Welcome To Paradise!
Anna Maria Island is renowned for its gorgeous turquoise waters, sugar white sand beaches, and legendary painted sunsets. Small town, old Florida charm is what makes AMI so special. This is the place where fast food restaurants are nowhere in sight, the speed limit never exceeds 35 mph and flip-flops are a way of life. Anna Maria Island is truly is the place to get away from it all.
Three Cities, One Anna Maria Island
Bound on the west by the Gulf of Mexico, this 7-mile strip of land is home to three cities: Anna Maria to the north, Holmes Beach in the middle and Bradenton Beach to the south. The approximate population of all three cities combined is 8,800.
The city of Anna Maria is on the island’s north end and is mostly residential. There are a couple of small shopping plazas to pick up that perfect vacation souvenir and some wonderful restaurants. The waterfront restaurants offering fresh seafood are favorite spots for visitors, not just because of the delicious local cuisine, but also to catch that perfect sunset.
The historic Anna Maria Pier reaches into Tampa Bay, as does the Rod and Reel Pier just to the north, both places where you can see an occasional luxury cruise liner heading out to sea and a gorgeous view of the incredible Sunshine Skyway Bridge, especially on a clear day. Anna Maria houses the island’s community center that provides services to residents and visitors alike.
At the widest point and in the center of the island is the largest of the three cities on the island, Holmes Beach. It is home to the Manatee County Beach, a large public beach includes free parking, concessions, picnic tables, volley ball courts, water sport rentals, a play yard and showers.
There are several shopping plazas in Holmes Beach for groceries, personal hygiene needs, hardware, etc. along with some laidback beach stores that rent equipment, including kayaks, bicycles and beach chairs/umbrellas. The city also houses the only school on the island, the Anna Maria Island Elementary School which draws students from the entire island as well as north Longboat Key.
Bradenton Beach, on the southern end of the island, is perhaps the island’s trendiest community. Home to the longest stretch of beach on the island, Coquina Beach offers plenty of free parking, lifeguards, concessions, picnic tables, a playground, restrooms and showers.
One of the city’s other features is its historic City Pier. The pier, overlooking Sarasota Bay, welcomes anyone who wants to fish for their dinner, or those who just want to sit at the pier’s restaurant and watch the fishermen at work. Bradenton Beach’s revitalized Bridge Street is something to see, especially during the annual Bridge Street Market days where you can find local artwork, crafts, produce, special gifts, music and more. The market is held weekly from November to April.