National Travel and Tourism Week – Faces of Travel Anna Maria Island

National Travel and Tourism week is an event marking the large impact travel has on the U.S. economy. Established by a congressional resolution in 1983, travel and tourism professionals across the country host a variety of events, rallies and out reach programs to strengthen this fun and amazing component of local and national economies. Yes! Travel isn’t just good for your mental health, but for success as a country too!

National Travel and Tourism Week – Faces of Travel May 7-13, 2017

This year the U.S. National Travel Association chose the theme “Faces of Travel” highlighting the millions of individuals who work to keep the industry alive. Each year over 15 million people work in jobs supported by travel!

Anna Maria Island – Faces of Travel

In keeping with this years theme, Island Real Estate is highlighting some of the amazing local faces who both thrive on and support our local travel industry. Because travel and tourism are such a strong economic factor in Florida, we applaud those who keep Anna Maria Island travel a driving force of local viability.

We reached out to industry locals and asked, “Why do you think Anna Maria Island is the best beach vacation destination in Florida?” Here’s what they had to say.

National Travel and Tourism Week
Anna Maria Island beaches attract over 1 millions travelers each year. It’s easy to see why!

 

 Jo-ann Lefner – Owner of Bella by the Sea Boutique on Anna Maria Island

“The sun on your face, the sand on your toes, credit card in hand to shop the cutest boutiques all on one island. Ask me what’s better than that…maybe a Margarita at sunset!”

The Ciardullo Family Frank, Kathy and Kristi – Vacation Rental Owners – Fernweh in Holmes Beach

“We had never heard of the word Fernweh, but once we discovered its meaning we knew it was the perfect name for our home as it could best describe the feelings that Anna Maria Island brings, being homesick for a place you’ve never been.”

Larry Chatt – Owner of Island Real Estate of Anna Maria Island

“I have made it a point to travel within Florida to A LOT of beach destinations.  Over the years I get a lot of questions like, “What is Anna Maria Island like compared to xxxx , Florida.”  So over the years I have visited at least 20 beach locations in Florida so I knew the question to that answer!

Cedar Key, Siesta Key, Englewood, Fort Myers Beach, Clearwater Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Boca Grande, St. Augustine, Destin, Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, Flagler Beach, Cocoa Beach.  With the Exception of West of Panama City Beach and areas of Miami Beach I have driven the entire coast of Florida and have stayed in at least 20 beach communities. Of course every location has it’s pros and cons but using the following criteria there are no other locations I have seen in Florida much less the world that measures up to Anna Maria Island.

Quality of the sand and beach. Our sand is like confectionery sugar.  Other Gulf Coast locations have a similar whiteness but it is littered with shells and is not as soft or the beach is absolutely packed with patrons. I have been unable to replicate our beach anywhere along the coast of Florida or for that matter on the EAST coast or West Coast of the United States. There is plenty of beautiful soft sand beach for everyone due to the low rise nature of our destination!

Family friendly.  Too often Florida beach destinations have a high rise nature to them and have been commercialized. It is hard to explain, we occasionally visit an establishment within a location that gives authenticity to the destination but we often waste the rest of our vacation looking for lightning in a bottle again.  I have personally witnessed this in several locations across the world let alone Florida. I could never find more than one place per destination that gave me that feeling we all yearn for when taking family vacations. A togetherness as a family captivated and enhanced by the authentic overall feeling provided by the destination. It is difficult to describe but once you find it you want to experience it over and over again as a family.  Anna Maria Island is littered with similar stories of successful corporate leaders that found paradise on Anna Maria Island. They quit their job to live and work in paradise.  I am a perfect example of such a story.

Dining friendly.  Anna Maria Island dining choices measure up against beach communities 10 times as large!  The best way to explain it is old Florida but with plenty of authentic places to shop and eat.  You can dine in a different location every night of the week and not have one bad meal.  I will admit I have found some very old Florida locations along the beach coast but I would have to travel 25 minutes to have more than a few restaurant choices.

In summary I have not found any beach locations with the quality of our sand, low density nature of our beaches but with plenty of authentic shopping and dining choices.  Anna Maria Island is not just one retail location that creates an old Florida feeling.  The authentic nature of our destination is emulated across our entire community.  Whether it be a free trolley ride down to one of many dining choices in one of our three cities or a walk along the beach grabbing a cocktail at a beach front restaurant.  If you yearn for the three main amenities our destination provides, you won’t be sorry finding a way to visit Anna Maria Island. I have done A LOT of research on the subject and across our wonderful coastal state I have been unable to replicate anything close to the amenities Anna Maria Island has to offer families searching for authentic old Florida.”

