How to Explore Anna Maria Island like a Local

How to Explore Anna Maria Island like a Local

Dreaming of a calm beach vacation with stunning sunshine and a relaxing breeze? Take a look at the picturesque Anna Maria Island, which lies on the coast of Manatee Island, Florida. The island has a wealth of activities to offer beyond the serene pleasure of the beaches. 

Discover charming, pastel-colored cottages that are home to unique boutique stores and galleries. It also attracts visitors from across the globe to soak in the relaxed atmosphere and feel the warmth of Anna Maria Island’s weather on your skin. Let’s take a deep dive exploring the beauties of this barrier island. . 

Where is Anna Maria Island located in Florida?

Situated in the western part of Florida’s Central Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island is engulfed by Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Intracoastal Waterway. The Island is nearly 40 miles south of Tampa, with the Sarasota-Bradenton airport being the nearest one to the Island. 

Anna Maria Island, Florida map

Things to do On Anna Maria Island

1. Have a Relaxing day at the Beaches

The island is known for its wonderful beaches, like Bean Point and Coquina Beach. Anna Maria Island weather is usually warm and bright, which is perfect for basking in the sun while relaxing on the sandy beaches. 

There are activities for everyone here, whether you prefer to lounge in the sun or take a stroll along the shore. While you are at the beach, remember to keep yourself hydrated and energized by sipping the fresh coconut water. 

2. Participate in Marine Wildlife Spotting Expeditions

It is an exciting experience to go on marine life-watching expeditions on Anna Maria Island. The island provides many opportunities to glimpse at the amazing marine ecology in their natural habitat. Exploring a diverse range of wildlife, such as sea turtles and playful manatees, along with dolphins, is a must. 

In addition, expertly guided tours offer insightful information about the island’s flora and fauna, adding to the experience and increasing the chances to witness some of the elusive or rare species. Don’t forget to pack up your sunscreen & diving suits for the best marine wildlife exploration experience! 

3. Watch the Sunset at Bean Point

Bean Point Beach, located on the island’s north shore, faces west and is famous for its stunning sunset views. The sunset lovers gather here on the beach to get mesmerized by the tangerine glow of the sunset.

A sense of calmness spreads across as the last of the daylight fades. It reveals a wonderful silhouette of the Bean Point. It’s a nature’s marvel to be grateful for and a moment that gets etched in the memory. If you ever find yourself on Anna Maria Island, make sure to visit Bean Point to see nature’s masterpiece.  

4. Visit the Rod & Reel Pier

Want to get a feel of Old Florida? Come and spend your time here at the Rod & Reel Pier. One of the most well-known Anna Maria Island restaurants, the Rod & Reel Pier, will give you the experience dining at a beach paradise.  

Although eating by the beach is popular here, you can really have lunch directly over the ocean. Savor a meal while admiring the stunning vista where the wide Gulf meets the ocean breeze.

5. Enjoy Leisure time at Coquina Baywalk

Located across Coquina Beach, The Coquina Baywalk is a one-mile stretch that offers a chance to explore Florida’s outdoors for free! This bay walk brings you close to the natural beauty of Florida

Hiking trails with observation decks tucked away in the mangroves provide fantastic views of the bay. When you come across this place, make sure that you have your best camera to capture moments. There is a route lined with natural trees where you can jog or walk. 

6. Explore the Bridge street

Explore the historic bridge street, with a fishing pier, the bay and harbor, as well as the clock tower. The local pier, boutiques along the beach, restaurants with a Floridian flair, farmers’ markets, and town activities are just a few of the many attractions in this neighborhood.

There are numerous art exhibitions and activities throughout the year. Along the route to the pier are Bridge Street Jewelers, Sea Salt Boutique, and a fudge shop. Your evening schedule is sorted once you put Bridge Street in your travel itinerary.  

7. Attend local festivals and events

Attending the local events of Anna Maria Island will help you in getting to know the place better. If you are on the island in Spring, you can attend the Springfest art festival, Cortez fishing festival, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well.

In summer, you get to see the Anna Maria Privateers Day parade, where people are dressed in pirate-like costumes. During fall and winter, attending the Bayfest and New Year’s Eve fireworks offers you  a memory that you’ll cherish forever.

Best Places to Stay 

While there are many things to do on the island, you must find a home away from home, at the Anna Maria Island hotels. 

