Families will LOVE Anna Maria Island! Lots to do, kid-friendly beaches, restaurants that welcome kids and adults alike, and we’re a day trip from Disney – Beach and Mouse in one house! Check out our Family Fun posts to get ideas for planning your visit to Anna Maria Island today!
If you’re looking for a family friendly restaurant try checking out one of the island’s Gulf Front or Bay Front restaurants featuring live entertainment and a comfortable inviting atmosphere. If you are looking for general dining information visit our restaurant summary page for more dining out choices.
Things To Do – Family Fun
If you’re getting tired of swimming or visiting the many beaches in the area there are plenty of public pools to visit as well. Take a trip to one of the area aquariums to get a close up look at the sea life! A short trip to the Florida Maritime Museum will be both educational and fun for the whole family.
If you’re visiting during the summer there are plenty of additional options, such as participating in the turtle watch which takes place between May 1st-October 31st. The kids can learn about the local turtles and see some of the nesting grounds that are penned off with stakes and tape right on the beaches. Kids can also learn to surf with the kid’s summer surfing camps!
Take a water shuttle trip on the Island Pearl to various locations and maybe even see some dolphins! Or for those who prefer solid ground the Anna Maria Island Trolley the Crown Jewel will take you around the island for free!
If you would like you can take a video tour of Anna Maria Island before you visit to get acquainted with some of the sights and locations!
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
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!
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!
Bean Point is the very northern tip of Anna Maria Island. It is a local secret that provides breathtaking views of the sunset on a pristine, and serene beach. Named for George Emerson Bean, the first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island, Bean Point is located on a secluded stretch of beach at the northern end of what was Bean’s original homesteaded property.
You won’t find a parking lot, or any large signs, to direct you to this treasure of nature. To get there you’ll need to head North of the City Pier in Anna Maria on North Bay Blvd. The “main entrance” to Bean Point is located at a small crossroads. You will notice the tree lined path that divides the two properties at the the intersection of North Bay Blvd & North Shore Dr. If you ride your bicycle, you can ride right up the path, and park just to the side of the classic, wooden footbridge that sets the tone for your Anna Maria beach experience. If you drive your car, you have a few options. There are actually entrances at the corners of Fern St & N. Shore Dr, and Gladiolus St. & North Shore as well. Each of these entrances is marked by a small white posted sign that merely states “Public Beach Access”. Using the intersection of North Bay blvd and North Shore will provide immediate access to the famed “Bean Point” but half the fun is getting there? Using the public beach access point to the South will allow you to walk along the beach and take in the sites where the Bay and Gulf meet. When parking you can choose a spot near any of these entrances, and take the path out to the beach. Local Tip: parking regulations are strictly enforced on Anna Maria Island. If it says No Parking, don’t do it, unless you want a ticket. If you do park on the roadside be sure your tires are off the asphalt street. If just 1″ is on the street you likely will return with a bad suprise after your liesurely stroll along the beaches of Anna Maria. There are spots along the side streets, including Gladiolus and Fern. To park near the footbridge entrance, I would recommend heading down to Jacaranda to find an empty (and legal) parking place.
Once your car is settled, head up the nearest path to the gorgeous turquoise waters where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Tampa Bay. After your leisurely stroll down the path, turn right when you get to the sand, and head north to the point, for spectacular views that include the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If the tide is low, you can see the sand bar just off the coast. Just a little wading into the warm water will take you there, and you can shell ‘til your heart’s content! The views are amazing, the water is inviting, and the atmosphere is relaxed and serene. There are quiet spots to sit and enjoy the view, and watch the waters and the wildlife. I love where the water collides as the tide shifts from the East side of Anna Maria Island to the West side.
There are signs of life relaxing all over the Point. My children love pointing out the crab holes in the sand. There are a few turtle nests marked off right now, that are ready to hatch by the end of this month. There is always something to delight the bird watcher too…with several different birdies to entertain you as they guard their beach turf from one another. Off in the distance you can see the shores of Egmont Key, and there are always the boats to enjoy watching as they pass by.
So, head to Bean Point to capture a quiet beach moment, or a breathtaking sunset, and enjoy one of the most relaxing spots on an island famous for its relaxation. Check out Vacasa’s Vacation Rentals to find your perfect spot to capture all that Anna Maria Island has to offer. Call them toll free, at 800 778 6066, and one of our Vacation Rental Specialist can help you find your perfect spot.
Looking for a vacation rental close to Bean Point? Grand Haven is just a few properties to the South and is a great bet for a Bean Point vacation as well.