Yvonne Callahan – Vacation Rental Owner – Mango Breeze in Holmes Beach

“The island is laid back paradise with life in the slow lane, no high rise hotels and the small quaint streets with many fun casual dining places and beaches with white sand for your toes.”

Caryn Hodge – Marketing Director of Chiles Restaurant Group – The Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista

“Anna Maria Island is unlike any place in the world. Although most well-known for its pristine, sugar-soft sand beaches, Anna Maria also offers visitors an opportunity to slow down, step back to a time when things were simpler, and to experience old Florida in a variety of ways.

On Anna Maria you can park your car and forget about it as you ride the free trolley, walk or bike to your destination for dining, boutique shopping, live music, a stroll on the pier or whatever way you want to experience all the island has to offer.

Void of high rises and not overrun with corporate stores, the island hosts mostly locally owned, independent businesses that offer one-of-a-kind products and services. Award winning dining, excursions for every level of activity, and friendly locals make us a repeat destination for many visitors. Affordable, rich in history, enjoyable and unique. Anna Maria is the perfect place to experience true Old Florida the way it was meant to be.”

Melissa Fletcher – Vacation Rental Owner – Beach Escape in Holmes Beach

“That smell, that beachy smell and oh the sunsets. Nothing describes the beautiful colors in the night sky!  From the fun activities at Holmes Beach to the warm breeze at Bean Point! The Tiki bars  at Bradenton Beach to the ice cream at Two Scoops!  This island is my home away from home!”

Captain Kyle Taylor – Anna Maria Inshore Fishing Charters

“Anna Maria Island has some of the best beaches, weather, lifestyle, dining, and fishing that people look for in a travel destination. Some travel destinations can only claim one or two of these qualities. We have it all here, in one quaint package and we call it Anna Maria Island.”

Emma Brooks – Vacation Rental Owner – Beachy Blue in Holmes Beach

“This beautiful island is our little piece of paradise, the sun makes your heart shine! Stay at Beachy Blue steps away from the turquoise seas and close to some great restaurants and wonderful boutiques”

Deb Wing – President Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce

“Anna Maria Island (AMI for short) definitely lives up to its award winning accolades with clear turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, year round warm weather, eco-friendly terrain and abundant wildlife. Personally, I find it to be the most beautiful, laid back and least developed island on the West Coast of Florida, which is why I find it so appealing. The resorts, accommodations, restaurants, beauty and things to do in this paradise attract national and international travelers. AMI offers a taste of just about everything that people find charming about Florida – with dolphins playing, manatees swimming, turtles nesting, beautiful birds fishing, as well as an impressive history and culture – it’s a #1 destination”

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau – PR and Outreach Specialist – Kasara Morison

“There are many reasons why Anna Maria Island is the best beach vacation destination in Florida. A year-round summery vibe and warm, secluded feel work wonders on Anna Maria, making this the ultimate Florida beach retreat. Whether a nature lover, serenity seeker or beachgoer, there’s something for everyone on this easy to explore, coastal gem. The cozy and quaint feel of Anna Maria Island, makes it feel like a trip back in time to this paradise that hasn’t changed much since the 70’s and definitely has that “old Florida” feel. The numerous award-winning beaches, restaurants and events make Anna Maria Island the perfect relaxation spot for your next vacation.”

Anna Maria Island Travel
From sunrise to sunset, you won’t find a better beach vacation destination!

As you can see from their responses, locals who make our travel industry thrive absolutely love Anna Maria Island!

And we can’t forget! A super big thank you to the over 1 million travelers who come to Anna Maria Island every year! You too help maintain the economic vitality of our little island community!

Plan a trip to Anna Maria Island today during National Travel and Tourism Week!

Anna Maria Island Fall Tourist Guide

The Anna Maria Island fall tourist guide is a great resources for visitors and locals alike! After a hot summer, fall welcomes cooler weather and fun activities! Along with these great activities, also check out suggested Fall family beach rentals.

Anna Maria Island Fall Tourist Guide

Here are our top eight things to do, and know during Fall on Anna Maria Island. Furthermore, find out why this is a fantastic time of year to plan an Anna Maria Island beach vacation!

