Top 7 Things Locals Know About Anna Maria Island

There are a few things locals know about Anna Maria Island. Experiencing the island life like a local is the best way to enjoy your time here. Find Anna Maria Island’s best of the best with this helpful guide.

Top 7 Things Locals Know About Anna Maria Island

Once you read this guide you’ll surely feel like a local too!

1 Getting Around the Island

Locals know that Anna Maria Island is a fabulous community for public transportation. When visiting during the peak season, street traffic can make getting around by car a bit difficult. Along with creating limited public parking high season brings busy roads. Locals love walking or bike riding to their destination. It’s an amazing way to enjoy our gulf breezes and tropical scenery. If you’re going from one end of the island to the other the free trolley is absolutely perfect! Also consider renting a golf cart or scooter for a fun way to get around in style.

Anna Maria Island trolley
Anna Maria Island Locals LOVE the free trolley!

2 Island History

Furthermore, all locals know a thing or two about the history of the island. A community rich in Florida culture, Islanders love to reminisce. Learn about Anna Maria City Pier, the first bridge connecting the island to the mainland, the first island settlers and the “day trippers” culture that still enlivens this beautiful vacation destination. Visit the Anna Maria Island Historical Society on Pine Avenue to enjoy the Island’s history. Also head over the bridge to the Florida Maritime Museum to learn about the historic Fishing Village of Cortez.

Cortez Bridge history
Historic Cortez Bridge connecting Bradenton Beach to the mainland of Cortez Village.

 

3 Fishing and Seafood

Naturally Anna Maria Island has always been a fabulous place for fishing, and fresh seafood. Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay, Anna Maria Island is perfectly situated for premium fishing. Additionally, many local seasonal specialties such as Stone Crab, Mullet, Spiny Lobsters and Sunray Venus Clams can be found at restaurant serving seafood. Visit The Island Real Estate Fishing Report page for local fishing updates and conditions.

Fishing on Anna Maria Island
Locals love fishing on Anna Maria Island.

4 Dining and Restaurants

With no shortage of tasty restaurants, Anna Maria Island has just about any type of cuisine you are looking for. Whether it’s dining with a view, fabulous happy hour specials, or the top ten island restaurants, find it all!

Rod and Reel Pier
Rod & Reel Pier offers some of Anna Maria Island’s most delicious seafood!

5 Shopping

Anna Maria Island is a unique shopping destination offering only small shops and boutiques. Find fabulous wares from beach accessories, to jewelry, local art, high end finds and souvenirs. When visiting the Island during peak season enjoy fabulous local markets too!

Shopping
Find fabulous shopping finds on Anna Maria Island!

6 Beaches

With over seven miles of coastline, Anna Maria Island also offers tons of great beach spots. From secluded Bean Point to the busy Manatee Public Beach access read all about Anna Maria Island beaches here. Once you’ve visited these gulf coast beaches you’ll just have to come back again!

things locals know about Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island beaches are gorgeous.

7 Wildlife

Anna Maria Island locals are crazy about our wildlife. With great efforts from organizations animals are looked after. Anna Maria Island Shorebird and Turtle Watch and Wildlife Inc animal rescue are among groups on the look out. Additionally, many types of animals can be found around the Island including Bottle Nose Dolphins, Manatee and Turtles. Visitors often wonder about the possibility of seeing Crocodiles or Alligators.  However, locals can tell you these kind of critters haven’t been spotted around the island in decades.

Turtles and Wildlife
Baby Loggerhead Turtles nest on Anna Maria Island from May through October.

If you’re looking for the best vacation rentals on the island visit IslandReal.com. You’ll find almost 300 great homes!

 

Anna Maria Island Restaurants Open Christmas and New Year’s

Here is a list of Anna Maria Island Restaurants open Christmas and New Year’s! While it’s always nice to enjoy a home-cooked meal for the holidays, sometimes it’s just nicer to let someone else do the work.

Anna Maria Island Restaurants Open Christmas and New Year’s

Not only does this list have island restaurants, but includes places from the surrounding areas too. Find high-end places like Beach Bistro or Euphemia Haye. Nicer chain restaurants like Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill. Then some real laid back spots like Ugly Grouper.

When you look at the list you’ll notice most places are closed Christmas Day and a few on New Year’s Day. Be sure to call or visit these places online to find out what they will be serving. Some places may have special menu options, buffets and additional holiday offerings. Places like Chart House offer a limited menu and chef specials. Some of these will require reservations so be sure to call ahead, and find out. It’s a good idea to call early because many places fill up their reservation list way before hand.

