Anna Maria News

All the latest stories from the Island of Anna Maria.

Top 3 Ice Cream Shops in Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island has it all. You’ll find postcard scenes of pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise water, and there are plenty of shops to keep you entertained. Take a boat tour to enjoy the aquatic wildlife or go kayaking to soak in the natural beauty and stay active. Whatever kind of vacation you’re looking for, Anna Maria Island won’t disappoint. You won’t be disappointed with the food, either. Top your perfect day exploring Anna Maria Island with a delicious ice cream cone; it can’t get any better! Here are the top three ice cream joints on the island. 

seashell close up

Holy Cow Ice Cream and Other Cool Stuff

As its name implies, Holy Cow Ice Cream is worth getting excited about! With 36 delicious flavors to choose from, you’ll have plenty of reasons to come back time and time again. Enjoy your favorite flavor in a cone, cup, or as a hand-spun milkshake. There’s even a special discount program for regulars, so keep coming back to save on future ice cream! 

Their ice cream selection changes daily, but it includes favorites like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, and chocolate chip cookie dough. Fabulous mixes like Rum Raisin, Mocha Almond Fudge, and Cappuccino Kahlua are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Rainbow Sherbet is a delicious fat-free, dairy-free alternative, perfect for the health-conscious customer or anyone with milk intolerance. 

milkshakes

Milkshakes and malts are a specialty here. They can be made out of all of Holy Cow’s flavors. Popular options include Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Banana, Pumpkin Pie, and Triple Chocolate (chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and chocolate sauce). You can’t go wrong!

Other specials include coffee frappés – French Vanilla, Kappa Kappa Café, and Hazelnut Delight – as well as fruit smoothies and sundaes. Smoothies consist of blended fruit, ice cream, and fruit concentrates for flavors like Berry Madness, Fruit Cocktail, and Banana Peanut Butter. Sundae lovers will be impressed by options like the Mississippi Mud Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Surprise, Wet Nuts, and Sandy’s Turtles. With so many options, it will be difficult to limit yourself to one! 

Drop by the shop at 3234 East Bay Dr on Holmes Beach. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Bring the whole family and enjoy your afternoon treat in the shop. You’ll be entertained watching the exotic fish tank located out front. There’s an evening feeding nightly at 7 p.m., so come a bit later, and you’re in for dessert and a show!

Two Scoops

After opening its doors in 2007, Two Scoops quickly became an island favorite. Here, you will find 32 flavors of homemade ice cream as well as casual dining and breakfast choices. 

Ice cream flavors include all the classics as well as unique flavors such as Black Raspberry, Muddy Sneaker, Trashcan, Blue Moon, Blueberry Pie, Pralines and Cream, Bing Cherry, and Gator Tracks. With so many delicious flavors, one scoop just won’t be enough!

Alternatives, such as sorbet, yogurt, and sugar-free flavors, are also available. Ice cream can be purchased in cake cones or cups, waffle cones & bowls, dipped waffle cones, and kiddie scoops. If you’re in a rush, get ice cream to go; a pint costs $6.50 and a quart $8. 

banana split

Sundae lovers won’t be able to get enough of the Two Scoops’ tasty menu items: Hot Fudge Sundae, Scoops Sampler, Oreo-icious Sundae, Chocolate Decadence, Brownie Sundae, and Banana Split. Delicious mixtures like the Waffle Wedge include a warm Belgian waffle drizzled with maple syrup, topped with two scoops of maple walnut ice cream, walnuts, whipped cream, and a cherry. You won’t be able to resist!

Other dessert options include shakes and floats, like Sorbet Slush and the Hot Fudge Sundae Shake. For drinks, order coffee or espresso. 

Two Scoops doesn’t only offer ice cream; a breakfast and lunch menu serves classics such as muffins, bagels, French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, croissants, and BLT. Combine this with ice cream for the perfect meal. For breakfast, grab a two-egg breakfast, a side of bacon and sausage patties, and a sundae. For lunch, try a grilled cheese classic and two scoops of your favorite flavor. 

Two Scoops is located on 101 S Bay Boulevard on the North end of the island, near the waterfront. You can drop by Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.  

Dips Ice Cream

This family-owned and operated ice cream shop is another great place for a visit, having been voted the #1 ice cream shop on Anna Maria Island by the Anna Maria Island Sun eight times! It’s a favorite of both visitors and locals alike. 

You’ll find 32 flavors of ice cream, including customer favorites like Raspberry Rhapsody, Blueberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Peanut Butter, and Tangerine Dream. There are also two flavors of soft serve, gelato, sundaes, Italian ice, and an amazing selection of candy. Non-dairy items include Mango and Tangerine Italian Ice. 

person licking ice cream

Get your order to go as there’s no indoor seating, though there’s a patio and some outdoor seating where one can relax. Enjoy your cool, tasty treat under a beautiful Florida sky. You can also take a late-night ice cream run; the store is consistently open until 10 p.m. each night, later than other ice cream stores on the island. 

The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can visit Dips Ice Cream at 503 Pine Avenue on the North end of the island. While in the area, don’t miss out on exploring historic Pine Avenue and doing some window shopping! There are also many great restaurants in the neighborhood, so you can go out for some fine dining before finishing the night off with a treat. 

Other Dessert Shops

In the rare event that your sweet tooth isn’t entirely satisfied by ice cream, there are plenty of other dessert shops on the island. The Donut Experiment is an island favorite. It offers made-to-order donuts where you can create a unique combo from scratch. Start with a fresh-made cake donut, then select your own icings and toppings. Stay simple or go wild – it’s entirely up to you!

Cupcake Delights produces freshly made donuts daily with a wide range of flavors. Some cupcakes, such as Coconut Dream, Red Velvet, and Carrot Cake, are always available. Others are rotated or require a special order. Such cupcakes include Andes Mint, Boston Cream, Chocolate Nutella, Italian Wedding Cake, Maple Bacon, and more. 

Hometown Desserts bakes an assortment of sweets, including pies, cakes, and cheesecakes. Try tiramisu, Red Velvet Cake, or Raspberry Truffle Cake. There’s Banana or Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, and Sour Cream Pound Cake. Show up at the bakery for whatever is fresh or place an order for a special treat!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals

To sweeten the deal even more (if that’s possible!), check out our full range of Anna Maria Island vacation rentals. We offer luxury, condo, waterfront, and pet-friendly rentals to meet a wide variety of needs and budgets. Friendly and professional staff are eager to assist you in planning your perfect vacation. Stay in the rental of your dreams, pass lazy days at the beach, and treat yourself to the very best ice cream around. 


Best Places to Get a Fish Taco in Anna Maria

Perfect weather, sun, sand – Anna Maria Island has it all. Its friendly, laid-back atmosphere is the ideal place to escape the hustle of everyday life, and its Old Florida feel makes it an enchanting place to explore. You’ll find many unique shops and boutiques and plenty of places to eat. For those who enjoy seafood, you’re in luck! Fresh seafood abounds. Here are three of the top restaurants where you can find fish tacos and other seafood dishes. 

Hurricane Hanks

Drop by Hurricane Hanks for some great food and a casual atmosphere. The kitchen is open late for those who can’t tear themselves away from the beach, and the bar is open even longer. 

Fish tacos are available on both the lunch and dinner menus. For $12.99, you receive a meal of local fresh group griller, blackened, or fried in soft flour tortillas with Napa cabbage, mango salsa, and cilantro cream. The dish also comes with one side. 

Seafood is a specialty at Hanks, though there are many other options to round out the meal. If you stop by for lunch, you can order favorites such as Hurricane Wings, Ahi Tuna Stacker, and Island Crab Cakes. Tasty entrée salads include the Taco Salad, Hurricane House, and Kale Salad. Burgers and sandwiches are popular with the crowds; try the Big Texas Roadhouse, Corned Beef Brisket, or Ybor Cuban specialty sandwich. 

meal from Hurricane Hanks

For a special treat, give beer-battered baskets a try. From fish and chips to shrimp and scallop, these dishes are all dipped in Hanks’ famous Guinness Batter and fried golden brown to be served with small coleslaw and island fries. Top the meal off with Key lime pie or a dessert of the day, and you’ll be heading home a truly satisfied customer!

The dinner menu includes many of the same dishes with a few more meaty main courses. From the land, there’s meatloaf, filet mignon, and ribs. Maple and orange salmon, Hanks’ island shrimp, and fish of the day prepared your way are a few options from the sea. Pasta dishes are available, and the ratatouille is a very good option for vegetarians. The restaurant also has vegan and gluten-free dishes.  

For a great fish taco, a drink, or a quality meal of any kind, Hurricane Hanks is the place to go. There are often live events and specials, so you may choose to plan your time there accordingly. 

Visit Hurricane Hanks at 5346 Gulf Drive on Holmes Beach. The restaurant is open Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open late, so even if you miss dinner, you can always pop by for a drink. 

