Anna Maria Island: Things To Do Beyond The Beaches
Anna Maria Island has plenty of appealing restaurants and bars and cute shops with apparel and decorative items.
One of the most popular districts is Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, just south of the causeway to Cortez. Parking is hard to find.
This small entertainment district is located on the bayfront, anchored by a free fishing pier with fantastic views across the water to the fishing village of Cortez. A few of the buildings on Bridge Street are 80 to 100 years ago and lend an Old Florida ambiance. In the middle of the block is a lushly landscaped garden that turns out to be a compact miniature golf range, probably a fun evening activity.
On the bay side of the island, youll find another free fishing pier, the Anna Maria City Pier, 100 N Bay Blvd. Newly rebuilt in 2020 after hurricane damage, there is a cafe at the end that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can get ice cream, beer or wine. Heres the menu.
From many locations you can also arrange to get out on the water in various ways. There are dolphin-spotting tours, fishing charters, parasailing, sunset tours, jet skis and kayak rentals.
One bucket-list activity: Riding a horse into the water along a sandbar. The location is 20 minutes from Anna Maria Island. Theres more information, including a video, at this story on horseback riding on Florida beaches.
The Sunrises And Sunsets Are Incredibly Beautiful
The sunsets at Anna Maria Island are some of the best Ive seen in Florida. Even cloudy sunsets are prettier than most! But the great thing about Anna Maria Island is that its an island, which means you can catch both the sunrise AND the sunset if youd like. The Rod n Reel Pier located at the north end of the island is a great spot to catch the sunrise, and The Kokonut Hut is perfect for catching the sunset while you sip on a beachy cocktail.
Anna Maria Island: The Essentials
Anna Maria Island is seven miles long and there are three communities on it: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and at the northern tip, the municipality of Anna Maria Island. Its all lovely, but the island gets maybe a bit more charming in the upper section that is Anna Maria Island.
The island is connected to Bradenton on the mainland by two bridges. To the south, a bridge takes you to Longboat Key, and about 11 miles south, to Sarasota.
Anna Maria Island does lack one thing that we crave: parking. But that lack of parking is probably one reason for Anna Maria Islands character.
Visitors staying on the island are encouraged to leave their car parked and take the free trolley which runs from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every 20 minutes from the Anna Maria City Pier on the north to Coquina Beach on the south. View the map and schedule of the Manatee Trolley on Anna Maria Island.
All three public beaches have free parking, but Anna Maria Island fills up quickly on pretty weekend days, with traffic sometimes lined up on the waterfront Gulf Drive. There is also some street parking, but never enough for demand.
The universal advice on finding parking on Anna Maria Island: Get there early.
Anna Maria Island: Things to do include walking around Bean Point, where the beach narrows and the view is spectacular.
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Buttonwood Inlet Rv Resort
In the quaint fishing village of Cortez, Buttonwood Inlet RV Resort is less than a mile east of Bradenton Beach, the southernmost of Anna Maria Islands three communities and accessible directly via the southern bridge from the mainland. The small beach town has a number of excellent restaurants, many of which specialize in locally harvested seafood. This resort has more than six dozen campsites, all with full hookups and reserved exclusively for RVs. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, recreation hall with TV lounge and game room, coin laundry, picnic pavilion, boat ramp, restrooms and dump station.
Check Out The Best Anna Maria Island Camping Rentals Today
Anna Maria Island is a gorgeous barrier island on the incredible Gulf Coast, which makes the ideal vacation destination for any glamper looking for rest and relaxation. Head to beaches such as Manatee Beach Park for endless stretches of sand, or to the old-fashioned Bean Point Beach on the north end of the island. The Anna Maria Bayfront Park has astounding panoramas of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway which merit a visit. In town, enjoy the charming Pine Avenue with its variety of stores, galleries, and eateries, or check out the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum, which even includes a restored 1920 cottage. You can also try out horseback riding, golf, kayaking, boating, and much more. Book Anna Maria Island camping rentals today and don’t miss out on a second of luxury.
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Made To Order Donuts Need I Say More
I owe the discovery of The Donut Experiment to my grandpa, whos insatiable sweet tooth led him to this donut shop multiple times several winters ago. Instead of walking in and picking pre-made donuts, you fill out an order card to choose your custom toppings. Then your order is made fresh right before your eyes and delivered shortly thereafter. Bonus: the coffee is equally delicious.
The secret is definitely out about this place, so arrive early or expect to wait in a bit of a line. Either way, its totally worth it.
Recommended flavor creations: vanilla glaze with Oreos, chocolate glaze with rainbow sprinkles, chocolate glaze with peanut butter, and sea salt caramel.