The city Pier Anna Maria is a great site to see when visiting Anna Maria Island, Florida. (Sorry, since 2017 Irma the City pier is temporarily closed. However, there is still plenty to do in the ara and all the below information is accurate) Grabbing an ice cream at Two Scoops and walking the pier is a must! Another great past time, swing over to Two Sides of Nature and do some shopping. Stop in at the Waterfront. restaurant, across the street, for a great bite to eat.
At the end of the pier you can grab dinner and lunch, or pick up some hand made jewelry. If you like fishing then stop in to gab with the fishermen on the pier and see what is biting.
City Pier Anna Maria is a historical site
The sign at the entrance of the City Pier Anna Maria says it all. “The Anna Maria Development Company built this pier and wharf in 1911-1912 to provide dockage for ships from St. Petersburg and Tampa. It has since withstood hurricanes and lesser storms too numerous to mention. Although parts were damaged in storms in 1918, 1935, 1974, 1988, 2017 it has each time been restored to its approximate original form. Unfortunately the pier as of 2017 is closed for major repairs. The City of Anna Maria as well as Manatee County are initiating plans to repair the pier and brint it back to all it’s glory. The Anna Maria City pier is 678 feet long so it is no small task to repair it’s infastructure. The wharf extends another 58 feet into Tampa bay. Over the years it has nurtured the hopes of fisherman and the dreams of lovers. Provided roosts for pelicans and other sea birds, and has also been a friend to residents and visitors alike.
Over the center of the tin roof, from the third shore bench to the south of this marker, on clear nights can be seen the North star. Guardian of the mariners since the first sailor looked up for guidance of the night sea.
When the pier opens again, hopefully soon… walk the planks. Beneath the Roof of this City Pier is the Place to sit with Shrimp and Beer. While Lightening in the distance plays and thunder rumbles across the bays. “Summer Storm”…CMV ”
Anna Maria Beach Real Estate
There are plenty of gorgeous Anna Maria beach cottages available through Island Real Estate! Check out the selection of homes, and be sure to seek real estate advices from one of our full time sales professionals.
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.
Anna Maria Island August fishing has been almost as hot as the weather. While those water temps don’t always translate into the best mid-afternoon fishing, the morning and evening bite has been great – especially on a strong outgoing tide.
Anna Maria Island August Fishing
The bait has been thick, and there has been no problem blacking out the live-wells quickly with plenty of shiners and pin-fish. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get some shrimp as well for some of the sheepshead I have seen lounging around some of the docks in the area.
After the bait is loaded up, I have been picking my clients up in the morning and taking them to some spots a little further south of the island in pursuit of mangrove snapper, snook, trout, ladyfish, and some spanish mackerel.
August Fishing Tips
Tips: If using live bait, I recommend a size 4 or 6 hook and a 6 foot 20lb. fluorocarbon leader, hooking the shiners through the nose. When you find yourself getting into mackerel (or you get a bite and it breaks you off), switch over to long-shank hooks to combat their toothy bite.
If using artificial bait, I have been having luck with a myriad of options; but primarily weedless silver spoons, topwater spooks, and DOA shrimp (I prefer white) have been getting it done consistently.
If fly fishing, I recommend sight-fishing from the beaches (or dock lights at night) for snook using a small EP glass minnow of the chartreuse/silver/white variety. I use a 20lb. fluorocarbon leader for this as well, but it might not hurt to throw a 25lb. shock tippet on the end of leader as well to combat abrasion.
Regardless of the method, the fishing has been fun out there if you can withstand the heat so remember to get out early, watch the tides, and wear plenty of sunscreen!
Anna Maria- Remember watching The Little Mermaid as a kid and wanting to be just like Ariel? Well, now is your chance to make that childhood dream a REALITY. With so many great shops on Anna Maria Island, transforming yourself into the mermaid you’ve always wanted to be is as easy as ever. As a fun activity for both kids and adults, make sure to grab these mermaid essentials and spend your vacation feeling like the queen of the sea!
If you’re a mermaid, it’s always important to sport some jewelry that shows your love for the sea. Shops on Anna Maria such as Bridge Street Jewelers and Tide & Moon Jewelry sell beautiful handmade and designer jewelry. Also, many shells on the beach already have holes in them. Just string them together and you’ve got your own DIY bracelet!
Every mermaid knows to have a cute swimsuit, and we’ve got you covered here on the island. The Island Bazaar and West Coast Surf Shop is one of my favorite stores to get bathing suits, cover-ups, and everything in-between. They have good prices and good quality products!
