For decades now, researchers have studied and proven the health benefits of green space, but more recent findings point to blue space as a far superior influence on the health of people and communities.
What is green space and blue space?
Green space is a term referring to an area of grass, trees and foliage often found in urban areas. Green spaces are typically created for recreational, aesthetic and environmental purposes. Blue space is similar to green space, but refers to rivers, marinas, ponds, lakes, fountains, oceans and bodies of natural or man made water.
Both green and blue spaces have a great impact on human health, but a 2016 study has concluded that blue spaces have greater benefits than green spaces. Researchers note that blue space has a much more dramatic effect on our mental health than green space. People feel less depression and psychological distress with blue space. While green space does have benefits, blue space has more of a profound impact.
Blue space makes people healthy and happy.
A trip to Anna Maria Island is the blue space you need. There are tons of reasons why spending time with the clear blue gulf waters surrounding the island are good for your health!
Blue spaces gives us down time.
It seems like everyday our brains and lives are filled with things to do, schedules to stick with and obligations to complete. When you visit Anna Maria Island you get time to relax and unwind from the stress. Everybody needs down time to do nothing, think about nothing and quietly gaze at the blue gulf waters.
Blue space makes us calm.
Staring at liquid blue brings us to a state of calm. Watching the waves crash, smelling the salt air and feeling the warm breezes all lull us into a perfect state of calm and serenity.
Blue space is uplifting to our emotions.
Enjoying blue water views sends the blues away. Blue space has proven to help with depression. Everyone gets a little down, and for some, depression and anxiety are a daily battle. Spending time at the beach with water helps clear negative thoughts and emotions that lead to depression. Perhaps looking at such a large blue body of water like the gulf makes our own problems seem small in comparison to the great big world.
Blue space makes us more creative.
It’s hard not to be inspired by blue hues. The beauty of water is memorizing and lets our brain drift to our aspirations. Those who spend time meditating on blue scenes are better able to unlock the creative portions of their brain. When you aren’t feeling the stress and worries of daily life, your brain can take a step back and re-approach problems and ideas from a more creative perspective.
Blue space brings people closer together.
When you visit these spaces with friends and loved ones its hard not to form closer emotional bonds. The collective experience of enjoying blue space is infections like the domino affect of a yawn. The color blue is psychologically associated with honesty, loyalty and trust so its easy to see how blue surroundings can make us feel those emotions toward our friends and family.
Many studies site blue as the most popular favorite color, so it’s no wonder that people love these environments. Anna Maria Island is surrounded by blue making it the perfect place to get a dose of the blue stuff!
An Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation should be on everyone’s bucket list! What better way to spend the day than relaxing while the family enjoys swimming in the gulf on a hot Summer day?
Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Vacation
4th of July on Anna Maria Island is an experience unlike any other holiday. There’s a buzz of excitement in the air that words just can’t explain. A feeling like the day will be one you’ll never forget.
4th of July beach prep
This holiday is one of the busiest beach days every year, so you’ll want to come prepared. The biggest benefit of planning a vacation centered around Independence Day is you’ll already be on the island, so you won’t have to fight traffic. Smart right? Even better, since you’ll be staying in a vacation rental so close to the beach, you can pick your spot ahead of the crowd!
Find some really great deals on 4th of July beach rentals at IslandReal.com!
Plan on purchasing everything you’ll need one or two days prior. Why stress last minute? Beach vacations are supposed to be relaxing.
Be sure to put on Sunblock 20 minutes before you’ll be in the sun, and re-apply every two hours. Over exposure to the sun can cause symptoms such as fever and nausea. A sunburn is a sure way to ruin a beach vacation.
The Privateers 4th of July Parade
Every year The Privateers, a non-profit organization, host the Anna Maria Island 4th of July parade. There is nothing better than a small town parade, and this one is fun and heart warming. Starting on the south end of the island on Coquina Beach the parade runs the entire length of the island ending at Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria. Catch candy and beads and be sure to watch out for the squirt guns! This family fun event is free and starts at 10am.
Hanging out on the beach
Since the parade ends around noon you’ll have the entire rest of the day to wait for the evenings fireworks. This is when all the fun really happens!
For something different at the beach try renting a paddle board or even beach games from one of the many great rental companies on AMI. Find some suggested here.
Obviously you’ll want to have some great food and drink items. We have put together a list of great picnic and dining ideas along with a fun selection of beach games on Pinterest.
Sandbar Fireworks Display
While enjoying an Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation you’ll get the chance to catch a great show on the beach! The only fireworks allowed on the beach are Sparklers. However, you can gather along the coast and catch the Sandbar Restaurant’s annual display. From just about anywhere on the beach you’ll have a view of the fireworks, but for a real fun time purchase tickets for a front row view. Follow this AMI fireworks guide to book your seat!
When you visit the beach for this holiday you’re sure to feel like you Independence Day is complete with fun, family and beach time. Plan your Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach vacation today!
Here are 6 ways to celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island. While the powder fine sand and blue water on Anna Maria Island are worth celebrating everyday, follow our guide on how to help keep AMI waterways beautiful on this special day.
6 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island
It’s easy to help keep Anna Maria Island beautiful. Follow our guide for World Oceans Day, not just on June 8th, but eveyday!
Clean it up!
The best way to celebrate World Oceans Day is by picking up garbage on the beach. Even though our beaches are wonderfully pristine, there is a good chance you probably encounter at least a little bit of garbage every time you visit. Today be the change, and pick it up!