Anna Maria Island Restaurants open Christmas and New Years

If you don’t see any restaurants here that interest you, or are unsure, give us a call at the office, and we might have more details 877-778-6066. You can also inquire about holiday dining in the Facebook Group called Anna Maria Island Vacation Travel. Just send this fantastic group a join request. Once you’re added you can ask tons of island questions! This large group has friendly and knowledgeable users who love everything AMI!

As soon as you book your Anna Maria Island holiday beach rental be sure to secure yourself a seat for your holiday dinner!

Island Real Estate – Giving Books for Kids this Holiday Season

Giving books for kids this holiday season is something the Island Real Estate team is passionate about. Read more about our initiative and join us in helping spread the importance of children’s literacy across Manatee County!

Giving Books for Kids this Holiday Season

Giving Books for Kids this Holiday Season

We believe that giving back to our community is an important aspect of being a local industry leader. While we facilitate vacationers donating non-perishables to Roser Food Pantry year round, we wanted to do something special for the holiday.

This year we’re collecting new children’s and young adult books to be given to Manatee Adopt a Family. They are based out of Ellenton, Florida.

While Island Real Estate Owner Larry Chatt has already committed to purchase new books, we are still looking for more support! You can help us by giving new books of your choice, or with donating money to this great cause. Here’s what Island Real Estate Owner Larry Chatt has to say.

“I think the Island Real Estate children’s book initiative for the holidays is a fabulous idea. Reading provides basic development for all children and Manatee Adopt a Family is a wonderful cause. My wife Jennifer adoringly recalls her favorite book, “Tikki Tikki Tembo” by Mosel.  We still have the book. Although a bit battered, each time she brings it out to read to our children I can see it floods her with fond memories.  My hope and inspiration would be to have one of our donated books become a child’s favorite and better yet, be the cause towards a child’s development.

Carol Bernard the Island Real Estate Revenue Manager is leading the Team on our giving initiative. Here’s what she has to say.

“Gifting kids and young adults books gives them access to a world of information and discovery in a way nothing else can.”

During this holiday open your heart to giving. Stop by our office at 6101 Marina Drive, give us a call at 877-778-6066 or email us at MyVacation@IslandReal.com. Any little bit can make a difference to local children.

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Foodies Guide to Anna Maria Island

Here is the ultimate foodies guide to Anna Maria Island! While the area has tons of fantastic spots to eat, this list highlights some real treats. From high-end to toes in the sand casual, you’ll find something delicious with our handy guide.

Foodies Guide to Anna Maria Island

This list isn’t just another selection of places for you to visit, but rather some specific menu suggestions designed to allow you to taste your way across the island.

Bacon at The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office is one of Anna Maria Island’s newest spots. Here you’ll find hand crafted cocktails and a fantastic small plates menu. The maple bacon is absolutely delicious. Thick cut and both sweet and smokey. Don’t plan on splitting a piece either! In addition to the maple bacon EVERYTHING on the menu is amazing. A fun and sophisticated watering hole in Holmes Beach, You NEED a trip to the Doctor!

Shrimp and Grits at Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin is the spot to go for Southern style seafood. You’ll find tons of those comfort foods that Floridians love like hush puppies, grits, corn bread and mac and cheese. One thing they are know for is Shrimp and Grits. Shrimp is dusted in Cajun seasoning and placed over cheesy grits with bacon crumbles and scallions. Delicious!

Blue Marlin
Blue Marlin Shrimp and grits.

Burritos at Poppo’s

Poppo’s Taqueria has amazing food, and the burritos are no exception. While the burrito and burrito bowls are super popular, we also suggest trying the Poppo’s Tacos.

Build your own burrito or burrito bowl! Any toppings you pick will be amazing as Poppo’s offers organic produce and meats! Be sure to grab a local craft beer or Kombucha too!

Seasonal Seafood at Starfish Co. Market

Starfish Market offers seafood so fresh you can literally watch it coming off the boat! Everything here is good, but we recommend the seasonal specialties like Stone Crab, Spiny Lobster and Smoked Mullet. Bring Cash!

 

Local Seasonal Seafood at Starfish Co Market
Stone Crab Season is from Oct. 15 to May 15 in Florida!

Bread from Vinny and Cheryl’s

If you love authentic homemade Italian breads as much as we do, then stop by Vinny and Cheryl’s! Offering a wide variety of specialties beyond bread, this is the spot for Italian on the island. They don’t offer dine-in services, but you can pick up an entire meal to take to the beach!