The Best All Rigs Rv Park On The Gulf Coast
The Cove is situated in the historic fishing village of Cortez on SR 684 3/4 mile from quaint Anna Maria Island and its 8 miles of beaches. From our private marina, the park is a 7-minute boat cruise via Palma Sola Canal, direct to the Intra-Coastal Waterway which connects Tampa Bay to Sarasota Bay. The canal has 36 slips with docks for mooring water craft and on shore fishing. The condominium based RV resort consists of 97 full hook up sites with 30 / 50-amp with 20 sites having a canal view.
Its ideal location on the Sun Coast of Florida provides year-round holiday enjoyment of the coastal water activities and cultural attractions. Museums, baseball, golfing, aquariums, stage shows, seasonal festivals, opera and symphony. Hundreds of restaurants and bars are at the beck and call a half-dozen are within walking distance of the park. Amenities of the park include: lounge, laundry, heated pool, complimentary WIFI & cable TV. The park coordinates social events for the enjoyment of owners and renters alike. The Cove is where people come to have a great time with friends.
Parking In Anna Maria
When you rent a motorhome in Anna Maria you will need someplace to park it for the night. The Anna Maria area caters to out-of-town visitors. Both vacationers and snowbirds are welcome.
Winter Quarters Manatee RV is located less than 45 minutes away in Bradenton, The park offers a clubhouse, fitness center, library, and game room. There is also a swimming pool and areas for fishing. Fido is welcome here as well.
Royal Coachman RV Resort is perfect for your luxury RV rental from Anna Maria. This South Florida RV Park offers a fitness center, hiking trails, WiFi, and full hookups for your RV. A swimming pool, hot showers, and laundry facilities are also provided. The park is both pet and kid friendly, making this a great place for a family vacation.
Lake Manatee State Park, a state-owned facility is another option. The park offers 30 amp electric hookups for your RV, access to Lake Manatee, and a space for tent camping. Enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. This is also a great place to view wildlife.
Should you need a quick overnight stay, consider Walmart, truck stops, or larger grocery stores. There are several Walmarts located within 30 miles of town and camping may be allowed at these locations. Just check with the manager to get permission before you park for the night. Being located near Sarasota and Palmetto, RV rental near Anna Maria is common, therefore, you should be able to get great amenities.
Campgrounds Near Anna Maria Island Florida
Miles of uncrowded white sand beaches, an infectious laid-back vibe and a conspicuous lack of flashy high-rise hotels give Anna Maria Island an appeal thats increasingly hard to find among Floridas beach resort areas. Seven miles long, Anna Maria is a barrier island off the central west coast of Florida near Bradenton. Although the island has no camping areas, five campgrounds — all but one for RVs only — lie within a 16-mile drive of Anna Maria.
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The Free Trolley Offers The Perfect Way To Get Around
It took me awhile to ride the trolley because for the longest time, I didnt know it was free! To catch the trolley, just look for a trolley stop sign on the main roads and you wont have to wait more than 20 minutes or so for a trolley to come through.
Catch a ride all the way from Coquina Beach to the City Pier and hop on and off at any designated stop. The trolley is a great way to get around instead of driving from place to place.
Historic Arcadia Antique Shopping
A secret to most, Arcadia has a rich history of cattle-raising, which means it also had and continues to have a large contingent of cowboys, known locally as Florida Crackers . Located just 35 minutes east of our campground, Arcadia sits in the middle of Florida cowboy country and it is a place where the Old West meets the Old South. Rodeos and other competitions in Arcadia are common. Arcadia is also known for its peaceful orange groves, streams built for canoeing, and it’s historic main street filled with antique stores and restaurants. Downtown Arcadia is quaint and compact, comprised mostly of one main avenue Oak Steet surrounded by a cluster of early 1900s buildings, most of which were built after a 1905 fire and damaged 100 years later by Hurricane Charley. Few hints of destruction remain, though some resilient shopkeepers and bar and restaurant owners are glad to share their stories of survival.The area comes alive on Saturdays, particularly on the fourth Saturday of each month, when more than 100 antique dealers roll up and set up tables around a four-block district. During winter and spring months, thousands of curious collectors might arrive, sifting through military weapons, comic books, Depression glass, silverware sets, artwork, stamps, dolls you name it, you’ll probably find it here.
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Campgrounds In Anna Maria Island Florida
Native Americans and Spanish explorers visited Anna Maria island first, but it wasnt until 1892 that the first permanent resident occupied the seven-mile barrier island. Anna Maria is one in a string of islands on Floridas west side that stretch from Tampa Bay all the way south to the Florida Keys along the Gulf of Mexico. The island includes the cities of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria and Holmes Beach. While no campgrounds exist on the island itself, several campgrounds in nearby cities offer RV and tent campsites.
