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!

 

Top 5 Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rentals

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rentals make for unforgettable vacation! Find perfect weather, great activities and a lovely spot to gather friends for an awesome beach rental experience!

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rentals

It’s not too late to plan your Spring Break! When booking last minute March dates be sure to ask about special promotions!

Runaway Bay 272

Runaway Bay 272 is a fantastic Bradenton Beach vacation spot for six guests! This condo is just a short walk from the beach, free trolley stops, and local attractions. Inside you’ll find two bedrooms and two bathrooms with an updated casual style. Enjoy the community heated pool, fishing dock on the bay and tennis courts. 2017 Spring base rates start as low as $1300/week.

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rentals
Runaway Bay 272

 

La Casa Marie

La Casa Marie is a great spot for a luxury beach rental right on the beach. This three bedroom, two and a half bath rental condo sleeps six. You’ll have peeks of the gulf from the balcony along with updated amenities. Enjoy the fun wetbar with wine chiller and ice maker too! When you aren’t at the beach relax in the heated community pool and spa! 2017 Spring base rates start as low as $3150/week.

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rental
La Casa Marie

 

Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun is a fun Mediterranean style beach rental just a few short blocks to the most popular Anna Maria Island beaches. This three bedroom three bath rental sleeps up to six guests. You’ll love the private heated pool along with lovely balcony views. Pets under 25 pounds welcome with pet fee! 2017 Spring base rates start as low as $2000/week.

Anna Maria Island Spring Break
Under the Tuscan Sun

 

A Mermaid Crossing

A Mermaid Crossing offers stylish decor and a location just a short walk from the beach. This three bedroom three bathroom rental sleeps six guests with an extra touch of luxury. You’ll love the heated pool and sundeck too. The layout of this house is great for entertaining, and the master bathroom is stunning! 2017 Spring base rates start as low as $3325/week.

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Vacation Rentals
A Mermaid Crossing

 

Waterfront Retreat

Waterfront Retreat is the ultimate destination for a large family Spring Break vacation. Here you’ll find six bedrooms three full bathrooms and two powder rooms. This rental was truly designed for entertaining. Enjoy a well equipped kitchen with bar area, a living room with excellent seating, fun games and heated pool. The rental is on canal front with a dock, so you can even bring your boat. 2017 Spring base rates start as low as $3325/week!

Anna Maria Spring Break Beach Rental
Waterfront Retreat

Anna Maria Island Spring Break Beach Rentals are the best way to enjoy a memorable Florida Vacation!

Anna Maria Island Beach Bar Life

While Florida is notorious for its beach bar scene, the Anna Maria Island beach bar life offers some unique must see spots! AMI beach bars have a vibe that meshes well with that authentic old Florida charm that visitors adore.

Anna Maria Island Beach Bar
Anna Maria Island offers a great Beach Bar Vibe!

Anna Maria Island Beach Bar Life

Below is our list of six Anna Maria Island Beach Bars. A few on our list have also been featured on BeachBarLife.com, so you know they are great!

These watering holes really have a laid back beach vibe, and the added bonus of being family friendly too. While these are fun spots, don’t expect an exact Key West style. Anna Maria Island has an atmosphere unlike any other Florida city. Come see for yourself!

The Sandbar and Beach House Restaurants

These sister restaurants are some of the most popular places for toes in the sand libations. Find The Sandbar on north AMI in the city of Anna Maria where Spring Avenue and the beach meet.  The Beach House is on south island in the city of Bradenton Beach on Gulf Drive. Both were recently remodeled, and offer a slightly up-scale beach bar vibe.

You’ll always find something new to try when you visit. From hand crafted frozen drinks to fresh from the farm menu items. These two spots are a must when visiting Anna Maria Island. Looking for a beach bar wedding? The Sandbar and Beach House are amazing venues with tons of great services!

Gulf Drive Cafe and Tiki Hut

While Gulf Drive Cafe offers toes in the sand drinks and dining, they also have AMI’s largest Tiki Hut! Here you can relax in the shade of the Tiki, listen to music, and catch a great sunset. This beach bar offers a fun nightlife for dinner, drinks and dancing too!

