14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

There are things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers. While you may be an expert at the island life, chances are at one time you were new to the scene.

14 Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

Anna Maria Island is a quirky little island that both locals and vacationers love. Here are 14 things you may, or may not, have know about this place we call paradise.

Things Locals Always Have to Explain to Anna Maria Island Vacationers

1. Three cities

Anna Maria Island might only be seven miles long, but we have three distinct cities. The north end is called Anna Maria or the city of Anna Maria. In the middle we have Holmes Beach, and to the south Bradenton Beach. Each has it’s own vibe, but all are beautiful.

2. Sunblock

Sunblock is crucial, and you need to put it on BEFORE you get to the beach. Lather SPF on at least 20 minutes before you plan on being in the sun. REAPPLY every 2 hours. Yes you can get sunburned while in the water. The sun also reflects off the surface of the water and sand, so under an umbrella doesn’t make you safe from damaging rays. Higher SPF’s are better protection, and spray on sunblock, though convenient, typically isn’t as effective. Also, drink lots of water.

3. Wildlife

Please mind the wildlife and NEVER FEED THE GULLS. Don’t let the kids chase birds, stay away from turtle nests, and call Wildlife Inc. if you find injured or sick animals. Not only does Anna Maria Island have nesting sea turtles, but we have two species of tortoise. If you find a turtle on the beach and it doesn’t have flippers then leave it on the beach. It’s likely a box turtle or Gopher tortoise. They live in the dunes not the water. From May to October DO NOT leave anything on the beach, fill in holes and flatten sand castles. Be sure all beach facing lights are off, so nesting turtles and hatchlings don’t become disoriented.

4. Bugs

Bugs happen. They just do. Invest in a bottle of deet spray if you are a mosquito magnet. Even the cleanest homes, shops and restaurants will have the occasional pest. Welcome to Florida! Luckily Florida also has Lizards, Geckos and a unique wildlife food chain to help keep bugs in check. Here is a link to the Manatee County Mosquito Control Schedule.

5. Where is the…

Before you come to the island, take a look at a map. You’ll notice there is really only one main road that runs the length of the island. It does change names, Gulf Drive, East Bay, Marina Drive, and isn’t necessarily straight, but it is the main drag. Often tourists wonder about getting lost, and ask how to get places. Getting around is extremely simple once you catch your bearings. The free trolley is a great way to get a feel for the area. Often if you are unsure where your destination is the trolley driver can help. Island Real Estate does offer local maps too!

6. Gators don’t like the beach

Yes, Florida is home to some crazy prehistoric, bite your arm off, big scary Alligators. However, salt water is not the natural habitat of the gator, and none have been spotted on AMI in decades. Ask any Anna Maria Island native and they’ll laugh at the idea of a gator on the beach. If you plan on visiting any fresh or brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh) that is an entirely different story. Any non-salt body of water is fair game for gators. Even if you don’t see “do not swim” signs near fresh water, it’s probably best to avoid getting in or near it.

7. Respect the Gulf of Mexico

While visiting the beach always check for the color coded swimming condition signs. The gulf is a powerful body of water. On a rough day even the strongest adult swimmers can be quickly caught up. Always use extreme caution, look for rip tide warning signage, swim with a buddy, and never allow children to swim without an adult. If your group has inexperienced swimmers consider avoiding the very northern beaches where under currents are strongest. Always respect the power of the gulf.

8. Locals

Yes, people do live on Anna Maria Island year round, and no they are not all fat, happy, tan retirees.

Anna Maria Island is a unique community. We have our own elementary school, people work full time jobs, and no our houses are not completely filled with tons of sand. Okay, maybe our houses have a little bit of sand though… The island community is unlike anywhere else in Florida. If you are looking to make the island your full time home contact an Island Real Estate Sales Agent!

9. Weather

Don’t even try to figure out EXACTLY what the weather is going to be like for your stay.

Trying to figure out the rain is like herding gators. Pointless and stressful. Visitors love to ask locals what they think the rain will be like. Nobody likes a vacation ruined by rain, but there isn’t one solid answer.

Predictions change regularly, but some trends are constant. Florida is a sub-tropical climate so we get rain all seasons of the year. During the summer months we have rain roll in around 4-5pm, almost daily, for an hour and then it clears before sunset. Late summer is usually the wettest. Winter is mild. Spring and Fall are warm and sometimes hot.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1st through November 30th. If you get travel insurance for your trip you’ll be covered for evacuations due to named storms. The great thing about modern weather tracking is the ability to closely monitor large storms. In the rare event that the island needs to be evacuated you’ll have ample time to do so.

10. Don’t collect live shells.

Shells play an important roll to local ecosystems. Collecting living shells is not only illegal without permit, but ethically in poor judgement. You must hold a saltwater fishing license to collect any living shell including Sand Dollars, Starfish, Whelks, Conchs, Urchin and many others. Bag limits are 2 per person per a day.

People love to collect Sand Dollars, but be sure they are white in color as these ones are already dead. Living Sand Dollars will be more of a gray color. It is okay to gently touch them but please put them right back.

