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!

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 You’ll find almost 300 great homes!


Anna Maria Island Historical Museum gets a Makeover

After closing for the month of September, The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum reopened October 13th. While informative, now find a new look, new resources, and more island history.

Anna Maria Island Historic Park
Vintage photo of the Anna Maria Island Historic Park, the site of a picnic area with a fresh water well.

Anna Maria Island Historical Museum

Grant money made updates possible along with the hard work of volunteers. Additionally the Anna Maria Island Historical Society board members and preservationist Ashley Burke helped. The Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, Manatee County Tourist Development Council, Lizzie Vann, The Bishop Foundation, The AMI Chamber of Commerce Save the Trolley Fund and the Mary E. Parker Foundation all helped in funding the updates.

The entire museum is new. Additionally, it now has information presented in chronological order. There is a new color coded timeline showing the history of the three cities of the island with national events. A new maps kiosk has been added showing digital maps and aerial images. A map when the Island was called Palm Key is now on display. Also with information about the original homesteads from the Homestead act of 1862 and the Land Act of 1820.

Front Entrance

The Museums front entrance is updated. This allows entrance through the front door instead of the side door. New flooring went in along with thermal windows to protect the exhibits from sun damage. The historic park also received new improved signage. Additionally, this includes Pine Avenue, the Old City Jail, Belle Haven Cottage and the houses at the of city pier.

Anna Maria Island Historical Museum
A Grand Re-Opening in November.

Updates to the Museum go with the launch of additional features too. Now find a new Historic Anna Maria City Tour Brochure and the Historical Society You Tube page. The City Tour Brochure is a walking tour. Additionally you’ll find out what makes island history special. On the new You Tube page find oral stories and videos from local residents.

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is located at 402 Pine Avenue open 10am-4pm from January-April and 10am-1pm May-December. Sunday Monday and the month of September the museum closes. Find the Anna Maria Island Historic Society Museum on Facebook. Membership is encouraged, however admission to the museum is always free.

The Historical Society is in Anna Maria City. Click here for more information on our great three cities and also some general information of Anna Maria Island.

Mailing Address:
Anna Maria Historical Society
P.O. Box 4315
Anna Maria, Florida 34216

Pine Avenue History – AMI Historical Society

Find great Pine Avenue History at the AMI Historical Society! Anna Maria Island is a tropical paradise for everyone, but how did this sunny get away come to be? The answer to this question and many more can be found at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum. For a quick look at our colorful history, visit AMI Historical Society.

Anna Maria Historical Museum on Pine Avenue

Pine Avenue History

The museum was built in 1920 for Mitch Davis. He was the first mayor of Anna Maria city. In its past, the buildings use was varied. From a fire house to an ice house too! You’ll find a treasure trove of historical items like maps, records, period clothing and much more. Adjacent to the museum is the original jail for the city of Anna Maria. The jail is a one room mix of cement and shell that housed the miscreants of the island from 1926 to 1940’s. The jail closed because a fire broke out and damaged the wooden supports and roof. Now it bears the slogans of those same miscreants. The jail is also a picture perfect scene of the laid back island atmosphere.

Year after year more people visit the island, businesses grow, and the community thrives, even so the youthfully simplistic spirit of the island remains. So if you find yourself lucky enough to be on Anna Maria, the Historical Society museum is a must see with stunning artifacts, riveting stories, and more than a few great photo opportunities.