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!

Lightning Bugz 100% Electric Vehicles For Rent On Anna Maria Island!

Sorry, Lightning Bugz is now CLOSED and they do not rent out electric golf carts. HOWEVER, Beach Bums does rent golf carts as well as other rental equipment companies on Anna Maria Island.  Instead of renting a car for your next Anna Maria Island Vacation check out the Lightning Bugz in Holmes Beach.  Lightning Bugz LSV’s in Holmes Beach rents 100% electric, street legal vehicles to vacationers on Anna Maria Island and surrounding areas.

Lightning Bugz LSVs are similar to a traditional golf cart, but an LSV can travel on roads with speed limits of 35mph, and may be driven at night.  Each Bug has a storage space for chairs, toys, coolers, seat belts, and is child seat friendly.  Enjoy your vacation knowing that you can park your car, and travel Anna Maria Island in an eco-friendly LSV from Lightning Bugz.

Continue reading Lightning Bugz 100% Electric Vehicles For Rent On Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island Vehicle and Airport Transportation

Recently more airport transportation businesses have decided to service Anna Maria Island. Between local vendors and Uber, there are tons of airport transportation options to AMI.

While services below focus on transport from the Tampa International, other Florida airports are also serviced. Sarasota/Bradenton airport is so close to Anna Maria Island most visitors grab a taxi. However, many options are now available.

Review the vendors below and call Island Real Estate with any questions.

 

Airport Transportation to Anna Maria Island

Airport Transportation

Paradise Car Service

Paradise Car Service is another great source. Rates starting as low as $35 to the Sarasota airport with a very diverse array of transportation options.  Find rides to Orlando and Fort Meyers too.  (941) 356-3578

Coastal Elite Limousine

This services offers a fleet of Cadillac Sedan, Lincoln Navigator SUV, or Stretch Limousines to meet any transportation needs. This local Driver was born and raised on AMI. Driver is familiar with state roads and venues well! For more rates including hourly, call now (941) 900-8240. Airport Service to Tampa starts at $105 and $60 to Sarasota. These rates include gratuity. Coastal Elite Limousine is great for weddings.

Island Sedan

This company offers Town car service with advertised rates starting at $35 to the Sarasota Airport, or $85 to Tampa. Member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. Call for rates and additional locations at (941) 730-8803.

Anna Maria Island Transportation

This vendor has been a Member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2008. They offer clean non smoking Lincoln’s and Cadillacs too. Car and booster seats are provided at no extra cost for children. Also no charge for those picking up keys for a vacation rental. Rates to Tampa/St. Pete start at $85 up to 4 people. Seven person SUV now available with Tampa/St.Pete starting at $125. Call them at (941) 527-5602.

Cartier Limousine Services 

Cartier is a member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.  They offer airport transportation as well as transportation for special venues such as weddings or special events.  They have several vehicles to choose from and transportation to Tampa International airport for one person starts at $70 one way.  Call at 612-868-7290 or visit their Anna Maria Island transportation airport rates page for more details.

Shuttle Services of AMI

Shuttle Services of AMI focus their business on island. While you visit the area we suggest this service for any unique transport needs. Additionally, this company has a large service area. Rates start at $64 to Sarasota and $125 to Tampa and will include automatic gratuity. This service offers a fleet of sedans and larger vehicles upon request. Rides to Orlando and Ft. Myers also available. Call (941) 580-5777  for Anna Maria Island Shuttle.

 

This information has been gathered as a convenience for our guests.We cannot guarantee the rates.  Please call individual vendor for details.