Anna Maria Island Fall Tourist Guide
Fall is a lovely time of year for an Anna Maria Island Vacation! Enjoy the Anna Maria Island Fall Tourist Guide, and plan your stay today!

Morning Beach Walk

Fall is an amazing time for a quiet walk on the beach with the sunrise. This is also a great time to catch up on some beach combing. Early morning temperatures are beautiful in Autumn. However, you will find that fall doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be hot by mid day. For this reason, it’s nice to get up early while there is a crisp morning breeze off the gulf. Grab a cup of coffee, slip on your flip flops, and enjoy the peace of the beach at day break!

Beach Markets

Mid Fall, usually in November, is when all the beach markets begin their season. With the produce growing season underway, and weather that’s a tad less hot, markets are a great fall attraction. The Coquina Beach Market and Bridge Street Market are the two most popular on Anna Maria Island. However, here is a list of local markets to visit off island as well.

Wildlife Viewing, fall migration and local parks

As early as late summer you will notice an increase in local wildlife. For the expert wildlife viewers, it’s no secret that fall is the height of migration in Florida. This is when both the human and feathered snow birds make their early descent to Anna Maria Island.

Fall is an amazing time of year to get out to our local parks and preserves. Again, the weather is starting to cool, so enjoying the outdoors is more bearable than the summer months. During your visit check this list of parks and preserves on or around the island. These great locations give you the opportunity to get up close with Florida wildlife!

Go Swimming!

That’s right, you can still go for a swim in the Autumn months! Gulf of Mexico temperatures hang around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit between September and December. This is not to say we don’t occasionally get below the 70’s, but these water temperatures are still swimable. Especially if you are visiting from the north, you will find Gulf temperatures very nice. On the other hand, locals tend to stop swimming a bit earlier. Really personal preference plays a big part in Fall island swimming.

Stone Crabs and Fishing

Stone Crab season starts mid October for the Florida gulf coast. While one of the countries oldest fishing villages lies just inland from Anna Maria Island; this is an anticipated time of year. Cortez fishing village is a great place to find fresh off the boat seafood. You’ll find Stone Crab so fresh it goes from the boat, to the boiling pot to your mouth! Going on in early November, check out the Cortez Stone Crab Festival too!

Anytime of year is great for Florida fishing, and Fall isn’t too bad either! Florida boasts the title “Fishing Capital of the World” because of great year round weather and angling. Fishing charters are just as popular in the fall as any time of year on the island!

Fall Festivals

This is the time of year when festival season starts for Islanders. There are several annual events that happen as the weather starts to change. You’ll find the Fall Festival, The Trail O Treats, Arts Hop and Bay Fest all going on throughout Autumn.

Find Fall colors with a sunset

While the trees and leaves may not turn to the striking hues of ocher, umber and rust orange, the sunsets surly do! Experience the turning of the season with one of the sunsets the Florida west coast is know for. Gather your family and friends to enjoy the peace of a sunset. This is one of the best times of day for beach photography too!

Anna Maria Island Fall Tourist Guide Beach Rentals

Autumn is a lovely time of year to gather the family at a beach rental! What Anna Maria Island Fall tourist guide would be complete without suggested accommodations? Island Real Estate has the island’s largest selection of homes to choose from, so plan your vacation today!

Anna Maria Island beach rentals

Casa Sierra 205 B is an excellent beach rental just a short walk from the gulf. This condo style home sleeps up to 6 guests with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Fall family beach trips were never so relaxed!

Anna Maria Island beach rentals
Casa Sierra 205 B 36th Street in Holmes Beach. 2 Bedroom.

A Mermaid Crossing is a lovely family gathering place for up to 6 guests with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. This spacious home offers a heated pool and decor with a designer look. Less than a block to the beach!

Beach rental Anna Maria Island
A Mermaid Crossing 120 50th Street in Holmes Beach. 3 Bedroom.

Beachy Blue is just down the street from gulf beaches, and offers lovely accommodations. Enjoy the heated pool and spa with great coastal decor! Sleep up to 8 guests with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals Holmes Beach
Beachy Blue 129 52nd Street in Holmes Beach. 4 Bedroom.

My Sisters Beach House sleeps up to 10 guests with 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. This fun house offers a gorgeous heated pool and spa along with canal views and a short walk to Tampa Bay beaches! You’re family will love the game room and outdoor balconies too!

