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!

 

 

Beat the Heat on Anna Maria Island!

Tips for keeping the sun’s rays away

Anna Maria Island – There is no better time to travel to Anna Maria Island than in the summer; however, dealing with the extreme heat can be a struggle if you don’t know how to prepare. By following these tips you’ll be sure to return home safely without looking like a lobster!

1. Drink Plenty of Water!

While it may seem obvious, drinking enough water is extremely important when vacationing at the beach. Because of Florida’s intense heat, your body needs more water than usual to stay hydrated. Grab a pack of water at the Island’s Publix or CVS.

2. Sunscreen!

Serving as a Floridian’s best friend, sunscreen is a must-have when staying at the beach. Even when it is cloudy, the sun’s rays are so strong that without protecting your skin you could end up looking like a ripe tomato. Being out in the sun for hours allows UV rays easy access to burning your skin, so slathering on that SPF 80 before playing in the sand is always a safe idea! Make sure to apply 20 minutes before going in the sun and REAPPLY every 2 hours.

3. Cover up!

Indirect rays can be just as damaging as direct ones. When going to the beach, it’s smart to wear protective clothing and bring an umbrella or tent for shade. Just the sun’s reflection off the water can result in a bad sunburn! You can find hats, umbrellas and more on the island at the West Coast Surf Shop.

However, if you do get burnt…

Make Aloe Vera Ice Cubes

Between the healing powers of aloe vera and the coldness of the ice cubes, this DIY hack is sure to give your skin some relief. Make sure to take some in the cooler just in case the sun gets the best of you!

DIY relief cream

If you want something a little less messy try making your own sunburn soother to help ease the pain and heal skin faster. You can find the recipe here.

The island is a wonderful place to vacation on, so make sure to take care of yourself and have fun!

Anna Maria Island
Avoid getting sun burned when visiting Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and accommodations

Island Real Estate has the largest selection of vacation rentals homes on Anna Maria Island! Book your vacation today!

Anna Maria Island
Sunset Beach 106 is a fabulous Anna Maria Island vacation rental right on the beach with direct gulf front views! After reading our tips to beet the sun, book this great beach front condo! Click on the image above to reserve your stay!

Anna Maria Island Beach Reads – Booking it to the Beach

 

Three great books to read by the beach

Anna Maria Island -If you’re a bookworm like me, reading at the beach is one of the most relaxing activities to do. However, it can be hard to find a good book that will captivate your interest.

Here are three of my favorite Anna Maria Island beach reads.

1.The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

Photo courtesy of www.goodreads.com

The Maze Runner is one of my favorite books to read. In it, Thomas wakes up in a glade in the middle of a labyrinth. As he meets the other gladers he finds out that they are stranded in the middle of a labyrinth with no memory of their past. With the help of his friends, Thomas begins his quest to find a way out of the maze and to freedom.

The Maze Runner is the first of the trilogy and is one of those books that once you’ve started reading it’s impossible to stop. Even ‘The Telegraph’ author Rebecca Hawkes stated, “It’s punchy, tense and, crucially, original.”

2. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

Photo courtesy of www.amazon.com

If you’re looking for a laugh An Abundance of Katherines is the perfect book for you. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who has a love for the name Katherine. In fact, he’s dated-and been dumped by-19 of them. Because of his recent dumping, Colin and his food-loving friend Hassan set out on a road trip with 10,000 dollars and a mission: create a theorem that will predict the future of every relationship.

3. Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Photo courtesy of www.amazon.com

One of my favorite books, Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda is young adult novel that focuses on the struggles of figuring out who you are throughout high school. Simon had been thinking about coming out to his parents for a while, and has even been talking to a guy who goes by ‘Blue’ on the internet. But when Martin Addison begins threatening to snitch unless Simon puts a good word in with his friend Abby, things take an unexpected turn. If you like a mix of mystery and romance, this book is definitely for you.

I hope you enjoy these great Anna Maria Island Beach Reads!

Beach Warning Flags – Swim Safely on Anna Maria Island

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

What the beach warning flags mean

Double Red – No swimming allowed

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

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

Green – Swimming allowed, calm conditions

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday Turtle Talks on Anna Maria Island

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

May student at the Artists’ Guild Gallery in Holmes Beach

Holmes Beach – During the month of May, the watercolor mirror image titled “Reflections” by Bayshore High School student Erin Kenney will be displayed at the Artists’ Guild Gallery, 5414 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach. Erin is a senior AP art student who plans to work after graduation as a tattoo artist and attend college later. She was selected to be part of Art and Soul in 2013-14 and also Art Slam as well as The River Walk Art Festival. Her art teacher is Claire Hickman.