You don’t have to spend hours walking along the coastline to feel like you made a difference. If you only spend two minutes picking up trash you have helped! You’ll be amazed at how much stuff you’ll find in even a short period of time. As you look for garbage on the beach check out clumps of seaweed and the areas around sea oats. Litter and trash tend to get caught up in these areas. However, be sure to keep off the sand dunes and sea oats as they are a very fragile and important environment.
When you start picking up trash there’s a good chance onlookers will see you, and be more cautious about their own garbage. You may even find your actions cause others to join in!
Every year millions of birds and marine animals die from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics and litter. The health of these animals depends on you to help!
Another great way to help save the Oceans is by donating to organizations who support this cause. Mote Marine Laboratory is a fantastic organization that will be accepting donations for World Oceans Day. They will be hosting a 48 hour giving event June 2-4, but donations are welcome any time!
Mote Marine is an amazing facility that not only works to save Marine life, but educates people of all ages about the unique species and environments in Florida. Every year they rescue tons of endangered sea turtles along with many other programs that help humans gain better understanding of the world.
Practice Responsible Boating
A great way to help world Oceans is by boating responsibly. Never throw garbage into the water, and if you see floating debris try to pick it out. Be sure trash is in a safe receptacle to ensure it doesn’t blow off into waterways.
In Florida it is safe to say all bodies of water have marine animals. Always be aware of your surroundings when boating, and be on the lookout for wildlife. Follow signage and idle zones marked specifically to warn of Manatees. Dolphins, Manatees and Sea Turtles are too often hit by boat propellers. Do your best to avoid speeding through the areas where they are known to live.
Keep your boat in areas that are appropriate for your make and model of vessel. Running your boat aground in Florida waterways can damage sea grasses that provide food and shelter to marine life. Never tie your boat up to Mangroves or allow your anchor to drag through reef environments.
Eat Sustainable Seafood
Sustainable Seafood is always the best alternative. Sure we all love those high-end Tuna cuts, but there are so many different species of seafood that often go over looked.
Over fishing is a global problem. Without careful conservation some species could disappear from the worlds oceans in just a few decades. When you choose sustainable fish you choose healthy oceans.
There are many questions to ask when purchasing sustainable fish. Was it net or line caught? was it farm raised or wild? Domestic or import? Asking these questions to your local fish monger will allow you to find more ethically sourced seafood.
You can help reduce the effects of climate change on our oceans by reducing your carbon footprint. This isn’t a new idea, and there are tons of ways to be mindful of your energy use. Leave your car and walk or bike when you can. This is easy to do on Anna Maria Island! Everyone knows you can bike all over, hop on the free trolley, or even walk to your destination while visiting the Island.
Other ways to reduce your energy consumption include taking the stairs, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and don’t over set your thermostat. Making tiny efforts to change the way you consume energy is a great way to reduce carbon and the negative effects of climate change on world oceans
Take time to learn about oceans and waterways, and inspire others to help make a difference. When you learn how oceans are vital to a healthy earth you’ll find yourself taking steps to protect it.
Visit local aquariums, science centers and wildlife attractions dealing with marine life. Educate yourself about oceans then take your knowledge and inspire others to help save the ocean!
Do your part this year and celebrate World Oceans Day on Anna Maria Island!
An Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Rental makes for a fabulous summer vacation! There is no better way to celebrate American independence than relaxing on the beach.
Top 10 Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Rentals
While the island is fun and relaxing year round, 4th of July is a great time to visit. During your stay you’ll find the small town Independence Day Parade starting in the morning. Then at night enjoy the fireworks display at the Sandbar Restaurant too!
It’s not too late to book your Anna Maria Island 4th of July Beach Rental. We have put together this fantastic list of the best places to stay for the holiday July 1-8. You’ll find a variety of options to fit any size group. From direct gulf front luxury to laid back old Florida cottages these 10 Anna Maria Island beach rentals are fun and relaxing!
North Beach Village 54 – Sleeps 6
North Beach Village 54 is new to the Island Real Estate vacation rental program. This lovely town home is about two blocks from gulf beaches, and offers a heated community pool. The three bedrooms offer plenty of space for everyone to spread out plus much of the furnishings and decor are brand new. Dogs up to 25 pounds welcome with pet fee.
Palm Isle Village 3201 – Sleeps 6
The adorable Palm Isle Village 3201 was recently remodeled with a fun pastel coastal style. It’s just across the street from gulf beaches and offers a central location near free trolley stops, shopping, dining and the popular Manatee Public Beach Access. This two bedroom unit offers a heated community pool, roof top views and two bathrooms. Your family will love this Holmes Beach rental!
Island Oasis – Sleeps 10 – 20% Off base rate!
Island Oasis is a large family home with 5 bedrooms. This Holmes Beach rental is where island luxury and family time collide for an unforgettable experience. During your stay you’ll be 5 houses from the beach, but you still have amazing gulf views from the roof top balcony. The backyard offers a heated pool and spa with waterfall feature. You’ll love the covered lounge area complete with propane grill, flat screen television and pool table. Pets under 25 pounds welcome with pet fee.
Heron – Dolphin – Sleeps 8 – 20% Off base rate!
Heron – Dolphin is a laid back duplex less than two blocks from coveted Bean Point beaches. Sleeping 8 guests total, each unit offers 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. The backyard has a shared heated pool and spa, two propane grills and plenty of seating. These units are great for two smaller families looking to enjoy paradise together. You can also rent just one individual unit for groups of four or less.