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe

Find Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe on the island’s most popular beach spot. Manatee Public Beach is the heart of the island where generations of visitors have enjoyed a day on the Florida coast.

This beach bar is always bustling with activity, yet still remains laid back. Enjoy tropical drinks from the their Tiki hut, or sit down at one of the tables and chill out. This bar is perfect for day long trips to the beach for the entire family. Not only will you find all the beach bar vibe, but great amenities like changing stations, beach shop, lifeguard station and even a playground for the littlest beach bums.

Coquina Beach Cafe

Coquina Beach Cafe is on the far southern end of Anna Maria Island. This is the last stop before crossing over the Longboat Key Bridge. Like Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, this is also a great spot for family day trips. Enjoy a tropical drink, or even catch breakfast here!

Enjoy the Anna Maria Island Beach Bar Life on your next visit, and check out our Beach Bar Photo Gallery!

National Crab Meat Day Anna Maria Island

There is no better place to celebrate National Crab Meat Day than on Anna Maria Island! While Stone Crab Season runs October 15 to May 15 on the Florida Gulf Coast, this is the perfect time of year to enjoy this tasty seafood!

National Crab Meat Day
Celebrating National Crab Meat Day on Anna Maria Island.

National Crab Meat Day on Anna Maria Island

When looking for local crab meat, we highly recommend Starfish Market in the old Cortez Fishing Village. This is the best spot to find fresh off the boat seafood! You can literally see the fishing boats right from the docks of this restaurant. It really doesn’t get fresher. Just be sure to bring cash only.

Many local seafood restaurants offer crab selections. While on Anna Maria Island also check out The Waterfront Restaurant, The Sandbar and the Rod & Reel Pier for tasty crab options. If you are on Longboat Key we suggest The Lazy Lobster!

Anna Maria Island March Activities Guide

Anna Maria Island March activities are a fantastic way to stay entertained when you aren’t too busy relaxing on the beach! Spring is a very popular time of year to visit the island, so you’ll find plenty of happenings. From art to the outdoors, check out our list of Anna Maria Island March activities.

Anna Maria Island March Activities
March is the BEST time of year to visit Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island March Activities

The weather is perfect and Florida is the place to be!

Art Slam 2017

Head off island March 4th for an immersive art experience in Downtown Bradenton. Art Slam is an annual event where local creatives come together to celebrate art, youth and the creative process. Every year this event brings a unique experience to attendees. Visit Old Main Street in Downtown Bradenton from 9am-4pm.

Explore Waif Gopher Tortoises at Perico Preserve.

Perico Preserve is a gorgeous new park just a short drive over the Manatee Bridge from Anna Maria Island. While these animals are native, the park is developing a special interest for their habitat.

Waif Gopher tortoise refers to animals ready to be released back into the wild, but don’t have a known specific area of origin. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Manatee County has developed Perico Preserve into the perfect habitat for these homeless Waif Gopher Tortoises. While on Anna Maria Island, be sure to visit Perico Preserve for a chance to see them in person!

Island Gallery West March Feature

Check out the March featured Student Artist at the Island Gallery West. Olivia Sabo is a student at Lakewood Ranch High School. Her work “Spuds” will be on display at the gallery for the month of March. Her acrylic painting on display was inspired by her fathers Chris Sabo was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2010.

Treat Yourself at Cupcake Delights!

Head over to Capcake Delights in Holmes Beach and grab yourself one or a dozen. Because, why not? You don’t need a reason to enjoy a sweet treat when vacationing on Anna Maria Island!

Lionfish Lecture at FMM

The Florida Maritime Museum is hosting a Lecture March 15th at 3pm. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Lionfish Control Team will talk about this invasive species and how people can help combat their proliferation of Florida waterways.

Nap on the Beach

March 13 is National Napping Day which follows Day Light Savings on March 12. Celebrate with a nap on the beaches of Anna Maria Island! The sun will be warm and the sand soft! Grab a towel and an umbrella and get comfy! Just don’t forget your sunblock!

Beach Bistro Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

This year the Beach Bistro’s St. Patricks Day Parade will be on Sunday the 19th. The Parade begins at the corner of Marina and Gulf Drive the proceeds north toward Anna Maria.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls – Don’t Feed Us

Anna Maria Island Seagulls are so cute and friendly, but don’t feed them! While it may seem fun, feeding gulls is harmful to both people and birds.