Pictured left to right, Claire Hickman, Erin Kenney and Guild Education Chairperson Karen Ellsworth at the Artists' Guild Gallery
Pictured left to right, Claire Hickman, Erin Kenney and Guild Education Chairperson Karen Ellsworth Artists’ Guild Gallery

Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll

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

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

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

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

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

2015 Food and Wine on Pine right around the corner

Anna Maria – This years Food and Wine on Pine, an annual event that features the best local food, wine, are and music, is right around the corner and we can’t wait. Taking place on Saturday, may 2nd from 11:30am to 6:30pm on Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island, it’s not to be missed.

Over 20 local restaurants be serving up food for patrons throughout the day. The restaurants will be serving local and seasonal Florida foods with an emphasis on farm-to-form and tide-to-table cuisine. So to whet your appetite, here’s a list of the restaurants whose food you can look forward to enjoying.

• The Sandbar restaurant, Anna Maria – Myakka wild boar sliders, ceviche – Fresh fish, shrimp and scallops, key lime, blood orange, King Farm peaches, Gamble Creek cilantro, served with tortilla chips.

• The Beach House restaurant, Bradenton Beach – Sesame seared yellow fin tuna cubes served with choice of wasabi cream, sriracha and teriyaki.

• Mar Vista Dockside restaurant, Longboat Key –gourmet tater tots.

•Gamble Creek Farm, Bradenton – Farm-to-fork produce inspired dish.

• Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, Anna Maria – Refreshing lemon, mango and raspberry sorbets, mini hot fudge sundaes and mini sea salt caramel ice cream sundaes.

• Paradise Bagel, Café and Catering, Holmes Beach – Bruschetta three ways.

• Michael’s On East, Bradenton – Seared lump meat crab cakes with orange ginger remoulade.

• Waterfront restaurant, Anna Maria – Fish tacos, carnitas.

• The Feast restaurant, Holmes Beach – Lobster roll, coconut shrimp with orange ginger sauce, conch fritters with Cajun remoulade sauce.

• Blue Marlin, Bradenton Beach – Mini grouper sandwiches.

• Bridge Street Bistro, Bradenton Beach – Nitro ice cream.

• Island Time Bar and Grill, Bradenton Beach – Fish burritos.

• Island Spice, Bradenton Beach – dosa, mango lassi, samosa, tandoori drumsticks, chicken tikka masala, channa masal and mint cooler.

• EnRich, A Bistro, Bradenton – Israeli cous cous and quinoa salad with chilled shrimp, gazpacho with fruit relish and crème fraiche, Rich’s Nutella panna cotta with crushed hazelnut and Hawaiian red sea salt.

• Derek’s, Bradenton – Gulf shrimp and grits.

• Riverhouse Reef and Grill, Palmetto – Kickin’ Green Goodness shrimp and lobster chowder.

• Sage Biscuit Café, Bradenton – Smoked salmon chowder with mini sage biscuit, beer braised beef slider, cucumber chickpea salad with cilantro lime yogurt dressing.

•Harry’s Grill and Bistro, Anna Maria – Buffalo wings, hamburgers and cheeseburger sliders.

• Polpo Pizza, Sarasota – Bee sting pizza: signature pizza with house made mozzarella, organic tomato sauce, fresh herbs, spicy salami and hot pepper infused with local honey, Parmesan rosemary flatbread, basil lemonade.

• Seafood Shack Marina Bar and Grill, Cortez – Crab bisque with sriracha popcorn, house cured smoked salmon BLT sliders, shrimp and grits on a stick.

• Southeast H.S., Bradenton – Jambalya over rice.

• Sugar Cubed, Bradenton – Tropical coffee and iced tea bar, Key Lime brulee tart with raspberry sauce and a shortbread crust.

• Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill, Sarasota – Stuffed shrimp with signature crab delight – lightly fried tempura-style, topped with sweet chili sauce, tropical sensation – tempura kani rolled in rice and seaweed, topped with mango and strawberries, salt and peppered tilapia.

Food and Wine on Pine Anna Maria
Food and Wine on Pine 2015.

Have questions or need more information? Head over to www.FoodAndWineOnPine.com or contact Caryn Hodges at Caryn Hodge at 941-778-8705, and by email at chodge@chilesgroup.com