Beach House Restaurant

Formerly known as the Harbor House, this restaurant was bought by Ed Chiles in 1993, remodeled, renamed, and given a brand-new beginning. Chiles’ vision was to create a moderately-priced, environmentally-friendly restaurant that serves great food. Everything from lighting to landscaping to food sourcing adheres to sustainability and eco-consciousness. This complements the incredible setting and delicious food. 

Set on a pristine Gulf-front beach, this restaurant has spectacular views. Seating is available indoors and outside. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, and it is the perfect place to dine while catching an evening sunset. 

Fish tacos are available on the lunch and dinner menus. For $18, diners can experience freshly-caught fish, which are fried or blackened over slaw and fresh pico de gallo. The fish is served in three soft tortillas with boom boom sauce and tortilla chips. 

Beach House Restaurant meal

Other lunch options include seafood gumbo, catch of the day, short rib tacos, beach house burger, and veggie burgers. Combine that with a soup, salad, or side for a truly delectable meal. 

The dinner menu offers additional savory main courses. Fresh seafood options include bourbon salmon, shrimp scampi, and seafood capellini. A special dinner menu lists house specialties such as swordfish, mahi-mahi, fried sea bass belly, artisan pizza of the day, and squash blossoms. Featured mocktails and cocktails include pink colada and coconut cucumber nohito.

For the freshest, most authentic Floridan meal, Beach House relies on locally-sourced ingredients, providing a farm-to-fork and tide-to-table experience. A bakery is also located onsite. Using local organic grains, it produces nearly all the desserts and bread – from dinner rolls to burger buns – that are served with their meals. 

Stop by Beach House at 200 Gulf Drive North. Its doors are open from Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy some incredible fish tacos with friends and family while taking in the amazing Gulf view. 

Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant emphasizes fresh, natural flavors, offering the finest product with the addition of rare and seasonal items. Their food is almost entirely made on-site with their own butchering, stocks, bread, and even smoked salmon. 

Grouper tacos are available as a main course during lunch hours. This $16 meal gives you fresh premium black Gulf grouper, which is seasoned and lightly seared, in flour tortillas with cheddar jack, jicama slaw, and freshly-chopped pico de gallo. Combine this meal with an appetizer, such as soup of the day or baked brie, and a salad, and you’ll leave lunch a truly satisfied customer! 

Other main lunch courses include Gulf shrimp, BLT, Florida grouper cake sandwich, the Waterfront signature burger, and carnitas Michoacán. Prices range from $12 to $19, a very affordable meal for a family outing. 

On the dinner menu, grouper tacos can be ordered as an appetizer for the same price of $16. Most of the appetizers from the lunch menu are available, including tuna sashimi, steamed clam or mussels, and fried green tomato stack. Numerous fresh salads, with your choice of meat, are a healthy choice. There’s the grilled avocado and quinoa salad, tropicale salad, and classic Caesar. 

The waterfront restaurant multiple plates

For the main course, try frutti di mare, Chimichurri river trout, peppercorn crusted filet, maple mustard salmon, or mahi salsa de langosta. Those with dietary restrictions may rest easy; the numerous gluten-free options are clearly marked on the menu. The restaurant is also vegan-friendly, with a delicious vegan pasta available. 

Based on seasonal availability and preferences of the chefs, the Waterfront Restaurant offers daily specials that keep things interesting. Special options have included squid ink seafood risotto, chicken meatballs, grouper, and various desserts. Top off your meal with a treat like key lime pie, Callebaut flourless chocolate tort, Madagascar vanilla crème brulee, Waterfront affogato, ice cream, and much more. 

Finally, don’t miss out on some truly unique wines. The Hamilton Creek Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley is only available in a few restaurants across the country along with Cedarberg Merlot Shiraz from South Africa. 

The Waterfront Restaurant is located at 111 South Bay Boulevard. It is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every night except Friday and Saturday when it is open an extra hour until 10 p.m. Reservations can be made online. 

Anna Maria Island vacation rentals for a truly paradisiacal experience, book a vacation rental that offers incredible amenities but still feels like home. Our full array of rentals includes luxury, condo, waterfront, and pet-friendly rentals. Here on Anna Maria Island, you’ll encounter dazzling natural beauty, taste incredible food, and make memories that last a lifetime.


Top 3 Activities for Thrill Seekers on Anna Maria Island

Looking for the ultimate vacation destination? Anna Maria Island is the answer! You can find everything you’re looking for in a Florida getaway, but you can also avoid the crowds of bigger tourist cities like Tampa or Orlando. Come see the excitement of AMI, from the gorgeous white sand beaches to the fresh seafood around every corner, as well as the stunning wildlife and the rich history of the area. Whether you’re traveling with your sweetheart or the whole extended family, there’s something for everyone!

Anna Maria Island beach overhead shot

While you should definitely take time to relax during your getaway, sometimes you need an excuse for some adrenaline. Luckily, there are tons of fun attractions for thrill-seekers on Anna Maria Island. Best of all, they’re all conveniently located just minutes away from our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals. Here are three of our favorite attractions to help you satisfy your craving for a thrill.

C Ponies Beach Horseback Ride

What better way to get in the water than on horseback?  C Ponies Beach Horseback Ride is the perfect way to get a unique perspective of the beach. C Ponies has been serving the Anna Maria Island area for years, with other locations in Bradenton, Sarasota, and Tampa Bay. The company was started by Carmen Hermann Hanson, who once had her own riding academy and has always been passionate about teaching horseback riding and training horses. After a non-horse related accident in 2012 left her unable to retrain horses, Hanson came up with a new idea to continue her passion, and C Ponies was born.

Each horseback ride uses either Drum or Gypsy Vanner horses, some of the rarest breeds. Their long flowing manes and tails are a sight to be seen, and their serenity and the water will keep you calm and relaxed as well. The vast majority of horses employed by C Ponies have been rehabilitated from terrible conditions, and the water is an invaluable tool in continuing the rehabilitation process. Hanson takes great care of her horses and always ensures their comfort. Horses have several days off each week, only work for a limited time per day, and are removed from the tours and retrained in another discipline if they don’t like to swim or aren’t in good enough health.

Horse and rider galloping on a beach

Each and every horse used at C Ponies have been rescued and rehabilitated by Hanson, and every ride helps rehabilitate another animal. Whether you are an experienced horseback rider or this will be your first time riding, there is an excursion option for you. On all of the excursions, you will have an experienced guide to help you with your horse and show you the most gorgeous nature of Anna Maria Island. You’ll have a comfortable time in the water without any jarring or hard impacts, and you’ll have the perfect view of incredible wildlife like manatees, stingrays, native fish, and even dolphins!

Excursions with C Ponies can last one to two hours and are great for visitors 10 years old and up. To book your ride, visit cponies.com or give them a call at (941) 773-5196.

Zegway by the Bay

Looking to learn more about Anna Maria Island but don’t want to do a standard walking tour? Zegway by the Bay is the perfect solution. This guided Segway tour will show you the biggest tourist attractions of the island, but you’ll also get to go down the hidden path that most visitors never get to see. With multiple adventures available during the day or at sunset, you can truly personalize your experience.

The most popular Segway tour is the Bean Point Adventure, where you’ll get to experience almost nine miles round-trip of the most breathtaking nature of AMI. You’ll get to learn about the island, see some of the area’s favorite hot spots, and maybe even spot a dolphin or turtle! Other options for tours include the Beaches Tour, a shorter 90-minute adventure, as well as the Historic Bridge Street Tour that takes you through the southern half of the island.

Additionally, Zegway by the Bay offers two sunset tours that are perfect for a romantic evening out. The Arts and Culture Tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and will let you learn about the area’s best painters, historians, and artisans. You could also go on the Guided Walking Meditation, an hour-long walk through Leffis Key Nature Preserve. This is the perfect way to relax at the end of a long day and tune into the energy of the island.

Zegway Tours are perfect for riders at least 14 years old and at least 100 pounds and your tour guide will show you how to operate the Segway, keeping you safe and confident. Zegway by the Bay is located at 3228 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. To reserve your tour, visit their website at zegwaybythebay.com or call (941) 565-2082.

Snapper Addict Fishing Charters

Anna Maria Island is a popular vacation destination for fishermen, and booking a fishing charter can be the perfect way to make the most of your adventure. Snapper Addict Fishing Charters is one of the area’s best options and has received the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for three years in a row. Captain Layne Ostrander is an experienced fisherman who has a passion for bringing guests out onto the water. He will work with your group to customize your experience, giving you a personalized trip with memories that will last a lifetime.