While beach combing is relaxing and fun please don’t over collect dead shells. Limit yourself to less than a quart size container. Even dead shells play an important roll in the gulf. If you take all the dead shells where will hermit crabs live?

11. Pick it up!

Don’t leave any trash on the beach. Millions of sea and shore birds around the world die every year due to ingesting plastics and garbage. Sea life can become entangled too. Trash on the beach isn’t just dangerous, but unsightly. If you do see trash, do your part to help, and pick it up!

12. Stingray Shuffle

The Stingray shuffle might sound like a funny dance move, but it is a sure way to avoid a ray run-in. Stingrays are extremely non-aggressive animals but they carry a unique defense mechanism. By simply shuffling your feet you can avoid a painful trip to the beach.

13. Where to park.

Parking can be limited on Anna Maria Island, but we have a few suggestions. First, if you can avoid driving and use alternatives such as the Trolley, Uber and local shuttles you won’t have to deal with parking. Here is our guide to alternative transportation.

Also be sure to read our Anna Maria Parking Guide to help you find less popular parking areas and avoid getting a ticket too!

14. Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals are absolutely fantastic! AMI offers a huge selection of rentals and none are too far from the beach! Typically rentals are offered Saturday to Saturday and ALL beach rentals have a 3 night minimum. Book your next stay today!

Now you can enjoy your next Anna Maria Island vacation in the know. You won’t even have to ask the things locals always have to explain to Anna Maria Island vacationers!

Island Real Estate guest property directions

Island Real Estate Vacation Rental directions

Our information page provides Island Real Estate  vacation rental directions.  The Easiest vacation rental to find are several on Holmes Boulevard including but not limited to 6301 Holmes Blvd.  Below are several lists that provide links to Google maps that show directions from our Island Real Estate office to your vacation rental. The lists below show ranges of properties and use the rental property code found on our website. If you have any questions call one of our vacation rental specialists for more information.

Directions for properties with property code 1 on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code 2 – 3 on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code 4 – 5 on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code 6 – 9 on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code A – F on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code G-H on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code L – O on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code P on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code R – T on Anna Maria Island
Directions for properties with property code V – W on Anna Maria Island

Island Real Estate of Anna Maria, Fl Vacation Rentals
6101 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
877 778 6066

Alive With Outdoor Activities This Spring

May Event List
Events This Spring!

Anna Maria Island and Manatee County are alive with outdoor activities this spring. Concerts, festivals, and celebrations for everyone to enjoy.  Take a look at some of the upcoming events for the rest of May and the beginning of June.

The Anna Maria City Pier is celebrating its 100th birthday this weekend; you will not want to miss this event and the surprises that are in store for your entertainment!  If you would like more information on other events in Bradenton, Sarasota, and Anna Maria Island, contact Island Real Estate today (941)-778-6066.

Friday May 13th 5:30pm

Friday Nights with music by Mike Sales
AMI Beach Cafe at the Manatee Public Beach
Music by Mike Sales and Scott Blum will host a drum circle beginning 30 minutes before sunset.

Friday May 13th 6pm

Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Parade
Parade departs from Crosspointe Fellowship Church
The Privateers will host the parade leaving Crosspointe Fellowship Church to the City Pier.

Saturday May 14th 10am – 9pm

Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Celebration
Historic Anna Maria City Pier
Enjoy food and wine on Pine, local artists, and a firework display to celebrate the City Piers 100th birthday!

Sunday May 15th 9am – 11am

Native Plant Tour
Robinson Preserve
Enjoy a guided native plant tour at Robinson Preserve call for more details (941)-722-4524.

Wednesday May 18th 11:30am – 1:30pm

Courthouse Concert
Manatee County Courthouse downtown Bradenton
Courthouse Concert featuring Henry Lawrence, please bring a non-perishable food donation.

Friday May 20th

Unveiling of the Privateers Ice-cream
Tyler’s Ice Cream
Join in on the fun at Tyler’s as they unveil there new Ice Cream!

Saturday May 21st 7pm – 11pm

Music In The Plaza
Parking plaza of Fist Bank downtown Bradenton.
Experience an outdoor evening with libations, food, dancing, demonstrations, and live music from Have Gun Will Travel.

Saturday, June 4th 4pm – 7pm

Museum Night at Art Center Manatee- Artifacts!
South Florida Museum, downtown Bradenton
This month’s museum night will be held across the street at ArtCenter Manatee.

Saturday June 4th & Sunday 5th 9am – 4pm

Wildlife Inc. Blood Drive
St. Bernard’s Church in Holmes Beach
A private donor will contribute $100.00 to Wildlife Inc. for each person who donates a pint of blood in the name of Wildlife, Inc. You can provide much needed blood and help us to fulfill our mission at the same time.

Marauders Baseball All Summer Long At McKechnie Field

Image Provided By MinorLeagueBaseball.com

Catch the Bradenton Marauders all summer long at McKechnie Field.  The Bradenton Marauders are a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Tickets are on sale for the 2011 season and available online. Click here and browse their online schedule.

