How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

For many, there is no questions on how to spend a week on Anna Maria Island. However, first time visitors often wonder about what there is to do beyond the beach.

How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

How to Spend a Week on Anna Maria Island

Here is a helpful daily itinerary on how to plan the perfect week and make the most of your visit to Anna Maria Island. A week may seem like a long vacation, but with so many local attractions seven days will fly by in a flash!

Saturday – Arrival

Typical check-in for Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will be 4:30. If you arrive on the island before check-in you’ll have to keep yourself occupied with easy local things to do. This is a great time to grab something to eat, or even begin exploring different beach accesses.

Hold off on the big grocery shopping trip because you won’t have anywhere to stash your groceries until you have access to your accommodations.

Get situated and don’t over plan for Saturday

Once you arrive at your vacation rental we recommend first getting situated. Divvying up bedrooms, finding where everything is and figuring out how things work. Half the fun of an Anna Maria Island vacation is enjoying a luxury home for a week.

Slip into relaxation mode then find the nearest beach access. Nearly all Anna Maria Island vacation rentals are within walking distance to the beach. Spend your first evening with a relaxing walk to the beach at sunset.

Don’t over plan your first night as you’ll likely be tired from traveling. However, Saturday arrival day is a perfect time to grab something to eat at one of Anna Maria Island’s outdoor dining restaurants. What better way to kick-off your vacation than with seafood and a view?

Sunday – Beach Day All Day

Sunday will be your first full day on Anna Maria Island. Your group will undoubtedly be excited to get the fun started.

Wake up at dawn and go for a morning beach walk. Totally worth the getting up early on vacay!

Plan to spend most of Sunday on the beach, but be careful not to get sunburned. Remember to apply a high SPF 20 minutes before you go out and reapply every 2 hours.

For those that sunburn easily, you may want to take a mid day break from the sun. This is an excellent time to put together a large grocery shopping list and plan out the meals you’ll be preparing at your rental. Stock up on food, beverages, and beach accessories.

Monday – Shopping and Trolley hopping

Now that your group has had a full day to enjoy what they came to the island for, the beach, Monday is a great time to explore island shopping!

This is the perfect time to use the free trolley too. Find the nearest trolley stop, hop on, and cruise up and down the entire island to find all the fun boutiques and souvenir shops. Some spots to stop include Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, The Island Shopping Center in Holmes Beach and Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria.

No shopping trip is complete without stopping for lunch! Stop just about anywhere for lunch really, all island restaurants are great!

Tuesday – Explore Beyond the island

While some folks prefer to spend their entire vacation on Anna Maria Island, some like to explore the many surrounding activities. Below we have suggestions on things to do off-island.

Cortez Fishing Village

  • Eat fresh off the boat seafood at Starfish Market.
  • Boat Tours of the Intracoastal.
  • Maritime Museum

Sarasota

Bradenton

  • South Florida Museum
  • Bradenton Riverwalk
  • Downtown nightlife on Old Main Street

St. Petersburg 

  • Downtown Central Ave. art districts – galleries, shops and restaurants
  • Salvador Dali Museum
  • Museum of Fine Art

Tampa

Wednesday – Early Breakfast, Eco-Tours and Wildlife Viewing

Anna Maria Island has really unique wildlife, and an eco-tour is a great way to get close. Get up early and go out for a big breakfast. This will give you plenty of fuel for a day of outdoors adventuring.

There are many local options for kayak and Stand up Paddle boarding tours. Explore beautiful Mangrove coastline. Hire a boat tour for a few hours, and your sure to see dolphins, Manatees and an array of aquatic life.

If eco-tours aren’t your forte, then head to one of the local preserves for a nature walk. Leffis Key is a fantastic spot! Located on the south end of the island, this preserve is just under a mile of walking trails. You’ll experience Mangrove tunnel board walks, salt marsh and shrubby uplands. See small mammals, an impressive variety of birds, and sea life along Sarasota Bay.

Thursday – Sightseeing

When  you visit Anna Maria Island there are certain things you must see!

Anna Maria City Jail and Historic Society

Having your picture taken at the old Anna Maria City Jail is the quintessential island sightseeing activity. For some it’s tradition! The Historic Society Museum is a great way to learn island history. Find out unique facts like why we call Anna Maria “The City that Fig Newtons Built”.

Piers

Find three public piers along the bay side of the island. Each is different, but all offer fishing, dining and gorgeous water views.