Sunset Beach 204 – Sleeps 4
Sunset Beach 204 is a lovely condo in south Holmes Beach. Here you’ll enjoy direct beach views in a quiet gulf front setting. This unit offers a screened lanai balcony looking over the heated community pool and the beach too! During your stay you’ll feel right at home. Gulf front rentals are highly sought after for 4th of July weekend making this a popular spot for the holiday. You’ll find this unit extremely accommodating for four guests with two bedrooms and two baths.
Captain’s House – Sleeps 6
Captain’s House is a fun three bedroom rental with a touch of that old Florida charm visitors love. Here you’ll find many recently updated amenities perfectly mixing with a classic Florida style of architecture. The backyard is a nice area to relax around the sparkling pool while cooking a 4th of July barbecue on the grill. This Holmes Beach location is just a short walk from shopping, dining and free trolley stops too.
Water’s Edge 105 S – Sleeps 4
Water’s Edge 105 S is just steps away from beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches. This updated one bedroom unit sleeps up to four guests comfortably with one king bed and a queen Murphy bed. The community heated pool looks directly over the beach for a perfectly peaceful spot to relax during the holiday. This complex also offers elevators to make moving luggage a breeze.
La Casa Marie – Sleeps 6
La Casa Marie is located in the exclusive La Casa Costiera complex on direct gulf front. You’ll be steps from the beach! This luxury condo offers a fun colorful style, wet bar with wine chiller and many high-end finishes. Your balcony offers glimpses of the gulf and those amazing salty breezes. You’ll be able to see the Sandbar fireworks display from the beach front of La Casa Marie during your stay.
East Winds – West Winds Sleeps 16
East Winds and West Winds are both lovely single family home just a few blocks walk from gulf beaches. Everything you look for in a family vacation destination is waiting at these homes. Everyone can really spread out here and enjoy a comfortable getaway. East Winds is perfect for those groups that have lots of kids because one guest room offers two sets of bunks and the den has a bunk bed too!West Winds is equally accommodating to families. Relax in the backyards with the pool and fire up the grill. Reserve one of these units for smaller groups of 8 or both to sleep 16!
Enjoy the holiday like you’ve never before and reserve the perfect beach destination with Island Real Estate! An Anna Maria Island 4th of July beach rental is the ultimate way to bring family together while celebrating American freedom!
Here are 5 restaurants that will transform your Anna Maria Island vacation! While the beautiful beaches, friendly people and luxury family beach rentals are plenty to rave about, the island has a few eateries that truly affect the way travelers feel about AMI.
Restaurants that will Transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation
There is one thing people all over the world have in common. Eating. Everyone requires nourishment. However, food isn’t just a requirement, it’s often an emotional experience that started before you were even born.
Many of us can think back on meals that effect us on an emotional level. Like that casserole your mother made every Sunday when you were a kid. The way your husband makes that secret barbecue sauce recipe before firing up the grill. Or even that special meal you had during your travels in Florida.
These Anna Maria Island restaurants are the exact place to go for that meal you’ll think of years from now. These are flavors and feelings you’ll take home and tell all your friends about. Not only are these restaurants full of fantastic menu items, but they offer a glimpse into the island life. Each has a culture all of it’s own, but still connects with those unique local island vibes.
Rod & Reel Pier – Seafood with a view.
The Rod & Reel Pier has been serving up traditional Florida fare since 1947. Wonder up to the bay side of north Anna Maria, and you’ll find what looks like an old house on a small old fishing pier. There’s always people fishing and lounging outside enjoying the gorgeous views of Tampa bay, Egmont Key and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This is a nice place to relax. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists and everything is low key.
The menu at Rod & Reel is indicative of a typically simple and casual Florida eatery. Find basics like chicken wings, peel and eat shrimp and a Grouper sandwich. Each day you’ll find a different selection of fresh fish grilled, blackened or fried served with mango chutney or garlic butter.
This is the spot for a no frills meal with cold beers. Service moves at its own pace. The staff might be friendly, or they might be salty. Either way just relax and go with the flow. There is a bar downstairs and a dining room up top. Locals tend to prefer the bar seating. The beer selection is limited and mostly domestic, but this spot isn’t about fancy brews. Its about the experience of eating on beautiful blue waters, enjoying warm weather, doing a little lazy Florida fishing, and relaxing island style.
The Sandbar – Sunsets and Tourists
The Sandbar is the quintessential island dining experience. Toes in the sand dining room, sun burnt to a crisp tourists, fruity frozen cocktails and sunsets so pretty you just can’t even believe your eyes. This type of restaurant experience is why you decided on a Florida vacation!
The menu is more eclectic than one might expect from a touristy destination. A little bit of everything from southern home cooking to high-end seafood. Find things like shrimp and grits, sliders, fish tacos and even caviar too! The Seafood tower is a great option for tasting a variety of seafood including lobster tail, seasonal crab, shrimp, oysters, clams and smoked fish dip. Along with a lovely menu, The Sandbar offers a full service bar and a fantastic wine menu.
When you are looking for that fun beach bar vibe with a family friendly atmosphere, good food and accommodating service head over to The Sandbar in Anna Maria. There’s nothing like sitting in a crowd of happy vacationers all relaxing and watching the sunset while enjoying a great meal on the gulf.
Bridge Tender Inn – Salty characters and local culture.
