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!

Anna Maria Island 2 Minute Beach Clean

Anna Maria Island – Across the shores of the world on every continent people have been participating in a fun, not so new, environmental movement called the two minute beach clean. From Russia to Australia, Ireland to Florida, and even Antarctica; when people head to the coast they are participating in the two minute beach clean.

In 2009 Martin Dorey of Cornwall England started a non profit organization called the beach clean network to support the two minute beach clean campaign. An avid lover of the beach and long time beach cleaner, Martin Dorey became discouraged when he felt his efforts weren’t enough to keep up with the constant stream of trash found on the shoreline. Martin Dorey though if he could get more people to pitch in the problem could be minimized, so he turned to social media. Martin Dorey began by tweeting out pictures of his findings from his trips to the shore, and eventually others started to catch on sharing their own pictures.

Now, six years after it began, the two minute beach clean has become a global campaign. Martin Dorey’s Beach Clean Network is completely run by volunteer efforts with the exception of a small grant from the organization Sea Changers  to assist in building the Beach Clean Network website.

 

Anna Maria Island two minute beach clean
Trash found on Anna Maria Island by local beach clean organization Heart the Sea

What is the two minute beach clean?

The two minute beach clean is exactly what is sounds like. When you get to the beach take two minutes and pick up as much trash as you can carry. When picking up trash be sure to always keep safety in mind. Gloves are a good idea during your beach clean, but not totally necessary. Always supervise children, and use caution when handling sharp objects. Buckets are a better container to hold trash as bags tear, and are less environmentally sound. When cleaning the beach if you come across dead or injured animals be sure not to touch it and contact the proper wildlife organization such as the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

Why participate in the two minute beach clean?

You may think two minutes isn’t enough time to make a difference, but if everyone participates the impact is effective. Ridding beaches of litter is important to the health and economy of the world. Trash doesn’t only affect ocean life, but the health and well being of the human population. Plastics are of particular harm to the environment as they break down into pieces so tiny even plankton and other small forms of life mistake it as food. Plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade, and leach toxins and chemicals in the process. All marine life is threatened by plastic; In fact, a new study conducted by the PNAS estimates that by 2050 up to 99% of Seabirds will be eating plastics.

The Take Away.

Next time you make a trip to the gorgeous shores of Anna Maria Island ask yourself if you have two minutes of time to spare. Chances are, since you are spending leisure time soaking up sun, splashing in clear gulf waters and relaxing on powder sand beaches, you probably have two minutes of your day to spare. Spending the day in tropical island paradise peppered with litter isn’t the ideal way to enjoy a day at the beach, so do your part, and join the two minute beach clean campaign today!

 

Anna Maria Island Beach Clean
When you participate in a beach clean post images of your finds to social media using #BeachCleanAMI or #AnnaMariaIsland to let locals know about your efforts. Use #2minutebeachclean to share your finds with the global Beach Clean Network.

Anna Maria Island beach clean-ups

Photos from the Heart the Sea Beach Clean UpAnna Maria Island – The city of Anna Maria and independent organizations in Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach will be holding Anna Maria Island beach clean-ups during the last weeks of March.

Coquina Beach Clean Up

The Tampa Bay Watch Coastal Cleanup of Coquina Beach is asking you to come and help clean the beach on March 21st from 9am until noon. Bring your own gloves, hats and sunscreen as the Tampa Bay Watch will provide trash bags and trash grabbers. The meeting location is 2650 Gulf Drive, Bradenton, FL 34217. Email Michelle Leahy at michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call at 941-748-4501 ext. 6035 with questions about the clean up. Help keep the beach clean and the wildlife safe!

Anna Maria Beach Clean Up

Taking place on March 28th  starting at the south end of Bayfront Park in the city of Anna Maria at 8am. Bring your own bag or trash can, gloves and anything else you may need. Large items can be placed on the roadside for pickup. For more information call the public works department at 941-708-6130 ext. 26.

Manatee Beach Clean Up

Heart the Sea will be holding a beach clean up at the Manatee Public Beach on March 28th from 4-6pm. Heart the Sea will provide blue plastic gloves, so bring your own bags and grabbers. After the clean up is done head over to Swordfish Grill just over the Cortez Bridge for a free drink when you bring in your blue glove. Manatee Public Beach is located at 4000 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach. Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th St W in Cortez. Find out more by emailing HeartTheSea@Gmailc.om or on the Heart the Sea Facebook page.

Experience Anna Maria Island wildlife with AMI Bird Nerd

Anna Maria Island – Bird Watching on Anna Maria Island is a must for visitors! Home to a wide variety of migratory and year round species, the Island is teaming with Birds from small passerines and large waders to the most common and rare. Bird Watchers on Anna Maria Island are never disappointed by their findings.

AMI Bird Nerd is here to assist visitors in choosing places to Bird watch and provide tools to effectively find and learn about local birds and wildlife. AMI Bird Nerd provides Binocular Rentals, Free Informational Mobile Apps and suggested places to find birds.