Group tickets are also available and require a minimum of 10 people that must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.  All groups will receive a Marauders souvenir cup, a voucher for free soda fill-up for that cup, and a group welcome!

Get directions below as specified on the Marauders Website! Continue reading Marauders Baseball All Summer Long At McKechnie Field

Anna Maria Island Area Events This Weekend April 15th 2011

Friday April 15

Anna Maria Island Senior Adventures Group

Annie Silver Community Center

102 23rd Ave Bradenton Beach

Call for schedule (941)-962-8835

Founder’s Day Festival

Holmes Beach City Hall Field

5801 Marina Drive Holmes Beach

5pm – 10 pm live music, arts & crafts, Skate Park, children’s play area, Island food court, and a car show.

Call for more info (941) 761-4766 Continue reading Anna Maria Island Area Events This Weekend April 15th 2011

Anna Maria Island Has Two Libraries

Tingley Memorial Library

The Tingley Memorial Library in Bradenton Beach is one of two libraries on Anna Maria Island.  Tingley Memorial Library is a privately funded non-profit organization existing on donations and volunteer help, and is independent of the county library system. Tingley Memorial Library is located two blocks south of the Cortez Bridge, just off of gulf drive behind Bradenton Beach City Hall.

Continue reading Anna Maria Island Has Two Libraries

CURRENTLY CLOSED: FREE BEER!!!…Tomorrow ~ As Always At Rotten Ralph’s On Historic Bradenton Beach Pier

 

Our beloved Rotten Ralph’s is currently closed, but Anna Maria Oyster Bar will be taking it’s place.   

Not to worry!  Visit our restaurant summary page with lots of other choices.  Currently Anna Maria Island Oyster Bar is slotted to go in the Bradenton Beach pier spot.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Florida or if you came to Anna Maria Island for vacation, Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant on Historic Bradenton Beach Pier is a great place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can come by land or sea to eat, drink, go fishing, and enjoy beautiful views of Sarasota Bay. Rotten Ralph’s is a full service restaurant and offers inside and outside dinning, a floating boat dock, a bait shop, and fishing is free on the pier.

Continue reading CURRENTLY CLOSED: FREE BEER!!!…Tomorrow ~ As Always At Rotten Ralph’s On Historic Bradenton Beach Pier

Coquina Bay Walk at Leffis Key Preserve

Bradenton Beach – Let’s take a stroll down the boardwalk through the mangroves along Sarasota Bay. The bay walk at Leffis key will not cost you a dime and has plenty of parking.  Leffis key is located on the south end of Anna Maria Island on the bay side directly across from Coquina Beach.

Directions to Leffis Key

Coming from Long Boat Key head north to Anna Maria Island.  Once you have gone over the bridge onto Anna Maria Island you will see Coquina Beach on your left hand side and the boat ramps and a picnic area to the right.  Just after the boat ramp on your right hand side you will see the parking area for Leffis Key. 2351 Gulf of Mexico Drive

Leffis Key
Leffis Key Great Blue Heron overlooking Sarasota Bay.

The easiest way from Bradenton is to take Cortez Road west to the beach. After you have gone over the bridge onto Anna Maria Island take a left and head south towards Coquina Beach. Leffis Key is right before the boat ramp on your left hand side.
As you enter Leffis Key get your cameras ready because the Anna Maria island wildlife will be waiting for you. When we were there on Monday we saw a hawk, a blue heron, rabbits, crabs, and lots of small fish swimming in the lagoons.  There are a lot of different species of young fish that take refuge in the lagoons here to avoid larger fish and predators in the bay. You may see young mullet, red drum, snook, and sheepshead in these shallow lagoons.

Looking for off island Wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities? Check out Robinson Preserve.

Leffis Key
Leffis Key view from the top of the upland ridge in the center of the park.

Bradenton Beach Vacation Rentals and Family Fun

There are many free activities like this to do on your beach vacation, so before you plan your family fun check in with one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rental specialists and make sure that you get the most out of your Anna Maria Island Vacation. We have beach house rentals just down the beach from Leffis Key and everywhere else on Anna Maria Island.  Call Island Real Estate today 877-778-6066 and book your island getaway!

Bradenton Beach vacation
South Beach Village unit 103 is a fun Anna Maria Island vacation rental located in Bradenton Beach. This gorgeous town home is just across the street from Gulf of Mexico beaches. Click on the image above to reserve your stay at South Beach Village 103 today!

Coquina Bike Path ~ 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. So after you have checked into your Island vacation rental take a walk with your toes in the sand or along the paved path that spans the length of Coquina and Cortez beaches.  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.  No matter what activities you like to do on your beach vacation, check in with one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rental specialists and make sure that you get the most out of your Anna Maria Island Vacation.  We have beach house rentals in Bradenton Beach and everywhere else on Anna Maria Island. Call Island Real Estate today 877-778-6066 and book your island getaway!