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.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch monitors the nesting activities of sea turtles and shorebirds from May 1st – October 31st. It is the mission of the AMI Turtle watch to insure a suitable habitat for people, sea turtles and shorebirds.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Excavations

When their season is winding down, and almost all the nests have hatched AMI Turtle watch will still have some excavations.  The excavation is conducted three days after hatchlings emerge, and they count empty shells, whole un-hatched eggs, and occasionally rescue a trapped hatchling and return it to the Gulf.  The excavations are usually at 7:30 pm (depending on weather).  If you call they may be able to show you an excavation.

Anna Maria Island Turtles Need the Dark

Nesting sea turtles depend on dark quiet beaches to reproduce successfully. Today these turtles are endangered in part because they must compete with tourists, businesses, and coastal residents to use the beach.  Man-made coastal developments may result in artificial lighting on the beach that discourages female sea turtles from nesting and can disorient hatchlings. The light may cause them to  wander away from the beach where they often die of dehydration, predation, or being run over as they try to cross the road.

Here Are A Few Ways You Can Help Sea Turtles:

Minimize lighting visible from sea turtle nesting beaches, and use Turtle Safe lighting.

Avoid using flashlights or flash cameras. Lights disrupt or disorient nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings.

Stepping on hatchlings is easy in the dark, so avoid nesting areas.

Do not drive any unauthorized vehicles on the beach at night.

Turn off or shield lights visible from nesting beaches.

If disoriented hatchlings are found away from the sea, do not put them back in the sea.  Call AMITW 941 778 5638 or local law enforcement.

Pick up litter, fill in holes and never leave furniture or debris lying on the beach. Adopt-a-Hatchling or Adopt-a-Nest through IslandTurtles.com to help raise awareness.