Friday – Beaches and a Big Night Out

Friday will be your last full day on Anna Maria Island. You’ll really want to just relax on the beach, swim in the pool at your rental, and soak up every last bit of the island life.

This is also the perfect time to splurge on a big night out! Make reservations at one of the fine dining restaurants like Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, or Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key. After dinner head over to Bridge Street for cocktails and live music!

Saturday – Leaving is hard, but there is always next time!

Typical check-out is 10am, but this doesn’t mean you have to leave right away! Once you hand back in your keys, you can still enjoy the beach. The three big public beaches all have bathrooms and showers. (Manatee Public, Coquina and Bay Front Park) Squeeze in one last beach trip before you go, and we’ll see you next year!

Don’t forget to book your stay for the following year. Many visitors come back every year, so be sure to book your favorite rental before someone else does!

Summer’s End Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island

It’s not too late to enjoy end of summer beach house rentals Anna Maria Island style! Pumpkin spice latte is back on the Starbucks menu, kids are in school again, and Fall is less than a month away. Now is the time to plan that last minute summer getaway!

Summer Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island in September

September is a fantastic time of year to visit Anna Maria Island. This is the off season, so the beaches are far less busy. During a September visit you’ll also notice there are fewer cars on the streets. The entire Island has a different vibe in the late summer. People are a little calmer as locals enjoy the respite from busy high season.

End of Summer beach Scene

Anna Maria Island beaches are as beautiful as ever in the late summer. The weather is hot and rainy during September in Florida, however, beaches are still very nice. Lots of rain may make the water a tad less blue than the normal, but it also cools the water temperature down. Gulf beaches are bathtub like in July and August, so a little rain makes them more refreshing.

End of Summer Island Activities

When you visit the island at the end of summer you may notice a few of the island’s restaurants are closed. This is when operators make improvements, and also have a little summer vacation before seasons starts again. However, there are still plenty of places to dine that are open year round. Closures are typically no more than a week long, or even just a few days.

Summer is also an excellent time to visit activities off island. With less congested roads, getting on and off the island is much easier in late summer. This is a fantastic time to drive down to Sarasota, or head into Bradenton to try new activities. You will find museums, shopping and sightseeing in both Sarasota and Bradenton.

Summer’s End Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island have lowest rates.

The end of summer is one of the most affordable times to visit Anna Maria Island. September is when many beach houses lower their rates. These lower rates continue through to mid December when visitors from the north start to come down again. These lower rates don’t always include Labor Day weekend as this is the last busy weekend of the season. Rates for beach house rentals typically fluctuate to coincide with demand or popular seasons.

Direct Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island

September is also the perfect time of year to reserve a direct beach front rental!

Hidden Cove is a fantastic direct gulf Front beach rental Anna Maria Island style. This is a great example of the type of rentals available in September.

Beach house rentals Anna Maria Island
Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island style! Click on the image to learn more about this great condo!

Hidden Cove unit 1 offers accommodations for up to four guests with two bedrooms and two and half bathrooms. During your stay, enjoy direct gulf views from the master bedroom and main living space. You will love spending time on the open balcony watching sunsets, and relaxing. The quiet Hidden Cove complex also offers a community pool, and is located near free trolley stops, shopping and dining.

Beach House Rentals Anna Maria Island Florida
Click on the image to reserve Hidden Cove unit 1 for your next Beach house rental Anna Maria Island Holmes Beach.

Island Real Estate has the largest selection of Anna Maria Island beach rentals you’ll find in the area! When searching for a summer’s end beach rental be sure to check out the Sunshine Specials page for great deals.

Enjoy an Anna Maria Island paradise vacation and reserve the perfect beach rental today at IslandReal.com!

 

Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist Guide

There is no place better to be a tourist than on Anna Maria Island, especially in the summer time. The weather is hot, the water blue and the sand powder soft; everything you would expect from a tropical island vacation. You are sure to enjoy being an Anna Maria Island summer tourist with this Top Ten list!

