Anna Maria Island
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About Anna Maria Island
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