Anna Maria Island, "Old Florida" Living
Anna Maria Island,“OLD FLORIDA” Living
The phrase “Old Florida” creates images of clean, white sand, sparkling blue ocean as the sun sits low on the horizon, iced tea and cocktails enjoyed on the veranda, beautiful houses, quaint cottages, friendly locals with a quick smile and hello.
That is “Old Florida” and that’s exactly what Anna Maria Island is:
Anna Maria Island is seven miles long, located on the southern mouth of Tampa Bay. It consists of three cities: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and the northern tip which is the city of Anna Maria.
Every spot is beautiful, but the island gets a bit more charming in the upper section which is the city of Anna Maria. Anna Maria Island is a barrier island with a population of 860 full time residents.
Anna Maria Island is not as crowded as other touristy beaches. There are no hotels, only privately owned homes. However, there is limited parking available.
It is best to get there early if visiting or use the Anna Maria Trolly that moves around the island. The Trolly operates 365 days of the year and has 9 stops on the Island that come through every 20 minutes.
Anna Maria Island has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the United States. The sand is powdery white, you can find tons of unique seashells, spot a dolphin offshore, or watch hundreds of shore birds wading in the sand. The water is clear and turquoise.
The beaches on Anna Maria Island include Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach, Manatee Public Beach, Bean Point, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Bayfront Park Public Beach.
Coquina Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and not just for the sandy oceanfront but because behind the beach is covered in Australian Pine Trees. The pine trees shade a walkway that is a cool escape from the sun.
The beach is long and slender making a trip to the water a short one. It is the longest stretch of beach on the island and the best place to collect shells. The water is shallow for a distance and there are lifeguard towers located throughout for your protection. For families this is an ideal spot with grills, picnic shelters, and lots of room to spread out and enjoy your time. There are nearby playgrounds for the kids to enjoy if they want to get out of the sand.
Every Sunday and Wednesday during the cooler months, vendors park under the trees for a Beach Market. Vendors sell everything from artwork, to jewelry, to caramel corn.
The center of Coquina Beach you’ll find a full-service restaurant called Coquina Beach Café which has one of the best beachfront patios on the Island. Just to the north of the restaurants are volleyball courts if you are looking for a pickup game. Beach lounge and umbrella rentals are available, just settle in and an attendant will come by to collect your fee.
Cortez Beach is a great beach just south of the Bridge Street Historical Area with parking directly off Gulf Drive South. This beach has three concrete pier-like structures that extend into the gulf.
This view may not seem attractive to some visitors but when the wind and waves are up, the piers keep the waters calm for swimming. If you have your surfboard with you, head here!
The unique structure of the beach and piers create some of the best waves on Anna Maria Island. If you have a fishing pole, bring that too! This is an ideal fishing location where you can snag snapper, trout, grouper, and snook.
Manatee Public Beach is easily accessed by driving to the end of Highway 64 directly into the parking lot. This beach is wide and allows you to spread out.
The beach is mere steps from the parking lot making it easy to transport your beach gear, especially with kids in tow. If you forgot your sunscreen don’t fret, there is a beach shop that has all kinds of sun and sand equipment available for purchase.
This beach gives you the opportunity to play volleyball on one of its five sand courts. If you work up an appetite, take a few steps to Anna Maria Island Café and dine under an umbrella with your toes in the sand. If you prefer to make your own meal, there are grills and picnic tables available. Lifeguards are on watch from their impressive towers here.
At the far northern tip of Anna Maria Island is Bean Point. This beach is wide open with few people around due to lack of parking access. The beach is named after the Island’s first resident, George Emerson Bean who purchased a large acreage and settled in 1892.
Bean Point offers spectacular views of St. Petersburg and is the only place where you can see the Gulf and the Bay. It is the best spot on the island to watch the sunset.
If you want to visit Bean Point, get there early. You’ll find access points at North Shore Drive where it meets Fern Street and where it meets Gladiolus Street.
There are no vendors, no lifeguards, washrooms, or change facilities. Swimming on the north side can be risky as the current is strong. If the wind is up, you may see a display of kite surfers catching some air in this area.
Bradenton Beach is the furthest city south on Anna Maria Island. It has the best of both worlds, an awesome beach and a fun area of shops and restaurants within walking distance. The beach can be busy at times but if that is your style then this is the place to be.
Thanks to Historic Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach is great for shopping and history. You can learn about the rich history of the Island and pop in a boutique for a cute souvenir. There are a ton of delicious restaurants in the area. While you are shopping on Bridge Street grab dinner at Bridge Street Bistro for a gorgeous view with your meal or Beach House Waterfront Restaurant that offers great food with an eco-friendly twist.
Holmes Beach is located right in the middle of Anna Maria Island. Holmes Beach was first homesteaded in 1896. It reached its current name after World War II when a developer by the name of Holmes arrived and created the 600-acre community that we call Holmes Beach.
This 3 mile stretch of beach is quiet as it is fronted by condo complexes and private homes. Beach access points off side roads will get you easy access. Parking can be limited but since most people don’t think about coming here you may find a spot.
For a different beach experience take a trip to Bayfront Park Public Beach. This is located near the Anna Maria Island Public pier. It is a beautifully manicured public park that has everything you need. For kids there are play structures, swings, and lots of room to run around. Bayfront Park has a decent beach located on the northeast side of the island but doesn’t compare well to the beaches directly on the Gulf. There are trees, green space, picnic tables, and grills.
While you are there take a visit to the Anna Maria City Pier. This historic site has drawn in crowds for decades. A visit here on island time is a must. It’s a great place for fishing or just watching wildlife.
Admission to the pier is free, and parking can be found along South Bay Boulevard. You’ll enjoy strolling along the old wooden pier looking at names on each plank. At the end of the pier is City Pier Grill and Bait Shop.
Relax, enjoy some ice cream, or bring your pole to fish up your own dinner. Keep your eyes out for a school of stingrays that at times congregate at the pier!
Of course, with any frequently visited beach you have the choice to stay active on Anna Maria Island. Bike rentals, parasailing, and kayak adventures are plentiful up and down this seven-mile stretch. Don’t miss out on your next adventure!
Why settle for a visit to Anna Maria Island when you can permanently live there? Make this dream of a location a permanent lifestyle or maybe just a 2nd home:
Down the stretch of island are single family homes, townhomes, villas, duplexes, and condominiums. Single family homes are dominating the real estate market on Anna Maria Island with currently 92 active listings. A home here can start a 2 bedroom/2 bath at $1.8 million to a 5 bedroom/5 bath at $8 million.
If your price point is below $1 million a condo is your best option. The most common condo sold is a 2 bedroom/2 bath. However, there is a variety of prices and spaces available from a 1 bedroom/1 bath starting at $490,000 to a 4 bedroom/4 bath at $3 million.
A townhome, duplex, or villa is currently the least available real estate on the market for Anna Maria Island with 5 active listings. These range from a 2 bedroom/2 bath starting at $1.1 million to a 3 bedroom/2 bath starting at $1.8 million.
Watching the sunset from your bedroom every night is a reality when living on Anna Maria Island. Call us today (Office 727-293-9130) to help you achieve this dream! We are the waterfront experts!
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