The Bridge Tender Inn is where you’ll find a salty good time with funky local characters and some pretty decent food too. Finding those places that the locals frequent are what really makes a vacation feel authentic. Yes the touristy places are super fun. However, you have to find the local hangouts to really get a feel for an area, and this is one of them!
The Bridge Tender is nestled along north Sarasota Bay at the end of Historic Bridge Street. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating with a bar on the water and one inside too. There is nothing up-tight about this restaurant. Everyone is laid back and having a good time. The no frills staff are eager to please and have fun too, but not without a little of that salt life attitude only Floridians have.
The menu has something for everyone. Find crab cakes, burgers, Grouper and sandwiches. A lot of pub grub type of items, but with some nicer selections like roast duck and steaks.
The Bridge Tender Inn is extremely family friendly, but is open late to accommodate those looking for night life. From time to time you’ll find live music, and during Football season you’ll find a lot of Packers fans watching the games.
Grab a rum and coke and a crab cake and sit back with a view of the bay and the Anchorage. The Anchorage is the area in North Sarasota Bay where many year round residents anchor their various house boats. For many the Anchorage is not only home, but a way of life. If you hang out at the Bridge Tender long enough you’re sure to meet an Anchorage character.
Beach Bistro – Fancy fine dining and beach views.
The Beach Bistro is an award winning gulf front restaurant that will leave you amazed. Nestled in Resort 66 in Holmes Beach, the Bistro has been providing the island with fine dining since 1985. You won’t find anything else like it on Anna Maria Island and the locals will agree!
Here the menu offers only the finest ingredients. Find items like fresh caught seafood Bouillabaisse, foie gras, steaks and lobster too. Everything is of the highest quality as owner Sean Murphy’s primary goal has always been the pursuit of perfection. Along with an award winning menu, you’ll find an outstanding wine selection and a lovely full service bar.
Not a large restaurant the dining room offers an intimate setting great for celebrations, romantic evenings and special occasions of all sorts. Service at the Beach Bistro is above average in every way. You’ll truly feel taken care of as your server and support staff guide you through an amazing dining experience. Because the Beach Bistro has been serving the island for decades, you’ll always find locals enjoying their evenings here. It’s not uncommon for Sean Murphy to stop by your table as he loves meeting his guests in person.
Anna Maria Island has such a laid back feel that even this fine dining establishment still feels warm and welcoming. This dining experience is truly one of a kind.
Star Fish Company Restaurant and Market – The “real” old Florida.
Located in one of the countries oldest fishing villages, Starfish Market is an absolute must when visiting Anna Maria Island. The Cortez Fishing Village is located just over the Cortez bridge from the island. Everyday boats hull in fresh caught fish and seafood to feed Florida and beyond.
As you make your way from the main road through the village you’ll find quaint old cottages, tons of boats and a quiet neighborhood setting. Generations of families have been fishing from the shores in this community and it’s apparent as you look around. Many of the fishermen working for the Starfish fleet live in the village. You’ll feel like you have been transported back in time while in Cortez.
Star Fish offers both a restaurant and market. All restaurant seating is outdoors along the water where the fishing boats are kept. You’ll literally watch the days catch coming to dock while dining here.
The Menu is simple, fresh and classic old Florida Seafood. Find Gulf Shrimp, Grouper, Smoked Mullet and clams. Seasonal favorites include Stone Crab claws and Spiny Lobster. The side dishes are nothing but southern with cole slaw, hush puppies and grits. Order at the bar, find a table and the staff will call your name when the order is ready. Food is served in crisp white paper boxes. Bring cash!
Dining at Star Fish is something special. Sitting on North Sarasota Bay eating local seafood, watching the salt beaten boats come in, and Pelicans looking for a handout. This is the essence of what Florida once was, and continues to live on at Starfish.
These are the restaurants that will transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation in ways you never thought!
From mingling with locals, to enjoying a sunset with a group of strangers, to an intimate fine dining experience. Enjoy the true authentic flavor of the island life on your next Anna Maria Island getaway!
Anna Maria Island is the perfect ladycation beach destination for your squad. From beautiful beaches to fantastic accommodations and activities, the island is an amazing spot to gather your best gal pals and relax in paradise.
Anna Maria Island is the Perfect Ladycation
While on Anna Maria Island you and your girl friends will have a blast. Follow this great ladycation beach guide for an authentic beach experience! No matter your age or where you are from, women always know how to have fun on island time!
Beaches and Outdoor Activities
While it’s no secret that Anna Maria Island has some of the best beaches in Florida, fewer know about the great outdoor adventures available.
When your gal group finally gets its fill of powder sand, sun kissed skin and turquoise gulf, try one of these outdoor activities.
Sup Yoga is a fun way to try your hand at both Paddle boarding while getting a good relaxing stretch!
Horse Surfing is a great activity. There is nothing like riding a horse on the beach.
Nature walk at Robinson Preserve. Find Manatee Counties best green space just off Anna Maria Island.
Stroll the piers. Anna Maria Island offers three public piers. All are great for sight seeing, fishing and a meal with a view.
Dining and Nightlife
Anna Maria Island is home to many fantastic eateries and does offer a unique nightlife. You’re sure to find a great place for your gals to enjoy a glass of wine, fantastic food and fun conversation.
Just about anywhere you dine on island time, you’ll find the experience pleasant. From high-end gulf front seafood like the Beach Bistro to family friendly pizza joints like Oma’s. There is something for every taste.
When the sun sets its time to head out for drinks and entertainment. There are many night spots to try. Historic Bridge Street is a popular option for drinks and live music with places such as the Bridge Tender. In Holmes Beach you can find craft cocktails at The Doctors Office, and live music at Ugly Grouper.
One of the nicest features of Anna Maria Island is the free trolley service. From 6am to 10:30pm find free air-conditioned trolleys with one passing about every 20 minutes. This is not only great for those looking to visit the bars, but makes it easy to see and do everything stress free.
Salons and Shopping
Anna Maria Island is home to a ton of adorable locally owned boutiques and amazing full service salons.
While visiting Anna Maria Island you and your lady friends must do a little shopping. You’ll find unique shops all around the area. Grab the gang and head to Pine Avenue, the city center of Holmes Beach, Bridge Street and everywhere in between!
If your crew is into pampering, then Anna Maria Island Salons have you covered! From massages to full on make overs, you can have it all with this list of Salons and Spas.
Anna Maria Island Accommodations and Beach Rentals
Whatever your group budget, there are tons of beach rental options on Anna Maria Island. From direct beach front luxury to laid back villas and old cozy cottage charmers, there are hundreds of rentals to pick from. Because the island is a mile across at the widest, you’ll be close to the beach anywhere you stay. Check the selection of rentals below or see a full list here.
Bring the entire squad to My Sister’s Beach House.
Gal palling around at Tina’s Piece of Paradise.
A besties getaway at Appletini.
Once you and your friends visit you’ll understand exactly why Anna Maria Island is the Perfect Ladycation beach destination! Gather your gals, ditch the guys at home and plan your trip today!
An Anna Maria Island Memorial Day Beach Rental is an excellent way to celebrate with family and friends while enjoying the holiday! Memorial day is a time to not only reflect on those who lost their life defending America, but to enjoy the company of the ones you love.
Villa 1 is a quaint one bedroom condo just a short walk from gulf beaches, free trolley stops, shopping and dining. This small four unit condo building offers a community heated pool and grills too. Great for small families or even a couples getaway, this spot is premium.
Starfish Beach 3 – Sleeps 6
Starfish Beach 3 is a great two bedroom cottage style condo just a block from gulf beaches. During your stay you’ll love relaxing on the sand or swimming in the heated community pool. This home is well-equipped with everything your family will need for the perfect week in paradise.
Water Colors – Sleeps 8
If your family is looking for luxury then Water Colors is the spot for you! Everything about this four bedroom home is high-end. From the Anna Maria location to the decor and amenities you’re sure to be impressed. Enjoy roof top views of the gulf in addition to a lovely heated pool and spa. Pets up to 25 pounds welcome with pet fee.
Sunset Glow – Sleeps 10
Sunset Glow is a well-appointed family home with five bedrooms. Its just two blocks from gulf beaches and also nearby to free trolley stops. The backyard is great for a family get together with a propane grill, sun deck, covered lounge area, and a heated pool and spa. Dogs up to 50 pounds welcome with pet fee.
Almost Gulf Front – Sleeps 12
Your family will love spending time at Almost Gulf Front. This six bedroom home is less than two blocks to gulf beaches and offers a laid back tropical style. The spacious open floor plan is great for gathering your group all in one spot. In the backyard you’ll find a heated pool and salt spa. The covered lounge area has a fun Tiki bar vibe perfect for grilling up a Memorial Day Feast!
Enjoy a fun filled holiday with one of these great Anna Maria Island Memorial Dayt beach rentals from IslandReal.com!
National Travel and Tourism week is an event marking the large impact travel has on the U.S. economy. Established by a congressional resolution in 1983, travel and tourism professionals across the country host a variety of events, rallies and out reach programs to strengthen this fun and amazing component of local and national economies. Yes! Travel isn’t just good for your mental health, but for success as a country too!
National Travel and Tourism Week – Faces of Travel May 7-13, 2017
This year the U.S. National Travel Association chose the theme “Faces of Travel” highlighting the millions of individuals who work to keep the industry alive. Each year over 15 million people work in jobs supported by travel!
Anna Maria Island – Faces of Travel
In keeping with this years theme, Island Real Estate is highlighting some of the amazing local faces who both thrive on and support our local travel industry. Because travel and tourism are such a strong economic factor in Florida, we applaud those who keep Anna Maria Island travel a driving force of local viability.
We reached out to industry locals and asked, “Why do you think Anna Maria Island is the best beach vacation destination in Florida?” Here’s what they had to say.
Jo-ann Lefner – Owner of Bella by the Sea Boutique on Anna Maria Island
“The sun on your face, the sand on your toes, credit card in hand to shop the cutest boutiques all on one island. Ask me what’s better than that…maybe a Margarita at sunset!”
The Ciardullo Family Frank, Kathy and Kristi – Vacation Rental Owners – Fernweh in Holmes Beach
“We had never heard of the word Fernweh, but once we discovered its meaning we knew it was the perfect name for our home as it could best describe the feelings that Anna Maria Island brings, being homesick for a place you’ve never been.”
Larry Chatt – Owner of Island Real Estate of Anna Maria Island
“I have made it a point to travel within Florida to A LOT of beach destinations. Over the years I get a lot of questions like, “What is Anna Maria Island like compared to xxxx , Florida.” So over the years I have visited at least 20 beach locations in Florida so I knew the question to that answer!