Don’t Feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls

Just about everyone is guilty of feeding birds. However, few know the real impact of the action. When you are sitting on the beach relaxing, and a gull stops by, it’s easy to toss a piece of snack at them. They will beg you. They will stand on the sand and look you straight in the face, but don’t give in!

Feeding Gulls makes them ill.

Naturally gulls forage, hunt and scavenge for food. They have a diverse diet consisting of fish, mollusks, insects, reptiles, rodents and just about anything meaty they can get their beak on. Typically when people feed gulls, they offer up human food like french fries and potato chips. These types of food aren’t even good for humans, so you can be sure they are harmful to sea birds. Without proper nutrition, Gulls can become sick and weak. A people diet can actually kill these feathered friends.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls.
Don’t feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls.

Feeding Gulls changes their natural instinct.

Gulls play an important part in their environment by cleaning up bits of detritus from beaches. They won’t do their job if they are given handouts of people food.

Instinctively birds tend to be afraid of humans, but become too friendly when hand fed. Not only do they loose their fear of humans, but they become aggressive toward us. Gulls will dive bomb people and steal food right out of their hand. This is a direct consequence of human interaction. There is nothing worse than a family trip to the beach spoiled by a gull nabbing the ice cream out of a kids hand.

In some instances these birds become extremely aggressive causing people to throw rocks and objects at the birds to scare them away. Obviously this is animal abuse, and could have been avoided completely. Birds that are not scared of people also run a higher risk of being injured by cars, fishing gear, boats and other human made obstacles.

Birds fed human food have a tougher time differentiating between real food and objects. Subsequently, gulls will try to eat plastics, garbage and other non-food items.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
They might be cute, but feeding Seagulls is harmful to their health.

Feeding Seagulls has a negative impact on ALL species of birds.

When birds become accustomed to hand feeding they will congregate in larger groups than they naturally would do. This has an impact on increasing the spread of bird diseases. Populations of all birds are vulnerable to disease. Avian Pox is spread by an increase in birds having direct physical contact, especially when competing for food.

Additionally, these inflated groups of Gulls can have a harmful impact on all nesting shorebirds. Gulls prey on eggs and baby birds. It’s natural for a few eggs and baby birds to fall prey to a Seagull. However, these large swarms of gulls, attracted by people, can take out entire nesting colonies of birds such as Terns, Plovers and Skimmmers. A large group of Seagulls can also take out an entire nest of hatchling Sea Turtles making their way to the water’s edge.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
Never chase groups of birds on the beach. It causes them great stress especially during nesting season.

What to do if you get swarmed?

If you encounter a swarm of aggressive gulls, first, hide all food. Seagulls even know what a potato chip bag looks like! Get all food out of sight. Any food that falls on the ground needs to be picked up or buried under sand. Once all food is away, stand up and slowly start walking towards the birds in an attempt to disburse them. Chasing birds stresses them out, so move slowly and confidently. Do not wave your hands around as they may think you are offering them food. Once the gulls move on you can bring your food back out.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls.
Feeding Seagulls makes them aggressive.

Feeding Gulls – It’s just plain rude!

While feeding Seagulls is not illegal in the state of Florida, it is extremely rude. Gull feeding frenzies are disruptive to beach goers and is inconsiderate to both humans and birds.

On your next trip to the beach, don’t feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls! Don’t just take our word! Read what the University of Florida has to say about feeding wildlife!

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
People who feed Seagulls are RUDE!

Anna Maria Island National Margarita Day

There is no better place to celebrate National Margarita Day than Anna Maria Island! During your visit to the island you have to sip on fruity drinks with toes in the sand and sun kissed skin.

Anna Maria Island National Margarita Day

You can celebrate National Margarita Day at just about any place that serves tequila. On the island, you’ll find no shortage of full service bars and restaurants.

The Waterfront Restaurant offers a great smoked Margarita with ginger! This would be great for those looking for something out of the ordinary.

