Top Ten things to do with Pets on Anna Maria Island

We love our furry family members, so why leave your pet behind when Island Real Estate Vacations has so many pet friendly properties.  The island is very dog friendly with water bowls randomly placed and lots of restaurants that allow pets in outdoor seating areas.    Unfortunately, Anna Maria Island does not have any pet friendly beaches but there are plenty of other options.  By the way, not sure if this is the exact order but they are all great things to do!

Continue reading Top Ten things to do with Pets on Anna Maria Island

Bean Point – Anna Maria Island’s Secret Serenity

Bean Point is a must stop spot on Anna Maria Island. it’s a local secret that provides the most breathtaking views of the sunset on a pristine beach.  Named for George Emerson Bean, the first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island, Bean Point is located on a secluded stretch of beach at the northern end of what was Bean’s original homesteaded property.

You won’t find a parking lot, or any large signs, to direct you to this treasure of nature.  To get there you’ll need to head North of the City Pier in Anna Maria on North Bay Blvd.  The “main entrance” to Bean Point is located at a small crossroads.  You will notice the tree lined path that divides the two properties at the the intersection of North Bay Blvd & North Shore Dr.  If you ride your bicycle, you can ride right up the path, and park just to the side of the classic, wooden footbridge that sets the tone for your Anna Maria beach experience.  If you drive your car, you have a few options.  There are actually entrances at the corners of Fern St & N. Shore Dr, and Gladiolus St. & North Shore as well.  Each of these entrances is marked by a small white posted sign that merely states “Public Beach Access”.  Using the intersection of North Bay blvd and North Shore will provide immediate access to the famed “Bean Point” but half the fun is getting there?  Using the public beach access point to the South will allow you to walk along the beach and take in the sites where the Bay and Gulf meet.  When parking you can choose a spot near any of these entrances, and take the path out to the beach.

Local Tip: parking regulations are strictly enforced on Anna Maria Island.  If it says No Parking, don’t do it. Unless you want a ticket. If you do park on the roadside be sure your tires are off the asphalt street. If just 1″ is on the street you most likely will return with a bad surprise after your leisurely stroll along Bean Point. There are spots along the side streets, including Gladiolus and Fern.  To park near the footbridge entrance, I would recommend heading down to Jacaranda to find an empty (and legal) parking place.

Once your car is settled, head up the nearest path to the gorgeous turquoise waters where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Tampa Bay.   After your leisurely stroll down the path, turn right when you get to the sand, and head north to the point, for spectacular views that include the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.    If the tide is low, you can see the sand bar just off the coast.  Just a little wading into the warm water will take you there, and you can shell ‘til your heart’s content!  The views are amazing, the water is inviting, and the atmosphere is relaxed and serene.  There are quiet spots to sit and enjoy the view, and watch the waters and the wildlife.  I love where the water collides as the tide shifts from the East side of Anna Maria Island to the West side.

There are signs of life relaxing all over the Point. There is always something to delight the bird watcher too, with several different types of birds to entertain you as they guard their beach turf from one another.

So head over to Bean Point and capture a quiet beach moment or a breathtaking sunset, and enjoy one of the most relaxing spots on an island famous for its relaxation.

The Beautiful Beaches of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island surrounded by beautiful warm waters of both the Gulf of Mexico, and Tampa Bay. Even though the island is only seven miles long, there are some distinct differences in the beach areas. All the beaches on Anna Maria Island are located in Manatee County, are public,  and are open for everyone to enjoy. Guidelines are “dusk to dawn” for beach times. This means after enjoying our world class sunsets, it’s a good plan to pack up and leave the beach until the next day.

The southernmost city on Anna Maria Island is Bradenton Beach. This city has a narrower coastline and is home to the infamous Coquina Beach, where you can find its namesake – tiny shellfish that burrow in the sand as the waves crash back out. You’ll find a fun concession stand with restrooms and showers available at there as well. You may even find some sharks teeth wash ashore toward the southern end of Coquina Beach!

Further north into Holmes Beach is what locals may refer to as Manatee Beach. It’s at the end of Manatee Avenue traveling onto the island and has plenty of parking, a large concession stand with a shop, restrooms, showers and even music on weekends. As a family favorite spot, you’ll find a play area for kids, volleyball nets and lots of people enjoying the beautiful scenery. Lifeguards are on duty here as well, so you can feel safe both on the sand and in the water.