Cedar Key, Siesta Key, Englewood, Fort Myers Beach, Clearwater Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Boca Grande, St. Augustine, Destin, Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, Flagler Beach, Cocoa Beach. With the Exception of West of Panama City Beach and areas of Miami Beach I have driven the entire coast of Florida and have stayed in at least 20 beach communities. Of course every location has it’s pros and cons but using the following criteria there are no other locations I have seen in Florida much less the world that measures up to Anna Maria Island.
Quality of the sand and beach. Our sand is like confectionery sugar. Other Gulf Coast locations have a similar whiteness but it is littered with shells and is not as soft or the beach is absolutely packed with patrons. I have been unable to replicate our beach anywhere along the coast of Florida or for that matter on the EAST coast or West Coast of the United States. There is plenty of beautiful soft sand beach for everyone due to the low rise nature of our destination!
Family friendly. Too often Florida beach destinations have a high rise nature to them and have been commercialized. It is hard to explain, we occasionally visit an establishment within a location that gives authenticity to the destination but we often waste the rest of our vacation looking for lightning in a bottle again. I have personally witnessed this in several locations across the world let alone Florida. I could never find more than one place per destination that gave me that feeling we all yearn for when taking family vacations. A togetherness as a family captivated and enhanced by the authentic overall feeling provided by the destination. It is difficult to describe but once you find it you want to experience it over and over again as a family. Anna Maria Island is littered with similar stories of successful corporate leaders that found paradise on Anna Maria Island. They quit their job to live and work in paradise. I am a perfect example of such a story.
Dining friendly. Anna Maria Island dining choices measure up against beach communities 10 times as large! The best way to explain it is old Florida but with plenty of authentic places to shop and eat. You can dine in a different location every night of the week and not have one bad meal. I will admit I have found some very old Florida locations along the beach coast but I would have to travel 25 minutes to have more than a few restaurant choices.
In summary I have not found any beach locations with the quality of our sand, low density nature of our beaches but with plenty of authentic shopping and dining choices. Anna Maria Island is not just one retail location that creates an old Florida feeling. The authentic nature of our destination is emulated across our entire community. Whether it be a free trolley ride down to one of many dining choices in one of our three cities or a walk along the beach grabbing a cocktail at a beach front restaurant. If you yearn for the three main amenities our destination provides, you won’t be sorry finding a way to visit Anna Maria Island. I have done A LOT of research on the subject and across our wonderful coastal state I have been unable to replicate anything close to the amenities Anna Maria Island has to offer families searching for authentic old Florida.”
“The island is laid back paradise with life in the slow lane, no high rise hotels and the small quaint streets with many fun casual dining places and beaches with white sand for your toes.”
Caryn Hodge – Marketing Director of Chiles Restaurant Group – The Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista
“Anna Maria Island is unlike any place in the world. Although most well-known for its pristine, sugar-soft sand beaches, Anna Maria also offers visitors an opportunity to slow down, step back to a time when things were simpler, and to experience old Florida in a variety of ways.
On Anna Maria you can park your car and forget about it as you ride the free trolley, walk or bike to your destination for dining, boutique shopping, live music, a stroll on the pier or whatever way you want to experience all the island has to offer.
Void of high rises and not overrun with corporate stores, the island hosts mostly locally owned, independent businesses that offer one-of-a-kind products and services. Award winning dining, excursions for every level of activity, and friendly locals make us a repeat destination for many visitors. Affordable, rich in history, enjoyable and unique. Anna Maria is the perfect place to experience true Old Florida the way it was meant to be.”
“That smell, that beachy smell and oh the sunsets. Nothing describes the beautiful colors in the night sky! From the fun activities at Holmes Beach to the warm breeze at Bean Point! The Tiki bars at Bradenton Beach to the ice cream at Two Scoops! This island is my home away from home!”
Captain Kyle Taylor – Anna Maria Inshore Fishing Charters
“Anna Maria Island has some of the best beaches, weather, lifestyle, dining, and fishing that people look for in a travel destination. Some travel destinations can only claim one or two of these qualities. We have it all here, in one quaint package and we call it Anna Maria Island.”
Emma Brooks – Vacation Rental Owner – Beachy Blue in Holmes Beach
“This beautiful island is our little piece of paradise, the sun makes your heart shine! Stay at Beachy Blue steps away from the turquoise seas and close to some great restaurants and wonderful boutiques”
“Anna Maria Island (AMI for short) definitely lives up to its award winning accolades with clear turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, year round warm weather, eco-friendly terrain and abundant wildlife. Personally, I find it to be the most beautiful, laid back and least developed island on the West Coast of Florida, which is why I find it so appealing. The resorts, accommodations, restaurants, beauty and things to do in this paradise attract national and international travelers. AMI offers a taste of just about everything that people find charming about Florida – with dolphins playing, manatees swimming, turtles nesting, beautiful birds fishing, as well as an impressive history and culture – it’s a #1 destination”
“There are many reasons why Anna Maria Island is the best beach vacation destination in Florida. A year-round summery vibe and warm, secluded feel work wonders on Anna Maria, making this the ultimate Florida beach retreat. Whether a nature lover, serenity seeker or beachgoer, there’s something for everyone on this easy to explore, coastal gem. The cozy and quaint feel of Anna Maria Island, makes it feel like a trip back in time to this paradise that hasn’t changed much since the 70’s and definitely has that “old Florida” feel. The numerous award-winning beaches, restaurants and events make Anna Maria Island the perfect relaxation spot for your next vacation.”
As you can see from their responses, locals who make our travel industry thrive absolutely love Anna Maria Island!