Snapper Addict Fishing Charters uses the safest boats that always meet or exceed USCG standards. There’s plenty of room for everyone, and there’s even shaded seating and a cabin for those who aren’t actively fishing. While you’re on the water, you can find a variety of fish, from hogfish to barracuda to red grouper and Benito. There are even several restaurants in the area that will cook your catch!

person holding a fishing pole

Snapper Addict Fishing Charters provides your fishing license, equipment, tackle, and ice. You are welcome to bring food and drinks if you desire, as well as sunscreen and other sun protection, your camera, and a cooler if you plan to take home any fish. Each trip can accommodate up to six adults, and children and teenagers may come as well, as long as they are accompanied by an adult at all times.

Excursions start at $500 for 4 hours with two people included and can go up to $1,100 for an 8 hour trip with 6 people. You can find a full price breakdown depending on the number of people you have and the length of your excursion on their website at charterfishingbradenton.com. You’re also able to book your excursion directly online or call (941) 812-6364.

Any of these activities are perfect for the thrill-seeker in your group, and they’re all located just minutes from our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals. At the end of a long day, our rentals provide the perfect place to unwind and reflect on the fun of the day. Come explore everything AMI has to offer near our rentals, which are budget-friendly and can accommodate groups of any size. Contact us today for more information about all of our Anna Maria Island lodging options!


Where to Get Smoothies on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a warm environment – literally. It can get hot here year-round. That is why there are so many shops offering delicious drinks to help you cool down. And, let’s face it, nothing quenches thirst like a good smoothie.

Many places sell smoothies on the island, and each one offers some truly unique flavor combinations. The following locations have smoothies that are simply too good to pass on, so when you’re looking for a way to cool off, stop by one of them and get your drink on.

Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café and Gift Store

Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café and Gift Store

Ginny’s & Jane E’s is known for having some of the freshest food and drinks on Anna Maria Island. When you are looking for things to do on AMI, be sure to stop by during their open hours (7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. every day). Breakfast and lunch are served up for reasonable prices, and there are options for vegetarians and vegans.

Their smoothies are especially delicious and are made fresh with real fruit. There are eight different smoothie flavor combinations to choose from. If you want to add some veggies in, get the Popeye Smoothie, which mixes spinach with mango and banana. There is also the Kale Coast for kale lovers. The Monkey Business smoothie is a perfect mixture of honey, soymilk, banana, and peanut butter; it is definitely a favorite for adults and kids alike!

Island Coffee Haus

Island Coffee Haus dubs itself ‘the hub of Anna Maria Island’ – and it is just that. Co-owner Beverly Lesnick loves two things: coffee and mermaids. They meld together here in a cozy, welcoming environment where you can have a quiet chat with friends or perhaps get some reading done while you relax with a drink.

The smoothies Island Coffee Haus serves are insanely delicious and are made from fresh ingredients. Just pick the flavor that speaks most to you. Match your smoothie with one of their bagels, oatmeal, a breakfast sandwich, or yummy pastry. You can also grab some grub from Scott’s Deli, located inside of Island Coffee Haus.

Bring your laptop or tablet! Island Coffee Haus has free WiFi and is open every day of the week. If you go in the late summer or early fall, you can grab a smoothie and head right down to the beach for some turtle watching.

smoothie sitting on counter

Smoothie King

The name says it all. Smoothie King has one of the biggest smoothie menus you will ever see. Here, you can customize your flavor combinations. There are even smoothies here for those on the keto diet! The Keto Champ smoothies are made up of two blended flavors that come in at under 10 grams of net carbs per 20 ounces and 20+ grams of protein.

Smoothie King knows that health and wellness matter to AMI’s locals as well as visitors staying in the gorgeous AMI vacation rentals. That’s why they offer nutritional enhancers. They have an array of fitness, energy, slim, and wellness enhancers that can boost your smoothie’s nutrient levels.

Smoothie King offers a Healthy Rewards program for those who frequent any of their franchises. You get 100 Purpose Points for every dollar you spend and $2 off for every 2,500 Purpose Points you earn. You can redeem your points whenever you’d like, and the program gives you a birthday smoothie on the house.

Head out from your Anna Maria Island rentals and grab a mouth-watering smoothie from one of these well-loved shops. Smoothies are a healthy way to cool down during a hot day on the beach, and Anna Maria’s shops are adored by locals and visitors alike. There are shops galore that sell smoothies here, so give as many of them a try as you can. You are guaranteed to find something deliciously unique at every single one of them, and they’re all near our AMI vacation rentals!


Book an Anna Maria Island Winter Rental

You’ve got your plane ticket to Anna Maria Island, but now what?! You have to book the right rental property for your winter getaway. But which of the many stunning AMI vacation rentals is right for you?

Do you want something small and cozy or something bigger and more luxurious? Do you need a place where you can bring your dog? Check out these different rental properties. Bear in mind that a lot of visitors will be booking stays during the winter, so it is important to book your rental as far in advance as possible.

beachfront rental from Anna Maria

Beachfront Rentals

Beachfront rentals are prime spots here on AMI. These Anna Maria Island rentals give you immediate access to the sparkling turquoise Gulf waters. Slip your feet out of your shoes and go for a walk on the soft, warm sands.

A beachfront rental is perfect for families with children who want to go swimming as well as for those who enjoy fishing. You can find these rentals on either the East or Gulf Coast, which are equally beautiful. Just relax and enjoy gazing out onto the expansive horizon from the comfort of a beachfront rental.

Luxury Rentals

Luxury rentals offer all the amenities you could possibly want and more. You can book luxury condos and homes that are situated right on the beach or that are just a short walk away. Either way, you get an upscale experience that is isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city without being removed from the stunning white sandy beaches.

Booking a luxury rental is easier than you might think – and more affordable. There are weekly rentals for under $1,500, which leaves you with more money to spend on food and souvenirs.

1 bedroom rental from Anna Maria Vacations

1 & 2 Bedroom Rentals

Planning on coming solo or with just one or two other people? If so, then you should consider renting a 1- or 2-bedroom place. These homes are by no means small and cramped like you might expect. They are actually quite spacious and can sleep up to five people. Book one that is on the beach or that is a little bit further inland for a tranquil atmosphere.

Many of these homes are dog-friendly, and they are absolutely kid-friendly, but only if you have a couple of children. If you are bringing a bigger group with you, you might want to consider a bigger rental property.

5+ Bedroom Rentals

Are you bringing a large group of people with you? If so, consider renting a place that has five bedrooms or more. You can fit up to 20 guests in some of these homes without anyone feeling cramped for space.

Perfect for wedding parties, large family vacations, or a week with your closest friends, these homes all have mesmerizing views. Many of them come with private pool areas so that you can take a dip or sit out and tan without strangers interrupting you.

condo next to the beach

Beach Condos

Beachfront condos are a staple of Anna Maria Island. There are a lot of things to do on Anna Maria Island, and you can quickly access many of them from a lovely beachfront condo. From the comfort of your own private deck or patio, you can dine while watching the sunrise or set over the coastline.

There are plenty of condos situated along Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach, so take your pick!

Dog-Friendly Rentals

Anna Maria Island is a very dog-friendly place, and you can certainly find plenty of rentals that allow canine companions. (Unfortunately, cats are not allowed in rental properties due to elevated allergen possibilities.) 

These rental properties have plenty of space for dogs to roam and get comfy. Also, there are several dog parks/play areas nearby and a few restaurants that allow dogs on their decks. You and your pooch will both have a hard time leaving your home away from home on AMI.

There are all different kinds of rental properties available on Anna Maria Island. Since AMI stays busy year-round, booking in advance is a good idea. Find the right one that suits your needs and you just might find yourself never wanting to leave. Contact us today for more information about all these properties and more!


Things To Do With The Family On Anna Maria Island

Ah, family vacations. They are great opportunities for you to bond with your kids and significant other. But what happens when the kids get bored? Some vacation spots don’t have a lot of kid-friendly sites, but there are plenty of things to do on AMI.

From kayaking to shelling, there are a ton of activities going on every day. There are also a vast number of shops scattered across the island that are fun for kids to browse. Get the kids out of your Anna Maria Island rentals and away from their tech gadgets with fun outings on the beach and to AMI’s numerous natural and historic sites.

Dolphins swimming in the water

Take a Dolphin Tour

Anna Maria Island is famous for its dolphin tours. Dolphins swim along the coastline, and you can see them when you take a boat tour. You might also glimpse an aggregation (a fancy word for ‘group’) of manatees, which typically contains six or fewer members. Seeing them is something of a rare treat, but it does happen around the coast.

Quite a few boat rental shops offer guided dolphin tours. You and your kids or grandkids can learn about the local wildlife populations and why this particular ecosystem is the perfect habitat for them.

The tours tend to have flexible hours and give discounts on group or family tours. You can book your tours in advance by calling one of the local rental shops, but you can also stop in during business hours.

Fun Shops for Kids

Bring your children to one of Anna Maria Island’s many souvenir shops and you will quickly find that these places offer so much more than just mementos. You can find awesome crafts, beach attire, and interactive toys that are fun for the whole family.