Bouillabaisse at The Beach Bistro

The Beach Bistro is an award winning find dining experience with amazing gulf views. While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, the Bouillabaisse here is a true classic which the chefs have been perfecting for decades. Homemade broth, fresh to order Nova Scotia Lobster, fresh fish, calamari and more!

The Beach Bistro
Bouillabaisse at the Beach Bistro is out of this world!

Specialty Cheese at Olive Oil Outpost

Once you pick up some bread from Vinny and Cheryl’s wander down the street to Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost for some cheese to go with! They have a fantastic little shop with specialty items. This is a definite must stop for foodies.

Fish Tacos and Grouper at Tide Tables

Tide Tables is the sister restaurant of the famous Starfish Market, so you know you’re in for great seafood! When you ask locals and vacationers what is their favorite menu item at Tide Tables, they’ll likely tell you everything. However, the most popular suggestions are always the Grouper and Fish Tacos! The Grouper comes fried, grilled or blackened… the traditional Florida options. The Fish Tacos are blackened Mahi with slaw, cheddar-jack and sesame ginger sauce on flour tortillas.

Tide Tables
Tide Tables for casual and tasty seafood.

Key lime Donut from The Donut Experiment

The Donut Experiment is a must stop! Donut are freshly fried and you pick exactly what you’d like from a large selection of toppings. Kids and adults both love eating here, and their coffee/espresso drinks are some of the best on the island. While they offer endless flavor combinations we suggest the Key Lime house special. Vanilla icing dusted with graham cracker and drizzled with lime syrup. Just the right amount of sweet, sour and salty to make your entire palate happy.

Crab Cakes at The Waterfront

It is EXTREMELY difficult to pick just one thing at The Waterfront. Everything is exceptional. The chefs here offer a unique spin on many of the classics. They always seem to give you familiar items that are just elevated to a higher level.

Many folks will tell you to try the crab cakes. They are Maryland style lump Blue Crab seared in an iron skillet and served with creole Mustard. For lunch you’ll find the Crab Cake Sandwich served on a Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato. For Dinner you’ll find the Crab Cake with the potato of the day. Both are excellent.

The Waterfront
Crab Cakes The Waterfront

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the best of the best with the ultimate foodies guide to Anna Maria Island. We’re confident that you won’t be disappointed as all of these items have been tested by the Island Real Estate foodies!

Before you get to tasting your way around Anna Maria Island, be sure to book your accommodations with Island Real Estate! From gulf front luxury to laid back beach cottages, we have the perfect beach rental for your group!

Winter Fishing Is Coming

Anna Maria Island Winter fishing is coming! The island is cooling down, and while the fishing is changing from summer patterns to winter, it is still good–especially on a nice outgoing tide.

Winter Fishing
Sherry crushing some Snook!

Anna Maria Island October Fishing

While the bait hasn’t been as thick, there has still been no problem filling the live wells with pin-fish and shiners. I also like to start getting a few dozen shrimp this time of year as well before taking my clients out in pursuit of redfish, snook, trout, tripletail, and even some of the remaining mackerel and bonito off of the beaches.

October/Early November Fishing Tips

Tips: If using live bait, I’m using both circle and j-hooks in size 2 or 4 with a 6 foot 20lb. fluorocarbon leader, hooking the shiners through the nose. Fish up-current of any structure you may be fishing, or in the case of targeting triple-tail (which is both a fun catch and a delicious meal) just get your bait as close as you can to the crab-trap buoy as they are not very picky.

If using artificial bait, I have been having luck with a myriad of options; but primarily weedless silver spoons for mackerel, bonito, trout. Use gold spoons for Redfish, hard jerk-baits for Snook, and DOA shrimp for just about everything (I prefer white) and that has been getting it done consistently.

If fly fishing, light colored bait fish patterns will do the trick if targeting the mackerel, bonito, or triple tail. If targeting schools of redfish I like to use either a crab pattern, or baitfish pattern with a soft outer presentation to avoid spooking them. 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.

The seasons are changing and winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean the fishing has to cool off. Get out there and have some fun with Anna Maria Island Winter Fishing!

Tight Lines!

Capt. Scott Kinsman

AMI Charters

scott@amicharters.com

(941) 348-2035

instagram: @ami.charters

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amicharters

Anna Maria Island Fall Shopping Guide

With so many great boutiques on the island, here is our Anna Maria Island Fall shopping guide to help you find the latest in local trends!

Anna Maria Island Fall Shopping Guide

Find something for everyone while you enjoy a little retail therapy – island style! Not only does this guide have hot new items, but you’ll love these options for the change of the season too.

