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.

sunrise on morning walk
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise on Anna Maria!

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!

shells on your morning walk
Find shells on your morning walk!

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!

coquinas on your morning walk
Find Coquinas!

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!

pick up litter on morning walks
Help out our beaches by picking up litter on your walk!

Bean Point – Anna Maria Island’s Secret Serenity

Bean Point footbridge
The footbridge at Bean Point

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.

Historic City Pier Anna Maria – Take A Stroll on Tampa Bay

City Pier Anna Maria 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.

Beach Bistro – Fine Dining Anna Maria Island

sunset view at the Beach BistroThe Beach Bistro is a fantastic restaurant that offers a dining experience to remember. Several courses are served, or you can order how you like.    Reservations are strongly recommended, but you can also try to grab a seat at the bar.  The bar has a little more limited menu and provides some “lighter fare” options.  If you are looking for a romantic spot with limited gulf views and price is no option then we strongly recommend the Beach Bistro.  Average meal prices are well over $35, so be sure you are comfortable with their prices.

Younger children are welcome, but are not recommended if you plan on having a long dining experience.  Parking can be a bit of a challenge but if you can find a “legal” spot go for it otherwise be sure to use their valet parking.  One additional note, the seating for two is normally fairly intimate so be prepared to get to know your neighboring diners.

We’ve provided some information below to help you contact them or find them once you’re on the island!

Beach Bistro

The Bistro is located in Holmes Beach, FL
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars – based on 377 reviews

6600 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Phone Number: (941) 778-6444
Website: www.beachbistro.com
Menu: Browse our Menu and Wine List
Hours: .

Cuisine: Gulf Coast Seafood, American

Price Range: $$$
Takes Reservations: Yes

Beach Bistro, Direct Gulf Front fine Dining in Holmes Beach, FL

Get Directions from your Current Location

The Beach Bistro is located at the end of 66th.

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.

The Waterfront Restaurant has bay views in Anna Maria city

Great view of  Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Bridge is only the beginning at this wonderful local seafood restaurant on Anna Maria Island.  The food choices at the Waterfront are fantastic.  From wonderful fresh soups and salads to gourmet meals, salmon and steak.  The Waterfront located in Anna Maria City also offers vegetarian choices as well that are made fresh and homemade right at the restaurant.  Waterfront of Anna Maria Island is famous for their delicious fish taco appetizer and outdoor seating taking advantage of the wonderful bay views.  The giant fish tank that separates the main dining room from the bar area is beautiful and adds charm to the dining experience.

The Waterfront restaurant also offers a wonderful  selection of beers and wine from all over the world.  UPDATE: The Waterfront now serves liquor and phenomenal cocktails.  If you are in the mood for something new, ask one of the friendly bartenders for some suggestions.  My wife loves the Jalapeno Margarita.

The wait staff  of the waterfront in Anna Maria city is always inviting and prompt with their service. If you are in the mood for great service, great views of the bay, excellent food, this is the place for you to come as a family or as a couple.  One last note, try the lobster bisque, trust us, you wont be sorry.  It melts in your mouth.

The Waterfront Restaurant

Tripadvisor Reviews: 4.5Out of 501
Address: 111 S Bay Blvd Anna Maria, FL 34216

Phone: (941) 778-1515
Website: The Waterfront Restaurant
Menu: Waterfront Restaurant Menu
Hours:


Cuisine: Gulf Coast Seafood & Fish

Price Range: $$
Accepts Reservations? yes
Driving Directions: Driving Directions – Google Maps

Visit the following link for more information on Anna Maria City Dining.

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!

Out of Town Activities for All Ages

Anna Maria- Even though Anna Maria has extremely fun activities, it’s nice to find enjoyable things to do out of town. With so much surrounding the island you’ll have no problem finding something the whole family will enjoy. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do off the island.

Out of Town Activities

Sarasota

Sarasota is located about 40 minutes south of Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a fun mind game, visit Escape Countdown located off of Tamiami Trail. Here you get to pick a themed room such as Jail Break or Mad Hatter and find clues to escape it. The challenge, however, is the 60 minute time limit. You may have up to three clues for free and each added clue takes off two minutes of your time. It’s a lot of fun to do with family and friends and you can have a group of up to eight people. You can reserve a time online or just walk in. Sarasota Lanes is the perfect place to go for anyone who loves bowling, or visit Stardust for a pleasant afternoon rollerskating.

escape countdown is out of town
Break out of jail at Escape Countdown!

Ellenton

Ellenton is about 30 minutes away and is home to Ellenton Premium Outlets and Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. The Premium Outlets offers shops such as Aeropostale, Michael Kors, and Vans. With around 120 different shops, there’s definitely something for everyone. After shopping outside all day, cool off at the ice rink and enjoy one of their two hour long public skates. Wristbands are only $15 and includes rental skates.

Tampa

If you love golfing, Top Golf is the perfect place for you! Located about an hour away from the island, Top Golf is one of the coolest places to go play golf. Imagine dart boards all over the ground, but instead of throwing darts you’re trying to hit the bulls-eye with a golf ball. Also in Tampa is the Adventure Island Water Park. Here you can find tons of cool water slides, a lazy river, and fun pools to play in.

Overall there’s so much to do on and around the island you’re sure to never get bored. Make sure to check these places out at have fun on your vacation!

Best 4 seafood restaurants around Anna Maria Island

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!

Seafood Restaurants

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.

The Ugly Grouper seafood restauraunt
Stop in for a bite at the Ugly Grouper! Photo courtesy of www.bradenton.com

2. Derek’s

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.

Derek's seafood
Photo Courtesy of www.dereks-bradenton.com

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!

Mar Vista seafood
Enjoy yummy food along with a historic atmosphere at Mar Vista! Photo from www.tripadvisor.com

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.

Seafood at Starfish Company
Come visit Starfish Company for delicious food and a great view!

Scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island

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.

vacation rental scavenger hunt
Take a picture at your vacation rental!

 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.

Scavenger hunt on Anna Maria
Find buried treasure on the beach!

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.

Sunset scavenger hunt
Snap a shot of Anna Maria’s beautiful sunset while on your scavenger hunt!

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.

triple-decker ice cream
Get some yummy ice cream! Photo courtesy of http://www.njfamily.com/NJ-Family/July-2011/Youll-Scream-for-Jerseys-Best-Homemade-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!

parrots scavenger hunt
Spot beautiful Blue Crowned parrots on the island!

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!

scavenger hunt seagulls
Find seagulls on your scavenger hunt!

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!

free trolley anna maria
Photo courtesy of www.annamariaislandchamber.org

8. Donuts from The Donut Experiment

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!

scavenger hunt donuts
Grab some yummy donuts!

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!

shell name
Photo courtesy of http://trenchesofmommyhood.blogspot.com/2011/04/jacob.html

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.

sandcastle scavenger hunt
Find or build your own sand castle!

11. Duffy’s famous burger from Duffy’s Tavern

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!

scavenger hunt at Duffy's Tavern
Get the best burgers and beer at Duffy’s Tavern!

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!

beach selfie
Take fun selfie’s at the beach!

 

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.

historic green village scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island
Snap a picture at Anna Maria’s Green Village! Photo courtesy of http://www.historicgreenvillage.com/

Have fun with this scavenger hunt on Anna Maria Island, and remember to be safe!