Anna Maria vacation beach rentals
My Sisters Beach House 520 Bay view Place in Anna Maria. 5 Bedroom.

Waterfront Retreat is a unique canal front home made for entertaining large groups! This 6 bedroom house offers accommodations for 14 guests with 3 full bath and 2 half baths. Enjoy the heated pool, canal views and fantastic bar area!

Anna Maria beach rentals
Waterfront Retreat 5132 Loquat in Anna Maria. 6 Bedroom.

Hurricane Hermine Anna Maria Island

Hurricane Hermine blew across Anna Maria Island leaving tons of rain, but minimal damage. The first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in over 10 years, Hermine was a category one storm.

Prior to storm landfall

The day prior to Hermine making landfall seven inches of rain fell on Anna Maria Island. The mixture of the high tide and rain created flooding in the streets. Some vehicles struggled to make it through however most made it to their destination safely. All the rain made for one soggy island.

Hurricane Hermine Landfall

There was continued rainfall the day the storm passed to the north of Anna Maria Island. Some neighborhoods experienced black outs, however this was not the case across the island. Manatee County Schools closed along with many of the local businesses.

Anna Maria Island experienced minimal damage. Flooding was worst on north island. A few ground level homes did take on water.

Hurricane Hermine
Hurricane Hermine dumped a lot of sand on the beaches of Anna Maria Island. You can see the bottom of the beach bench is buried in several inches.

 

Hurricane Hermine
Exploring the beach during the storm! An Island Real Estate staff member found a lost crab trap buoy among other debris. There were still shore birds scurrying about, and just a few washed out sea turtle eggs. 
Hurricane Hermine
This is what the beaches looked like as the storm passed to the north. Tides were very high.

After the storm

After the storm cleared the beaches looked great! The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch reported minimal loss of turtle nests. Overall, Hermine left the island unscathed with no permanent damages.

Hurricane Hermine
This picture is from one week after Hurricane Hermine passed the island. Gulf of Mexico waters were a little murky from all the fresh rain water, but still beautiful. Rain water also cools down the gulf temperatures. In the hot late summer it is very refreshing hopping into cool water!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations

Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria Island 4th of July celebrations are full of family fun! The smell of barbecue fills the air. Locals and visitors participate in the small town 4th of July parade. The beach is hot and bustling with activity, and the Sandbar firework display is the perfect ending to it all. There is no better way to spend the holiday than on Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations
Have a fun and safe 4th of July on Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island 4th Of July Celebrations Include Barbecue

Cooking out is about as American as Apple Pie, and is extremely popular during the 4th of July. Grilling and fire are not permitted on the beaches of Anna Maria Island, but some of the beach accesses do have public grilling areas with charcoal grills. There are grilling areas at Bayfront Park, Manatee Public beach and Coquina beach. Most vacation rental homes on Anna Maria Island do offer propane or charcoal grills, but be sure to check before arriving.

4th of July Parade

Every year the Anna Maria Island Privateers host the 4th of July Parade. A fun event, everyone is welcome to join in on the procession. Joining in as a parade member only requires a mode of transportation including bikes, cars or golf carts. The parade starts at Coquina beach at 10am and heads north ending at the City Pier. The parade goes along Gulf Drive, East Bay Drive, Marina Drive and Finishes on Pine Avenue. Parade watchers catch beads and candy. There’s nothing more fun than a small town parade on the 4th of July!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations on the Beach

The beach is very active on the 4th of July. Tents and umbrellas line the coast as people swim, sun bathe and play beach games. Expect to find many people enjoying Anna Maria Island beaches on the 4th, and be sure to get your spot set up early. The premium beach spots fill up quick, so the earlier you scout out your patch of sand the better.

The Sandbar Beach Fireworks Display

Anna Maria Island does not allow fireworks on the beach; however, sparklers are the one exception to this rule. Each year the Sandbar Restaurant acquires a permit to provide the island with an amazing fireworks display to help islanders celebrate. Tickets can be purchased to enjoy the display at the Sandbar, but they can be seen anywhere on the gulf side of the island.

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations are an amazing way to celebrate independence day in a true Florida fashion. Have fun, be safe, wear your sunblock, never drink and drive, and enjoy a fabulous holiday on Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations Beach House Vacation Rentals and Accommodations

Island Real Estate has the island’s largest selection of vacation rentals and accommodations to choose from. You are sure to find the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental during the 4th of July!

Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations vacation rental
Anna Maria vacation rental Dolphin Watch is the perfect destination for Anna Maria Island 4th of July Celebrations. This rental home is located directly on the Gulf just north of The Sandbar fireworks display putting your right in front of the action! Click on the image above to Reserve your stay at Dolphin Watch!

Top 10 Anna Maria Island Beaches – Things to Know!

It’s no secret that some of the most beautiful Gulf of Mexico coastline can be found on Anna Maria Island beaches. Powder white quartz sand, clear blue waters, exotic wildlife and endless sunshine make for the perfect place to relax all day and let your cares wash away.

Anna Maria Island Beaches

There are several things to keep in mind when visiting Island beaches. So, Island Real Estate has come up with our top ten list of things to know about Anna Maria Island beaches. From deciding which beach to visit to where to find parking, Here’s everything you need to know for fun in the sun.

Anna Maria Island beaches
Anna Maria Island has some of the Gulf of Mexico’s most beautiful powder sand beaches.

1. Sunblock

If you are a Floridian you have a complete understanding and respect for the necessity of sunblock. It only takes one really bad sunburn to learn your lesson, and no one should suffer from this mistake on vacation. Even on an overcast day it’s possible to get sunburned! It is extremely important to slather on the sunblock at least 20 minutes prior to heading to the beach to allow your skin to properly absorb sunblock. Be sure to reapply sunblock every few hours, especially on the kids. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are safe from the sun in the water; you still need to use every precaution to avoid a bad burn. In addition to sunblock consider a hat, sunglasses, lots of water for keeping hydrated and a loose fitting shirt to cover bare skin.

 

2. Places to Beach

Sunset on Anna Maria Island
Be sure to catch one of Anna Maria Island’s beautiful sunsets!

 

Anna Maria Island has over seven miles of beaches to explore, but finding the perfect beach for you is important for having the ultimate island experience. One great thing about Anna Maria Island is the abundance of public beach accesses all along the gulf and bay sides of the island; however, not all public accesses have available parking. With each beach offering a little something different, here are four options to better curate your beach excursion.

Manatee Beach

Manatee Public Beach Access is perhaps the island’s most popular, and therefore, busiest of beach spots. With just about all the amenities you could want for the beach, Manatee Public Beach is an island hot spot. Located at the very end of west Manatee Avenue, this public beach offers tons of free parking, lifeguards, bathrooms, showers, gift shops, concessions, changing rooms, free trolley and public bus stop, volley ball nets, tourist information, picnic tables under shady Australian Pines and a fabulously sandy playground for the kids. This Beach Access is truly the heart of the island beach scene.

Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach Access is located along the south end of Anna Maria Island running up the gulf side. This popular beach has tons of parking, grill and picnic areas, playground, lifeguard, bathrooms, trolley stop, concessions, and an absolutely gorgeous walking/bike path running along the sea oat sand dunes.

Bay Front Park

Bay Front Park Beach Access is located on the northern end of Anna Maria Island south of Bean Point running along Tampa Bay. This park has an updated playground, picnic grills and shelters, bathrooms, some parking, and nearby Trolley stop at the Anna Maria City Pier. The beaches are narrow along the bay side, but there are views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa bay and gorgeous sunrises.

Bean Point

Bean Point Beach Access is one of the most secluded and sought after beach destinations on Anna Maria Island. Parking is extremely limited making this beach more accessible by foot or via bicycle.  Bean Point beaches are mostly deep and expansive with powder sand, sea oats, dunes and wildlife. Enjoy great views of Egmont key, Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Beach Safety

Beach Safety is an important thing to keep in mind when swimming and enjoying a day at the beach on Anna Maria Island. Be sure to observe all signs regarding swimming conditions including rip tide warnings. Look for one of the five colored flags posted to understand current swimming precautions.

4. Shells

Anna Maria Island seashell
Shelling and Beach Combing on Anna Maria Island is fun for all ages!

Beach Combing and shelling are a fun beach activity for the entire family when visiting Anna Maria Island. With so many different species of shells and wildlife you never know what you’ll come across when strolling the powder white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. There are plenty of places to find shells on the island with some of the best finds washing up after stormy weather.

5. Beach toys

No matter how young or old beach toys are a must for the beach. Making sand castles with bucket and shovel, throwing around a Frisbee or clinging to a noodle; beach toys are always a fun addition to your beach trip.

