Anna Maria News

All the latest stories from the Island of Anna Maria.

What Makes Anna Maria a Top Ten US Vacation Destination?

As many will attest, Anna Maria Island is the perfect place to plan your next Florida vacation getaway. From the beaches, to the shopping, the history, and the people, this island will not disappoint if you choose to spend some time with us here.

Many consider Anna Maria Island one of the top 10 vacation destinations in the country, and we’re here to tell you why.

Outdoor Activities

Whether you’re someone who likes outdoor adventures, or if you’re more of a soak up the fun on the beach kind of person, Anna Maria Island delivers on both fronts.

An ideal place to visit if you love being outside, you can lounge on the beach or try one of the many accessible water sports offered in the area.

Kayaking and paddle boarding are some of the top activities if you’re looking for something adventurous. You can also try snorkeling or scuba diving to get a closer look at all the wildlife the area has to offer.

There are also several sprawling beach and nature parks in the area to explore if you like being outside. There are courts for tennis, walking and biking trails, playgrounds for the kids, and picnic areas. Other nature preserves are scenic with minimal facilities to protect local habitats and wildlife.

You have the options to head to Coquina Beach, Holmes Beach, Bayfront Park, Coquina Baywalk, Robinson Preserve, Neal Preserve or Leffis Key to get a full outdoor experience. Many local tour providers offer guided tours of these areas for your convenience.


When people talk about the top things to do on Anna Maria Island, “going to the beach” will often be the first thing out of anyone’s mouth. From Bean Point, to Coquina Beach, and Manatee Public Beach, there are so many amazing areas for you to check out.

The gorgeous sands and beautiful blue waters will have you second-guessing that return flight home. Many of these beaches offer parks and full facilities for families to enjoy a day out in the sun. Many of our beachfront Anna Maria Island rentals are also within a short walk or bike ride to the public beach areas.

The Food

If you love seafood, you’re about to fall even more in love with Anna Maria Island. Don’t miss the Rod and Reel Pier, the Sandbar, or the Waterfront Restaurant among dozens of other choices.

Living right on the ocean has its perks, including fresh seafood basically any time you want. These restaurants, and others in the area, will be sure to serve you something delicious your taste buds will remember for a long time.

Live Music

It’s great to take in the easiness of the island life. But if you’re looking to head out on the town, Anna Maria Island has something for you too. With so many bars and grills in the area, you’ll be sure to find somewhere that is playing live music in a music genre you love.

Check out spots like Island Time Bar & Grill, the Freckled Fin, Blue Marlin, and anywhere on Bridge Street for some live music. Styles include Caribbean, jazz, rock, and a little Margaritaville, to name a few.


With all there is to do on the island, there’s also a lot to learn about. The history here runs deep. There are several historically-rich sites to check out and learn more about the area you are staying in.

For example, the Historic Green Village is an area unlike any other, a self-preserved green community on Pine Avenue where some buildings are more than 100 years old.

For more history, check out the City Pier (currently under reconstruction). The historic site used to be the only way in and out of the island. Visit the AMI Historical Society at 402 Pine Ave learn more about the area and the events that shaped it.

Whatever your fancy, Anna Maria Island is sure to give you what you’re looking for in an ideal vacation destination. And staying with us only sweetens the deal.

If you’re looking for anything else to do or see while you are here, our staff is on standby to help you out in any way you need. Just give us a call at (941)-778-4178 anytime.

Anna Maria Island – A Look Into The Past

When you’re relaxing on vacation and enjoying your beautiful rental as a home away from home, look out into the gorgeous waters of Anna Maria Island and remember there’s more than meets the eye.

A rich history surrounds this area, and you can find traces of it all around if you know what you’re looking for. If you love history and want a snapshot of how life on Anna Maria Island came to be, you’ve come to the right place.

Early Life

Indian tribes were actually the first inhabitants of the area, and lived here as far back as 1000 A.D. Some say Ponce De Leon named the island after Maria Anna, the queen of Spain at the name. And even though he may have named the island, he was unable to colonize the area as the Native Americans drove him out.

They weren’t so successful the next time around. A few years later in 1539, Hernando Desoto landed on coast of Bradenton, enslaved the native people, and forced them to help him on the quest to find gold in El Dorado.

First Settlers

The Native Americans never returned, but this left the land open for someone else to find and settle on. George Emerson Bean was the first person to live in the City of Anna Maria in 1892. Others came to help him develop the area and establish the start of what you see today.

Then, there was the settlement of Holmes Beach. Sam and Annie Cobb settled this section of the island in 1896. Their daughter was the first “non-Native” person to be born on Anna Maria Island.

Years later, after World War II, a developer named Jack Holmes came to the island. He started in Holmes Beach, which would be aptly named after him, and began to build a 600-acre community.

