"Enjoy shopping at both the historic area of Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, as well as the trendy upscale enclave of St. Armand's Circle on Lido Key."
"Rent a jet ski or a sail boat, go parasailing or take a kayak tour of our barrier islands. There are a number of daily boats cruises that encompass the intracoastal waterway as well as an expeditionary cruise to Eggmont Key, where you can snorkel for sand dollars."
"Tour the Ringling Museum and world famous Ringling Art Gallery and see an evening performance at the Aslo Repertory Theatre adjacent to Ringling."
"Try the grouper sandwich at the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island - you won't regret it!"
View Mark's property on FlipKey here.
"Those looking for water-based adventure on AMI can find ample opportunities for boating (rent one at Cannon Maria, Long Boat Key), kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and snorkeling."
"One of my favorites is "Eat Here" in Holmes Beach. Great place to try unique made to order appetizers to share or you can order as a full meal. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is quaint, yet casual. A definite must try. This is my favorite restaurant on the island."
"For a more energetic setting a great place is the Sworfish Grill. It is located in Cortez Florida. Has a large outdoor deck with tiki bar and is located on the water. They also have live music if you like to dance. Casual atomosphere, serves lunch and dinner."
"Mote Marine is a fun place to go. They have a boat tour thru Sarasota bay, lots of tropical fish in there museum and also various shows with dolphins etc. Educational and fun for kids and adults as well."
View Lynn's property on FlipKey here.
"Must try restaurants are: The Columbia Restaurant on St. Armand's Circle, Bella Mia Pizza and Italian Restaurant in Bradenton, Fire & Stone Pizza in Bradenton, SandBar Restaurant on Anne Maria Island."
"We are 45 minutes to Tampa and 1.5 hours to Orlando - there are any number of great adventure parks in the area - but to me the best bet are all of the beaches along Anna Maria Island and Long Boat Key - with jet ski, Hobie cat and boat rentals for every taste."
"Jet ski, Hobie cat, parasail rentals - boat and canoe and paddle board rentals - beautiful beaches at no cost - the free trolley ride up and down the length of Anna Maria Island"
"We have the very famous Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, the Ringling Museum of Art, and any number of spots nearby in St. Petersburg and Tampa."
View Lynette's property on FlipKey here.
"The local seafood dishes at Banana Cabana are incredible - you should absolutely visit when in AMI!"
View Marie's property on FlipKey here.
"When on an island you will want to try the sea food. On Rod 'n Reel pier you will have both great seafood while sitting on the water!"
"Do you like weddings, but don't like to get all dressed up and buy an expensive gift? Be a wedding splasher! With all the weddings taking place on AMI, it's not hard to find one. Lay in the warm Mexican Gulf and enjoy the romance and excitement!"
"Join a a turtle nesting or excavation tour during the summer months, it's free! Just contact Anna Maria Island turtle watch and shorebird monitoring to enroll for a guided tour. The whole family will love it!"
"Take a kayak tour among the mangrove and get close and personal with dolphins and manatees - great workout too! For the really adventurous you can also paddle in gator waters..."
View the Povey's properties on FlipKey here.
"Van Wezel, Manatee Players, Florida Studio Theatre. The Ringling Museum gardens are free every day, and the gallery is free on Mondays."
View Frank's property on FlipKey here.
"Use local free trolleys to explore the wonderful areas of Anna Maria Island."
"Many attractions in Sarasota include visiting the circus and a group of incredible museums."
"With so much to do and experience in terms of art & music, it is clear that Sarasota boasts the opera and classic music capital of the south"
View JL's property on Flipkey here.
"A grouper sandwich is a must have when visiting the island, but visitors should also try smoked mullet. You can find it at Starfish Seafood Company in Cortez."
"Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria was once the promenade during the early 1900's. The shopping and food has revived that tradition."
"Kayaking the backwaters under the Anna Maria bridge you will see lots of fish in the clear waters and be sure to watch for seahorses."
Just south of Tampa Bay on the turquoise Gulf of Mexico, sits a quaint Barrier Island located on Florida's West Coast. Lined by a seven-mile strip of beautiful white-sand beaches, Anna Maria Island is a cozy paradise that has long been considered one of the state's hidden gems. Here, "Old Florida" charm abounds and visitors can get a feel for Florida, the way it used to be.
With seven miles of uninterrupted beach, Anna Maria Island offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy fun in the sun and explore. The island shares its beach life with local wildlife. Turtles visit from May - November every year (nest tours are offered in the summer) and year round visitors shouldn't be surprised to see manatees, dolphins, rays and exotic fish beyond the waves.
In addition to its picturesque beaches, Anna Maria Island is home to many award-winning dining options, including bistros, cafes and restaurants (there are no chain restaurants to be found). The island has been recognized nationally for its locally sourced food, unique menu items and on-the-water locations offering top views. Diners can expect gourmet dining options offering cuisine from England, France, Germany, Italy, Asia and Spain, as well as "Floribbean" dishes and seafood delicacies straight from the nearby sea. Top seafood choices include: grouper, red snapper, mullet and blue crab. Visitors are even invited to bring their catch into some of the area's top restaurants, like the Sandbar and Beachhouse.
For guests looking for fun off the sand as well, there are many art galleries, museums or aquariums in the area. And, the island is surrounded by nature parks and gorgeous naturally landscaped paths worth exploring.
Anna Maria Island also offers many top options for shopping at its many souvenir, jewelry, clothing and antique stores. Pine Avenue (known as the Greenest Little Main Street in America) is lined by great stylish boutiques and specialty shops and leads directly on to the 100 year old Anna Maria City Pier which offers picturesque views of the bay. Holmes Beach offers seven blocks of stores, small unique gift shops, adorable café's, art galleries and a grocery store. Additionally, stores on the newly restored Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach offers an unusual blend of arts and crafts unique to the island, reflecting its Bohemian roots.
Anna Maria Island also boasts a wide variety of accommodations ranging from historic bed and breakfasts, to beach-side cottages, cozy luxury homes, as well as condo rentals and spacious villas, which are all locally owned and operated and offer a unique experience. Tall sky-rise and commercial buildings do not exist on Anna Maria Island, with most accommodations measuring at less than three stories.
Additionally, the island is becoming a top choice for beach destination weddings. So much so that many are referring to the setting as the "Beach Wedding Capital of Florida". Forbes named Anna Maria Island the "#3 Prettiest City in the Country" in 2013 and was a "TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Destination Winner 2013 and 2014" and #3 of the top 10 islands in the US to go to in 2014.
Information provided by: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau