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!

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!

 

 

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

Outdoor Dining 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

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

Waterfront

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

Pier

Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front

Bridgetender

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

Island time

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

Beachhouse

Coquina Café – 2650 Gulf Drive South, Coquina Beach
Direct Gulf front

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

The Island Branch Library Holmes Beach January Calendar of events

island branch library holmes beachThe Island Branch Library Holmes Beach,  at 5701 Marina Drive on Holmes Beach, holds a variety of classes, meeting, presentations and seminars throughout the month. Check out our list of their January events below and give them a call at 941-778-6341 for any questions.

 

January Events

2nd – 2pm Knitting

7th – 10am Storytime

8th – 2pm Turtle Watch & Shorebird Monitoring, 6pm Tween Book Club Ages 8-12; Registration Required

9th – 2pm Gretchen Edgren Former Sr. Editor, Playboy Magazine

10th – 10am Forty Carrots, 2pm Alzheimer’s Caregiver

11th – 10am Origami, 2pm Kindle E-Reader

14th – 10am Storytime, 3pm Changes in Health Care Presentation by Barbara Wagner, M.D.

15th – 2pm Ray Arpke Euphemia Hay Owner & Executive Chef, Mana-Tweens Culture Club Ages 8-12; Registration Required

16th – 10am Friends Book Club Katherine Anna Porter’s “Ship of Fools”, 2pm Knitting

17th – 10am Forty Carrots, 2pm Healthy Vegan Presentation by Jeannie Hudkins

18th – 9:30am Getting into College and paying for it, 2pm iPad E-Reader

21st – 10am Storytime

22nd – 2pm The Story Behind Familiar Inventions, 6pm Home Brewing 101 Presentation by Jarrett Trezzo

23rd – 10am Living Your Strengths Presentation by David Mullen, 2pm Alzheimer’s Memory Screenings Pre-Registration Required

25th – 10am Nook E-Reader, 2pm Friends Lecture Anna Maria Historical Society

28th – 10am Storytime

30th – 10am Quilting

31st – TBA Friends Book Sale Call for more information

Havana Cabana, Anna Maria Island's Cuban restaurant

 

photo_2

The Havana Cabana Grill is a Cuban restaurant situated on the Marina Drive, Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. The restaurant has a large selection of dishes available for people eating in and ordering out. The food served is a mixture between Greek, Italian and Cuban traditional dishes and there are a variety of others. There are dinner specials available and for the adventurous spirits out there the catch of the day will offer a delicious fresh meal. Be sure to ask what it is!! There is a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant and one immediately feels at home and welcome.

On my visit to the Havana Cabana I had an authentic Cuban sandwich and my aunt had the Sopa del Dia, both of which were extremely good. I would recommend any of the sandwiches that are made with Cuban bread. There is so much to choose from and I will definitely be going back. The restaurant is owned and managed by John Droukas who is also the chef, you can be sure one of the better chefs on the island. The best way in testing the theory is by testing the food. We were served by a kind lady by the name of Michelle Ruiz del Vizo who was very knowledgeable of the state of Florida and its cultural heritage. We learnt from her the meaning behind the term ‘cracker’, used to describe people who are born in Florida. The term derived from the crack of the whip above herds of cattle that were being herded by the first Floridian residents, early pioneers of the region. She is a proud Cuban cracker.

To view what is available you can visit http://www.havanacabana.net/ which is a website containing the menu and contact details.

Now, enough reading for you and time to crack on to the Havana Cabana grill to experience the culinary delight that awaits you.

 

Havana Cabana Grill
5904 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
941-254-4999

Top 5 Ice Cream Places on Anna Maria Island

Hey dudes and dude-ettes!!  You’re back with The Island Kid right here on Kids Corner, the best place to get the best news on Anna Maria Island.  I’m here today to tell you guys about the absolute best places on the island to get your ice cream fix. Now, here on Anna Maria Island, there are plenty of places you can go if you want a frozen treat to eat. But if you’re unsure of which places are best and which places to rule out. Read on for good info!coffee ice cream

            Best Places for Ice Cream on Anna Maria Island

ice cream
1: Two Scoops: This ice cream shop is a small shop nestled between Two Sides of Nature and across from the Anna Maria City Pier. With 32 rotating flavors, some as weird as blueberry pie and as normal as your classic vanilla, your pallet will always be pleased. They also have pastries, assorted lunch foods, and candy bars.

2: Dips: An ice cream shop near Three Island Monkeys and The Loft #5 in Anna Maria, this itty-bitty place packs the punch when it comes to ice cream. With thousands of flavors and topping variations, your experience will never be a bore.  Plus the classic candies and toys on the wall are great for a trip down memory lane.

3: Stir it Up: Recently opened on Pine Avenue, this is a frozen yogurt shop with some colorful walls. . . and toppings, too! Pick a flavor or two, or all of them, then add the topping(s) of your choice. This place charges frogurtby the ounce, so take as much as you desire. With many revolving flavors and 36 different garnishes, the possibilities are endless! 🙂

4: Joe’s Eats and Sweets: This place is the bomb.com. It’s got everything from chocolate to cotton candy & nerds and more! They also have pie on a stick-yes, on a stick- and various types of milkshakes and malts. This place is big colorful building right near Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, so climb the steps, and check it out!