An Island of Growth

Holmes wasn’t going to stop there. He ensured an airstrip was built in 1948. With this development, and others, he is credited with much of the expansion of the island. Eventually, he had 200 homes for sale and was drawing people into the area. Schools, doctors, dentists, banks, and shopping centers started popping up all over the island. Professional movie productions were filmed on the island.

The City of Bradenton Beach on the southern end was formed a little while after Holmes Beach and the City of Anna Maria. Both were already well on their way with growth, creating a booming local economy. Bradenton Beach became official in 1953 and grew in size as a result of the Cortez Bridge.

After the Cortez Bridge was built in 1921, it connected Anna Maria Island to the mainland. It was replaced with a more modern bridge in 1967. The Manatee Causeway was also built in the 20s along with Gulf Drive. Gulf Drive still famously stands as the only road to run the entire length of the island.

Unforgettable Old Florida Charm

Rich Anna Maria Island history and local cultural appreciation has helped retain that quaint Old Florida charm on the island. Knowing a bit of the history and how Anna Maria Island came to be can help you see and experience all the area has to offer to the fullest.

If there are some historical places you want to check out, or if want to learn a little more about what happened in the island’s past, we can help you.

We also have a variety of Anna Maria Island vacation rentals to choose from based on your unique needs, group size, and required amenities. Just ask one of our experienced staff members! You can call us any time at (941) 778-4178.

Ten Fun Things to Do with Your Kids on Anna Maria

It is often hard to find that balance between what parents and the kids want to do. While you may want to go shop, the kids want to run around at the park for an hour. Below are ten things to do on Anna Maria Island that both parents and kids will adore.

1. Take an Eco Tour

An eco tour is a low-cost and tour centered around the local ecology and nature. Eco tours encompass kayaks, canoes, segways, and sometimes all three. Happy Paddler Kayak Tours (941) 773-1920) offers some of the most rewarding family friendly trips on the island, and there are many other providers.

2. Shell Hunt on Coquina Beach

You can have a free family adventure at Coquina Beach (2650 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217). This local mainstay is filled with beach activities, including a park and playground area and very accessible parking. Take the kids on a shell or shark tooth hunt and see who can find the biggest one.

3. Miniature Golf

For a fun and competitive activity with the whole family right off the island, stop by The Fish Hole Miniature Golf (115 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217). The koi pond sets a nice ambiance, and lush tropics cover and interfere with many of the 18 holes for some added challenge. The course is open from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

4. Get Some Florida Ice Cream

On the north end of the island, you’ll see a sweet spot for locals and visitors alike. Two Scoops (101 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216) has about 32 home-made flavors and breakfast and lunch menus for hungry visitors. Stop by any day of the week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

5. Visit Manatee Public Beach

Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach is without a doubt one of the best places to take your family. It has every amenity you will need for a long day out at the beach including restrooms, showers, and a playground for the kids. They’ll love every moment at this scenic beach, and there are plenty of restaurants nearby for your convenience.

6. See a Play

The Island Players Community Theatre (10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, Florida 34216) is your opportunity to share the arts with the kids. The shows are often family friendly and express a range of artistic talents from local performs. Call the box office for tickets and show details at 941 778-5755 to plan to visit a show during your upcoming trip.

7. Shop for a Bag of Fun Beach Toys

Forget to pack some beach toys or any other gear? Visit Island Bazaar (3304 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) for an eclectic span of toys to get more out of your family beach activities. The store is an adventure on its own, and plenty of options are cost-friendly.

8. Go on a Horseback Ride

After a training course with RJ Horse Riding (811 65th Ave E, Bradenton Beach, FL) you and your kids will be ready to go on this fascinating romp through the nearby Palm Sola Causeway. Beach and trail rides are available. Call 941-725-9377 for age details and costs.

9. Dolphin Tour the Island

Kids want to see the dolphins, and who can blame them? Anna Maria Island Dolphin Tours (464 63rd St, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) delivers a sensational water experience. Go on a trip with Captain Ben to some of the most popular dolphin hang-outs. Keep an eye out for dolphins trailing the wake of the boat.

10. Rent a Kayak

Instead of going for a guided tour, you can take kayaks out on the water with the kids, an activity that is perfect for all ages. Tandem kayaks are available for younger children, and the waters around Anna Maria Island are calm and perfect for kayaking.

Beach Bums (427 Pine Ave) has everything you would need for a great kayak adventure and you can choose between guided or self-guided tours, along with lessons. They can also deliver kayaks, bicycles, and other rentals right to your vacation rental for your convenience.

Make an unforgettable trip to Anna Maria Island your introduction to the Gulf Coast. Call us at (941)-778-4178 to learn about our Anna Maria vacation rentals and other things to do here as a family. Find an exciting journey just a phone call away.

