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.

Harrington House Bed & Breakfast

While searching for your perfect Anna Maria Island property, it’s nice to have a “home base” to relax and enjoy everything our special paradise has to offer. The Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast offers island hospitality and comfort in order to help you decide which AMI place is “the one” for you! When you’re making your reservation, make sure to tell them you are working with an Island Real Estate Sales Professional for VIP treatment!

The Harrington House is a fantastic direct Gulf Front Bed and Breakfast located on Anna Maria Island.  They offer nightly accommodations and they provide a perfect get away from the busy life.  Each morning you will be awakened by the smell of in house chef made breakfast, breads and coffee. Each bedroom has a charm all of its own, it’s best to speak to one of the very knowledgeable staff to determine which room would best meet your expectations.

Harrington House Breakfast

They also serve breakfast by appointment only for locals and visitors alike.  Sit outside and listen to the Gulf of Mexico while you enjoy one of several specialty breakfasts.   You can also dine inside in the dining area with direct views of the Gulf of Mexico.  Either way, the breakfast is fantastic and the views are free.  If you have a special occasion be sure to stay at Harrington House or at least visit them for breakfast but please be sure to call ahead. Reservations are always required and seating is limited.

One last note, Harrington House will also host a tea party, wedding, or wedding reception so be sure to call them if you have a need for a special group outing.

Harrington House
5626 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-5444

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

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

AMI Beach Cafe – Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe

cafe-on-beach-front

AMI Beach Cafe is located at Manatee public beach on Anna Maria Island.  It is a great inexpensive indoor and outdoor casual restaurant located on Anna Maria, Fl.  The Anna Maria Island restaurant has seating outside under roof or under beach umbrella’s just feet from the gorgeous white sand of Anna Maria Island.

Continue reading AMI Beach Cafe – Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe

SandBar Restaurant Anna Maria City

For many, the Sandbar restaurant Anna Maria city is a must visit while staying on the island.  The atmosphere is wonderful and it’s one of the few restaurants where you can dine outdoors while listening to the surf.  The most popular time at the Sandbar is just prior to sunset.

The restaurant offers good food with an outstanding view. Preferred seating is accepted for large groups. About one hour prior to Sunset time you can expect to wait over an hour for a seat outside. There are a few tables outside where you can still put your feet in the sand while most are on the wooden deck covered by an open air cathedral tin roof.  Inside seating is 3 to 4 rows of with one row along the West wall which offers Direct Gulf Front views. The Sandbar Restaurant Anna Maria City offers a full bar with a smaller seating selection and some but, limited views of the Gulf.

Sandbar Restaurant Anna Maria City Menu

The Sandbar offers fresh local sustainable seafood, salads, hamburgs, children meals such as chicken fingers, Macaroni and cheese, pasta, and seafood.  I have had the seafood salad, stuffed flounder, salmon, and a specialty salad and all meals have been good. The Key Lime pie is very good as well as the Calamari. Be careful if you order the Calamari. Be sure to order a half plate unless you have more than 4 people eating.  The Full order is huge and could serve as a meal for two or three.

One local favorite thing to do is to walk the beach to the Sandbar and grab a drink or meal.  here is nothing like working off your meal by walking the Gulf of Mexico. The Sandbar has an outdoor entry area however you do need to plan to have a shirt on to enter the restaurant.  The walk is about 20 minutes from Peppertree or White Avenue in Anna Maria City.  From La Casa Costeria on 73rd Street, it’s about a 35 minute walk to the Sandbar.

Sandbar Restaurant:
Phone: 941 778 0444
Website: Sandbar RestaurantAccepts Reservations? No

Anna Maria Island Gulf Water Temperatures

Anna Maria Island gulf water temperatures are gorgeous. Northern visitors may even swim all year long! The Gulf of Mexico as well as the Tampa Bay offer warmer swimming temperatures amazingly early in our Spring season. On warm days you can usually see a child or even adult taking a dip in our gulf waters any month of year. However, the length of time you might want to swim in the Gulf or Bay has much to do with the month of the year.

Anna Maria Island gulf water temperatures and safety

As usual we suggest all the same common sense safety practices while swimming with children.  Keep younger children in a water height that will easily allow them to get their head above water.  They will  also need to gather their footing quickly if they are knocked over by a large wave.  Normally the Gulf is very calm and a toddler can play in the Gulf with little to no effort.  If you are concerned about a toddlers swimming safety purchase some arm floater’s at anyone of the local shopping centers on Anna Maria Island or in Bradenton.  Take a look below at the AVERAGE sea temperatures to give you an idea of what time of year you find swimming in the Gulf acceptable.

High                Season                 Low
85                   Spring                   77
89                   Summer                80
86                   Fall                        68
77                   Winter                   65

Anna Maria Island Shelling – DIY Souvenirs

Shelling for free souvenir’s and free sunsets…

Some of the most relaxing moments in an Anna Maria Island beach rental vacation can be searching for the shells. Family in toe, it sometimes seems all too easy to get the entire group focused on a fun task that everyone can participate in. Thankfully shells don’t get you stopped in the airport security lines as you are sure to bring back the best of the best shells to help you remember a more relaxing time while vacationing on Anna Maria Island.  Below are some tips regarding shelling however don’t make the scavenger hunt too serious.  Remember the shells themselves are not the reward but the journey with your family to find the shells is the true once in a lifetime treasure! Also, here’s more on shelling.

Shelling for the best

You typically find the best shells after a good storm. Even better, if you visit Anna Maria Island during a re-nourishment project you are sure to find fabulous shells. Florida and Manatee county laws strictly forbid taking of live shells, shells with a living organism, starfish, Queen conchs or sand dollars. A Florida Fishing License is required to take living shells, and has a bag limit of two of any species per person per day. Collect shells in a bucket or “green” container, and be sure not to take too many. Shells, dead or alive, play a vital role in the Florida ecosystem. Perhaps limiting yourself to less than a pint sized bucket is a good ethical measure. If necessary use a mixture of 50/50 bleach and water to rinse your shells.  If you are searching in water be sure to shuffle your feet to disturb resting sting rays.