Anna Maria Island Travel Guide
by Robyn Adams
Anna Maria Island is an island get-away in the waiting! It is a seven mile stretch of land with soft white sands that bring travellers back year after year. Explore the many award-winning cafes and restaurants - all biking or walking distance away - rest, relax and watch the wildlife including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphin and birds ranging from the wild parrots, cranes, herons and sandpipers. Located less than two hours from Orlando/Walt Disney, an hour from Tampa and 30 minutes from Sarasota, Anna Maria Island has been called a \"Hidden Gem\" for all that this sleepy island has to offer in culture and tourism. A perfect piece of \"Old Florida\" for your next beach vacation adventure. Anna Maria Island has six Beaches, Anna Maria Beach, Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach, Holmes Beach, and Manatee Beach. Come stay in one of our vacation rentals and dream the night away.
Anna Maria Island, sometimes called Anna Maria Key, is a barrier island-seven miles of paradise - locatated between Tampa and Sarasota, Florida. It is bordered on the west by the Gulf of Mexico and on the north by Tampa Bay. Anna Maria Island was first dicovered by the Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes and then later by Spanish explorers in the name of the Spanish crown. George Emerson Bean became the first permanent resident on the Island in 1892. Emerson homesteaded much of what the City of Anna Maria is today. The developement of the Island\'s Anna Maria Beach Company began in the early 1900\'s-laying out the streets, sidewalks, houses and water systems. For years, the only way to the island was by boat. In 1921 a wooden bridge was built. The western end of the original bridge can been seen at the Bradenton Beach fishing pier. The island goverment of Anna Maria takes great pride in preserving and caring for the history and developement of their \"Island in the Sun.\"
On Anna Maria Island, relaxation is a must and no car is required. A free island trolley is available for transportation all over the island so it\'s visitors can find true rest, as well as all the best that the island has to offer! Anna Maria is a place where islanders take serious enjoyment in roof-top sunsets and morning strolls for shells along the beach. The island has way more than a handfull of appetite satisfying bistros, pubs, cafes and ice cream shops to make eating out on vacation fun and exciting. The area offers quaint beach shops and outlet malls for those travellers who must shop til they drop! In fact, the shopping options are unending with the cities of Sarasota and Tampa Bay between 30 and 60 minutes away. Spend a day at Disney World, Busch Gardens, Mote Marine, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Museums, botanical gardens, or state parks. Sports fans will love the peace and relaxation of the island coupled with the convenience of being within reach of watching their favorite sports teams play live from the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Fields in Bradenton to baseball s legendary Pirates, Red Sox, Tampa Devil Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lighting. The local area offers close to 50 golf courses - from executive par threes to challenging championship 18 hole courses. Last but not least, the outdoor enthusiast can take advantage of the many adventures of Anna Maria-biking, boating, parasailing, up close deep sea fishing experiences and much more. Come see why Anna Maria has been found to be a hidden gem and plan to have a vacation to remember! For more information, vistit the Chamber of Commerce: http://www.annamariaislandchamber.org