Anna Maria Island Fall Shopping Guide

Bella by the Sea – All the cute socks!

We are in love with all these adorable socks from Bella. Perfect for those crisp fall nights, and also so fun. Visit Bella online.

Bella By the Sea
Bella By the Sea – Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria.

Pink & Navy – Mermaid gear

P & N has everything you need to feel like a Mermaid this Fall. We’re done adulting this year… lets be Mermaids!

West Coast Surf Shop – Cool Weather Clothes

While they may have all your surfing needs, West Coast also stocks a great selection of cool weather items like this trendy lightweight women’s thermal!

West Coast Surf Shop
West Coast Surf Shop in Holmes Beach.

 

Restless Natives – Wood Jewelry

Can you say CUTE!? These local made earrings are sure to fly off the shelf. And only $12… Just take our money already! Visit them online too!

Beach House – Gift Shop Goodies

Do you love eating at the Beach House as much as we do? Snag some of their branded merchandise and let everyone know your spot for toes in the sand dining!

 

Our #giftshop is bursting with the hottest fall fashions!#beachhouseami #annamariaisland #lovefl #srq #fashion #beachlife #gulfofmexico

A post shared by The Beachhouse Restaurant (@thebeachhouseami) on

Irene’s Resort Wear- White and Silver Chic

Loving this style with white clothes, silver accessories and beachy handbags. Such a chic look perfect for a day on Anna Maria Island.

Irene's Resort Wear
Irene’s Resort Wear in Holmes Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the change of the season on Anna Maria Island with this fun Fall shopping guide during your next island vacation!

Bradenton Breweries to See When Vacationing on Anna Maria Island

With the craft beer craze in full swing, you’ll now find several Bradenton Breweries to visit on your next trip to Anna Maria Island! Everyone loves a good cold beer, and when it’s locally made, it tastes even better!

Bradenton Breweries

Check out our list, download the Uber app to your phone, and get ready for a belly full of golden liquid fun in Bradenton!

Motorworks Brewing – 1014 9th Street West

Bradenton breweries
Motorworks Brewery

This was the first of local breweries to call Bradenton home. This 27,000 square foot brewery was built in 1923 as an automobile dealership. Out of this unique history came the name Motorworks.

Not only do they make beer for retail and wholesale, but they have a great tap room and a huge beer garden. Find a large selection of house made and other craft beers, full liquor and expansive wine collection.

If you get hungry while enjoying a cold one there is a food truck! Motorworks partners with several different local food trucks that are parked from 11:00am to 8:30pm, or later, daily.

Motorworks attracts some of the area’s most popular music acts and regularly has fun events too!

Darwin Brewing Company – 803 17th Ave West

Darwin Brewery
Darwin Brewing

 

This is another great spot not too far from Motorworks in the downtown area. They offer four year round beers plus seasonal selections from their 15 barrel production facility.

Darwin Brewery started in Sarasota Brewpub then moved down to Bradenton. At the original location, Brew Master Jorge Rosabal began crafting brews to pair with menu items.

The goal of the brewery is to create unique local brews to reflect the flavors and spices of Andean, Amazonian regions along with Florida too.

They have 14 taps, tap room and a beer garden. Visit their Facebook page to stay up to date on their events and entertainment line-up!

3 Keys Brewing – 2505 Manatee Avenue East

3 Keys Brewing
3 Keys Brewery and Restaurant

Enjoy small batch beers and family friendly eatery too. These brews are exclusive to the brew-pub making it a really unique spot. This “nano-brewery” has a four barrel brew system with an emphasis on experimenting with local flavors.

Modeled after the European and West coast style breweries, 3 Keys is a community gathering place. The philospophy is that beer should be for everyone, so a large variety of beer is offered for any palate.

The menu is delicious and simple too. Find bugers, tacos, pizza and the traditional pub-grub.

Everyday there is something happening from happy hour specials to games and entertainment. While visiting Bradenton, this is a must stop spot!

Naughty Monk Brewery – 2507 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard

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This spot is closer to Lakewood Ranch than downtown Bradenton, but don’t let that detour you from a visit! This 8,600 square foot taproom and brewery is pumping out the finest beers east Manatee county has to offer!

Inspired by a trip to Belgium, this brewery offers a unique set of traditional and non-traditional brews. Brew Master “Freaky Fritz” is always coming up with something new.

Naughty Monk Brewery doesn’t serve food, however, you are more than welcome to bring your own!

This is a great spot! Enjoy pool tables, darts, corn hole and many games during your visit.