While relaxing on the beach, having a comfy blanket or towel to sit on is always a must-have. The West Coast Surf Shop has some really cute towels to lounge on, and is the perfect way to spice up your look!
One of the best ways to enjoy your mermaid experience is by adding a yummy drink to it! For adults, treat your taste-buds at The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar where they serve drinks such as Pimm’s Cup, a mix of sour, sliced lemon, cucumber, strawberries and topped with sprite. However, at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe kids can enjoy a Coconut Créme which is essentially a non-alcoholic Piña Colada. Overall, fruity drinks make for the perfect mermaid experience!
Every good mermaid has a good beachy book. One of my favorites is The Blue Bistro, which is about a girl who moves to the island of Nantucket in order to find herself a new job. She has had trouble with commitment to people and places in the past, but when she starts to like her new boss she doesn’t know what to do. This book is a mixture of drama and romance, and is great to read on the beach!
Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and accommodations fit for a Mermaid!
Island Real Estate has the largest selection of vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island. Visit IslandReal.com first when looking for the perfect Florida vacation.
Anna Maria- While playing by the beach is always a good time, relaxing at your Anna Maria Island cottagey with some good movies can be just as fun! Many websites such as Netflix, HBO, and Amazon offer these movies to stream, and because most of our properties come with WiFi you can watch what you’d like at your leisure! While there are many great movies to watch when vacationing by the beach, here’s a few of my favorites.
5 Movies to Watch on Vacation
1. 50 First Dates
Personally one of my favorite romances, 50 First Dates is about a man named Henry who sets his heart on a girl named Lucy. However, little does he know that he has a huge obstacle in his way, Lucy’s short term memory loss. Because of this, every morning Henry must woo her again. This movie is comical, heart-warming, and overall the perfect movie to watch on vacation! This movie is PG-13.
2. Teen Beach Movie
Any kid or family who loves music and the beach will love this Disney movie! Surfers Brady and McKenzie are magically thrown into a 1960’s movie musical, and are forced to make friends with the characters in order to get back. However, they accidentally change the story line when the movie’s main hero and heroine fall in love with them instead of each other! As the movie takes place at a beach, (of course!) any family is sure to enjoy this movie while vacationing on Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a movie marathon, there is also Teen Beach Movie 2. This movie is rated G.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
If you love adventure and romance this movie will be one of your favorites. Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself at Port Royal with no ship and no crew. His timing couldn’t be more perfect however as later that day a pirate ship attacks the town and takes none other than the governor’s daughter. A blacksmith named Will Turner happens to be in love with her, and allies with Jack in order to get her back. With so much adventure and an ever exciting plot, you’re sure to love this movie! It is rated PG-13.
4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This movie is perfect for vacationing teens who are keeping in touch with their friends back home. Four best friends named Carmen, Tibby, Lena and Bridget are spending their first summer apart. Before they leave, Carmen finds a pair of “magic” jeans at the thrift store that happen to fit all the girls different body types. In order to keep in touch, the girls decide to send each other the jeans over the summer for luck. While the girls are facing tough times, they know their friends will be there for them in the long run. A touching and funny movie, this movie is perfect for all ages and is rated PG.
If you’re into scarier movies, Jaws is right up your alley. Beginning when a young women is killed by a shark, Sheriff Martin Brody wants to close the beaches. However the mayor and a few other businessmen are not happy with this idea as it will lower revenue. Brody is forced to back down, when that following weekend a boy is killed by the predator as well. The boys mother proceeds to put a price on the capture of the shark, and soon a local fisherman and an archaeologist join Brody to find the Great White Shark. While this movie is fantastic I do have a warning! As you ARE vacationing at the beach, if the thought of sea creatures such as stingrays and sharks makes you squeamish to go into the water I wouldn’t recommend watching Jaws. This movie is rated PG.
Island Real Estate located at 6101 Marina Drive has dominated the local Anna Maria Island Real Estate market for several decades. That means for you we have the most listings on the island that our professional sales staff has intimate knowledge of.
Anna Maria- If you’re looking for exceptional seafood, you’re at the right place! With water surrounding almost all of Anna Maria, it’s no doubt our restaurants have access to the best seafood. All within 20 minutes of the island, here are four restaurants that you’re sure to love!