Shiny Fish Emporium on Pine Avenue offers sand dollar painting, and Island Bazaar on East Bay Drive is loaded with beachwear. Beach Bums Recreational Rentals & Gift Shop, located on Pine Avenue, has everything from golf carts to kayak tours where you can enter mangrove forests and find prime spots for manatees.

Shells on the beach

Shelling

Shells are the most naturally beautiful souvenir you can take home, and, of course, Anna Maria Island’s beaches are loaded with them. Getting everyone out for a few hours of shelling can turn into an exciting adventure.

Look for shells along Manatee Public Beach, Palmetto Avenue Beach, Bayfront Park, Bean Point, or Coquina Public Beach. You can even find shark teeth buried in the sand if you are lucky!

Go shelling when it is low tide. This allows you access further out and reveals shells that would otherwise be hidden under the water. Shark teeth do more tumbling about in waves while shells will roll to and fro where the sand and water collide.

TreeUmph Adventure Course

Leave your AMI vacation rentals behind for a day of unparalleled thrills above the ground. TreeUmph Adventure Course is a 45-minute drive inland from AMI and features a 14-acre self-guided ziplining adventure.

You and your kids will not be rushed through the course, so take it easy and go at your own speed. The course culminates in a 650-foot zip line that flies you through the trees. You will be given a waiver to sign and will be trained on how to use safety harnesses before you get started.

Embark on a Fishing Expedition

Take the family out for a relaxing offshore fishing tour or hang out on one of the docks and cast your lure. Either way, you’re bound to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. The coastline is home to diverse schools of fish and other marine life, so there is a good chance you will hook a nice catch. Just imagine your child’s face when they reel in a mackerel!

Just make sure you have the proper fishing permits and meet all other regulations. The island has numerous beach fishing spots, and you can get all the gear you need from places like Fun and More Rentals. Some of the best spots are the Rod and Reel Pier and Longboat Pass.

If you want to head out onto the water to find bigger fish, charter a boat skippered by one of AMI’s experienced captains. Captain Logan is always in demand, as is Captain Tom with Dolphin Dreams Charters.

You will find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to fun family outings on Anna Maria Island. There is also a good deal more located just a few minutes inland. Your kids won’t be saying “I’m bored” while staying on such a family-friendly island paradise.


Burger Restaurants on Anna Maria Island

Nothing is better than going to a restaurant in Anna Maria Island, grabbing a seat on the beach, and taking a bite of a delicious, mouth-watering burger. Offering a plethora of options, Anna Maria Island offers no shortage of options guaranteed to satisfy even the strongest burger lover.

burger and fries

Skinny’s Place

Making each order fresh, Skinny’s Place is a long-standing tradition in Anna Maria Island. Established in 1952, founder Carl “Skinny” Freeman created a burger that ensured his establishment would stand the test of time. Patrons can order a single (Skinny) burger, a double (Fatty) burger, a triple (The G3) burger, or even the Mid Island Pounder burger which contains four patties! These mouth-watering burgers are crafted with the fixings on the side.

For some delectable sides, choose from onion rings, classic or curly fries, tater tots, chips, or even a side of chili. Once you’re done, wash it down with one of the numerous alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks that Skinny’s has to offer. If you can’t finish your Mid Island Pounder, simply ask for a to-go box! Don’t feel bad as Skinny’s recycles and uses eco-friendly products when available.

Harry’s Grill

Voted Best Burger on the Island in 2019 and 2020, Harry’s Grill has earned a reputation for a burger that cannot be beat! Order up your choice of burger with Seashore fries, Harry’s slaw, or Island rice as your side. If you’re feeling super hungry, why not go for Harrys’ Pounder with Cheese? This burger is a full pound of beef and four cheese slices served on a toasted ciabatta bun guaranteed to satisfy your craving!

harrys burger

As a tribute to their mascot, business namesake, and rescued pet, Harry’s Grill invites anyone named Harry or Harrietta to visit. If you can prove your name, you’ll get one free draft beer of your choice in memory of their beloved coati mundi Harry. It’s one of the coolest and most laid-back burger restaurants in Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier

Located on the famous Bridge Street Pier, Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier (AMOB) is a waterfront destination for those looking for a delicious burger! This restaurant serves up a pure ½ pound angus beef burger with all the fixings. It’s been rumored that people’s mouths water as soon as they see it on the menu.

After satisfying your burger craving, AMOB has a wonderful dessert selection including key lime tarts and the ever popular Dippin Dots Ice Cream! Finish your meal off right with one of these desserts and truly take care of the mouthwatering you’ve been experiencing.

Slim’s Place

Slim’s Place is a true Philadelphia sports bar located in the heart of Anna Maria Island. Voted as the number one sports bar in Anna Maria Island, Slim’s has a reputation that can’t be beaten. Be sure to stop by and try “The Slim” for a truly local experience. Bring your appetite though as this is an 8oz burger loaded with gouda cheese, bacon, crispy onion straws, and all the toppings!

If you’re still hungry after this delicious burger, why not try some of Slim’s award-winning lobster mac and cheese? Made with smoked gouda and truffle oil, this mac and cheese is a great compliment to any burger and is sure to leave you feeling stuffed!

burger with bacon

Eat Here

Billing themselves as a different sort of experience, Eat Here uses clipboards for menus, mixed silverware for service utensils, and home-style kitchen towels for napkins. The ambiance lends to the feeling that you may just be eating at home or even at a friend’s house. What separates Eat Here from your friend’s house is the burger!

Eat Here offers a black angus burger nestled between a delicious brioche bun. The burger is chef-treated and topped with melted cheddar cheese to give it a mouthwatering finish. This burger is paired with homemade house potato salad to, once again, make you feel like you might just be at home.

With so many different choices in Anna Maria Island for a good burger, it can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is just take it one restaurant a meal. Sample all the delectable burgers that Anna Maria Island has to offer and leave fuller than what you came.


Golf Cart Rentals on Anna Maria Island

When you are browsing the Internet for things to do on AMI, you might want to consider looking up golf cart rentals. Renting a cart can help you navigate Anna Maria Island with ease. While there is a free trolley that you can take around the island, golf carts get you to your destination more quickly.

Golf carts are street legal on AMI, and they are an eco-friendly way of navigating the island. That is why you should consider renting a golf cart while you stay on AMI.

Golf cart rental in anna maria island

Gulf Coast Carts

Gulf Coast Carts boasts a cool new line-up of STAR carts. These carts have an impressive 60-mile range on one charge! Each cart is powered by a 48-volt battery which helps to lessen the amount of time you will need to spend on charging it. If you rent this cart overnight, you can plug it in at the end of the day and have it fully charged and ready to go in the morning.

There are a few different rental options. You can rent a 4-seater for $100 per day, $250 for three days, or $400 for the week. If you need extra seats, the 6-seater is available for $100 per day, $300 for three days, or $500 for one week. Everything you need – including delivery and pick-up fees – gets included in the price.

Oh, and these carts come with a radio for you to listen to while cruising along!

Robinhood Rentals AMI

One of the most popular Anna Maria Island rentals is Robinhood Rentals AMI. They have just about every type of beach rental you can imagine: kayaks, umbrellas, bikes, and, of course, golf carts! You can even rent a ScootCoupe Mini Car to get around the island.

The golf carts they have available are gasoline-powered, so you do not have to worry about charging any batteries. You can get a 4- or 6-seater, depending upon how much space you need. The 4-person golf carts start at $155 while the 6-person carts start at $195.

Bear in mind that you must be 21 years of age or older to rent these vehicles. Younger people can ride in them as passengers, but in order to rent and drive one, you must be at least 21.

6 and 8 person golf cart rental in anna maria island

Fun and More Rentals

Fun and More Rentals really lives up to its name. This shop has everything from tandem bikes to baby walkers! Need a grill? How about a bocci ball set? You can get just about everything you need; just swing by their storefront on Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach or book online.

Of course, golf carts are in stock at Fun and More. Like all their other rentals, delivery and pick-up are totally free. Their top-of-the-line golf carts come as either gas-powered or electric and are decked out with all the modern convenience and safety features you need. If something malfunctions, they have a skilled mechanic on-hand to make repairs.

Their prices are some of the most competitive you will find on AMI. The 4-seater LSV goes from $100 to $375, while the 6-seater LSV goes from $150 to $440. There is a massive 8-seater LSV available which ranges between $200 and $525. Some rental places do not offer an 8-seater, so if you have a large party with you, this is the best option.

When you are booking your AMI vacation rentals, keep your transportation needs in mind. While walking or taking the trolley can save you a lot of money, golf carts make getting around a lot more convenient. Plus, they let you see more sites than you might otherwise. And, let’s face it, they’re really fun to drive.