Good Liquid Brewing Company – COMING SOON!

Good Liquid Brewery
Good Liquid Brewery Coming Soon!

Enjoy these fine Bradenton Breweries with friends and family while vacationing on Anna Maria Island! Always be sure to drink responsibly, and have fun too.

Handy Google Map of Bradenton Breweries!

Plan your next Anna Maria Island vacation today with Island Real Estate!

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals make the BEST Florida Vacation

Anna Maria Island off-season rentals are the best! While many visitors prefer to vacation around popular times, many have found the “Floridian’s secret” about off-season vacations.

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals make the Best Florida Vacation

You’re probably wondering exactly when is the off-season? Traditionally, Florida’s high season is from mid-December to mid-April, but that isn’t exactly the case for Anna Maria Island. Our high season does coincide with this time range, but things don’t entirely calm down until after 4th of July. Since the island is a super family friendly destination, when the kids go back to school the island really gets quiet. August through November is that off-season sweet spot.

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals

 

Anna Maria Island Off-season vacation perks

Now that we’ve established when the slow season happens, lets explore why it is sooooo amazing!

No crowds, less traffic.

When off-season hits it’s like a switch flips. The transition really is that drastic. While Floridians love our visitors, we really do, we all enjoy a little break from the crowds.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the off-season for locals is the traffic. Suddenly your morning/evening commute is shorter and there are far fewer cars on the road.

Everything is just a little easier in the off-season. You don’t get stuck trying to cross the bridges, grocery store lines are a breeze, and there is no wait for a table at ANY of your favorite restaurants. Crazy right?

Beach rentals are cheapest in the off-season

Across Anna Maria Island’s off season you’ll see the prices on beach rentals drop to the lowest rates of the entire year. This is the perfect time to plan a vacation, or even a last minute getaway. Suddenly that direct beach front, luxury single family home you’ve always dreamed of is now totally in your price range!

This is the time to search for the best deals. You might even luck out and find discounts stacked on top of these already low rates. Many vacation rental owners purchase their homes for investment purposes, and are willing to slash prices to ensure their investment continues to earn all year. When high season comes around discounts are not super common, however, always be sure to check the Island Real Estate Sunshine Specials for an up to date list of discounts any time you are planning a visit.

See the “real Florida”

When you visit Anna Maria Island in the off-season there are fewer tourists, and therefore, you really can get a feel for the authentic local flavor. That “real Florida” vibe that only locals know about is a bit watered down when there are so many visitors. When slow season comes around you’ll find locals are just a little calmer, and have more time to chat about the island life.

Weather, rain and Florida heat

You may notice the off-season coincides with a very hot time of year, and also hurricane season. While this may not seem like the ideal time for a vacation, Floridians will disagree.

There are several benefits to planning a vacation in the middle of the hot summer. First, it’s a great time for swimming. That is obvious. Second, your relatives will think it’s too hot and won’t want to come with you. Not that family vacations aren’t fun, but it can be hard to manage the vacation schedule of a large group. You’ll actually get to relax on this vacation!

Florida off-season weather may be a deterrent, but really, you can plan a vacation ANY time of year in Florida and end up with more rain than forecasts predict. If you are worried about a hurricane interrupting your stay then opt for travel insurance. It will cover you in the event a named storm makes land fall and evacuation is necessary.

There is something special about experiencing a heavy Florida storm. They seemingly come out of nowhere, and disappear just as fast. The booming thunder and crack of lighting can be both exhilarating and relaxing at once. Snuggling up in a luxury vacation rental with Netflix while rain falls outside is a nothing short of paradise to any Islander.

Enjoy hard core air conditioning

Any Floridian will tell you ALL buildings and indoor places have air conditioning. We aren’t just talking about little window units either. Hard core, blasting on ultra high, fresh air conditioning. Yes it will be hot outside, but Floridians know how to keep cool.

Customer service standards don’t suffer

When visiting during the off-season you’ll still find the same great customer service and friendly faces that you experience during the high season. This time of year may be a break from the hustle bustle, but employees in the travel and tourism industry work just as hard to impress visitors no matter the time of year. In fact, you may even find people are just a little friendlier and have more time to really go the extra mile.

 

Anna Maria Island high season
Anna Maria Island beaches in high season.
Anna Maria Island beaches in off-season.
Anna Maria Island beaches in off-season.

 

Anna Maria Island Off-Season Rentals are the best, so what are you waiting for? Plan the best Florida vacation you’ve ever experienced today with Island Real Estate!

14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

There are things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers. While you may be an expert at the island life, chances are at one time you were new to the scene.