1. The Ugly Grouper Bar & Grill
Located on the island, The Ugly Grouper is right across the street from our Marina Drive office. They serve delicious food such as grouper sandwiches and mahi fish tacos along with meals for people who don’t care as much for seafood. Also, all of their fish is fresh off the coast of Anna Maria, so you’re sure to get fresh fish. The Ugly Grouper has a history here on Anna Maria Island, as it was previously The Barefoot Tiki Bar and even before that a gas station! Take a look at the menu here.
Found on Manatee Avenue, Derek’s is prided on its ever-changing menu and good food. They serve wild pink shrimp pasta, blackened salmon and much more. Whether you want to have a causal luncheon or a fancy dinner, Derek’s is the perfect place to go. They do accept reservations and are open from 5am-10pm Monday-Saturday.
3. Mar Vista
Mar Vista resides in Longboat Key and is casual place to get great seafood. Some of their best dishes are a Grouper sandwich and Scallops Mar Vista. Another cool aspect of Mar Vista is its history on Longboat Key. It was one of the first structures built by Rufus Jordan in 1912 and has withstood hurricanes and erosion. Still in the original building, Mar Vista is an extremely interesting place to visit that has tasty food!
4. Starfish Company Market
If you’re wanting to cook your own or buy already cooked seafood Starfish Company is the perfect place to go. Located off Cortez, they sell locally caught seafood such as fish, scallops, and shrimp. Starfish Co. was started in the 1920’s and sits on one of the few remaining working waterfronts. With an absolutely gorgeous view, Starfish Co. is a must visit when vacationing here on Anna Maria.
Anna Maria- If you’re looking for a fun activity with the family, why not have a photo scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island? Great for all ages, grab your camera and go explore some of the best features of Anna Maria! Don’t forget to post your pictures on our Facebook page at the end of your trip!
Photo scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island
1. Selfie in your vacation rental
What better way to start your vacation? Take a selfie in your new vacation rental and make all your Facebook friends jealous! Plus we always love seeing our guests satisfied with our properties.
2. Buried treasure on the beach
Make like a pirate and find some buried treasure while staying on Anna Maria Island! Many times loose change can be found, and every once in a while jewelry! Take a lap around the beach and see what you might find.
3. Sunset Scavenger Hunt on Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets. Good places to view these lovely colors are White Avenue and Bean Point.
4. Triple-Decker ice cream cone
When in the hot Florida sun it’s always nice to cool off with some cold ice cream! Stack on multiple scoops for the ultimate ice cream cone. Delicious places to go to are Two Scoops and Holy Cow Ice Cream.
5. Wild Parrots
One of the best characteristics about Anna Maria is the occasional sighting of wild parrots. These beautiful creatures can be found all over the island, and are definitely picture worthy. Just please don’t try to feed or disturb them!
6. Seagulls (Do not feed!)
Some of the most common birds in Florida are seagulls. Found all over the beach, seagulls are the perfect addition to your vacation photos. However, do not feed them as they can be very aggressive and won’t leave you alone once you do!
7. Selfie on the free trolley
A great feature on Anna Maria Island is the free trolley that goes through Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria. As you’re traveling around the island make sure to snap a picture to record your travels! You can find the schedule for the trolley here. All we ask is to not take a photo in front of the trolley as it will hold the driver up and put it off schedule!
If you like sweets The Donut Experiment is an absolute must to go to. With delicious donuts that make for great pictures you can’t go wrong here. Plus, you get to choose EXACTLY what goes on your donuts as they are made-to-order. There will be a little wait however as they are extremely popular!
9. Spell your name in shells
Leave a little of yourself behind and spell your name out in the sand! Anna Maria has pretty shells littering the island, and is a great way to get creative on your vacation. Plus it makes your pictures a little more personalized!
10. Build a sand castle
What better way to show off the island’s beautiful sand than creating sand castles? Show off your creative skills and build your own or be on the look out for professionals creating theirs! This is also a great activity to do with the family, and adding kids into the picture only makes it cuter! Get inventive and have fun.
Known for their delicious burgers and cold beer, Duffy’s Tavern is the perfect place to go for food. Make sure to document you’re meal for the scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island!
12. Selfie at the beach
The best part of vacationing at Anna Maria is the beach! With pretty water and cool wildlife you’re sure to get some awesome pictures. Take a selfie (or selfies!) with the family, you’re sure to get some Instagram-worthy pictures!
13. Visit the Historic Green Village
Located on Pine Avenue, the Historic Green Village is one out of 100 places worldwide to have achieved the highest possible green building standard. With cool shops such as ami Outfitters and Beach Bums there’s a lot to see and do! Learn more about this historical place here.
Have fun with this scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island, and remember to be safe!