AMI Bird Nerd is committed to providing Anna Maria Island vacationers the opportunity to learn about and view local wildlife and birds. AMI Bird Nerd intends to fulfill this commitment in several ways. First, by providing Free Mobile Apps featuring local birds, birding tips, the importance of Florida ecosystems like Marsh and Mangrove, and navigation instructions through local nature viewing locations. Secondly, by providing Binocular rentals to visitors so they can experience wildlife up close from a distance and; therefore, helping alleviate the disturbance to species in their habitat. Last, AMI Bird Nerd will contribute 10% of profits to local and international wildlife conservation efforts.

Co-owner Bonnie Ferran elaborates on AMI Bird Nerd. “The challenge for beginning bird watchers is overcoming frustration. Often times, at first, bird identification can be overwhelming making the hobby too difficult to enjoy. Our intention is for AMI Bird Nerd to assist beginners in learning skills to better identify birds while avoiding frustration. Beyond birds, We want to help educate Anna Maria and Manatee County locals and visitors about vital Florida ecosystems and safe wildlife viewing practices”.

 Click HERE for rent your bird watching binoculars today!

AMI-Bird-Nerd-Birdwatching-and-Binocular-Tours-on-Anna-Maria-Island

Support Beach clean-up efforts with new local non-profit organization Heart the Sea.

Anna Maria Island – Heart the Sea, a new local non-profit organization invites all to help clean the beach on February 28th at 4PM starting under Longboat Pass at the Southern tip of Coquina Beach located at 2650 Gulf Drive in the City of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island. Beach cleaners are encouraged to bring a bucket, no plastic bags, and wear closed toed shoes. Gloves and a few extra buckets will be available. Afterwards, Cleaners are invited to Heart the Sea Sponsor Swordfish Grill; cleaners who bring their cleaning glove to Swordfish Grill will be rewarded with one free drink. Swordfish Grill is located at 4628 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215.

Jeff Higgins the Marketing Director at Swordfish Grill says, “We stand by Heart the Sea because just like us, they believe in making sure this natural habitat where we all live and we all love, stays that way for future generations to enjoy”

To stay up to date on Beach Clean ups follow Heart the Sea on Facebook or Twitter Contact Jenny Stonehouse at 941-702-4SEA.

 Heart the Sea Beach Clean-UpHeart The Sea exists for the protection of the Ocean and it’s inhabitants by raising awareness for waterway and beach health. Our vision is for the change of human habits for the benefit of the ocean and it’s animals.

Beach clean-ups are where tourists and locals alike can share a love for the ocean. To be intentional about picking up litter has changed people; Newbies to Heart the Sea beach clean-ups, even children, cannot help themselves from picking up litter whenever they see it after attending one of the clean-ups. All litter eventually ends up in the ocean unless intercepted, and many volunteers are surprised to collect about 5-10 lb of trash per bucket.

Founder of Heart the Sea Jenny Stonehouse elaborates on Heart the Sea and beach clean ups, “About a year ago, I met Hank the Heron on the 77th street beach access with fishing line around his ankle. Hank was wobbling begging the nearby fisherman for food. I called the AMI Wildlife Rescue who came out to try and catch Hank. The volunteer was unsuccessful as Hank did not want to be caught! In my conversation with AMI Wildlife Rescue I discovered that they had been trying to catch Hank for a while. Sadly, Hank did his best to fly down the beach only to be pummeled by another territorial Heron. Heart The Sea was born in my heart on that day. Because fishing line and other harmful items are found and discarded each month, Heart the Sea beach clean-ups are important to the health of our Beaches. Supporting Heart the Sea’s cause means increasing efforts to clean the beach and educating tourists and locals in reducing trash on our beach. We meet, we clean-up, and we go have a drink.”

For several months now Jenny and a small group of Volunteers have been meeting in various parts of Anna Maria Island for clean-ups. Recently, Jenny submitted Heart the Sea’s articles of incorporation to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization making Heart the Sea a truly impactful facilitator of clean beaches. In Celebration of Heart the Sea’s new beginning, Jenny will be set up at The Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach February 22nd from 10am-3pm. Jenny will not only be passing out information and recruiting volunteers, but as an artist, Jenny will be selling her artwork with 50% of the proceeds going directly to Heart the Sea.

AMI Bird Nerd Announces Launch of Indiegogo Crowd Funding Efforts for New Anna Maria Island Business

New Anna Maria Island Business AMI Bird Nerd announces Indiegogo Crowd Funding Efforts.

AMI Bird Nerd

Saturday, September 27th marked the launch of AMI Bird Nerds 30 day Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign. The Campaign needs help covering start up expenses and equipment. Additionally, funds are needed for Co-owner Bonnie Ferran to begin a Florida Master Naturalist Certification. This organization is also committed to educating visitors about Florida’s environment.  To fulfill this commitment they will provide free Mobile Apps about local birds and wildlife and Binocular Rentals to Manatee County’s Islands.