Best Place to Find Shark’s Teeth on Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island is a prime location to find shark’s teeth, shells, and much more on a day at the beach. With several top spots right on the island to find these fascinating ocean treasures, you won’t have to travel very far from your vacation rental for some exciting shell and shark tooth hunting trips.

Below is a guide to where you can go and what tools you need to find shark’s teeth from some of the most spectacular Gulf shark species.

What Beaches are Best for Sharks Teeth Hunting?

Anna Maria Island is a premium location for snatching some teeth from the many gulf coast sharks due to the water currents. It takes patience and going to the right location to find them. It can also be easier to find them earlier in the morning when there are less people around.

Most of the best beaches for teeth hunting actually face the gulf coast on the western side of the island. This includes Bean Point on the northern tip of the island, Coquina Beach and Manatee Beach.

One very common area to find sharks’ teeth is Coquina Public Beach (2650 Gulf Dr. S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217). Coquina Beach closes at 10 p.m.

Another option to explore is Manatee Public Beach (4000 State Road 64 and Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217). The available grills, picnic tables, and playground help make it a great family friendly location.

You can buy beach gear nearby for the hunt at Island Bazaar (3304 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) or the Sand Dollar Gift Shop (5302 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217), both right off the beach. Easy parking makes the area a prime candidate for spending the whole day at the beach.

Tools for the Hunt

There are three tools that all good sharks’ teeth hunters come properly equipped with. The first is a sifting tool, similar to a rake, which can shift the sands at standing level. Do not be afraid to bend down and delicately shift the sands on the lookout for the pointy teeth poking out from below.

The second tool is a mesh bag. Once you find a solid area, you can grab a section and sift it through the bag. Any teeth will be caught in the threads. The last necessary tool for the hunt is a bag for all your findings. Once verified as a shark tooth, it can properly be tucked away in the bag.

Where to Search in the Sands

Often, shark’s teeth will set in large piles of pebbles and rocks, collected with other heavier items from the waters. Find sections of pebbles clumped in a small area. There’s a chance that you’ll find a tooth hidden within.

Shark teeth have a thin body and a pointy top, with most teeth being around 1/8” up to 1”. Finding larger teeth is a possibility. Some teeth can be Y shaped while others are more triangular. Fossilized shark teeth are also black and likely to be found on the shore, but they can also be grey, brown or white.

Consider searching the water line for fresh shark’s teeth. The water line at Coquina Beach is often perfect for finding plenty of them. Shark’s teeth will often tumble and collect right along where the water crests at the sand. Scan the area with a sifting tool heavily to find fresh finds from the gulf. You can head to the knee-deep waters for some larger finds, but tools, gloves, and safety guidance is strongly advised.

How Often Can You Find a Shark Tooth?

If you have the proper tools and have some patience while searching, you are likely to find at least a few. Some visitors report filling a bag full, bringing several back home. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty, using the mesh bags, and digging deep.

Consider visiting the smaller nearby creeks in northern Anna Maria Island. There are quite a few small creeks by both Palmetto Avenue Beach and Bayfront Park which collect teeth from the larger waters nearby.

Find a hidden shark tooth buried in the sands, fulfilling the end of an incredible family experience. Give us a call to find affordable Anna Maria Island vacation rentals while you enjoy these beachside experiences and many others. You can stay right on your own stretch of private beach and explore it to your heart’s content!

Anna Maria Island’s Booming Vacation Rental Growth

Anna Maria Island is a little slice of paradise. It’s relative isolation from the larger nearby city of Bradenton and its proximity to Tampa means it is near bigger company. But, Anna Maria Island has long been a significant and popular tourist haven.

A new surge in tourist growth has expanded the city’s development, encouraged innovative new businesses to launch, and helped create an even stronger culture of community on Anna Maria Island.

You can see this unfold for yourself by staying at one of the popular and competitively-priced luxury vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island. What is developing on this quant island paradise? What can visitors expect on their first trip or their return visit for 2018?

Rental Growth Overview

Vacation rental development is impressive. Based purely on the numbers, the rate of growth just a few years back was rapid, according to Sarasota Magazine.

In 2015, 48.5% of all Manatee County bed tax revenue, derived from vacation rental income, came from Anna Maria Island. This is up from 35.3% the previous year, 2014 (1).

anna maria island real estate growth

The Discussion to Maintain the Community

Anna Maria Island has long been known as a destination that avoids trying to appeal to everyone, while also being welcoming to all. The vacation rental boom has encouraged a local discussion to preserve the local community while welcoming tourists.

The Anna Maria Island Vacation Property Association encourages crossover dialogue with the goal of promoting a healthy yet welcoming community. The group helps enforce safe practices for tenants and landlords, including clean-up, noise restrictions, parking, and overall ethical behavior.

The group promotes open dialogue and discussion to favor all parties. This is a welcoming aspect for visitors eager to see the Anna Maria Island history and wildlife, while residents can feel supported by retaining their local and cultural identity.