How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental For You

Anna Maria Island rentals are numerous and situated all throughout the island. Each one has something unique about it, from the interior décor to the outside pool set-up. And, yes, most of the rentals on AMI have pools!

But which spot is right for you? How do you know which rental will best cater to your needs? Picking the perfect spot isn’t exactly easy when you are faced with so many wonderful choices. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping around for AMI vacation rentals.

View from balcony of beachfront condo in Anna Maria Island

Find the Right Number of Beds

Anna Maria Island has all different types of rentals. From beachfront condos to luxury homes, you get a lot of variety. Be sure to check every listing you see for the number of people they can sleep. There are 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom rentals that can sleep anywhere between two and ten people. Some of them come equipped with massive king-sized beds and pull-out sleeper sofas that can be great for kids.

You’ll also need to make sure that your rental has an adequate number of bathrooms for all guests and that there are enough seats around the kitchen table.

Get Close to the Attractions You Love

Think about what you want to be closest to in Anna Maria Island. Being close to the free trolley is a smart idea if you need a swift way to get around and do a lot of exploring.

When you have a lot of things to do on AMI, finding a rental near town might be ideal. This puts you much closer to all of the restaurants and shops you want to patron. Those looking to do a lot of swimming, fishing, or boating might enjoy staying at a beachfront rental.

If you are a nature lover, you might want to be close to the spots on the island that play host to trails or kayaking tours. Robinson Preserve, Neal Preserve, and Leffis Key are all just a short distance to the east of Anna Maria Island and provide you with peaceful immersion in nature.

Dog at the dog park in Anna Maria Island

Stay Somewhere with the Right Amenities

Which amenities are absolute necessities, and which can you stand to forego while on vacation in Anna Maria Island? This is something that demands a bit of contemplation. Do you want a private pool, or are you okay with sharing a community pool? How about having a private laundry facility versus a community one?

Make sure that you know exactly which amenities you will have in your vacation rental. When you are browsing through all of AMI’s wonderful rental properties, pay careful attention to which amenities are listed.

Also, if you plan on bringing your dog, check to be certain that the rental you book allows them to stay there with you. Sometimes, this means looking for a ‘pet-friendly’ label or simply a paw print on that particular rental’s display image.

Just bear in mind that the public beaches do not allow dogs. You will likely want to stay somewhere that is close to one of the island’s dogs parks. To the north, there is the Bayfront Park, which allows dogs and is a beautiful place to walk.

Price

This probably seems like a no-brainer, but you need to consider how much you and your guests are willing to spend on your lodgings. How many people will be going with you? How much can you afford to split? What do you need to leave room for in your travel budget?

If you need to keep it affordable, there are some 1- and 2-bedroom rentals that have very reasonable rates, especially if you split the cost with your travel companion(s). If you want to go all-out and can work out a good spending plan between yourself and your companions, check out some of the luxury rentals; they’re absolutely stunning and offer a ton of privacy and amenities.

Knowing what you are looking for before you start your search can help you find the best vacation rental for you on Anna Maria Island. However, no matter where you stay, you are bound to have a memorable and relaxing time.


The Sandbar Restaurant

When planning your Florida vacation, you’ll want a location that helps you escape from life’s every day worries. For the ultimate relaxing stay, visit Anna Maria Island, a quaint stretch of land that will have you swimming and dining right alongside the locals. Here, you’ll find all the fun in the sun you expect from a Florida vacation, but you won’t be fighting tons of other tourists for a spot on the shoreline. Anna Maria Island also boasts tons of incredible restaurants, and one of the most popular is the Sandbar. Read on to discover why locals and tourists alike love the Sandbar, just minutes away from our Anna Maria Island rentals.

Outside view of the Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria Island

History

More than 100 years ago, Anna Maria Island was only accessible by boat. Many guests sailed in from Tampa and came to The Pavilion, the meeting place that’s where the Sandbar Restaurant is today. It served as a casual meeting place as well as a hub for adventure, as a diving platform was installed and fishing was easy right off the side of the dock. After The Pavilion mysteriously went up in flames in 1946, two old army barracks were placed on the premises, giving life to the Sandbar.

Over the next few decades, the Sandbar met several different owners and received renovations like a dance floor. The building was damaged by a hurricane in 1950, but after years of extensive remodeling, the restaurant was repurchased in 1979 by Ed Chiles, and the rest is history! Today, the Sandbar is a favorite of many and is dedicated to maintaining the rich history of the building and the island.

Seafood dish at the sandbar restaurant in Anna Maria Island

Menu

At the Sandbar, you will find “authentic old Florida” recipes, made with the most ecologically responsible produce and fresh seafood pulled right from the Florida coast. Enjoy scrumptious appetizers like The Sandbar Smoked Fish Dip or sautéed lump crab cakes, or indulge in chicken and waffles, seafood and grits, or a fried shrimp platter. They also offer plenty of options that are gluten-free, such as their shrimp ceviche and islander scallops, as well as vegan options like the acorn squash and green curry or the vegan burger.

Even the littlest member of your party will love the Sandbar, thanks to the extensive kid’s menu. Your child can enjoy classics like grilled cheese and pizza, or they can take advantage of the seafood as well with fish or shrimp. When they’re done, they will get a frozen treat to help keep cool! Parties of all ages and sizes love eating at the Sandbar with its incredible food and breathtaking views.

General Information

The Sandbar is located at 100 Spring Avenue in the city of Anna Maria. They are open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Sandbar does not accept reservations at this time.

The Sandbar is just one of the fantastic restaurants on AMI for you to enjoy. While this spot is more casual and laid-back, the island is also full of other eateries perfect for a fancy or date night. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, take a quick trip to nearby Sarasota for even more dining and entertainment options.

At the end of a long day of sightseeing, rest your head in one of our Anna Maria Island rentals. We have options available for parties of all sizes, and no request is too big for our team to handle. For more information on the Sandbar, other local restaurants, and our full selection of Anna Maria vacation rentals, contact us today!


Average Fall Temperatures in Anna Maria Island

Planning a Florida vacation means fun in the sun all year long. Popular vacation destinations like Panama City Beach or Orlando are fun for some, but if you’re looking to truly escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, visit Anna Maria Island. The seven-mile stretch of land is perfect for getting away from it all. You won’t spot high-rises and tons of crowds, but instead, you can ride your golf cart around the island or stroll alongside the locals as you head into town. While Anna Maria is beautiful any time of year, it’s especially nice in the fall, and you’ll get a nice respite from the heat.

Sunset over anna maria island in the fall

Fall Weather in Anna Maria Island

The months of September, October, and November bring pleasant temperatures to Anna Maria Island. Average highs during the day range between 70 and 80 degrees, while low temperatures range from 60 to 70 degrees. October marks the end of the hot season, so temperatures are much more bearable than they are in the middle of summer. Often, you are more than able to jump in the water during the warmer morning and early afternoon, but the late afternoon showers help to cool everything down for a pleasant evening.

Fall in Anna Maria Island is also the start of the dry season, so while you may spot a shower or two, it won’t be enough to ruin all of your plans for the day. Rain chances in September range around 40 to 50%, while that chance drops to about 20% in October and November. When it does rain, Anna Maria Island only accumulates about 2 to 4 inches of rain during the fall months.

What to Pack

Of course, the weather often dictates what you plan to pack for your vacation. Since Anna Maria Island is still warm during the fall, you will be fine packing your usual t-shirts, tank tops, and shorts. However, you may also want to add a light jacket to your suitcase for the evening breezes, and it may be helpful to pack an umbrella as well in case you hit an afternoon shower. While flip-flops are great for the beach, we also recommend bringing a sturdier pair of shoes for walking around the island. Finally, don’t forget sunscreen and a hat to protect you from the beating sun.

Fall Events on Anna Maria Island

Along with the cooler temperatures, fall also means great events in the area for you to partake in. On October 19th, visit the city of Anna Maria for the 19th Annual Bayfest, an all-day street festival full of classic cars, live music, incredible food, and fun for all ages. If you are on the island for Halloween, be sure to bring your kids out for the Trail of Treats, a safe way for your kids to trick-or-treat while you can browse the local businesses.

Visiting in November? Check out Arts Hop, an annual three-day event showcasing local theater shows, arts and crafts, music, and food. Just down the road in Sarasota, the Chalk Festival will leave you in awe by filling the street with a burst of color.

There are so many things to do on AMI, your only problem will be deciding what to do next! Of course, you can always enjoy the beaches, fresh seafood, and unique shopping all year round, but visiting in the fall is a special way to make the most of your trip to Anna Maria Island. For more information on the area and our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals, contact us today!


All About Holmes Beach

Anna Maria Island has long been one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. This quiet locale is the perfect place to get away and truly relax and unwind. You’ll find locals strolling down the street or riding golf carts into town, and as the whole island is just seven miles long, you can find every nook and cranny that AMI has to offer. The island is actually split into three towns: Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, and Holmes Beach. While Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach are on the edges of the island, Holmes Beach is right in the middle, giving you the best access to everything on AMI just minutes from our Anna Maria Island vacation homes.