1. Be a Tacky Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist

Smear zinc on your cheeks, wear socks under your flips flops, slip on that Hawaiian shirt, and grab one of those frozen drinks with the little umbrella in it. You have got to channel your inner tacky tourist, or you aren’t fully experiencing an Anna Maria Island vacation. Don’t be embarrassed. Undoubtedly you’ll find locals decked out in the same look, because many of them first came here as a tacky Anna Maria Island summer tourist.

anna maria island summer tourist
This Anna Maria Island summer tourist is living the good life

2. Join a Turtle Talk

Anna Maria Island Turtle nesting season goes from May to October, and Tourists can learn all about these amazing critters. Every Tuesday in June and July the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch holds a Turtle Talk. Volunteers of the AMITW provide a 30 minute program with videos, pictures and fun stories from volunteers. A donation gets you AMITW branded stickers, T-shirts and fun Turtle swag. Tuesday Turtles Talks are held at CrossPoint Fellowship Church at 8605 Gulf Drive Holmes Beach at 10am.

3. Go Shelling

A trip to the island is not complete without an early morning shell hunt. Shells are a fantastic tourist souvenir, and the hunt is a relaxing experience. When shelling you need to make sure to never take living organisms. It is illegal in Florida to collect living shells including Sand Dollars, Starfish, Urchins, Conchs, or anything that wiggles. Beyond legal reasons it is ethically unsound to collect living things on the beach. Every critter plays and important role in the beach ecosystem, and are sensitive to human impact. Do not collect large amounts of dead shells, and limit yourself to less than a pint size bag.

4. Get Professional Beach Pictures

Anna Maria Island is one of the most picturesque vacation destinations you’ll find on the west coast of Florida. Assemble the family during sunset for a group photo, and hire a professional to capture your beach memories. The end result is sure to please you. There are many options for local photographers on Anna Maria Island to help you feel like the quintessential Anna Maria Island summer tourist.

5. Do The Stingray Shuffle

Stingrays and humans alike head to the shoreline during summer months, as a result, the number of ray stings increases at this time. Rays are extremely docile critters, and are typically looking to avoid humans. When you enter the water it is easy to avoid being stung by shuffling your feet along the sandy sea floor. Do the stingray shuffle, and you won’t end your trip doing the stingray hop!

6. Ride the Free Trolley

The Anna Maria Island free trolley is an amazing service! There are stops from Pine Avenue all the way down to Coquina Beach passing almost everything in between. The trolley runs from 6am to 10:30pm daily, and passes by approximately every 20 minutes. The free trolley is the best way for a stress free trip. You’ll never have to worry about parking, or designating a responsible driver when enjoying island bars and pubs. The free trolley is also a great way to sight see.

7. Catch the Sandbar 4th of July Fireworks

Every year the Sandbar restaurant has a wonderful fireworks display. An Anna Maria Island vacation during the 4th of July is not complete without catching the fireworks on the beach. Sparklers are the only consumer firework beach goers are permitted to use; therefore; the Sandbar display is very popular!

8. Have lunch on the Beach

Anna Maria Island has many restaurants that are located directly on beaches or waterfront. Lunch on the beach is a must during an Anna Maria Island summer vacation, and is the perfect time to be a tourist with umbrella drink in hand. An Anna Maria Island summer tourist will find great food, fast service and beautiful views at Island waterfront restaurants.

 

9. Bike to Local Shops

Any Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist must rent a bike and explore the shops, so why not do them at the same time? Bicycling on Anna Maria Island is a great way to get around because everything is nearby. Bike ride from shop to shop, and you’ll find great independently owned boutiques and art galleries. In addition, the added benefit of shopping by bike will make you feel less guilty about all the money you’ve spent on souvenirs! Anna Maria Island summer tourists must have the perfect souvenir!

10. Walk a Nature Trail or Charter a Boat Tour

Nature Trail

Leffis Key is a stunningly beautiful nature trail an Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist should experience. Offering mangrove tunnel boardwalks, salt flats, marsh and views of Sarasota Bay, you’ll never experience anything like Leffis Key. Leffis Key is located on the south end of Anna Maria Island, and is just across the street from Coquina Beach. In addition to Leffis Key, Coquina Beach offers a gorgeous walking path along beautiful sand dunes and under old growth Australian Pines. The Coquina Beach path is great for walking, and is also friendly to bikes or segweys.

Boat Charters

Anna Maria Island has more fishing charters, dolphin tours, sunset trips and boats for rent than you’ll likely find anywhere else in Florida. Boat tours are a great way to explore the island’s natural beauty, and get all the family involved in an Anna Maria Island summer tourist activity. Find a tour that is right for you, and get out on the water!

Read the guide, make the reservation, and be an Anna Maria Island summer tourist this year!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental and Accommodations

Island Real Estate has the island’s largest selection of Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes perfect for any summer tourists. Plan your summer stay today, and get the vacation you’ve been looking for!