Wicked Cantina offers a great selection of Margaritas. You’ll find an entire section of the menu dedicated to this citrus and tequila based cocktail. What’s better than authentic Austin Tex-Mex and a hand made Margarita?

The Beach House Restaurant is a great place for a Margarita on the beach! They even have Patron specially bottled just for them!

National Margarita Day
Head over to the Beach House for an out of this world Margarita!

While visiting Anna Maria Island you must celebrate National Margarita Day! Check out our suggestions, or try your hand at making your own!

Anna Maria Island National Random Acts of Kindness Day

National Random Acts of Kindness Day is a fantastic opportunity to spread love and happiness in your community. Even the smallest of kind gestures can have an impact on the world around you. While visiting Anna Maria Island on February 17th be sure to share and celebrate kindness island style!

National Random Acts of Kindness Day
Celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Anna Maria Island by taking your loved ones to watch the sunset!

 

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

While kindness is something many practice everyday, here’s some fun and easy suggestions too! Try these out while visiting Anna Maria Island.

  • Hold the door for someone.
  • Give a stranger a compliment.
  • Buy the person in line behind you at the Coffee Haus their morning cup of Joe.
  • Find a pretty shell and give it to a little kid.
  • Give up your seat on the trolley to someone.
  • Make a donation to Wildlife Inc.
  • Give someone a hug.
  • While vacationing send your friends a text, and tell them you wish they were with you.
  • Pick up garbage from the beach.
  • Go to Rod & Reel Pier and buy a stranger a beer.
  • Offer to let someone cut you in line at the Publix.
  • Buy your friend a scratch off ticket just for fun.
  • Smile at every stranger you see.
  • Call a family member and tell them you love them.
  • Tell people you are grateful when they help you.
  • Give your server at the Sandbar a big fat tip.
  • Take your family to the beach.
  • Donate to the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch.
  • Buy a piece of local art and send it to a friend back home.
  • Make your spouse breakfast in bed.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Tell your kids they are awesome.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Let go of negative thoughts.
  • Don’t stereotype people you don’t know.
  • Take a friend to lunch.
  • Treat someone to a bike rental and take them on a ride around Anna Maria.
  • Bring cup cakes to the family in the vacation rental next to yours.
  • Donate any unopened leftover food in your beach rental before you go back home.
  • Surprise a loved one with an Anna Maria Island Vacation!
  • Use #RAKWeek2017 when posting kind words on social media to encourage others to do the same.

Take the challenge

So you think you’re kind? Challenge yourself today, and go out of your way to spread love, understanding and kindness on February 17th! There’s no easier place to practice kindness than on Anna Maria Island.

For more ways to celebrate national random acts of kindness day visit RandomActsof.US

Book your next Anna Maria Island vacation beach rental today with Island Real Estate!

 

Anna Maria Island Night Sky Event – February 10, 2017

While visiting February 10th 2017, be sure to check out the Anna Maria Island night sky event! A once in a life time experience, you’ll enjoy a Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse and a Comet all together!

Anna Maria Island Night Sky Event

First for the evening you’ll enjoy the winter full moon, also called a Snow Moon. Around 5:30pm the moon will creep over the horizon into view. As it comes up the moon will start to enter into the Earth’s penumbral or outer shadow and turn a dim gray color. East Coast viewers will start to notice the lunar eclipse around 6:15pm. Just before 10pm the eclipse will be over, but the show doesn’t stop there.

Next you’ll have the opportunity to see Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusáková starting at about 10:30 when it’s closest to Earth. This pale green Comet will require a telescope or even a pair of binoculars to view. Look to the East-Northeast near the constellation Hercules.

Anna Maria Island Night Sky Event
Photo Courtesy Sky and Telescope Magazine.

You can also watch the nights events unfold live at live.slooh.com.

Enjoy the Anna Maria Island Night Sky Event, wish for clear skies, and have a fantastic island experience!

Reasons Why an Anna Maria Island Vacation is Addictive

Once you visit, you’re sure to understand why an Anna Maria Island vacation is addictive! Even Floridians will tell you that you’ll be hooked on the island life immediately.

Anna Maria Island Vacation
Once you visit Anna Maria Island you’ll be hooked!