6. Temperatures

Regardless of when you visit Anna Maria Island the weather and water temperature are almost always gorgeous. In the summer expect seasonal afternoon showers, and bath like water temperatures. Some visitors even swim in the winter, but we’ll leave that up to your judgement.

7. Turtle Season, Birds, Dolphins, and Wildlife.

Black Skimmer and baby
Black Skimmer feeding baby during nesting season on Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island is fortunate to be the year round, and seasonal home of many different species of wildlife. Each year between May 1st and October 31st we find several species of Sea Turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. In the spring and winter months Anna Maria Island is home to many birds nesting on the beaches including the stoic Black Skimmers and Least Terns. Sea mammals like dolphin and manatee can be spotted around Anna Maria Island at various times throughout the year. With so much wildlife it is important to respect these beautiful inhabitants.

8. Respect the beach – Clean up

The beach is a beautiful public place that must be cherished and protected. There are wrong and right ways to utilize this resource. When visiting the beach follow all posted rules, avoid feeding the seagulls and be sure to clean up all your trash and debris when you leave. It only takes two minutes to keep trash and litter off our pristine beaches!

9. Surfing

Anna Maria Island may not be the first place that surfers flock to for huge waves, but the locals still enjoy our laid back surf culture and climate none the less. White Avenue in the city of Anna Maria is one popular surfing spot. If you aren’t into surfing try out wake boarding during your stay!

10. Day Trip to Egmont and Fishing

Egmont Key Florida
Egmont Key Light house

If you are looking for a great place to bring your boat and go for a swim Egmont Key is always fun and beautiful. Located just off the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, Egmont is a great short day trip into bay waters.

Stay up to date with everything about fishing on Anna Maria Island on the Island Real Estate local scene blog page Fishing Report. From the Intracoastal waterway to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay there are plenty of great fishing opportunities.

When visiting Anna Maria Island be sure to stay safe, have fun, put on your sunscreen and enjoy lounging on beautiful Florida beaches!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Homes and Accommodations

If you are looking for the perfect vacation rental home visit IslandReal.com today! Enjoy the largest selection of vacation rental accommodations to choose from on the island along with great customer service!

Anna Maria Island Club vacation rental and accommodations
Anna Maria Island Club is a picturesque direct beach front condominium complex located in Bradenton Beach. Anna Maria Island Club 44 offers accommodations for up to 6 guests with balcony views of the gulf from both the living room and master bedroom. Click on the image above to reserve your stay at Anna Maria Island Club 44 today!

 

Anna Maria Island Top 10 Activities

Anna Maria Island – While visiting the island the most obvious choice for fun activities and relaxation is the beach. With over seven miles of powder sand beaches, crisp blue water, endless sunshine and spectacular shelling, the beach will always be the first choice activity. Anna Maria Island has so much more to offer than just the amazing beaches, so Island Real Estate has compiled a list of our top ten activities and things to do during your stay.

Top Ten Activities!

1. Rainy Day Activities on Anna Maria Island

If you’ve ever visited Florida, especially in the summer months, you know rain is to be expected. With this in mind there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained while waiting for clearer skies.

 

Anna Maria Island storm
A stormy day on Anna Maria Island is still gorgeous!

2. Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is a must for visitor to the island. Tour the exhibits in the recently updated Museum building, learn about the old Belle Haven Cottage originally located on the pier, and see the old city jail house. The museum is fun for all ages, and gives visitors a taste of Anna Maria Island from days past. The Museum is located at 402 Pine Avenue.

3. Catch a show with the Island Players

The Island Players Theater offers several different shows each season running from October to May. Tickets are $20 each or purchase a season ticket for $92.50 at the box office or by phone. The Island Players Theater is located at the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. A fun place to catch a play, the Players Theater is a gorgeous and historical landmark of Anna Maria.

4. Coquina Bay Walk at Leffis Key

Anna Maria Island may only be seven miles long and one mile wide, but it does offer fabulous nature viewing opportunities. One of the areas most unique nature features can be found on the south end of Anna Maria Island at gorgeous Leffis Key. Open from sunrise to sundown, Leffis Key offers amazing Mangrove tunnel lined  boardwalk trails, salt marsh lagoons and the Island’s best bird watching. Also, use this handy guide to spot both White and Brown Pelicans around Anna Maria Island’s Leffis Key!