Anna Maria Island summer tourist vacation rental
Anna Maria Island vacation rental AMI Beach House is the perfect destination for an Anna Maria Island summer tourist getaway! This 6 bedroom home sleeps up to 14 guests. Click on the image above to reserve your Anna Maria Island summer tourist vacation today!

Anna Maria Island Information -Video Tour

Welcome to the Island Real Estate Anna Maria Island Information video tour! Discover the old Florida charm of the Island and it’s three cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. This video will also provide you a great locals insight.

While visiting enjoy our beautiful sugar sand beaches! Also find luxurious gulf front accommodations, unique shopping, activities, and beach-side restaurants.

Our tour explores, Anna Maria Island paradise, hot spots, beaches, shopping, dining and sightseeing. We will interview several Island business owners, and locals about why Anna Maria Island is such an amazing destination! One of Florida’s best kept secrets, this is the perfect spot for your next holiday!

While on the Island there are a few must do activities too!

Anna Maria Island Information

If you are looking for accommodations Island Real Estate would love to help! With almost 300 vacation rentals you’re sure to find the perfect vacation rental in your budget. We offer several different types of Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes! Our selection includes beach side vacation rentals, Anna Maria luxury rentals, vacation rentals on a budget. Additionally find groups of Anna Maria Island vacation rentals for larger gatherings.

Enjoy the video tour, and we’ll see you on Anna Maria Island!

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.

 

Support Beach clean-up efforts with new local non-profit organization Heart the Sea.

Anna Maria Island – Heart the Sea, a new local non-profit organization invites all to help clean the beach on February 28th at 4PM starting under Longboat Pass at the Southern tip of Coquina Beach located at 2650 Gulf Drive in the City of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island. Beach cleaners are encouraged to bring a bucket, no plastic bags, and wear closed toed shoes. Gloves and a few extra buckets will be available. Afterwards, Cleaners are invited to Heart the Sea Sponsor Swordfish Grill; cleaners who bring their cleaning glove to Swordfish Grill will be rewarded with one free drink. Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215.

Jeff Higgins the Marketing Director at Swordfish Grill says, “We stand by Heart the Sea because just like us, they believe in making sure this natural habitat where we all live and we all love, stays that way for future generations to enjoy”

To stay up to date on Beach Clean ups follow Heart the Sea on Facebook or Twitter Contact Jenny Stonehouse at 941-702-4SEA.

 Heart the Sea Beach Clean-UpHeart The Sea exists for the protection of the Ocean and it’s inhabitants by raising awareness for waterway and beach health. Our vision is for the change of human habits for the benefit of the ocean and it’s animals.

Beach clean-ups are where tourists and locals alike can share a love for the ocean. To be intentional about picking up litter has changed people; Newbies to Heart the Sea beach clean-ups, even children, cannot help themselves from picking up litter whenever they see it after attending one of the clean-ups. All litter eventually ends up in the ocean unless intercepted, and many volunteers are surprised to collect about 5-10 lb of trash per bucket.

Founder of Heart the Sea Jenny Stonehouse elaborates on Heart the Sea and beach clean ups, “About a year ago, I met Hank the Heron on the 77th street beach access with fishing line around his ankle. Hank was wobbling begging the nearby fisherman for food. I called the AMI Wildlife Rescue who came out to try and catch Hank. The volunteer was unsuccessful as Hank did not want to be caught! In my conversation with AMI Wildlife Rescue I discovered that they had been trying to catch Hank for a while. Sadly, Hank did his best to fly down the beach only to be pummeled by another territorial Heron. Heart The Sea was born in my heart on that day. Because fishing line and other harmful items are found and discarded each month, Heart the Sea beach clean-ups are important to the health of our Beaches. Supporting Heart the Sea’s cause means increasing efforts to clean the beach and educating tourists and locals in reducing trash on our beach. We meet, we clean-up, and we go have a drink.”

For several months now Jenny and a small group of Volunteers have been meeting in various parts of Anna Maria Island for clean-ups. Recently, Jenny submitted Heart the Sea’s articles of incorporation to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization making Heart the Sea a truly impactful facilitator of clean beaches. In Celebration of Heart the Sea’s new beginning, Jenny will be set up at The Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach February 22nd from 10am-3pm. Jenny will not only be passing out information and recruiting volunteers, but as an artist, Jenny will be selling her artwork with 50% of the proceeds going directly to Heart the Sea.

