Located just west of the Manatee County coast, Anna Maria Island is seven miles of vacation paradise. The island had humble beginnings and was primarily used by nautical types. However, a bridge connecting Anna Maria Island to Florida was constructed during the 1920s. This led to a huge increase in traffic from the mainland to the island. As more and more tourists began to visit the area it also attracted notable business owners. It wasn’t long before the Anna Maria Key became one of the leading tourist destinations in the state.
Why Anna Maria Island?
Florida is surrounded by numerous islands on all sides. But there is something about Anna Maria that makes it one of the best. The island manages to appeal to people of all sorts. This includes tourists as well as nearby locals, business owners, artists, and leaders in fields of science like marine biology. Whether it’s the natural beauty, the impressive resorts, or the local wildlife; Anna Maria has something to offer everyone.
Despite being such a popular destination, Anna Maria has always been one of the more affordable tourist destinations in the area. You’ll have access to beautiful beaches, well-maintained vacation rentals, and countless local events, but without paying as much as you would at most other tourist hot spots in the state. And you can further save by booking your stay during a time other than peak season.
Many people flock to Anna Maria for the same reason they visit other keys in the area: perfect weather. You can expect pleasant weather at any time of the year as long as you plan your trip to avoid any possible storms. Even the coldest months rarely drop below a pleasant 74 degrees. And if you like the iconic Florida sun, then plan a trip during August or September when the temperature stays in the high 80’s.
Which Airport For Anna Maria Island
At only 7 miles long, Anna Maria Island isn’t nearly large enough for a full-sized airport. As a matter of fact, until the bridge was built during the 1920s, it was only possible to reach the island by boat. There are now two bridges that connect the island to the mainland. There’s only a single main road that runs from north-to-south on the island. That road is also served by a trolley-style bus that connects to the Manatee County transit system on the mainland.
If you’re visiting from out-of-state, then you’ll probably want to take a plane and then either rent a car or rely on the local transit system. The small size of the island makes renting a vehicle unnecessary. But if you do plan on renting a car, then you should do so at the airport you where you land because they tend to have the best rates.
The three airports that most people use to reach Anna Maria Island are the Orlando International Airport(MCO), the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport(SRQ), and the Tampa International Airport(TPA). The closest of the three airports is the SRQ. It’s only a thirty-minute drive for most people.
The MCO airport is roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes away, but the drive to the island is filled with many of Florida‘s best attractions. It’s a great option if you want to fully enjoy your trip. TPA can be considered a halfway point between these two. The drive takes around an hour and you’ll get to pass over the Skyway bridge.
Where To Stay In Anna Maria Island?
As with most tourist hot spots, many visitors make the mistake of paying big dollars to stay at local resorts. In reality, the best places to stay are the local vacation rentals maintained by their owners. They are in excellent condition, have access to great amenities, and you get to enjoy your stay from within a beautiful house instead of a cramped hotel room.
You can use the FindRentals website to locate all of the best vacation home rentals in Anna Maria Island area. FindRentals has become a leader in the vacation rental industry. They bring together local property owners and vacation rental managers so that you don’t have to waste time finding them all. They also guarantee the best possible rates on the rentals.
They currently have more than 200 vacation rentals available in the area and their list is always expanding. You can search through their listings using a variety of criteria. Do you need a 5 bedroom house that can sleep 12 people? Would you prefer a smaller 2 bedroom house with a luxurious pool? Or maybe you want a house that is directly on the beach? You can find all of these options and more on Anna Maria Island by using the FindRentals website.
Where To Eat Anna Maria Island?
Once you figure out where you want to stay and how you’re going to get there it’s time to plan out your itinerary. Luckily, there are a lot of things to do, a lot of attractions to see, and a lot of great places to eat on the island. Here are a few of the most popular restaurants in Anna Maria.
If you like the idea of enjoying a meal at a cozy French diner, then the French Table is perfect for you. It has a very intimate setting with authentic French and European dishes. The ambiance is incredible and it has become a favorite restaurant among tourists who want to enjoy a fine meal while watching the sunset.
When it comes to lunch on the island, nobody can argue that Ginny’s and Jane E’s Cafe and Coastal Store is the best. It’s the perfect spot if you’re looking for a taste of local cuisine at affordable prices. They offer some of the best sandwiches and beer that you’ll find anywhere on the island. Chances are, you’ll find yourself eating here more than once during your stay.
One of the great things about Anna Maria Island is that it brings together so many flavors from around the world. The Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus is a great example of this. It might be one of the best places to go for German and Austrian food in the entire state. Most of their dishes are difficult to pronounce, such as the Gulaschsuppe and the kartoffelpuffer, but they taste incredible. And you can finish your meal with the best apple strudel you’ve ever eaten.
It’s just not right to visit an island without trying out a local seafood restaurant. That’s why Eat Here should be near the top of the list of places to eat. Their name shows just how confident they are and they’ve earned it. Much of their food is sourced locally and priced affordably.
Things To Do Anna Maria Island
Finally, it’s time to take a look at some of the best attractions, activities, and events on the Island. We promise that there’s enough to do to keep you busy from the moment that you arrive. And if you aren’t out enjoying the local scenery then you can relax in your beautiful vacation rental.
If you love the water and don’t mind heights, then parasailing is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the beach. The waters at Anna Maria are so clear that you’ll see just as much from up high as you do from on the surface. That includes dolphins and other wildlife as well. There are several parasailing services in the area, including Bradenton Beach Parasailing, which has been in the business for more than two decades.
There’s no golf course directly on the island, but there are several just on the other side of the bridge. You should take time to visit as many of them as possible if you’re a fan of golf. The closest option is the Bradenton Country Club, which is just about a ten-minute drive from the island. It features eighteen holes as well as a variety of additional activities.
There’s no better time than now to start planning your trip to Anna Maria Island. There are plenty of great places to eat, things to do, and rental properties to stay at. It’s obvious why the island is one of the top tourist destinations in the country.
The Fish Hole Miniature Golf
I love miniature golf and I have to say that one of the favorite courses that I have ever played is the Fish Hole Miniature Golf. While the course is not as challenging as I have seen in some of the others I have played in the past, it is definitely a course that will give you a headache if you are not used to playing. The best part is the theme here really goes along with the setting that is in the area. Not to mention, the way the holes are laid out and the decorations can really make you feel like you are at home. No matter what, this is one place that is always a fun time.
Anna Maria Island Historical Society
I always love exploring the history of a place that I am traveling to. Yes, you can call me weird if you would like to, but I have always enjoyed the history and how a place has changed over time. With that being the case it is difficult to find some of the places histories at times. This is when I contact the local historical society for the region. When I contacted the Anna Maria Island historical society I was shocked as how much information they were able to give me and when they could not find the answer right away, they did some research and found the answer. All I have to say is I love this place and the history is amazing.
I am not made of money and that often means that I am excluded from some of the amazing resort experiences. However, I do have one thing to say that if you are in Anna Maria region, then you will fall in love with the public beach. Yes, the beach does not have the attendants to walk out and get your drinks for you, but it is a beach that does have some of the best spots to pick from if you want to lay down and enjoy yourself. At the same time, though, because of where you are I found that everyone is very friendly and we all just want the same thing to enjoy the crisp water and the sandy beach.