protection Act. Here are some do’s and don’ts for interacting with them.

atlantic bottle nose dolphin anna maria island
Anna Maria Island Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins

Do’s

Stay at least 50 yards away from dolphins when viewing from a vessel or watercraft.

Limit time spent observing marine mammals to 30 minutes or less.

Avoid making loud or sudden noises near these aquatic mammals.

Move away slowly if a dolphin’s behavior indicates the animal is stressed or disturbed.

Look before you book! Book wild dolphin viewing tours with businesses that responsibly view dolphins in the wild and help cetacean conservation.

Put your vessel’s engine in neutral if in the close vicinity of dolphins.

Dont’s

Pursue, swim with, pet or touch wild dolphins, even if they approach you.

Encircle or entrap dolphins with vessels.

Operate or maneuver vessels in a manner that may cause dolphins to change their current behaviors. Specifically, do not direct a vessel or accelerate toward dolphins with the intent of creating a wake.

Separate mother and calf pairs.

Drive watercraft through or over groups of dolphins.

If you see a dolphin in distress call Mote Marine’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212.

 

 

Anna Maria Island beach clean-ups

Photos from the Heart the Sea Beach Clean UpAnna Maria Island – The city of Anna Maria and independent organizations in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach will be holding Anna Maria Island beach clean-ups during the last weeks of March.

Coquina Beach Clean Up

The Tampa Bay Watch Coastal Cleanup of Coquina Beach is asking you to come and help clean the beach on March 21st from 9am until noon. Bring your own gloves, hats and sunscreen as the Tampa Bay Watch will provide trash bags and trash grabbers. The meeting location is 2650 Gulf Drive, Bradenton, FL 34217. Email Michelle Leahy at michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call at 941-748-4501 ext. 6035 with questions about the clean up. Help keep the beach clean and the wildlife safe!

Anna Maria Beach Clean Up

Taking place on March 28th  starting at the south end of Bayfront Park in the city of Anna Maria at 8am. Bring your own bag or trash can, gloves and anything else you may need. Large items can be placed on the roadside for pickup. For more information call the public works department at 941-708-6130 ext. 26.

Manatee Beach Clean Up

Heart the Sea will be holding a beach clean up at the Manatee Public Beach on March 28th from 4-6pm. Heart the Sea will provide blue plastic gloves, so bring your own bags and grabbers. After the clean up is done head over to Swordfish Grill just over the Cortez Bridge for a free drink when you bring in your blue glove. Manatee Public Beach is located at 4000 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach. Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th St W in Cortez. Find out more by emailing HeartTheSea@Gmailc.om or on the Heart the Sea Facebook page.

Boat Rentals with Bradenton Beach Marina

Bradenton Beach – Whether staying at one of our properties with boat access, or simply wanting to enjoy boat rentals for a day trip, Anna Maria Island has you covered. Of all the boat rental companies on the island though, Bradenton Beach Marina is the company with the broadest amount of options.

Located near the Cortez bridge on Bradenton Beach, the Bradenton Beach Marina is a full service marina and offers wet and dry boat storage. Inside high and dry storage for boats up to 40’ and wet slip dockage for boats up to 65′ in length. Liveaboard dockage, transient dockage for the day, week or month. Water, electric, telephone, and pump out service. Other services include; Boat repair & maintenance, boat rentals and boat sales.

Rates 

Bradenton Beach Marina Rates

Book Your Boat Rental Today!

Half Day Morning Rentals run from 8:30 am to 12:30

Half Day Afternoon Rentals run from 12:30 pm to 4:30

Full Day Rentals run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

 

For all questions and to book by phone please call 941-704-5441. Island Real Estate does not handle the reservation of boats.

Location

Bradenton Beach Marina is centrally located between Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay, we are just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico via Longboat Pass.

How to Get to Us

By land: From I-75 exit on State Road 70 West (Exit 217B). Head west for approximately 10 miles until you reach the intersection of Cortez Road. Turn left on Cortez Road and follow it out until it dead ends on Anna Maria Island. As you come across the Cortez Road Bridge, you will see Bradenton Beach Marina on your left side.

By water: Located on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway between marker 49 and the Cortez Road Bridge in Bradenton Beach on ANNA MARIA Island. Our nearest Gulf access is Longboat Pass approximately 1 1/2 miles south of the marina.

 

Support Beach clean-up efforts with new local non-profit organization Heart the Sea.

Anna Maria Island – Heart the Sea, a new local non-profit organization invites all to help clean the beach on February 28th at 4PM starting under Longboat Pass at the Southern tip of Coquina Beach located at 2650 Gulf Drive in the City of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island. Beach cleaners are encouraged to bring a bucket, no plastic bags, and wear closed toed shoes. Gloves and a few extra buckets will be available. Afterwards, Cleaners are invited to Heart the Sea Sponsor Swordfish Grill; cleaners who bring their cleaning glove to Swordfish Grill will be rewarded with one free drink. Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215.

Jeff Higgins the Marketing Director at Swordfish Grill says, “We stand by Heart the Sea because just like us, they believe in making sure this natural habitat where we all live and we all love, stays that way for future generations to enjoy”

To stay up to date on Beach Clean ups follow Heart the Sea on Facebook or Twitter Contact Jenny Stonehouse at 941-702-4SEA.

 Heart the Sea Beach Clean-UpHeart The Sea exists for the protection of the Ocean and it’s inhabitants by raising awareness for waterway and beach health. Our vision is for the change of human habits for the benefit of the ocean and it’s animals.

Beach clean-ups are where tourists and locals alike can share a love for the ocean. To be intentional about picking up litter has changed people; Newbies to Heart the Sea beach clean-ups, even children, cannot help themselves from picking up litter whenever they see it after attending one of the clean-ups. All litter eventually ends up in the ocean unless intercepted, and many volunteers are surprised to collect about 5-10 lb of trash per bucket.

Founder of Heart the Sea Jenny Stonehouse elaborates on Heart the Sea and beach clean ups, “About a year ago, I met Hank the Heron on the 77th street beach access with fishing line around his ankle. Hank was wobbling begging the nearby fisherman for food. I called the AMI Wildlife Rescue who came out to try and catch Hank. The volunteer was unsuccessful as Hank did not want to be caught! In my conversation with AMI Wildlife Rescue I discovered that they had been trying to catch Hank for a while. Sadly, Hank did his best to fly down the beach only to be pummeled by another territorial Heron. Heart The Sea was born in my heart on that day. Because fishing line and other harmful items are found and discarded each month, Heart the Sea beach clean-ups are important to the health of our Beaches. Supporting Heart the Sea’s cause means increasing efforts to clean the beach and educating tourists and locals in reducing trash on our beach. We meet, we clean-up, and we go have a drink.”

For several months now Jenny and a small group of Volunteers have been meeting in various parts of Anna Maria Island for clean-ups. Recently, Jenny submitted Heart the Sea’s articles of incorporation to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization making Heart the Sea a truly impactful facilitator of clean beaches. In Celebration of Heart the Sea’s new beginning, Jenny will be set up at The Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach February 22nd from 10am-3pm. Jenny will not only be passing out information and recruiting volunteers, but as an artist, Jenny will be selling her artwork with 50% of the proceeds going directly to Heart the Sea.