14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

Anna Maria Island is a quirky little island that both locals and vacationers love. Here are 14 things you may, or may not, have know about this place we call paradise.

Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

1. Three cities

Anna Maria Island might only be seven miles long, but we have three distinct cities. The north end is called Anna Maria or the city of Anna Maria. In the middle we have Holmes Beach, and to the south Bradenton Beach. Each has it’s own vibe, but all are beautiful.

2. Sunblock

Sunblock is crucial, and you need to put it on BEFORE you get to the beach. Lather SPF on at least 20 minutes before you plan on being in the sun. REAPPLY every 2 hours. Yes you can get sunburned while in the water. The sun also reflects off the surface of the water and sand, so under an umbrella doesn’t make you safe from damaging rays. Higher SPF’s are better protection, and spray on sunblock, though convenient, typically isn’t as effective. Also, drink lots of water.

3. Wildlife

Please mind the wildlife and NEVER FEED THE GULLS. Don’t let the kids chase birds, stay away from turtle nests, and call Wildlife Inc. if you find injured or sick animals. Not only does Anna Maria Island have nesting sea turtles, but we have two species of tortoise. If you find a turtle on the beach and it doesn’t have flippers then leave it on the beach. It’s likely a box turtle or Gopher tortoise. They live in the dunes not the water. From May to October DO NOT leave anything on the beach, fill in holes and flatten sand castles. Be sure all beach facing lights are off, so nesting turtles and hatchlings don’t become disoriented.

4. Bugs

Bugs happen. They just do. Invest in a bottle of deet spray if you are a mosquito magnet. Even the cleanest homes, shops and restaurants will have the occasional pest. Welcome to Florida! Luckily Florida also has Lizards, Geckos and a unique wildlife food chain to help keep bugs in check. Here is a link to the Manatee County Mosquito Control Schedule.

5. Where is the…

Before you come to the island, take a look at a map. You’ll notice there is really only one main road that runs the length of the island. It does change names, Gulf Drive, East Bay, Marina Drive, and isn’t necessarily straight, but it is the main drag. Often tourists wonder about getting lost, and ask how to get places. Getting around is extremely simple once you catch your bearings. The free trolley is a great way to get a feel for the area. Often if you are unsure where your destination is the trolley driver can help. Island Real Estate does offer local maps too!

6. Gators don’t like the beach

Yes, Florida is home to some crazy prehistoric, bite your arm off, big scary Alligators. However, salt water is not the natural habitat of the gator, and none have been spotted on AMI in decades. Ask any Anna Maria Island native and they’ll laugh at the idea of a gator on the beach. If you plan on visiting any fresh or brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh) that is an entirely different story. Any non-salt body of water is fair game for gators. Even if you don’t see “do not swim” signs near fresh water, it’s probably best to avoid getting in or near it.

7. Respect the Gulf of Mexico

While visiting the beach always check for the color coded swimming condition signs. The gulf is a powerful body of water. On a rough day even the strongest adult swimmers can be quickly caught up. Always use extreme caution, look for rip tide warning signage, swim with a buddy, and never allow children to swim without an adult. If your group has inexperienced swimmers consider avoiding the very northern beaches where under currents are strongest. Always respect the power of the gulf.

8. Locals

Yes, people do live on Anna Maria Island year round, and no they are not all fat, happy, tan retirees.

Anna Maria Island is a unique community. We have our own elementary school, people work full time jobs, and no our houses are not completely filled with tons of sand. Okay, maybe our houses have a little bit of sand though… The island community is unlike anywhere else in Florida. If you are looking to make the island your full time home contact an Island Real Estate Sales Agent!

9. Weather

Don’t even try to figure out EXACTLY what the weather is going to be like for your stay.

Trying to figure out the rain is like herding gators. Pointless and stressful. Visitors love to ask locals what they think the rain will be like. Nobody likes a vacation ruined by rain, but there isn’t one solid answer.

Predictions change regularly, but some trends are constant. Florida is a sub-tropical climate so we get rain all seasons of the year. During the summer months we have rain roll in around 4-5pm, almost daily, for an hour and then it clears before sunset. Late summer is usually the wettest. Winter is mild. Spring and Fall are warm and sometimes hot.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1st through November 30th. If you get travel insurance for your trip you’ll be covered for evacuations due to named storms. The great thing about modern weather tracking is the ability to closely monitor large storms. In the rare event that the island needs to be evacuated you’ll have ample time to do so.