And we can’t forget! A super big thank you to the over 1 million travelers who come to Anna Maria Island every year! You too help maintain the economic vitality of our little island community!
Plan a trip to Anna Maria Island today during National Travel and Tourism Week!
There are some really great Anna Maria Island May Activities going on this year! From Mother’s day to Cinco de Mayo, and new shopping spots to live music, May is great for island time!
Anna Maria Island May Activities
Check out what’s happening on and around Anna Maria Island this May with our top activities guide.
Cinco De Mayo
Florida’s biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration will be going on Saturday, May 6th at Sutton Park in Palmetto. While the holiday falls on a Friday this year, event organizers planned the celebration for Saturday to allow families to join in on the fun.
The Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce is organizing the event with tons of amazing sponsors. Expect to find vendors, food, music and more during this amazing community event.
The event is free to attend. Find Sutton park at 6th Street West in Palmetto from 2-8pm.
DIY work shops at Makers Market
While visiting the area enjoy a little DIY fun at the new Makers Market shop. Learn new skills, and make something beautiful too! Flex your creativity and come home with a lovely wall hanging, tote bag and more. There are a variety of projects to pick from, and you can even make it into a party with friends and family.
Find the Makers Market Workshop at 6650 Cortez Road in Bradenton.
Pickin’ Picnic will also be Saturday, May 6th. Find this event happening in Downtown Bradenton’s Riverwalk Park from 1-9pm.
The event showcases local music, craft beers, top-rated food trucks, vendors and Bradenton’s millennial culture at its finest.
Bring a blanket or chair and sit on the green lawn at this family friendly annual event. Organized in collaboration between Realize Bradenton and Independent Jones this event is free to attend.
Mother’s Day is a fantastic time for a visit to the beach, or brunch at one of many great local restaurants. Treat Mom to both this year, and reserve her a beach rental on Anna Maria Island!
Mother’s Day brunch will be in full swing at several local restaurants across the area.
May is a fantastic time of year to do a little Pier fishing on one of Anna Maria Island’s three piers. With mild morning weather still swirling around the island, take the family out for a day of angling. All three island piers have blanket fishing licenses, so you won’t have to hold your own. You can rent fishing gear at each location.
Manatee Rare Fruit Council Tree Sale
Sunday May 21st the Manatee Rare Fruit Council will be selling trees at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. Enjoy over 5000 plants from 22 reputable vendors. Parking and admission are free, and the event runs from 10am-4pm.
Find the Convention Center at 1 Haben Boulevard in Palmetto.
Memorial Day Beach fun and Cook Outs
While Memorial Day falls in the Spring, this event really signals the kick-off of summer fun on Anna Maria Island. There is nothing better than a grilled hot dog on the beach with family and friends enjoying a day off. The water will be warm and the sun will be shining!
None of the public beaches allow personal grills, but you will find charcoal public grilling facilities at Coquina Beach, Manatee Public Beach and Bay Front Park.
Enjoy family fun with these great Anna Maria Island May Activities!
Wondering what to pack for your Anna Maria Island Vacation? While Anna Maria Island may have mild winters and hot summers, if you aren’t from Florida you may not know what to bring with you.
What to Pack for Your Anna Maria Island Vacation
We have put together a list of what to bring for each season, the items to expect in your beach rental and things to buy when you arrive on Island Time.
Our list isn’t just the things you’ll need. We have also included fashionable examples of the styles you’ll see people wearing on the island. Florida has a regional style unlike that of New York or California. This list will give you some ideas of what the locals wear too.
Packing for the Season
The four seasons in Florida aren’t exactly what you might expect. Fall is green and warm, Winter is mild and sometimes dry, Summer is hot and wet.
Summer Packing list
Summer is hot on Island Time. Ask any local and they’ll tell you a typical summer day includes a warm morning, blistering mid day sun, mid afternoon rain showers, and beautiful balmy evenings with a slight breeze.
Tropical patterns are the best clothes items! Summer is the time for being lazy and letting it all hang out. Embrace your inner tacky tourist and pull out that old Hawaiian shirt. You’ll fit right in with the locals too!
Big Floppy hats and Sunglasses are a must.
Shorts, skirts, T-Shirts and blouses.
Beach clothes such as cover-ups and thin loose fitting items to throw on over a wet bathing suit.
If you sunburn easily, a really thin long sleeve shirt is a good idea for beach days. This is especially true for children on vacation. Sometimes your skin is ready to leave the beach before your brain is.
At least one nice-ish, but still casual, outfit for dining out in the evening.
Unless you plan on dining somewhere super fancy like Beach Bistro, leave all your pants at home for the summer. If you are planning a high-end dining or evening experience a little black dress and nice slacks are great.
A rain coat or umbrella is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary.
A walking shoes for sightseeing.
Strappy sandals are nice for ladies and a boat shoe is nice for guys.
For small children a hat with a chin strap is a good idea.
A reusable beverage container with a lid. You WILL get dehydrated on the beach. A reusable container is preferred over disposable water bottles. The environment will thank you.
You might want a cardigan or thin sweater. Floridians keep the AC on full blast, so you’ll find restaurants and businesses to be cold inside.
Spring packing list.
Spring is a lovely time to visit. Typically we don’t have lots of rain, and the day time temperature ranges from the upper 70’s to low 90’s. Night time temperatures don’t really go below the low 60’s.
Expect to bring all the things on the summer list plus a few additional items below. Bright pinks, yellows, and crisp whites really make a fashion statement for spring on Anna Maria Island.