Anna Maria Island Sunset pictures and information

Sunset on Beaches of Anna Maria
Anna Maria Island Sunsets – Wow

If you have visited Anna Maria Island and you have not observed a SUNSET then you have been robbed of one of your God given rights. Viewing our magnificent Gulf Coast sunsets every evening offers a different work of art and after all, the reason you go on vacation is to relax! If you are lucky enough to visit in the summer you may have a chance to witness a phenomenal Anna Maria Island Sunset AND turtle hatchlings. If you have not visited Anna Maria Island… it’s ok, use our web site to reserve one of many fabulous vacation rentals or purchase your “peace” of paradise through our real estate office.

FEAR NO MORE….

……this page will fill the void you have felt since your last visit to Anna Maria or the void created from friends or family raving about their last visit to the island. Below you will find the best of the best photo’s of our sunsets, a blog that our fabulous Real Estate professional keeps up weekly, Melinda Bordes, she reviews the week’s sunsets and offers the best of the week for those of you looking to leverage you relaxation time, (Can you leverage your relaxation time?) or view other sunset related content and information we have below.
The “anatomy” of a Sunset
Best of the Best Anna Maria Sunsets
Various pictures of Beach and Sunsets

Sunset of the Week Blog – Melinda Bordes

 

Silhouettes at Sunset ~ 9~15~2014 ~ Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island ~ A Romantic Sunset
Romance on Anna Maria Island

The summer has come and gone and we are entering into fall! The atmosphere changes from tourists bustling around the Island enjoying vacations with family and friends to less crowded locals soaking up the peace and quiet for about a month on Anna Maria Island. I find fall sunsets to be the most beautiful because the skies are a much deeper blue and late afternoon showers give way to more grandeur sunsets! It is a perfect time for couples to nestle their chairs in the sand and let the sunset serve as their entertainment. The turtles are still hatching and the shore birds, dolphins and manatees all add that touch of wildlife for which Anna Maria Island is so well known especially to the locals. Soon we will see fall festivals happening along the Gulf of Mexico, both on and off the Island offering seafood and live music as well as arts and crafts. Islanders are always excited to put on their jeans and open their windows to feel the cross breezes and fresh air!  And at the end of the day we find our reward for hard work is to be able to walk to the beach to rest and relax as we experience another amazing sunset pulling the shade down as day fades into night…as summer fades into fall!   

 

Anna Maria Soaring Sunset
Soaring Sunset on Anna Maria Island

 

Created by Melinda Bordes Melinda@annamariasunset.com 941-705-0146…Whether buying or selling real estate on Anna Maria Island or surrounding areas feel free to call me to assist you in the process. Together we can find that perfect slice of paradise so you can soak up our amazing sunsets no matter the season!

 

Wally Lambs – Beach Reads Anna Maria Island

“We Are Water” by author Wally Lambs is a heart warming novel about family, marriage, and how strong a human can be in a time of a tragedy.

Wally Lambs We Are Water

This alternating character perspective book will have you glued to your chair in your own world. You’ll forget you’re even on vacation at all! This story truly grabs the readers attention and will have you hooked on the first page.

Told from many character’s perspectives, this book is thrilling to read. Dealing with family, divorce, marriage and understanding you won’t want to put this down.

To read a full description check out the Amazon page, I don’t want to give any of this novel away! Wally Lambs We are Water

With toes in the sand, there is nothing better than a good beach read. Just make sure you put on plenty of sunblock too!

For more great beach reads check out the IslandReal.com local scene page. From time to time we update our blog with great things locals are reading.

Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes early!

Anna Maria Island – Yes you heard us, don’t apply sunscreen right as you’re getting out on to the beach, but at least 20 minutes before you plan to soak up some sun. The reason for doing this is quite simple, you want the sunscreen to absorb into your skin rather than just sitting on top of your skin. This will ensure that you’re actually protected against the suns harmful UV rays. This is especially necessary if you’re planning on grabbing a tube and going into the water at the beach, or the pool at home. If you don’t plan on going into the water you’re not out of the clear. Florida is, of course, very hot and humid, which may, and probably will, cause some sweating which does not mix well with freshly put on sunscreen. If you don’t let your sunscreen set into your skin and you go into the water, don’t be surprised if you get sun burnt and turn into a lobster.

suntan lotion
This is what a local’s beach bag looks like. Lather that lotion all over!

Looking for the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental home for the family? Island Real Estate offers an inventory of almost 300 amazing Island homes!