If you’re looking for a more peaceful, quiet beach day a few blocks up into northern Holmes Beach and southern Anna Maria City is the spot for you. From 50th Street to Spring Ave the beach is wide and walkers enjoy strolling, looking for shells and frolicking dolphins. Parking can be an issue here so please makes sure you park on the correct side of the street and only where the “beach access” signs are posted. You won’t find any restrooms or foot washes along these areas, just soft white sand and beautiful aqua waters.

Bean Point is located at the very tip of Anna Maria Island and it’s where the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay meet. You can actually see the changing tides of the water! The only downfall to this amazing spot is that swimming is not recommended because of the risk for strong currents and riptides. But you will find that most people go for the views and the tranquility.

Each section of the beach on Anna Maria has its own feel, so make sure to explore them all and find your personal favorite.

Beach Bistro – Fine Dining Anna Maria Island

The Beach Bistro is a fantastic restaurant that offers a dining experience to remember. Several courses are served, or you can order how you like.    Reservations are strongly recommended, but you can also try to grab a seat at the bar.  The bar has a little more limited menu and provides some “lighter fare” options.  If you are looking for a romantic spot with limited gulf views and price is no option then we strongly recommend the Beach Bistro.  Average meal prices are well over $35, so be sure you are comfortable with their prices.

Younger children are welcome, but are not recommended if you plan on having a long dining experience.  Parking can be a bit of a challenge but if you can find a “legal” spot go for it otherwise be sure to use their valet parking.  One additional note, the seating for two is normally fairly intimate so be prepared to get to know your neighboring diners.

We’ve provided some information below to help you contact them or find them once you’re on the island!

Beach Bistro

The Bistro is located in Holmes Beach, FL
Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5 stars – based on 377 reviews

6600 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Phone Number: (941) 778-6444
Website: www.beachbistro.com
Menu: Browse our Menu and Wine List
Hours: .

Cuisine: Gulf Coast Seafood, American

Price Range: $$$
Takes Reservations: Yes

Get Directions from your Current Location

The Beach Bistro is located at the end of 66th.

Coquina Bike Path ~ Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Island’s Best on The Beach

Anna Maria Island is a great place to take a family walk, bike ride, or just enjoy the breath taking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t let the name fool you, the Coquina Bike path is not for just bikes but includes patrons strolling down the Gulf Waters.  The Coquina bike path is paved and stretches between Coquina beach and Cortez Beach.  Located in Bradenton Beach just south of Bridge Street, you will find Cortez Beach.

This beach offers free parking and lots of it!  As you move further south into Coquina Beach, you will find public restrooms, picnic tables, beach showers, and lifeguards on duty.  Coquina beach also has a café that serves burgers and hot dogs right on the beach.

One of my favorite things to do is take a nice, easy bike ride through Coquina Beach. I start at the south end of the island under the Long Boat Key Bridge and head north towards Cortez Beach along the paved path. Take the time to enjoy island wildlife as you are greeted by squirrels, native birds like the Blue Heron, and if you are lucky, you may see dolphins or manatees enjoying their Florida lifestyle.

If you can’t bring your own bicycle, there are lots of places to rent them on Anna Maria Island.   Most folks love Bradenton Beach because there are plenty of accommodation choices as well as dining and shopping within a stroll away.

Anna Maria Island FALL weather

Grab your beach chairs, pack up a cooler and spend the day at the beach. It is eighty six degrees outside, it’s Anna Maria Island Fall weather and the average water temperature this time of year is eighty five, and the sugar sand beaches on Anna Maria Island have never been more beautiful. Pristine beaches as far as my eyes can see, and everyone is enjoying their favorite outdoor activities.

Continue reading Anna Maria Island FALL weather

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.

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 8 am to sun down, all year round.

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.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island – Dine and Drink El Fresco!

Outdoor Dining on Anna Maria Island is the quintessential way to hang out in beautiful tropical climate! There’s nothing better than when going out to grab a bite to eat or drinks, having the warm island breeze surrounding you. Some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve listed below have beautiful water views of either the crystal clear Gulf or Bay, or an open-air setting directly across the street from the beach.

The fresh air of AMI always makes your food taste that much better and your drinks that much tastier, bringing you relaxing vibes that will be sure to lift your spirit. I have suggested different places from smaller and more quant spots, to casual any-time spots, to romantic night spots.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Sandbar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria

Direct Gulf front

sandbar restaurant in anna maria

The Waterfront – 111 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Bay views

Anna Maria Pier – 100 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Out in the middle of the Tampa Bay

Anna Maria City pier

Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front

Bridgetender inn Bradenton Beach

Island Time Bar & Grill – 111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach
Open-air setting, across the street from the Gulf

The Beachhouse – 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Direct Gulf front

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe – 4000 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach
Direct Gulf front