Sunset over Holmes Beach

What to Expect

While the whole of Anna Maria Island is laid-back, the vibe is perhaps strongest in Holmes Beach. You won’t see many condos, so our Anna Maria property rentals fit right in. Everything is easy to reach, and there are plenty of unique shopping opportunities to help you find the perfect souvenir, as well as gorgeous views, delicious food, and unique activities for every age. Holmes Beach contains a little of everything that makes AMI so special.

Fun Attractions on Holmes Beach

One of the most popular spots in Holmes Beach is Manatee Public Beach, which draws visitors and locals alike every single day. There are tons of amenities here, like sports courts, playgrounds, bike racks, showers, and a café. Lifeguards are on duty, so you can rest assured knowing your family will be safe. This is a great place to spend the day since you can find everything you need right on site!

There is truly an attraction for everyone in Holmes Beach. Art lovers will want to visit Island Gallery West to stand in awe of the local art that is eclectic and unique. If you want to explore the area with an experienced guide, do a tour with Segway by the Bay. Surfs Up Water Sports is perfect for the adrenaline junkie, while those looking for some extra relaxation will find it with a massage at Island Therapeutics. Everyone in the group has something to discover!

Holmes Beach also has some great dining spots, like The Beach Bistro. If you’re looking to have a romantic dinner with your sweetheart, this is the place for you. They offer the freshest seafood prepared in unique and innovative ways, all with the breathtaking backdrop of the water. For a more casual experience, eat here will suit your needs, where the food is globally inspired and takes full advantage of local ingredients.

Free Island Trolley in Holmes Beach

Getting Around

As Anna Maria Island is so small, it’s not too common to see people traveling by car. Many choose to either walk or rent a golf cart. One of the best options, though, is the Anna Maria Island Trolley, which will take you all around the island for absolutely free. The air-conditioned trolleys have multiple stops all throughout the island and are wheelchair accessible. You’ll have the freedom to come and go as you please, all while enjoying the beautiful views as you pass by.

Holmes Beach is full of fun things on Anna Maria Island, but be sure to discover everything there is to offer in Bradenton Beach and the City of Anna Maria as well! Is the Gulf calling your name yet? Our experienced and knowledgeable team is ready to help you plan the getaway of your dreams. Our rental options all over AMI are designed with you in mind and will meet any request. For more information on Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, and all of our property rentals, contact us today!


Explore the Mote Marine Aquarium

Anna Maria Island and the surrounding area is an ideal spot for a family vacation. This island is a hidden gem among visitors, so you won’t find a ton of high-rises or crowded attractions. Instead, locals will wave as you pass on the quiet streets, and there are family-friendly attractions everywhere you look. With so many things to do on AMI, it can be tough to prioritize, but there is one spot down the road that you just can’t miss. In nearby Sarasota, you’ll find the Mote Marine Aquarium, known for its vast variety of wildlife as well as its conservation efforts.

Close up of fish at Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, FL

History

Originally known as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, this establishment opened its doors in 1955. William R. Mote was influential in growing the lab, later lending it his name. Since the beginning, this aquarium and lab have made it its mission to educate the public in a thorough and entertaining way. Mote Marine Laboratory is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to using sustainable practices and informing others of the efforts we can take to save our planet.

To this day, Mote is one of the last remaining private marine research laboratories on Earth, and they are incredibly passionate about their programs and partnerships. Having such a strong research department makes it possible for this aquarium to provide the most up-to-date and educational information to guests, making it a fun destination for the whole family.

Exhibits

Mote Marine Aquarium has exhibits for a countless variety of incredible sea creatures. The shark zone exhibit lets you get up close and personal with these majestic animals, or you can learn about alligators and crocodiles. For something a little tamer, visit exhibits dedicated to seeing turtles, otters, or manatees. This is just a handful of the creatures you can learn about at this aquarium. Presentations about sharks, manatees, river otters, crocodilians, and sea turtles happen throughout the day as well and are included with your admission price.

You can also find tons of events going on throughout the year. Happenings like Breakfast with the Sharks or the Sarasota Lionfish Derby gives visitors of all ages a hands-on experience with beautiful wildlife. The Aquarium’s website has a full calendar with all the events, so be sure to check it out before your visit!

Close up of manatee at Mote Marine Aquarium

Experiences

There are even more ways for you to enjoy Mote, and they come in the form of experiences. While the exhibits listed above are open to the public, these experiences often have to be booked in advance. Plan your child’s birthday party at the aquarium, or take an eco-boat tour around the area to see gorgeous animals in the wild. Go kayaking or choose a shark encounter if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous!

General Information

Mote Marine Aquarium can be found at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, just a short drive from our Anna Maria Island rentals. They are open daily, including holidays, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person or online, and adult (ages 13+) admission is $24, while children aged 3-12 are $18 and children 2 and under are free. Active military receives free admission with proper ID. If you’re traveling with a large group, you may be eligible for a group rate with a reservation.

Mote Marine Aquarium has long been a staple of the Sarasota area, bringing visitors from far and wide. It may be one of the best family-friendly activities near our Anna Maria vacation rentals! We can’t wait to help you plan the vacation of your dreams, and we have the ideal vacation home for your party. For more information on the area and our full range of rentals, contact us today!


Parasailing on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is the ultimate hidden gem among Florida’s vacation destinations. This quaint spot is only 7 miles long and features some of the best local food and attractions. In place of the high-rises and crowds, you’ll find cute cottages and golf carts. One of the best features of AMI is the incredible view from all around, but to get the best image of the water, you have to experience it from above! The parasailing opportunities available near our AMI vacation rentals will add an unforgettable memory to your dream getaway.

Parasailing on Anna Maria Island

AMI Adventure Rentals

Situated in Bradenton Beach is AMI Adventure Rentals, where one of the most popular activities is parasailing. You can sail high above the waters and admire the view down below as you hover over Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach. Choose to fly solo or with a friend or two, and see if you can spot some marine life under the water! You can take your whole journey and stay dry, or your driver can dip you down in the waves to cool you off at the end of your trip.

Your 10-minute journey will cost $79 per person, while you will receive a $10 discount per person if you opt for a tandem or triple flight. If someone in your party doesn’t want to fly, they can boat the boat and watch for $20. AMI Adventure Rentals operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and reservations can be made on their website.

Bradenton Beach Parasailing

Bradenton Beach Parasailing has been serving guests for over 22 years and boasts a perfect safety record since its beginnings. Your USCG Master Captain will take you high above Anna Maria Island and let you gaze down on the beauty below. Look out for dolphins, turtles, manatees, and more! Your ride is guaranteed to be smooth and pleasant, and you won’t believe the peace you feel being so high above the hustle and bustle on the ground.

You can choose to stay dry or get wet during your flight, and up to three people can parasail together. They welcome guests of all ages, even if you’ve never been parasailing before. Your experience will last about an hour, and reservations are required. Please contact Bradenton Beach Parasailing for availability and pricing. They are located at 200 Bridge Street.

Parasailing in the Gulf of Mexico

YOLO Adventures

Sail over AMI and the surrounding areas with YOLO Adventures, which offers great parasailing trips for the whole family. You will fly 400 feet in the air to check out the view of Anna Maria Island, Cortez, and more. Guests will have the thrill of a lifetime with friends and family, and your licensed captain will be there to ensure everything goes according to plan. Takeoffs and landings are smooth and easy, so anyone with any amount of experience can join in! This company also offers fishing charters, boat tours, snorkeling, and more.

YOLO Adventure’s parasailing trips last about an hour and cost $79 per person with discounts available for tandem and triple flights. Flights can be booked online and start as early as 10 a.m. YOLO Adventures is located at 135 Bridge Street.

Parasailing is a fun and safe activity for the whole family to enjoy! It has quickly become one of the most popular activities near our Anna Maria vacation rentals, and once you experience it for yourself, it’s not hard to see why. The view and the adrenaline rush is enough to make anyone want to come back for more! For more information on parasailing in the area and to learn about our vacation homes on Anna Maria Island, contact us today.


Top Anna Maria Island Coffee Shops

There’s nothing better than a cup of coffee to get your day started or to help you take a break in the afternoons. Anna Maria Island is full of fun activities, but sometimes you need a little extra boost to keep you going! Luckily, our AMI vacation rentals are located near some of the best coffee shops on the island. No matter your taste, you can find a delicious cup of joe just down the street. Here are a few of our favorite coffee shops on Anna Maria Island.