New Potential Laws on Vacation Rentals

The data asserts that the growth is coming with some potential changes and regulations. Sen. Greg Steube, member of the Florida Senate for the 23rd district, forwarded a bill generally limiting city control of vacation rentals.

It prevents local governments from enacting new regulations in regard to vacation rentals. Overall, the SB188 bill emphasizes deregulation under rental classification, use, or ownership.

This is an encouraging sign for vacation rental owners, but also good for enthusiastic vacationers to Anna Maria Island, as there could be a greater variety of vacation rental options available to them in the future.

anna maria vacation rentals

Responding to the Rental Boom

The island still offers a fun small paradise atmosphere during all seasons. Though not all is wonderful especially for current residents who feel the identity of Anna Maria Island is becoming a bit lost in the tourist shuffle. Property values have increased, encouraging some residents to sell for profit and move elsewhere.

Ultimately, Anna Maria Island tourism has brought both good and bad to the region. Though despite what side of the argument one rests, visitors can gain insight into a lively and vivid Old Florida world in 2018, an authentic style and aesthetic becoming harder and harder to come by.

The island offers this authentic window into a past world in spades, and families are discovering what it has to offer on rewarding family vacations.

Anna Maria Island has seen a massive surge in popularity, but it is still a quiet haven outside the traditional tourism radar.

We offer a range of luxury vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island featuring the best amenities and comforts that you’ll find in their price range.

You can contact our team at 941-778-4178. Find the perfect match for your next family vacation. Indulge in the dream of visiting this quiet barrier island and watching the possibilities unfold.

Top Kid Friendly Restaurants on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for its spectacular and quiet beaches. But what about the food? Get off the beach for the afternoon to take in some excellent dining in the main village.

Head to Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island’s popular central community, for some lovely family friendly eating by the water.

The island is filled with opportunities for kids to play, eat tasty food, and see the sights. The below is a quick overview of the best family-friendly Anna Maria Island restaurants. The restaurants welcome you with satisfying atmospheres for the whole family.

family friendly restaurants anna maria

Ginny’s and Jane E’s Café and Coastal Store

Location: 9807 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria

This quirky and silly café simply oozes character. You can’t go wrong exploring the little nooks and crannies of this location, termed both a café and a store. And what a store it is!

Odd local treats, including chairs, lamps, t-shirts, hand-made jewelry, and other gift items can be found along the walls. But it’s the café that keeps people filled up.

The funky menu of breakfast fare, cinnamon rolls, some exceptional espresso options, and deserts make this a double-whammy of weirdness. The shop is part of the attraction here, and the food keeps the whole family satisfied.

Ginny’s and Jane E’s has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available. They are open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Contact the crew at (941) 778-3170.

Waterfront Restaurant

Location: 111 N Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216

The Waterfront is a local Anna Maria Island staple that your family is sure to enjoy. With a gorgeous view of the shore, the Waterfront sells itself.

But it has an exceptional menu of local seafood, including fish sandwiches, shrimp baskets, and other items. Parents can get higher-end seafood, such as grouper or the Lobster Bisque creamy soup. Children can get something more their speed, such as a burger or chicken basket.

This all-around winner is open every day of the week from 11:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Peach’s Restaurant

Location: 3240 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

This coastal cottage café is possibly the perfect family friendly restaurant in the area. It’s all about southern charms and sensibilities. The small café atmosphere offers a delectable menu of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, omelets, and a slew of desserts. You can’t visit without trying the famed Peach Cobbler following one of the Club, Reuben, or Tuna Melt sandwiches for lunch.

Peach’s gets an early start to the day. The restaurant is only open 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Waits are consistently out the door. Call the counter at (941) 779-0738 for details.

The Donut Experiment

Location: 210C Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island, FL 34216

Is the Donut Experiment a restaurant? The children might say so with variety of addicting sweet treats that you’ll find there.

The hearty donuts here are highly acclaimed and fulfilling enough to be a fantastic afternoon treat. You can customize them from an assortment of toppings. Coffee and various pies are also available.

To say that the Donut Experiment is a restaurant is an admitted stretch, but the place is family friendly and endearing enough to be worth a visit at least once. Call the donut masters at 941-896-3172.

Call us to Learn About Vacationing to Anna Maria Island

We are available to answer questions about how you can take the kids for a safe, friendly, and beach-filled vacation in 2018. Call us at 941-778-4178 to discover the assortment of Anna Maria Island beach rentals we have available.

Find beachfront vacation rentals, dog friendly rentals, small and intimate 1 or 2 bedroom accommodations, and even 5-bedroom vacation homes so everyone has space to play and explore!

Welcome to the AnnaMaria island news blog

Welcome to the Annamaria island blog – watch this space for info on news and events from the beautiful island of Annamaria!