Anna Maria Island Holidays 2018/2019
A very picturesque corner of Florida, where you can enjoy all the white sands, sleepy docksides and friendly locals we think of when we think of the state, Anna Maria Island is the place to visit if you want a taste of ‘Old Florida’. Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or with kids, this northerly island oozes relaxation, despite its short distance from the electric destination of Tampa.
Chances are a lot of your time on Anna Maria Island will be spent sunbathing on the lovely beaches that dot the shoreline. With smooth, white sands wherever you go, Anna Maria is certainly dreamy, giving kids the chance to build all the sandcastles they’d like, and adults the opportunity to read a book and soak in the rays to the sound of swaying palm trees.
A natural hotspot, Anna Maria welcomes sea turtles, birds and plenty of underwater critters to its shores and branches every year, and is quite the sanctuary. Due to its amazing wildlife, the buildings on the island are strictly controlled, which means while you won’t find any rollercoasters here, you can instead enjoy classic Floridian shacks and seafront restaurants.
Scroll down to explore Anna Maria Island in more detail, or get in touch to speak to our team – they’ll be happy to help you plan your getaway to the sunshine state!
Things to do on Anna Maria Island
There are lots of fun things to do on the island, ranging from the quaint and laid-lack to the downright pulse-raising! A great starting point if you want to explore the local area and experience the best of the great outdoors (which is pretty likely if you’re heading to Anna Maria Island), Fun and More Rentals is a top pick.
Here you can rent all sorts of beach supplies, vehicles and more, including boogie boards, parasols, bikes, sea kayaks, paddle boards and snorkel gear – whatever fun stuff you’re hankering for, they’ll deliver it straight to your accommodation! Want to head out with a professional? There’s no need to worry as there are lots of water sports companies on the island – walk down Pine Avenue (the main thoroughfare) and you’ll quickly find an operator.
Then there’s Seaduced Island Tours and Sailing, provider of tours around the islands in the area, alongside great dolphin tours the kids will love, and Anna Maria Beach, which is regularly home to stingrays, dolphins, soft sand and a range of lovely bars.
On the subject of beaches, at Anna Maria Island you’re spoilt. There’s the chilled Bean Point, the calm and clean Brandenton Beach, the shell-dotted Coquina Beach, or the huge Manatee Beach that stretches off into the sunset. Really – if you want to relax, this is the place to go.
Where to eat on Anna Maria Island
Days spent frolicking in warm, azure waters make for hungry stomachs, and thankfully there’s plenty for your taste buds to savour at this island hideaway.
For lunch, Ginny’s and Jane E’s Café and Coastal Store is a great choice, offering lots of fresh and delicious meals, sandwiches, salads and wraps, plus lots for people who don’t eat meat (for dessert, make sure to check out their delicious cinnamon rolls!). If you’d like slightly heartier fare, get a table at Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus on Holmes Beach, where you can enjoy crisp, cool German beer, crisp schnitzel, classic sausages and plenty more German dishes done right.
Then there’s the Blue Marlin Grill – home to all sorts of locally caught seafood treats in pretty and upscale surroundings – and the Waterfront Restaurant, which is well-known for changing its menu regularly in step with the local fishermen’s catches, and its particularly romantic setting.
For a chilled out brunch, head on over to Peach’s Restaurant which is well-known for its lovely comfort foods and hearty portions, and if you’re craving a wacky take on an American classic, make sure you factor a visit to the ever-popular Donut Experiment, where you can create crazy donut concoctions (they even do a Siriracha hot sauce donut!).
Where to shop on Anna Maria Island
Whatever sort of gift or lovely keepsake you’re hunting for on Anna Maria Island, there’s plenty of great stores and markets to splash your cash at, and given the island’s sleepy nature, walking around, window shopping and having a wander can be a really relaxing experience.
Solid souvenirs can be found at Anna Maria Rocks - home to fossils, shark teeth, crystals and jewellery – and Three Island Monkeys, where you can browse lots of local products and handicrafts. Heading for a day at the beach? Head on over to the Bridge Street Bazaar, where you can pick up all those must-have spades, bottles of sun cream, flip flops and more.
If you’re in the market for local art, there’s Bob Brown Art and its great array of abstract canvasses, the quirky Emerson’s Studio Store and The Studio at Gulf and Pine, which also doubles up as an arty events space and cookery class venue.
Last but not least, make sure to make time for a trip to the Beach Market at Coquina Beach, where there’s loads of flea market fun to enjoy on Wednesdays and Sundays.
For bigger stores, discount outlets and massive malls, the cities of Sarasota, Brandenton, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa are nearby too, giving you total choice over your holiday shopping plans.
Nightlife on Anna Maria Island
As you’d expect from a totally chilled-out island destination, there are plenty of places to kick back during the evening in Anna Maria.
In terms of bars, here, you’re spoilt for choice. Hurricane Hanks sports bar, the lively and music-filled Island Time Bar and Grill, Cortez Kitchen and its fun live entertainment, and the more nightclub-like Dcoy Ducks are all great fun, proving there’s plenty to enjoy after hours at this sleepy destination.
If you want to watch a game or play a round or two of pool, darts or pinball, take a trip to the Anchor Inn or Bortell’s Lounge, or for a classic seafront cocktail or beer while the sun sets, Bridge Tender Inn and Dockside Bar is a must-visit, regularly hosting live artists and more.
Want to find out more information about Anna Maria Island before you decide to book your trip to Florida? Simply contact our experts or head over to our blog, Secret Florida, to discover more about this lovely island and state.