Christmas Things to do on Anna Maria island

When the snowy season is creeping around the corner and the air stays consistently cool during noon, escape on over to Anna Maria Island.

This welcoming Florida destination glows bright and beautiful in December. So what can you do to really absorb that holiday spirit? Below is an overview of just a few of the top things to do on Anna Maria Island during the holiday season.

Annual Privateers Parade

Annual Privateers Parade

It’s another year, another boat-filled and pirate-themed Christmas romp through the gulf coast. Anna Maria Island has many holiday events, but few are as eventful and charming as the AMI Privateer’s Boat parade. From Bayfront Park to Bradenton Beach and up along Coquina Beach, a slew of pirate-adorned ships cruise rambunctiously along the coast.

The ships will come coated with festive decorations. The show will feature the firing of black powder. These are pirates after all.

Santa will also give away Christmas gifts when the parade ends in Bradenton. The event is completely free, as you can come along the beaches of Anna Maria Island, select a seat in the sand, and soak in the sights all day long.

The parade is expected to begin at 10 a.m.

Anna Maria Island Christmas Tree

The huge Bridge St Christmas Tree is a community staple and a sight to behold. For decades, the community has erected and lit up a massive Christmas tree for all to see. It then sits for the month of December as a spectacle for visitors and locals, and a reminder of the spirited magic of Florida’s coastlines during the winter season.

The tree lights up at 6:45 p.m. The event is at the end of Bridge St. Once the Christmas tree lights up, the family-friendly fun begins. The city hosts a special screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The original animated classic features the Grinch, the citizens of Whoville, and an adorable and hesitant puppy as they all learn to get along.

The movie begins at 7 p.m. on Nov 26th in the same location. The entire event, from the Christmas tree light-up to the film screening, is entirely free. Popcorn and a concession stand will be available on-site. Bring a blanket once the sun settles down. Utilize local transportation as needed.

Christmas on Bridge Street

Bridge Street is a community haven- the center of the action for Anna Maria Island locals. It is not just the home for one major Christmas event, but two.

The Christmas on Bridge Street festival is December 17th. The crux of the event is the Kids’ Craft & Cookie Bazaar, with local handmade ornaments and baked fresh cookies.

Visitors can make their own hot cocoa at the cocoa-making station or join a raffle in support of the Turning Points of Manatee. A performance by the Dickens Carolers helps deliver that big and unrestrained holiday energy.

The event is expected to begin around 4:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

Anna Maria Island Cocktail Tour

Anna Maria Island Cocktail Tour

Looking for something to do on Anna Maria Island that captures that wild and fun spirit? Go on a cocktail tour to some of the best drinking stops on the Island. There are high-class stops by Bridge Street and some casual and laid-back sports bars. Slim’s Place is a Philadelphia-styled sports bar in the northern side of the Island.

The Doctors Office on Holmes Beach is known for its memorable cocktail concoctions. Anchor Inn, right nearby, is a cozy little dive bar that captures a very relaxed Old Florida ambiance.

You can even settle with the Sandbar Restaurant – a riveting and gorgeous getaway on the northern tip of the island with some of the best views anywhere in the area- maybe even the whole of Florida. The Sandbar Restaurant closes early, but be sure to escape on over to it at some point for your trip.

There’s so much more to explore during Christmas on Anna Maria Island, a time of year when the weather is nice compared to colder areas up north, the beach views are incredible and the events, restaurants and attractions draw people from all over the nation.

These are just a few fun ways to soak in your Anna Maria Island vacation. Have an amazing Christmas away from home and on the majestic island beaches.