Addictive Anna Maria Island Vacation

While Florida offers miles of gorgeous coastline, not all are as amazing as those on Anna Maria Island. You’ll find the beaches are stunning with powder fine sand and clear blue water similar to the Caribbean. There are over seven miles of public beach to explore with accesses peppered along both gulf and bay sides. Once you spend a day on these beaches you’re sure to come back!

The Real Florida

Anna Maria Island is popular with tourists, but its a more authentic real Florida experience then you’ll find in the states bigger vacation spots. You won’t find high rises or many chain stores and restaurants. This really lends to a feeling from decades past.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the island life too! Here you’ll find family friendly activities along with a night life and things to do for all ages. Folks just have a different attitude while on Anna Maria Island. Infrequently are people in a big hurry. Locals and vacationers alike want to chat and get to know those also enjoying the island life. People love to reminisce and almost feel a connection because everyone can find common ground in their love of the area.

Always the same, but always changing.

Every time you visit you’ll find some things are new, but some things always stay the same. The beaches are always pretty, and the sand always white, but there are always new services and activities to explore. Find new vacation rentals to stay in, and new things happening in the cities surrounding the island.

Sunsets, weather and wildlife.

Anna Maria Island sunsets are both addictive and always serene. As the sun sinks into the gulf you can just feel all your stress melting away. This special time is great for gathering with the ones you love while simply relaxing. You’ll want to enjoy the hypnotic sunset every night you visit Anna Maria Island.

Fantastic year round weather also makes an Anna Maria Island vacation addictive. Even the winter months are easy here.  Usually the temperature doesn’t dip below the 60’s most winter days, and typically the gulf breezes make summers more bearable than non-coastal Florida cities.

During your visit you’ll surly fall in love with the local wildlife. Nothing says exotic tropical vacation more than a pandemonium of raucous wild parrots flying over head. When visiting from May to October you’ll enjoy seeing Loggerhead Sea Turtle nests and shorebirds rearing their young all along our beaches.

What are you waiting for? Plan you Anna Maria Island vacation today!

Anna Maria Island Valentines Day – Beach Romance

An Anna Maria Island Valentines Day is a great way to celebrate a day of love. While Valentines is a special day, Anna Maria Island is romantic any day of the year. Nothing says I love you more than bringing your special someone for a trip to Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island Valentines Day

Here is a list of fun and romantic ideas for an island style Valentines Day.

Anna Maria Island Valentines Day
red heart on sandy sea beach – love relax concept

Breakfast at Sign of the Mermaid

Start your day off right with a delicious breakfast from Sign of the Mermaid in Anna Maria. This great restaurant is housed in a 1913 cottage, and offers a charming menu selection.

Romantic Beach Playlist

Here is a great “Romance by the Beach” playlist to enjoy while laying on the beach!

Visit Island Art Galleries

You’ll find a great local art scene on Anna Maria Island with many galleries in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach. Finding a special piece of art is a great Valentines gift that will also remind you of your trip to the island.

Romantic Vacation Rentals

Turn your trip to Anna Maria Island into the vacation of a lifetime with one of these fantastic beach rentals! What’s more romantic than a Florida beach vacation?

Couples Beach Massage

Enjoy a couples beach massage with Sea-Renity beach spa. There is nothing more romantic than getting pampered while on the beach.

Nature Walk at Perico Preserve

Perico Preserve is just a short trip over the Manatee Bridge on the northern side of Manatee Avenue. While there are tons of great nature walks in the county, Perico Preserve is one of the newest. Here you’ll find a diverse shell trail with tons of beautiful wildlife to see.

Private Boat Excursion

While Anna Maria Island has tons of boat charters, paying a little extra for your own private tour is worth it. Among others, Coastline Excursions offers private tours around Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key. They also offer great snorkeling excursions to try out.

Sunset

The sun will be setting on Anna Maria Island at about 6:22pm on February 14th. When you visit Anna Maria Island sunset is a must!

Manatee Players Theater

The Manatee Players will be showing the romantic musical “Bridges of Madison County”. This would make a great date spot!  You’ll find the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Downtown Bradenton. When you are done with the show stop by Downtown’s Old Main Street for a great selection of pubs, bars and restaurants.