Anna Maria Island, Florida
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Anna Maria Island Vacation Information

It’s not your very own private island, but Anna Maria Island is probably just about the closest thing you’ll find to it if you are searching for a beach vacation in Southwest Florida. A seven-mile-long barrier island situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, about 60 percent of this semi-tropical location is open beach. That means plenty of space to soak up the sun, build sand castles and search for sea shells without worrying about large crowds or a hectic pace. Life at this vacation destination, sometimes called Anna Maria Key, is slow and peaceful.

A picturesque place where people come to truly unplug and get away from city life, this barrier island has no high-rise condos, traffic jams, amusement parks or strip malls. Instead, it is natural beauty and a calming tranquility that is on full display here. The buildings here are no more than three stories high on, so you can look out for miles and enjoy the lush foliage, colorful and luxurious homes and shimmering white sands of this tropical paradise.

Anna Maria Island was first known by the local Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes, and was later discovered by Spanish explorers - including DeSoto - in the mid-1500s as they were entering Tampa Bay. It was then that this island was given its name, which honors the wife of Charles II of Spain. The barrier island is actually comprised of three communities – Anna Maria to the north, Bradenton Beach to the south and Holmes Beach in between. While they are certainly not bustling hubs, there are indeed quaint restaurants, shops and boutiques that dot the landscape in a pattern that is more like the suburbs than a city.

For nature lovers and adventure seekers, the island is small enough that a lot of exploring can be done on foot or bicycle. If you’d rather ride, there’s a free trolley service that makes getting around a breeze. However, there’s something magical about taking to the trails and paths and catching a glimpse of coastal wildlife in its natural habitat.

As its location is surrounded by water on all sides, of course you will find all of the usual water-related activities, from swimming to snorkeling , diving, parasailing and much more. Fishing is another popular pastime here, and there are several public fishing piers and local charter captains ready and waiting to accommodate a multitude of fishing experiences.

Round out your experience with some culture, including performing arts and a few museums and historical locations on the island. This charming, mostly isolated and nearly preserved area puts the “retreat” in a beach retreat to Florida. Fall asleep to the sounds of waves at night, get recharged daily with solar power and cool off with refreshing water activities. Plan a beach vacation to Anna Maria Island near the Tampa Bay area, and come discover the slice of paradise you’ve always imagined.

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Anna Maria Island Florida Restaurants

Restaurants

As a coastal location surrounded by water, it stands as a given that the seafood is always fresh and of the highest quality. Grouper and stone crabs are two standouts on this barrier island. However, there are a handful of beach bistros, burger stands, charming cafés and romantic restaurants that offer enough options to satisfy every member of the family or vacation party. So whether you want barbeque on the beach or classic Italian washed down with some wine and a sunset over the bay, you’ll find it here in Anna Maria Island.
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Anna Maria Island Florida Fishing

Fishing

Famous for its open beaches, Anna Maria Island is also quite attractive for anglers because of its location on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and the Tampa Bay. This amazing location offers a wide variety of experiences, as visitors can choose to fish from piers, from a small boat near the shoreline or from the beach to net snook, red fish and a handful of other fish. If you’d like to get out a farther, there are charter boat captains who offer affordable rates for deep-sea expeditions that will net you the opportunity to haul in Barracuda, Grouper, King Mackerel, Snapper, Cobia, Key West Grunts, Porgies, Sharks, Trigger Fish, Spanish Mackerel and many other species. So go ahead and bring your sense of adventure and come create your fish story to tell everyone back home.
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Anna Maria Island Florida Shopping

Shopping

While there are no major shopping centers on this island, you won’t have any problem finding access to grocery stores and local shops and boutiques offering handmade crafts and unique gifts. Shopping on Anna Maria Island is more like an artful experience, which blends well with the sunny disposition of the barrier island.
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Things to do in Anna Maria Island Florida

Other Things To Do

Come for the beautiful, breathtaking beaches… but find a dozen other reasons to stay once you are here. Anna Maria Island is also home to Bean Point, a quiet and isolated beach perfect for birdwatching. Take a trip back in time at the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum, or give in to your wild side with some exciting water sport activities. Rent a bike or scooter and span the island in just a few minutes - and enjoy the tropical breezes through your hair and a stunning natural beauty clearly in your sights. Anna Maria Island is a lush tropical paradise just waiting to be explored.
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Anna Maria Island Photo Gallery


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