 

Leffis key at Coquina Baywalk
Leffis Key overlooking Sarasota Bay.

5. Shopping on Anna Maria Island

There are tons of great places to shop for unique items on Anna Maria Island. Whether you are looking for island themed gifts and souvenirs, local art or just gorgeous little things, you’ll be sure to find it in one of the great shops on the island.

6. Family Fun at Anna Maria Island Parks

Across Anna Maria Island there are several great parks with kid friendly activities. Find play ground equipment, a skatepark, concessions, and all the outdoor fun your kids could hope for. If you are looking to head off island for nature viewing check out our list of parks and preserves in Manatee county.

7. Equipment Rentals

With so many equipment rental shops on Anna Maria Island there are lots of options for entertaining activities. Rent just about any type of equipment you need on the island including kayak/canoes, bikes, jet skis, beach accessories, golf carts, fly boarding, baby rentals and much more! Check out the Anna Maria Island Bicycle Guide for route suggestions and more.

8. Art Galleries

Anna Maria Island has a fabulous art scene with many local creatives offering their wares in galleries across the island. While visiting Anna Maria Island be sure to stop in one of the galleries listed, and take a piece of paradise home with you. If you visit the Island in November, be sure to visit annual event ArtsHop!

9. Anna Maria Island Dining

Dining on Anna Maria Island is always an entertaining activity. Here’s an extensive list of everything you need to know about dining island style!

10. Sunset

Sunset is one of the most magical times on Anna Maria Island. Always the best way to end the day or get the evening started, sunset is the time of day to reflect on the incredible beauty of the Anna Maria Island experience. You can’t leave the island without catching at least one sunset!

activities sunset
Anna Maria Island sunset

After perusing our list of Anna Maria Island activities we are sure you’ll have to come back a second time to experience everything the island has to offer! Enjoy your time in paradise, and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen liberally!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals and Accommodations

When planning a trip or an extended stay to Anna Maria Island, Island Real Estate has the largest inventory of vacation rental homes to choose from with almost 300 properties. You’ll find the perfect accommodation along with great customer service when you use Island Real Estate!

Holmes Beach vacation rental
Casa Sierra 205 B is a fun and relaxing Anna Maria Island vacation rental located in Holmes Beach. In the central portion of the island, Casa Sierra is two blocks from the beach. It is a great spot to enjoy island activities too! Click on the image above to reserve your stay at Casa Sierra 205 B today!

 

 

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.

Egmont Key!

Anna Maria Island – Taking a vacation to Anna Maria Island is an amazing experience all on its own.  While you’re here, you should spoil yourself even more and take a day trip to Egmont Key!

Egmont Key is an island north of Anna Maria that is only accessible by boat.  Bring your boat from home, rent one while you’re here or hop on one of the boat tours (just ask us who to contact).

Not only is Egmont Key a State Park, but there is so much to do while you’re there.  Just anchor your boat close to shore along the secluded beach, sunbathe, snorkel, collect shells, picnic, go kayaking, explore the ruins, visit the turtles, see the birding location, and don’t forget to check out the lighthouse that’s stood since 1858.egmontblog6

It is only a quick and beautiful ride from Anna Maria, only about 15-20 minutes.  As you ride through the warm blue water, enjoying the Florida breeze and sun on your skin, keep a look-out for dolphins!  You’re bound to see some, and sometimes they will even swim right up to the boat.

Egmont Key has a natural and cultural history which is truly a pristine place to spend the day.  You can visit any time from 8am to sun down, all year round.

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New Street Lights, Turtles – Anna Maria Island Turtles are a little safer

Anna Maria Island – New Street Lights Turtles on Anna Maria Island.

New Street Lights for Turtles

New Street Lights Turtles

Locals are happy! Sea turtles on Anna Maria Island are important to locals. We are serious about protecting our hard-shelled friends on their journey to the Gulf. In fact, they are getting a very promising present from Florida Power and Light, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Florida Department of Transportation. These companies have put together an idea to protect and help these sea turtles get safely to the water with a plan to install turtle-friendly street lights along the coastal roadways. You can learn all about this at the Islanders website.

In addition to the efforts made by these organizations, visitors and locals can help sea turtles too! During nesting season, May-October, be sure to keep exterior lights off. Alternatively, if you live near the beach, you can install turtle friendly lights.

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.

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

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