10. Don’t collect live shells.

Shells play an important roll to local ecosystems. Collecting living shells is not only illegal without permit, but ethically in poor judgement. You must hold a saltwater fishing license to collect any living shell including Sand Dollars, Starfish, Whelks, Conchs, Urchin and many others. Bag limits are 2 per person per a day.

People love to collect Sand Dollars, but be sure they are white in color as these ones are already dead. Living Sand Dollars will be more of a gray color. It is okay to gently touch them but please put them right back.

While beach combing is relaxing and fun please don’t over collect dead shells. Limit yourself to less than a quart size container. Even dead shells play an important roll in the gulf. If you take all the dead shells where will hermit crabs live?

11. Pick it up!

Don’t leave any trash on the beach. Millions of sea and shore birds around the world die every year due to ingesting plastics and garbage. Sea life can become entangled too. Trash on the beach isn’t just dangerous, but unsightly. If you do see trash, do your part to help, and pick it up!

12. Stingray Shuffle

The Stingray shuffle might sound like a funny dance move, but it is a sure way to avoid a ray run-in. Stingrays are extremely non-aggressive animals but they carry a unique defense mechanism. By simply shuffling your feet you can avoid a painful trip to the beach.

13. Where to park.

Parking can be limited on Anna Maria Island, but we have a few suggestions. First, if you can avoid driving and use alternatives such as the Trolley, Uber and local shuttles you won’t have to deal with parking. Here is our guide to alternative transportation.

Also be sure to read our Anna Maria Parking Guide to help you find less popular parking areas and avoid getting a ticket too!

14. Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals are absolutely fantastic! AMI offers a huge selection of rentals and none are too far from the beach! Typically rentals are offered Saturday to Saturday and ALL beach rentals have a 3 night minimum. Book your next stay today!

Now you can enjoy your next Anna Maria Island vacation in the know. You won’t even have to ask the things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers!

Anna Maria Island is the Blue Space You Need in Your Life

For decades now, researchers have studied and proven the health benefits of green space, but more recent findings point to blue space as a far superior influence on the health of people and communities.

Blue Space

What is green space and blue space?

Green space is a term referring to an area of grass, trees and foliage often found in urban areas. Green spaces are typically created for recreational, aesthetic and environmental purposes. Blue space is similar to green space, but refers to rivers, marinas, ponds, lakes, fountains, oceans and bodies of natural or man made water.

Both green and blue spaces have a great impact on human health, but a 2016 study has concluded that blue spaces have greater benefits than green spaces. Researchers note that blue space has a much more dramatic effect on our mental health than green space. People feel less depression and psychological distress with blue space. While green space does have benefits, blue space has more of a profound impact.

Blue space makes people healthy and happy.

A trip to Anna Maria Island is the blue space you need. There are tons of reasons why spending time with the clear blue gulf waters surrounding the island are good for your health!

Blue spaces gives us down time.

It seems like everyday our brains and lives are filled with things to do, schedules to stick with and obligations to complete. When you visit Anna Maria Island you get time to relax and unwind from the stress. Everybody needs down time to do nothing, think about nothing and quietly gaze at the blue gulf waters.

Blue space makes us calm.

Staring at liquid blue brings us to a state of calm. Watching the waves crash, smelling the salt air and feeling the warm breezes all lull us into a perfect state of calm and serenity.

Blue space is uplifting to our emotions.

Enjoying blue water views sends the blues away. Blue space has proven to help with depression. Everyone gets a little down, and for some, depression and anxiety are a daily battle. Spending time at the beach with water helps clear negative thoughts and emotions that lead to depression. Perhaps looking at such a large blue body of water like the gulf makes our own problems seem small in comparison to the great big world.

Blue space makes us more creative.

It’s hard not to be inspired by blue hues. The beauty of water is memorizing and lets our brain drift to our aspirations. Those who spend time meditating on blue scenes are better able to unlock the creative portions of their brain. When you aren’t feeling the stress and worries of daily life, your brain can take a step back and re-approach problems and ideas from a more creative perspective.

Blue space brings people closer together.

When you visit these spaces with friends and loved ones its hard not to form closer emotional bonds. The collective experience of enjoying blue space is infections like the domino affect of a yawn. The color blue is psychologically associated with honesty, loyalty and trust so its easy to see how blue surroundings can make us feel those emotions toward our friends and family.

Many studies site blue as the most popular favorite color, so it’s no wonder that people love these environments. Anna Maria Island is surrounded by blue making it the perfect place to get a dose of the blue stuff!

Plan an Anna Maria Island vacation with Island Real Estate and get more blue space!