Close up of coffee drink at Island Coffee Haus in Anna Maria Island

Island Coffee Haus

Since 2012, Island Coffee Haus has been welcoming guests to experience a comforting and inviting environment in Holmes Beach. Not only can you come in for a hot cup of coffee, but you can also try one of the fresh-baked pastries, or grab a breakfast sandwich to take with you. If someone in your group isn’t a coffee drinker, they also serve teas, smoothies, and green juice. This quaint shop is the perfect place to unwind and take your time enjoying your morning.

Island Coffee Haus is located at 5350 Gulf Drive. They are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Ginny’s & Jane E’s

Ginny’s & Jane E’s is your one-stop-shop for coffee, snacks, and souvenirs. This cute and quirky store is the brainchild of sisters Ginny and Jane, who have loved serving their guests for decades. Their coffee selections include lattes, breves, macchiatos, and more, or you can opt for a tea or smoothie. Pick a pastry to go with your drink, like a scone or cinnamon roll. Finally, browse the shelves in the shop to find beach supplies, antiques, and truly unique souvenirs. Ginny & Jane E’s is a fun and special spot that you have to pop into while you’re in town.

Ginny & Jane E’s is located at 9807 Gulf Drive. They are open daily from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Backalley Treasures

Locals and visitors alike flock to Backalley Treasures for a refreshing drink and a unique shopping experience. Choose something as simple as a black cup of joe, or go fancier with a frappe or cappuccino. You can also pick a smoothie or frozen lemonade, or if you want something a bit harder, have a beer or a glass of wine or have the staff add some liquor to your regular drink! Then stroll through the aisles to admire the locally crafted jewelry and crafts to find the ideal souvenir to bring home.

Back-alley Treasures is located at 108 Historic Bridge Street. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Close up of donuts from The Donut Experiment in Anna Maria Island

The Donut Experiment

While they may not be exclusively known for their coffee, The Donut Experiment is a great place to stop in for a cup. They offer hot and cold drinks, as well as cold brew, and even those who don’t like coffee will want to come to grab a fresh-made donut! Personalize your pastry with whatever toppings you wish, and wash it all down with your delicious drink. The Donut Experiment is an ideal destination for breakfast or after lunch.

The Donut Experiment is located at 210C Pine Avenue. They are open daily from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

A great cup of coffee is just moments away from our Anna Maria rentals. Any time of day, you can grab a pick-me-up and enjoy the local businesses that help the area thrive. For more information on local coffee shops and to learn about all of our vacation homes on Anna Maria Island, contact us today!


Romantic Anna Maria Island Rentals

When planning a couple’s getaway to Anna Maria Island, where you stay is important. In fact, Anna Maria Island lodging you choose can deeply impact the enjoyment of your trip. Make sure that you book the perfect vacation rental for you and your partner to make this vacation one to remember.

What should you look for in a vacation rental? Ambiance? Beachfront access? Close proximity to top attractions? All of the above? Here are some of our highlighted one- and two-bedroom romantic rentals.

Back yard view of pool at Anna Maria Island vacation rental

Anna Maria Island Breeze

This rental is just a minute’s walk from the bay and about three minutes from the glorious Gulf of Mexico. We can’t recommend the beachfront enough. This prime location is ideal for romantics. To round it off, it also has a sparkling, aquamarine pool. You are never far from the water – salt or chlorine!

When comes to a couple’s getaway, you can’t go wrong with a water-access rental.

Kitchen view of vacation rental in Anna Maria Island

Redfish Cottage

There are a variety of Anna Maria Island houses for rent with convenient access to the heart of the island. One of these is our delightful Redfish Cottage, which lies just back from the beach and over the bridge. Step out onto the deep-water dock and admire the water. This feature is especially great for boat lovers and fishers. You can rent a boat form a local provider and dock it right here at your rental – or bring your own! Vacation rentals with gulf-facing decks are a definite plus for getting the rest and relaxation you need. This cottage offers a tranquil escape like no other – perfect for couples looking to reconnect in nature.

Front view of Anna Maria Island vacation rental

Palm Isle Village

One of the highlights of this little rustic, blue-and-white home 600 feet from the gulf, is its lush, tropical ambiance. Its stunning landscaping includes vibrant, tropical plants, setting a carefree, romantic tone for your getaway. Walk-out units allow you to enjoy the gardens close-up – lay back in a lounge chair as the leaves palm leaves rustle in the wind above your head.

It also has a fully equipped kitchen so you can treat your special someone to a home-cooked dinner for two. This rental is also part of the Professional Linen Service Program, meaning you don’t have to bring sheets, towels, or other such necessities on vacation – or do you have to wash, dry, and fold them upon departure. Something as simple as clean sheets and towels during your romantic getaway is a definite bonus to consider when choosing your rental.

Living room of unit at the Anna Maria Beach Resort

Anna Maria Beach Resort

The beach resort offers a whole host of different amenities. Seek out Anna Maria Island lodging with comfortable, luxurious amenities and features. When you think of a romantic getaway, you want access to features that you may not enjoy on a regular basis. Look for heated pools, hot tubs or spas for ultimate luxury and entertainment. Our resort-style pool will ensure you and your partner have a fun and relaxing stay at our island resort.

For romantic rooms right on the beach, 201, 203, 204 are great options. Rather than staying at rental homes a few blocks from the waterfront, stay a few steps from the powdery sand at our Anna Maria Beach Resort. After a long day in the sun, you’ll love the resort’s many amenities, including daily cleaning, WiFi, a walk-in shower, and, of course, elegant outdoor spaces where you can read and enjoy a glass of wine under a shady tree.

Anna Maria Island: Your Home Away From Home

Your Anna Maria Island rental is your home away from home – but with a little something extra. What does your romantic getaway look like? Does involve early morning shelling on the beach? Watching the sun go down on your own private balcony? Lounging by the pool while you prepare a meal on the grill?

Creating the perfect romantic experience starts with your Anna Maria Island lodging. Decide what you want, and book the right room for you. Don’t settle for less. Browse our available Anna Maria Island houses for rent online today to get your vacation started.


Anna Maria Island Couple Activities

Anna Maria Island is a wonderful, romantic destination for all couples. From first vacationers to honeymooners, or even couples looking to rekindle a spark, there is something for everyone. 

couple on the beach

Perhaps the best activities are the ones that you can truly be done together and not simply done besides one another. In order to get the most out of your trip, try some of the best couple activities in Anna Maria Island.

Kayaking

Kayaking in Anna Maria Island is a time-honored tradition. For added romance (and a little teamwork), consider a two-person kayak rental. You and your significant other can spend the day together exploring Florida while taking in the abundance of fauna and wildlife. For a truly unforgettable experience, reserve a sunset kayak tour for you and other half. Cozy up in your two-person kayak and watch as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico.

Alternatively, consider a kayak fishing charter with your partner as a way to bond. It’s truly one of the best ways to explore Florida’s nooks and crannies while experiencing the fishy side of Florida! Companies such as Happy Paddler will provide everything you may need including the kayak, fishing rods, bait, and safety gear. Simply show up as a couple and get ready for an exciting day!

Paddleboarding

Considered by many to be the fastest growing watersport, paddleboarding has blossomed in Anna Maria Island as a universal activity for all. You have the opportunity to explore the Floridian waterways with your significant other while creating lifelong memories. Unlike kayaks, paddleboards can be utilized as makeshift surfboards for small waves out in the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever your preference may be, paddleboarding in Anna Maria Island has become a must-do couple activity.

Wildlife Cruises

Wildlife cruises in Anna Maria Island are a memorable bonding experience for any couple looking for an outdoor adventure. These cruises are a great way to not only explore the ecosystem in and around Florida but give couples an amazing opportunity to experience the wildlife as well. On any number of wildlife cruises, couples can see a number of birds, crabs, manatees, and even the occasional dolphin. Cozy up with your significant other and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Sunset Cruise

Nothing says romance quite like a sunset. That’s why sunset cruises in Anna Maria Island have consistently been rated as one of the best activities for couples. Sail out into the Gulf of Mexico and partake in one of the best sunsets on the planet. This can be a perfect activity to end your wonderful day of bonding.

Many sunset cruise charters will allow passengers to bring some snacks and even alcohol on the ride to make It a truly enjoyable experience. Grab a bottle of yours and your partner’s favorite drink, snacks, and take in the truly gorgeous hues in the sky over the Gulf of Mexico.

anna maria overhead shot

Relax on the Beach

Of course, you don’t have to do anything extravagant to have an incredible day with the one you love most. Simply grab a blanket or a couple of beach chairs and bring your picnic lunch for an unforgettable afternoon on the beach. You can spend your hours getting your tan on the sand, wading in the tide, or splashing around in the water. There’s always plenty of room to set up your own spot on the shoreline, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better view!

There’s no better place to reconnect with your partner than on Anna Maria Island. Couples’ activities abound here, no matter what you and your sweetheart like to do. Now all that’s left to do is find a place to stay! Our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals provide the ideal blend of comfort and luxury, allowing you to escape your worries and truly relax. Contact us today to get started!