Indiegogo Crowd Fund

According to the Indiegogo website, “Indiegogo is the world’s most established crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding is the process of pooling money from many different people to make an idea happen. Indiegogo is a way to discover projects that people are passionate about all over the world; where you can take action to help create more of what you love.”

Bonnie Ferran Co-owner says, “ As a Bradenton Beach Resident I am extremely fortunate to experience a great variety of birds and wildlife residing on and migrating through the Island every year, and I wanted to make my passion a full time endeavor. Beside my personal enjoyment of Florida wildlife and bird watching, I want to become an advocate of our fragile ecosystem and work to educate visitors about the threats affecting Florida environment and help locals understand what uniqueness local wildlife has to offer.”

Eco-Tourism

About the business aspects of eco-tourism based AMI Bird Nerd, Bonnie’s husband Co-owner  Hector Ferran mentions “Our previous marketing and business experience in running The VIllage Magazine positions us to succeed at creating and running AMI Bird Nerd. We’ve developed two SEO strong websites, one for AMI Bird Nerd and one for our Bird Blog StarlingAndGrackleAreFriends.com, and are currently developing free and paid mobile apps to help birders in the area whether they use our Binocular service or not. ”

AMI Bird Nerd $5 Perk from IndieGoGo campaignContributors to the AMI Bird Nerd Indiegogo campaign get really fun perks. As little as a $5 contribution gets a perk. They include having the contributors face photoshopped on to an original image of local bird photographs also by Hector. Additionally, Perks offered include a recipe to Bonnie and Hector’s favorite libation Island Juice, A corn dog bird sticker reminding people not to feed the gulls, Binocular rentals for two or four people.

Silhouettes at Sunset ~ 9~15~2014 ~ Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island ~ A Romantic Sunset
Romance on Anna Maria Island

The summer has come and gone and we are entering into fall! The atmosphere changes from tourists bustling around the Island enjoying vacations with family and friends to less crowded locals soaking up the peace and quiet for about a month on Anna Maria Island. I find fall sunsets to be the most beautiful because the skies are a much deeper blue and late afternoon showers give way to more grandeur sunsets! It is a perfect time for couples to nestle their chairs in the sand and let the sunset serve as their entertainment. The turtles are still hatching and the shore birds, dolphins and manatees all add that touch of wildlife for which Anna Maria Island is so well known especially to the locals. Soon we will see fall festivals happening along the Gulf of Mexico, both on and off the Island offering seafood and live music as well as arts and crafts. Islanders are always excited to put on their jeans and open their windows to feel the cross breezes and fresh air!  And at the end of the day we find our reward for hard work is to be able to walk to the beach to rest and relax as we experience another amazing sunset pulling the shade down as day fades into night…as summer fades into fall!   

 

Anna Maria Soaring Sunset
Soaring Sunset on Anna Maria Island

 

Created by Melinda Bordes Melinda@annamariasunset.com 941-705-0146…Whether buying or selling real estate on Anna Maria Island or surrounding areas feel free to call me to assist you in the process. Together we can find that perfect slice of paradise so you can soak up our amazing sunsets no matter the season!

 

The Artists' Guild of Anna Maria Island Guest Speaker from Wildlife Inc.

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On Monday, November 4th, the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island will be holding their next meeting at Lowe Hall in the Church of the Annunciation, 45th Street and 2nd Avenue in Holmes Beach. The meeting begins at 6:30pm for social time and the program begins at 7pm with guest speaker Ed Straight, Director of Wildlife Inc. – Education & Rehabilitation, will be the speaker. Learn about this organization that will benefit from the sales of bird houses during the Island artsHOP events taking place November 8-10.

The public is welcome to attend and learn more about Wildlife Inc. and the diversity of their caring for injured wildlife that extends beyond Anna Maria Island. For more information, contact the Guild Gallery at 778-6694 or see the web sites: amiartistsguildgallery.com or islandartshop.com.

Tami’s Favorite Anna Maria Island Wildlife

Tami WildlifeHi everybody! I’m Tami Turtle, and I’m hanging out with the wildlife on Anna Maria Island today! AMI has an extremely diverse wildlife community. There are sea turtles (like me), pelicans, cranes, herons, egrets, dolphins, manatees and more! What animal is your favorite to see on Anna Maria Island?

WILDLIFE, INC. EDUCATION & REHABILITATION CENTER ON ANNA MARIA ISLAND

I started my morning with Melinda Bordes at Wildlife Inc. in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island.  Wildlife, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that specializes in the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife, so they can return to the wild.  Melinda Bordes is a hard working realtor here at Island Real Estate, and gives back to the community by volunteering at Wildlife Inc.

Continue reading WILDLIFE, INC. EDUCATION & REHABILITATION CENTER ON ANNA MARIA ISLAND