Looking for a Tampa Bay Vacation Spot? Anna Maria Island Awaits!

A vacation isn’t truly a vacation unless you are willing to step off the beaten path and try something new and exciting. The good news is that you do not have to go very far to experience the adventure of a lifetime.

Anna Maria Island is one of the most underrated vacation spots in Florida. Located less than an hour-long journey from either the Orlando international airport or the Tampa International airport, this small barrier island is home to beautiful beaches, such as Holmes beach and Coquina beach, and incredible sunrises.

It is easy to reach this Manatee County Island using the Florida Intracoastal waterway, or take a leisurely boat ride to the Anna Maria city pier or the Bimini bay.

Thanks to the full backing of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, this small island is quickly growing into a favored tourist destination just a half-hour drive along Tampa bay Blvd. or Gulf drive from the three cities of Longboat Key, Manasota Key, and Siesta Key.

With lots of local wildlife, a fishing village, the popular Holmes beach, and a wide range of art galleries open, Anna Maria Island has something for everyone!

Explore Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria IslandJust 30 minutes is all it will take to get from Sarasota airport to Anna Maria Island, and once you land you will have a host of great outdoor activities around the island. Whether you want to walk on a beautiful beach, relax on the fishing pier, or take a short boat trip to one of the adjacent islands, the choice is yours.

You will fall in love with the old Florida appeal of the island thanks to the strict rules regarding the types of buildings that can be constructed on Anna Maria Island. Its convenient location on the southern mouth of Tampa bay makes it a hidden gem in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the best things about Anna Maria Island is the excellent cuisine from the many chain restaurants on the island. Setting up some picnic tables on your favorite beach, such as Holmes beach, and enjoying some fresh salsa is just one of the many fun things to do on Anna Maria Island.

If you would rather spend some time on the green, Anna Maria Island has the famous Key Royale golf club for you to enjoy.

Bradenton Beach Has Some Great Food!

Bradenton BeachFrom the northern to the southern end of Bradenton beach, you can enjoy some of the best fresh seafood on Anna Maria Island. With a mixture of fresh produce and local flavors, the beach restaurants offer some of the best-tasting food for the whole family.

You can enjoy some delicious grouper tacos while listening to live music on the beach to make your next vacation an unforgettable one.

Awesome Shopping at Holmes Beach

Shopping at Holmes BeachHolmes beach is not only famous for its awesome sunsets but also has some of the best shopping on the entire Anna Maria Island. You will not be able to resist grabbing a free trolley and strolling into a gift shop along Manatee avenue or pine avenue.

Holmes beach brings all the great shops, restaurants, and popular attractions in one place for you to enjoy hassle-free.

The Home of Pristine Beaches!

Pristine BeachesManatee county is well known for its beautiful beaches. If you are looking for the best beach in the Florida Keys, chances are it will be a Manatee public beach. Anna Maria Island, on the north end of the Gulf of Mexico, has many such beaches to choose from, such as:

  • Holmes beach
  • Bradenton beach
  • George Emerson Bean Point beach
  • Coquina beach
  • Cortez beach

Many Things To Do on This Beautiful Island

There are so many other things for you to enjoy on Anna Maria Island besides shopping and eating, such as:

A Sunset Cruise Around the Historic Island

Sunset Cruise Around the Historic IslandOne of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Anna Maria Island is from the deck of a boat a few minutes before sunset. If you are going to take your significant other on vacation, this is by far the most romantic setting you can ever experience.

Visit Leffis Key Preserve

If you love sea turtles then you should not pass up the opportunity to visit Leffis Key Reserve. Here you will find all manner of wildlife, some of which are indigenous to Manatee county.

Go Snorkeling in the Sarasota Bay

One of the things the Anna Maria Island municipality has worked hard to maintain is the cleanliness of its beaches and sea. The fruits of their labors are evident when you go snorkeling in the crystal-clear water that surrounds the barrier island.

If you do not feel like snorkeling, there are other ways to enjoy the Anna Maria Island sea, such as taking advantage of the kayak rentals (if you do not have your own kayak) and heading out into the open water.

There are also lots of sea life boat tours that last for 30 minutes or more where you can learn a lot about the wonderful flora and fauna of Anna Maria Island. Two of the most popular attraction on these tours are the dolphins and manatees which have been known to make a regular appearance.

Walk Along the Historic Bridge Street

Historic Bridge StreetAnna Maria Island has a lot of history and much of it can be experienced by just walking down University parkway. The historic green village, for example, can be found along Pine avenue and is a source of a lot of information about how Anna Maria Island came to be.

Many of the buildings on Anna Maria Island are over 100 years old, which offers a very interesting glimpse into the past. Apart from old buildings, you can also visit the clock tower or the skyway bridge along Bridge street.

The Fishing Village of Cortez

Head over to the reel pier in Cortex village and enjoy some of the best fishing on the entire Anna Maria Island. With some luck, you can hook yourself some fresh seafood for supper!

Anna Maria Island: A Fantastic Local Attraction on the Northern Tip of Longboat Pass!

If pristine beaches and crystal-clear water sounds like the perfect vacation, visit Anna Maria Island and get a taste of what the Florida Keys are all about!

Chris is a Midwest Transplant that has lived in South Florida since 1999. While he likes to remain active and is an avid sports enthusiast, he's become our go-to provider of reviews of any establishment serving food and booze!