A thin sweater for sure. If visiting in early Spring you may even want a heavy sweater too.
A colorful spring dress is great. A Maxi dress and a wedge sandal make for an elegant spring beach style.
A pair slacks and a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up are always great for guys. Men’s Leather sandals are also appropriate for all occasions on the island.
Winter packing list.
Typically Anna Maria Island winters don’t get cooler than the upper 50’s in the day time and no lower than the upper 30’s at night. Many people still swim in the gulf this time of year, but usually you won’t catch the locals in any water that isn’t heated.
When visiting in winter, you’ll notice the daily temperatures can fluctuate greatly. The key to dressing comfortably for this time is many thin layers. The morning will be cold, but mid day will be considerably warmer and you’ll likely want to peel a layer off.
Bring flip flops, but also bring a closed toe shoe and socks. Most people can still wear sandals in the day, but you might just be more comfortable with an extra layer on your feet.
Definitely bring pants. You won’t need long underwear, but pants are a good idea.
Tights, leggings and yoga pants are nice winter options for ladies. Since its not snowing, you’ll likely be able to wear a dress or skirt with something to cover your legs. Yoga pants and a cute top are always acceptable women’s attire on the island.
Scarves and shawls are great, but you can leave your gloves and mittens at home.
A winter hat might be nice for morning beach walks.
Bring a jacket, but not the one you keep on hand for snow. A nice leather or denim jacket with a thin long sleeve shirt is usually sufficient.
A thin sweater or cardigan and a thick sweater.
If you are from up north some winter months you’ll feel comfortable swimming, so bring the swim attire. Also, many Anna Maria Island beach rentals have heated pools and spa, so you’ll want your bathing suit.
A sport coat is a good idea for men’s evening wear especially for that special night out.
Ladies may want closed toe dress shoes for evenings, and a dress pant or dark blue skinny jean makes nice casual evening wear.
Fall packing list.
Anna Maria Island’s Fall season is considerably warmer than you might expect. Days range from warm to still hot in the early fall, and nights are pleasant with cool breezes. You will definitely be swimming this time of year.
The Spring and Summer lists are very close to what you’ll need for fall, but we have some other suggestions too. Fall is also a time of year where you will feel comfortable in darker colors. Shades of navy, rust and red aren’t as common in the summer months, but make great fall island attire.
You’ll want to bring all the swim wear, flip flops and beach things.
A stylish ankle boot with a short dress or skirt is nice for ladies. Strappy tank tops with a loose knit shirt or mesh blouse are great fall fashion items.
Again bring tights or leggings to go under skirts on cooler nights.
Pants options are good for evenings, but you’ll want shorts too.
No winter hats or coats, but a thin and thick sweater are good.
Flat front pants or nice jeans with a tucked in polo and a boat shoe are very stylish for Men in the fall.
Tank tops and thin scarves are very stylish for women, and work great for both night and day.
What you should always bring no matter the season.
Some basics go with out saying. Obviously you need underwear and a toothbrush we don’t need to tell you this. However, there are some extras to remember for all visits.
Travelers checks or back up forms of currency.
Health Insurance cards in case someone gets sick.
Everything your pet will need. Yes there are places to purchase pet food and even a veterinarian, but make sure all members of the family are comfortable traveling.
Medications and prescriptions
Special health equipment
Kid and baby comforts. Spending a night away from home can be a lot when you’re little. You may want to bring a special blanket or toy to make your little one more comfortable in a new place.
What to expect in your beach rental.
When you arrive at your beach rental you’ll always find all the bedding, towels, wash clothes and hand towels you’ll need. You don’t need to bring these items. Some rentals do offer baby items, so always ask ahead of time. If you need special baby gear you can bring it, or check out what is available to rent from abc baby rentals.
There will be a roll of toilet paper in each bathroom plus one roll of paper towels and a small container of dish detergent and a dishwasher packet. There will be just enough of the basics to get you through the first night of your stay. You’ll be responsible for everything after that. There is a Dollar Tree on Anna Maria Island that offers any toiletry you’ll need. This is a great option for those who have smaller groups. You’ll also find all those items at the local Publix Grocery store.
Before you bring chairs and accessories, consider renting them. We recommend holding off on these items until you arrive at your rental. You never know what kind of extras will be laying around. Take an inventory first, then contact one of the many local rental equipment companies to supply you with the things you want.
What to Buy when you get to the island
Some things might be easier to buy when you get here.
Sunblock. You will need lots of sunblock, even in the winter months you WILL get sunburned. You can pick up sunblock at the grocery store, pharmacy and many tourist shops. APPLY YOUR SUNSCREEN 20 MINUTES BEFORE YOU ARE IN THE SUN! You need to let the sunblock soak in, and then you need to reapply it at least once every two hours after. Over exposure to the sun and sever sunburn can cause serious illness. No matter your skin color, we promise, you don’t have super man strength skin. Yes, sun rays do penetrate the water. Even if you spend all day swimming, you need to follow our guidelines on sunblock.
Obviously you need food. The island offer a fantastic Publix grocery store plus a few specialty shops too.
Alcohol and other beverages. These things are all on the island, don’t travel with more than you need.
House things. You’ll need laundry detergent, trash bags, optional cleaning supplies and those type of items. All are available locally.
Enjoy an Anna Maria Island vacation any time of year! Now that you know what to bring, book your vacation rental with Island Real Estate today!
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Office LocationsIsland Real Estate 6101 Marina Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217