Anna Maria Island Travel Guide, secret spots & seven miles of pure tropical paradise!

Anna Maria Island Travel Guide

Another one of Florida’s hidden gems, Anna Maria Island (locals refer to it as AMI) is a place to get away from it all. With its majestic pristine beaches and stunning sunsets, this barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico is extraordinarily unique and inviting to not only visitors but locals enjoy it as well. AMI is unique in that while the island receives its share of beach goers, it still offers a charming old Florida feel. So here is a travel guide for visiting Anna Maria Island, seven miles of pure tropical beach paradise!

While the state of Florida in general already brings an influx of visitors, Anna Maria Island is no exception. Whether a romantic honeymoon getaway or a peaceful secluded retreat, AMI will have you yearning to discover more.

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Anna Maria Island welcome sign

The three cities that make up part of AMI include Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and the city of Anna Maria. Here are the beaches of AMI which include Bradenton Beach (Coquina Beach), Manatee Beach, and Bean Point Beach. You will discover that each one has its own characteristics, look, and feel.

The island has become a favorite place for tourists and local to enjoy and experience, yet it still has its wonderful Florida charm. This is because of the building code restrictions here, AMI does not allow high rises or chain restaurants. They have worked hard at keeping the laid back island beach vibes intact and maintaining its small beach town feel.

Bradenton Beach

This beach area is slightly narrowly than the other coastlines that ride along AMI. The thing that makes this area unique is the shellfish burrowed in the sand. The several shells washing up on shore and occasionally you may even find shark teeth. You will find this beach more at the southern part of AMI.

Manatee Beach

Situated at the end of Manatee Avenue, continue west along State Road 64 and you will end up directly into the parking lot. A sight for sore eyes, the beach here also sometimes referred to as Holmes Beach, has many amenities to enjoy. Take advantage of the large convenient parking lot and large concessions including a shop, restrooms, and sometimes music on the weekends. Additionally, you may encounter amazing sand sculpture events here during high peak season. Take a moment to observe the seascape street art murals.

Manatee Beach Anna Maria Island concessions and murals
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Ocean life murals Manatee Beach

Bean Point

This hidden gem is considered a secret spot on AMI and not real obvious to find.  Bean Point is an area located at the very northern tip of the island and is so unique when you experience this spot. It also holds as much beauty as it does history along with it. In 1892, George Emerson Bean founded Anna Maria Island and began the plans of development with his son. He would make his home on the most northern area tip made up of 160 acres.

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Bean Point the tip of Anna Maria Island

When visiting the Bean Point area, you may notice dozens of pelicans and sea birds falling from the sky diving for fish! It truly is a site to see. Another unique feature of this beach is that you can actually see the changing tides of the water. The waves, currents and rip tides can be strong at this beach; so many folks may simply come and just enjoy the views of the subtle sand dunes and lovely pink sunsets.

Visitor Travel Tip: Parking.

Parking on Anna Maria Island can be a little tricky. They are no real parking lots on the island, however, at the north part of the island near Rod and Reel Pier is a beach park with restrooms, picnic tables, and some parking spots. Some of the streets on AMI are open for public parking of which you may see signs that clearly state No parking on this side of the street. If you do park along one of the neighborhood streets, make sure your tires are completely off the street. You will receive a ticket if even a small portion of your tire is on the payment/roadside.

Now, since you are enjoying the beach life of Anna Maria Island and these white sparkling beaches, there’s more here! I have made many visits to AMI and so I am sharing a list of activities that you may wish to explore.

  1. Enjoy a visit to Anna Maria Island on a rainy day stop. One of the most unique and beautiful beach scenes is a cloudy, sometimes stormy day. But please be care and be on the lookout for lightening.
  2. Bicycle the Island. There are several bike rentals on the island. Doing the island in this manner allows you to discover the true relaxed nature of the island. You may notice all the beautiful cottages, the foliage, colorful flowers, and all the nature around the island.
  3. Enjoy dining at Rod and Reel Pier. Although it can get busy, you can enjoy a fresh grouper sandwich and take in the beach and water views. Enjoy the $1.50 drafts and check out the several folks fishing off the pier as well while waiting to get in.
  4. Have lunch or dinner with the giant Grouper. Enjoy an evening out at the Ugly Grouper and snap a few photos with the mascot fish on property!
  5. Experience pure adventure and kayak the Island. Explore nearby and around the island, immerse yourself in complete nature and enjoy a pleasant adventurous experience in this beautiful paradise. Go explore these two nature preserves prior to reaching the island. Neal Preserve and Perico Preserve are gorgeous nature parks offering several acres of coastal habitats, mangrove forests, and uplands. Something extra special to note is the historical Indian burial ground areas dating back to 3000 BC to 1400 AD at Neal Preserve.
  6. Get away from crowds and enjoy a quiet, less crowded Bean Point Beach. This is an amazing spot to watch the sunset. You can spend hours soaking in the beautiful seascapes, sea life, and secluded retreat like setting here at this spot.
  7. Enjoy a horseback rides in the water. Sea Horses: “ A once in a lifetime memory, this is an experience like you’ve never had before.” Enjoy a ride together on the Florida beach horses. Where a horse is handpicked just for you! 

Yummy Ice Cream Treats Anna Maria Island

Now you cannot visit Anna Maria beaches without treating yourself to some sweet indulgence!

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  • Joe’s Eats & Sweets: 219 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 (941) 778-0007
  • Tyler’s Ice Cream: 11904 Cortez Road, Cortez, FL 34215 (941) 794-5333 Cortez Village
  • Dips Ice Cream: 503 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216(941) 778-1706, Anna Maria
  • Two Scoops Ice Cream: 101 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 779-2422

I am thinking you may be enticed now to come for a visit and experience Anna Maria Island. So, I am adding a few ideas for lodging options to your travel plans.

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Anna Maria Island Sunset

Where to Stay Anna Maria Island

If you are looking for a true tropical island paradise that offers charm and a relaxing vibe like no other then AMI will take your breath away! Anna Maria Island is one of the most luxurious charming beach destinations you will find. From its sparkling aqua waters hugged by white powdery beaches to the golden hour sunsets, there may not ever be such a place or island experience that will impress you more.

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