Camping Neat Anna Maria Island
So, I’m wondering are there any nice campgrounds near Anna Maria Island?
Tent camping or an RV. There is a beautiful RV park on Cortez Rd. just before the bridge to the island.
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There Are No High Rise Hotels Or Tacky Tourist Shops
What you wont find on Anna Maria Island: kitschy shops selling a bunch of tourist junk, high-rise hotels, enormous condo complexes, and overcrowded beaches.
What you will find: cute and colorful bungalows, locally owned eateries, small boutique hotels, beach rentals, and oodles of small beach town charm. While tourism has made an impact on the island, and fewer locals live there each year, the island does keep its authenticity fully intact.
If youre looking to take home a few souvenirs, ride your bike or catch a ride on the trolley to Pine Avenue on the north end of the island. Here youll find cute shops and eateries. You can even paint your own sand dollar at Shiny Fish Emporium for $15.
Beach Cocktails And Craft Cocktails
Picture this: youre sitting underneath your own personal tiki hut table, staring out at white sands and calm, clear water, wondering how life can get any better. And then a key lime colada materializes on the table in front of you, the perfect cool treat to end a wonderful day. This is life at The Kokonut Hut.
While the quintessential island tiki bar is a given at any beach destination, the craft cocktail bar, The Doctors Office, hidden on Anna Maria Island takes your island cocktail crawl to the next level. Cure what ails you with a blackberry Rumble, or enjoy the sinfully-sweet Bees Knees.
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The Food Scene Has More To Offer Than Beach Dives And Casual Eateries
Good food is a requirement in my travels, but beach towns arent always hot spots for foodies. However thats not the case on Anna Maria Island. Apart from typical tiki bars and beachy dives, the island has much to offer.
Dine with your toes in the sand at Sandbar Restaurant as you indulge in the freshest seafood in a classy beach setting. Waterfront Restaurant serves creative, approachable, and fresh dishes in an upscale setting without managing to be stuffy OR overpriced.
And if youre going for ambiance and top-notch eats, pop on over to Longboat Key to Mar Vista Restaurant. Theyve got an incredible outdoor seating area on the bay with twinkling outdoor lights and waterfront tables. I recommend the Caribbean grouper or poke bowl!
Check out my Foodie Guide to Anna Maria Island for tons of dining recommendations.
Anna Maria Island Things To Do: Pick A Beach Theyre All Great
The Gulf-front beaches are about as outstanding as you can find in Florida. The sand is powdery and blindingly white it squeaks when you walk on it. You can find seashells here, as well as spot dolphin right off shore. There are hundreds of shorebirds. The water is clear and aquamarine.
My favorite place on Anna Maria Island is Bean Point, the beach at the northern tip of the island, where you can walk around the end of the island and gaze out at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay and wild Egmont Key, a state park and national wildlife refuge accessible only by boat at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
On Thanksgiving Day, we headed to the northern tip of the island and found a parking space on the street near a beach access point. The beach was filled with families building sand castles, people strolling or stretched out on lounge chairs. We walked around Bean Point and paused to sit on a bench in the shade
The main beaches, all with lifeguards and free parking are:
Manatee Public Beach, 4000 State Road 64 and Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, which has on-site food and beverages, picnic tables and beach gear for rent.
Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach, located at the southern end of Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach. Some say this is the least crowded beach. On Sundays, a craft market spreads out under the shade trees at Coquina Beach. There are picnic tables, grills, a walking trail and concessions.
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Welcome To The Bradenton / Hunsader Farms Koa
Forty five minutes east of the nations best beaches, we are a campground in rural Bradenton known for its farmland. Camp out in the country on a 50+ year old family owned farm and enjoy the peace and quiet of the wilderness of Florida. Close to two State Parks, a rope course, and other activities to enjoy, we also have an onsite petting zoo, produce market, pick your own veggies, and more! Come stay with us to get Florida’s best of both worlds: the beaches and the countryside!
Welcome To Cortez Park A Resident Owned Water Front Community
Welcome to Cortez Park, one of the Gulf Coast’s BEST Value in a Florida Waterfront Community. It is located in one of the last Florida Fishing Villages. We are a 55 plus Park, pet friendly 86-Unit Resident Owned Cooperative. Currently we have a select few homes for sale including the share price located on the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterway . Cortez Park situated on 5.5 acres and is only a short walk over the Cortez bridge to Anna Maria Islands beautiful white sand beaches. The Island offers many great restaurants with local seafood and unique shops. Our laid back lifestyle is perfect for that retirement or vacation home you have always dreamed of but felt you could not afford.
Due to the high demand for our properties we currently do not have any homes for rent or sale at this time.
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