5: Holy Cow: No, I’m not shocked, they just have really good ice cream!  This place has many different combos of flavors and toppings, plus much more. They include a little mini gift shop inside the shop, plus indoor and outdoor seating. So feel free to enjoy your ice cream while browsing the trinkets.

(Bonus Insider Tip:   One more for good measure- Tyler’s Ice Cream is just over the bridge in Cortez Village.  Well worth the jaunt to enjoy some delicious gourmet flavors-literally hundreds over the years!  They have locally themed, as well as delicious classic flavors…and finding out what their latest is, is always part of the fun.  Their ice cream sandwiches are delish!  But creating your own flavor of shake just can’t be beat!

Bonus Bonus tip – about 15 minutes off Anna Maria Island is a fantastic custard shop called Sweet Berries.  They mix all kinds of goodies in their custard ice cream and call it a concrete.  yum!

Whether you’re looking for just one spot or want try them all, these places are the best on the island.  So next time you’re visiting, go check ’em out! Let us know what you thought, and check back with us here on Kid’s Corner.

Ocean Star Review. . . For Kids!!! :)

Hey kids!  You’ve made your way back to Kids Corner, the #1 island blog written by kids, for kids.  I’m here to talk about one of the best Asian food places on the island, Ocean Star.  Not only does it have awesome food, but the atmosphere is very realistic and entertaining.  Read on if you want to learn more.

Ocean Star is this great sushi and Japanese food restaurant located at the Galati Marina.  It hcontact_oceanstarlogoas the most yummiest sushi and dumplings you’ve ever tasted.  And no matter what you like there’s something on the menu to amuse everyone.

So let’s start with the food.  Honestly, I would have to say that sushi is their specialty.  My favorite has to be the Hawaiian Role-Tuna and Cream Cheese tempura with eel sauce-soooo good!  I mean, the other items I have tried on the menu were fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but I think the thing they spend more time perfecting their sushi than anything else.  But if you’re not exactly the sushi type, Ocean Star has plenty of other options for you.  They make a variety of tempura dishes (fried veggies and fish – finger food that satisfies even people like my brother).  They also serve many different types of rice, dumplings, soups, noodles, and even steak, to satisfy your hunger.  So feel free to eat up and enjoy!

Next, the atmosphere.  As soon as you walk in the door, it’s as if you’ve entered a whole different world.  In short, it’s very different than your everyday mealtime.  You can eat at a table, in a booth, at the bar, or in a canopied-in booth with strips of seating area all around the table.  To add to the realistic Japanese ambiance, the lights are dim and the chefs are constantly preparing food right in front of you, which adds to the awesome mood.

So, to conclude, Ocean Star is a fun, awesome restaurant that serves great food, has a fantabulous atmosphere, and is a great place to eat whether you have a special event or are just looking for a cool place to eat for dinner or lunch.  Well, i gotta go.  See ya l8tr. Byeeeee!!!!!!!!

Bishop Planetarium just off Anna Maria Island, Film

Bishop PlanetariumThe Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton holds Film Friday every week featuring great movies to enjoy. Ticket prices for non members are $5 and $3 for members. All shows start at 6:00pm and it is recommended to reserve your spot as seating is limited. Upcoming films include:

May 31st: The Blob (1988) Rated R

June 7th: Contact (2005) Rated PG

June 14th: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Rated PG

June 21st: District 9 (2009) Rated R

June 28th: Attack the Block (2011) Rated R

 

For a list of previous Film Friday film’s click here.  For up to date information we suggest you visit the Bishop Planetarium website.

Bishop Planetarium
201 10th Street W.
Bradenton, 34205
(941) 746-4131

Bradenton – 3rd Annual Manatee Miles Walk-A-Thon

manateemiles2013final

The Robinson Preserve in Bradenton is hosting Manatee county’s 3rd Annual Manatee Miles Walk-A-Thon on Saturday May 11th, 2013. Manatee Miles is a walk-a-thon fundraiser to help benefit United Way of Manatee County. Registration for Manatee Miles is between 7:ooam and 7:50am with the walk starting at 8:00am.

Prior to the walk you can enjoy a free neck and shoulder massage courtesy of Dina Stewart, LMT, or a selection of muffins and fruit courtesy of First Watch Restaurant.

A Chinese Raffle will be held for a donation of $1.00 per ticket or 6 tickets for $5.00. You can enter for a chance to win brunch bucks from First Watch Restaurant, Bradenton Marauders goodies including game tickets, a grand prize 2 night stay at on of Anna Maria Island’s vacation rentals, and more!

Robinson Preserve
99th Street Northwest and 17th Avenue Northwest
Bradenton, FL 34209

Anna Maria Island Easter Bonnet Contest

easter bonnetDon’t miss you chance to be a part of the 3rd Annual Easter Bonnet Contest March 30th, 2013 on Anna Maria Island.  The contest will begin at 10am in the parking lot located at 315 Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria. The Easter Bonnet contest will have a 1st place winner for children and a 1st place winner for the adults. 1st place winner in the adults contest will win a 2 night stay at the Anna Maria Guest House on Pine Avenue. 1st place winner in the children’s contest will win a lunch party for 4 at the Sandbar Restaurant.  Check out our Easter Egg hunt information page.

For more information call 941-778-8710

Check here for this year’s Easter Worship Services Schedule.