 

 

6 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island

Here are 6 ways to celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island. While the powder fine sand and blue water on Anna Maria Island are worth celebrating everyday, follow our guide on how to help keep AMI waterways beautiful on this special day.

6 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island

It’s easy to help keep Anna Maria Island beautiful. Follow our guide for World Oceans Day, not just on June 8th, but eveyday!

Clean it up!

Clean up the beach for World Oceans Day!
Clean up the beach for World Oceans Day!

The best way to celebrate World Oceans Day is by picking up garbage on the beach. Even though our beaches are wonderfully pristine, there is a good chance you probably encounter at least a little bit of garbage every time you visit. Today be the change, and pick it up!

You don’t have to spend hours walking along the coastline to feel like you made a difference. If you only spend two minutes picking up trash you have helped! You’ll be amazed at how much stuff you’ll find in even a short period of time. As you look for garbage on the beach check out clumps of seaweed and the areas around sea oats. Litter and trash tend to get caught up in these areas. However, be sure to keep off the sand dunes and sea oats as they are a very fragile and important environment.

When you start picking up trash there’s a good chance onlookers will see you, and be more cautious about their own garbage. You may even find your actions cause others to join in!

Every year millions of birds and marine animals die from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics and litter. The health of these animals depends on you to help!

Donate

Another great way to help save the Oceans is by donating to organizations who support this cause. Mote Marine Laboratory is a fantastic organization that will be accepting donations for World Oceans Day. They will be hosting a 48 hour giving event June 2-4, but donations are welcome any time!

Mote Marine is an amazing facility that not only works to save Marine life, but educates people of all ages about the unique species and environments in Florida. Every year they rescue tons of endangered sea turtles along with many other programs that help humans gain better understanding of the world.

Practice Responsible Boating

Practice Responsible Boating on World Oceans Day
Practice Responsible and safe boating

A great way to help world Oceans is by boating responsibly. Never throw garbage into the water, and if you see floating debris try to pick it out. Be sure trash is in a safe receptacle to ensure it doesn’t blow off into waterways.

In Florida it is safe to say all bodies of water have marine animals. Always be aware of your surroundings when boating, and be on the lookout for wildlife. Follow signage and idle zones marked specifically to warn of Manatees. Dolphins, Manatees and Sea Turtles are too often hit by boat propellers. Do your best to avoid speeding through the areas where they are known to live.

Keep your boat in areas that are appropriate for your make and model of vessel. Running your boat aground in Florida waterways can damage sea grasses that provide food and shelter to marine life. Never tie your boat up to Mangroves or allow your anchor to drag through reef environments.

Eat Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable Seafood Anna Maria Island
Eat Sustainable Seafood to help reduce over fishing ocean marine life.

Sustainable Seafood is always the best alternative. Sure we all love those high-end Tuna cuts, but there are so many different species of seafood that often go over looked.

Over fishing is a global problem. Without careful conservation some species could disappear from the worlds oceans in just a few decades. When you choose sustainable fish you choose healthy oceans.

There are many questions to ask when purchasing sustainable fish. Was it net or line caught? was it farm raised or wild? Domestic or import? Asking these questions to your local fish monger will allow you to find more ethically sourced seafood.

When visiting Anna Maria Island you’ll find sustainable seafood isn’t hard to come by. Local examples of sustainable seafood include Lionfish, Mullet and Venus Sunray Clams. Cobia and Snapper from the Gulf are also considered good choices. Here is a handy website to assist you in choosing sustainable seafood.

Reduce your carbon footprint

carbon footprint
Reduce your carbon foot print to help negative effects of climate change.

You can help reduce the effects of climate change on our oceans by reducing your carbon footprint. This isn’t a new idea, and there are tons of ways to be mindful of your energy use. Leave your car and walk or bike when you can. This is easy to do on Anna Maria Island! Everyone knows you can bike all over, hop on the free trolley, or even walk to your destination while visiting the Island.

Other ways to reduce your energy consumption include taking the stairs, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and don’t over set your thermostat. Making tiny efforts to change the way you consume energy is a great way to reduce carbon and the negative effects of climate change on world oceans

Inspire Others

Celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island
Inspire others to help save the worlds oceans for future generations.

Take time to learn about oceans and waterways, and inspire others to help make a difference. When you learn how oceans are vital to a healthy earth you’ll find yourself taking steps to protect it.

Visit local aquariums, science centers and wildlife attractions dealing with marine life. Educate yourself about oceans then take your knowledge and inspire others to help save the ocean!

Do your part this year and celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island!