What Animals Can You See on Anna Maria Island?

Even though many people will boast about Anna Maria Island’s beautiful waters and soft sands, there is so much more to the area that surrounds you during a vacation here.

Rich with wildlife and opportunities to see the animals that inhabit the island, you’ll be amazed to see some of the creatures that are right under your nose. So head out from your Anna Maria Island lodging and get into the great outdoors to see what’s there. All you have to do is know what you’re looking for and where to look and you’re sure to spot some of the area’s animals.

Turtle swimming in the Gulf of Mexico

Marine Life

With so much water in the gulf and also the marshes that are found throughout Anna Maria Island, you won’t be surprised to find those marine creatures are some of the most commonly spotted animals in the area.

Known as a fantastic fishing spot, it’s clear that you can expect to see lots of different types of fish if you look into the waters in and around Anna Maria Island- and you don’t have to go far. Any waters near many Anna Maria Island houses for rent will give you an opportunity to spot some of these fish. Keep your eyes out for mackerel, snook, trout, amberjack, redfish, snapper, grouper, cobia, mahi, and more. You may even be lucky enough to see a wide range of shark species if you head out into deeper waters.

On top of the fish species you can find around Anna Maria Island, you’ll also have the opportunity to see some dolphins playing in the Gulf waters, jellyfish, sea turtles, stingrays, and other marine animals. Sometimes even stingrays, a gopher tortoise, or manatees can be seen as well.

Your best chance to spot a dolphin or even some whales possibly is by taking a tour out into some of the deeper waters. Here, you’ll be able to see dolphins in their natural habitat.

Manatees are also one of the creatures you can keep on the lookout for. They tend to hang out in the warmer shallower waters in the harbor—sometimes where they think they can get a sip of fresh cool water from a hose. This endangered species is beloved in Anna Maria Island and in Florida as a whole.

Bird watching on Anna Maria Island beach

Bird Watching

Anna Maria Island can be known as a bird watchers paradise. It’s not just because of the wonderful weather or the sandy beaches, it’s because the island is situated at a major migration point as well as a nesting territory for many different types of land and sea birds. Keep your eyes peeled for herons, sandpipers, osprey, vultures, eagles, storks, egrets, pelicans, and more.

Just head to a quiet beach and you’ll be able to spot just a few of the many species of birds. Some of the best locations include the Coquina Beach Baywalk and Bean Point.

Small brown common lizard in Florida

Other Wildlife

Although most of the wildlife on Anna Maria Island can be found in the water and in the air, there are some other animals you may happen to see during your day to day travels around the island. Small lizards are very common to see skirting around the edges of buildings and seeking out some cool and shady areas. Some people have also reported seeing armadillo wandering the island, and snakes and raccoons are also common to see hanging around.

Be ready to explore all the island has to offer in the way of wildlife, from turtles nesting up on shore to birds sailing through the open blue skies.


Best Beachfront Condo Rentals on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for having some of the most beautiful white sand beaches. On your vacation here you’ll be sure to want to spend as much time as possible soaking up the sun and enjoying the gorgeous water. What better way to do that then to look for some Anna Maria Island houses for rent that are right on the beach? Luckily, we’ve got some of the best beachfront condo rentals for you to choose from.

Beachfront condo rental on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Beach Resort (Room 105)

This is a great pick for anyone who doesn’t plan to spend a lot of time inside their vacation rental but is more concerned about having a prime location for his or her trip. This spot offers room to sleep a total of 5 people and is an apartment style setup with a full kitchen and is completely furnished. You’ll have a view of the beach and water right through the sliding glass doors, and this ground level lodging makes it simple to step right out and take a short walk to the beach.

View from deck of beachfront vacation condo in Anna Maria Island

Beach Life At the Pointe

This is the Anna Maria Island lodging you want if you’re trying to get the authentic Old Florida to feel out of your trip. This direct beachfront cottage has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and sleeps a total of 4 people. A private and screened in wrap around deck gives you beautiful views of the soft sands and glistening waters. Plus all you have to do to enjoy the beach itself is a step outside. In the heart of Holmes Beach, this property is dog-friendly and has a newly upgraded kitchen. It is all quite spacious, giving you and your crew all the space you need to prepare a meal (and dine on the deck).

Ocean view from living room of vacation rental in Anna Maria Island, FL

Casa on the Beach

This 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom vacation home rental is a wonderful pick if you’re looking to feel like you’re staying in a home away from home this trip. Sleeping up to 6 people, this property comes with bikes, a beach wagon, beach chairs, foosball table, and a gas BBQ grill. Of course, the crowning glory of this rental is its easy access to the beautiful beach front. However, there is also a fantastic heated pool that will give you options to enjoy the outdoors of this home at the North end of the island.

Front view of beachfront vacation rental

Moondance

This Gulf front elevated home has a unique style that will give you easy access to the beach, along with lots of quiet privacy to enjoy your relaxing vacation. You can take an easy walk over to tons of restaurants or shopping areas, or just enjoy the amazing view of the beach you have from your private balcony. With two bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, this location can sleep up to 6 people.

Well decorated living room of vacation rental in Anna Maria Island

Shells and Sunshine

Located on the north end of the island, this vacation home is very tranquil and will ensure you get the rejuvenation you desire from a beach getaway. With an outdoor deck and private walkway to the beach, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the sunshine and salt air of Anna Maria Island. This rental sleeps a total of 8 people in the 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. With two living levels, this location will give you plenty of privacy even with a bigger group of people.

Ocean view from deck of a vacation rental in Anna Maria Island

The Big Yellow House

Aptly named, you can’t miss this massive beach home that reflects the sunny personality you’ll find all over Anna Maria Island. With 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, this spot is ideal for bigger groups as it sleeps up to 14 people. Not only is it beachside for optimal fun and a view of the best sunsets, but there’s also a heated pool if you prefer that option instead. Close to all of the popular spots on Pine Avenue, this rental will give you everything you want in a luxurious vacation getaway.


Is Anna Maria Island Pet Friendly?

With the beautiful weather that surrounds Anna Maria Island during most times of the year, it can feel like the perfect place to head with your pet. Luckily, there are many pet-friendly areas that will be more than happy to accommodate you and your four-legged friends. From places to eat, ways to enjoy the ocean, and available Anna Maria Island lodging, pet friendly options can be found at every turn of your island beach vacation.

anna maria pet friendly vacation rentals

Restaurants

Sometimes when you’re out for a walk with your pet or just exploring the area you’ll both get a little hungry or thirsty. Of course, you want to make sure when you stop for a bite it’s a good place for everyone involved. Anna Maria Island has several eateries that will let you bring your pet right in with you.

Most spots that allow dogs to come in are patio friendly. Harry’s Grill, The Waterfront Restaurant, and Poppo’s Taqueria are all spots that will allow your pup to sip some water on the patio while you grab a meal.

Beach Rules

Anna Maria Island is known for having some of the most beautiful beachfronts in the world. So, naturally, you’ll probably want to take your pets along with you as you explore the sands and the waves. But, before you do that, make sure to know the pet friendly rules of the area beaches. Not all the beaches are pet friendly, so your best option is to stick to the ones that are.

Palma Sola Causeway on Manatee Avenue is one of the best spots to take your dog for a run or a swim. This area is close to the road, so make sure you keep your dog on a leash or that they are very well trained to come when you call. This area is just about a 10 minute drive from Holmes Beach.

Parks

There are a few off-leash dog parks where you can take your dog to get some exercise and play with some other pups. The Holmes Beach Dog Park is located at the corner of 62nd street and Flotilla Drive. There’s a small dog area and a large dog are at this grassy park.

Another fantastic option is the Happy Tails Dog Park at 2811 51st Street West. If you’re more concerned about dog size, this park is wonderful because it splits up into 3 sections depending on how big the dogs are.

Where to Stay

One of the most important things when taking your furry friend on vacation with you is finding an affordable and pet friendly place to stay. The good news is that there are plenty of pet friendly Anna Maria Island houses for rent. Pet friendly rentals vary in size and type, so you won’t have to give up anything you’re hoping for during your vacation to find the perfect spot to stay.

Just a few options include the Anna Maria Chateau which sleeps up to 8 people, the South Seas rental that has room for 12 people, and even a smaller rental option like the Sideways location which will comfortably fit up to 4 people.

No matter what you’re looking for in your Anna Maria Island lodging, we can help you find the premiere location for you and your pet. Many come complete with private pools and backyards so everyone will have the best vacation ever.

One rule to definitely keep in mind is to keep your dog leashed at all times unless you bring them to one of the previously mentioned off-leash parks. Other than that, get ready to have a wonderful time with your dog on vacation and if you have any questions about pet friendly policies our friendly staff can answer any of your questions. We can guide you to the most appropriate Anna Maria Island rentals for your vacationing needs.