1. Anna Maria Beach Resort

Enjoy visiting beaches while staying at the Anna Maria Beach Resort. The resort offers a variety of lodging options, all of which are intended to create a welcoming ambiance, from comfortable beachside cottages to spacious suites. 

Every need and preference is entertained, whether you’re planning a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or traveling solo. Apart from its picturesque location, the Anna Maria Island Resorts provides many facilities, such as a swimming pool, a seaside bar and grill, and beach chairs and umbrellas. 

2. Water Villas & Marina, Autograph Collection

This resort is located at Holmes Beach, which is a 5-minute walk from Anna Maria Island. It provides 4-star accommodation along with a private parking space, an outdoor swimming pool, and bikes for exploration.

With a terrace and access to free wi-fi, you can enjoy the view while you are on a work-cation. Moreover, with the availability of a delightful American breakfast and a bar, you can spend a gala time with your loved ones by relaxing in the resort!

3. Lido Beach Resort

Lido Beach Resort offers visitors amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico from its gorgeous coastline location. The resort offers luxurious accommodations, suites, and rooms that are perfect for comfort and relaxation. 

Moreover, the resort offers a variety of delicious dining alternatives to suit diverse tastes and preferences. For a well-rounded vacation experience, Lido Beach Resort also offers activities like a spa, recreational facilities, and a fitness center along with a beachside bar and three hot tubs.

4. The resort at Longboat Key Club

Located on Anna Maria Island, the Resort at Longboat Key Club is lavish with five restaurants, a full-service spa, and a hot tub-equipped gulf-front pool. Along with free wi-fi accessibility, guests can also enjoy playing tennis and loosening up their bodies by getting a massage. 

Diners can enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico while savoring breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring fresh steaks and seafood. The resort’s culinary options suit all tastes, whether it’s a family get-together or a romantic supper for two.  

5. Airbnb(s)

One of the best examples of Anna Maria Island rentals is the Airbnbs. Here, vacationing offers an unforgettable experience. There is something for everyone, from opulent waterfront mansions to quaint beach cottages. 

On the Island, a lot of Airbnb hosts take pleasure in offering unique touches and recommendations from the community to make sure visitors have an amazing time. It provides guests with spacious living areas, well-equipped kitchens, and often private pools or beach access, making them feel like home away from home. 

Exploring Just Like A Local

1. The Island Trolley

You can traverse the island easily using the Island trolley. Starting at 6 a.m., the trolley on Anna Maria Island runs until 10:30 p.m.. Up until 9 p.m., it stops at 20-minute intervals. During the last 90 minutes, it stops every 30 minutes. There are trolley stops around every two to four blocks.

Moreover, there are nine pick-up locations. To find the closest bus stop, ask a local or the place where you’re staying for directions. Running all days of the week, hopping on the trolley will let you roam around some of the famous spots on the island. 

2. Bike Rentals

One of the top things to do when you are on the island is to explore Anna Maria Island through bicycle rentals. After all, you are on vacation, and exploring the island on a bike has its own perks. 

With your 180-degree view, eliminate parking stress, and even stretch some muscles. Moreover, it will also save you some bucks when you choose to rent a bike over cabs. 

3. Golf Carts

Renting a golf cart to explore Anna Maria Island is an exciting way to have fun. A golf cart’s small size makes it easy to maneuver through tight spaces and find some hidden treasures. 

Furthermore, you can also book the golf carts online by selecting the rental date and completing the booking process. Once done, the operators will contact you for confirmation and cover all the details. 

4. Boat Rentals

Renting a boat and exploring Anna Maria Island’s beautiful seas must be on yourto-do list. Whether you are looking for beaches or fishing places, renting a boat gives you the flexibility to explore the waters at your own speed and time. Your spirit of adventure awaits you on Anna Maria Island, whether it’s an exciting day of water activities or a calm cruise.

End Words

Embracing the island’s calm vibe and natural beauty allows you to make sincere connections and build enduring experiences. Whether it be through dining on delicious seafood at neighborhood restaurants, wandering along beaches, or shopping at stores. Moreover, going around Anna Maria Island by golf cart and bike rental has its own fun and charm. So, do away with the wait and fly off to Anna Maria Island this summer!

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