Do you like the idea of a destination that feels a million miles away from everything, but is easy to reach? You don’t have to travel far to find this kind of serenity; you just have to plan a trip to Anna Maria Island in Florida. Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, this island has a private feeling that will leave you wanting more. Don’t be surprised if you find the perfect oceanfront villa on VacationRentals.com that you wind up renting year after year.
Every Anna Maria Island travel guide should begin with the beach. The white sand and turquoise waters are the main draw, and the beach has been attracting visitors for decades. Here you will find beaches dotted with palm trees and umbrellas for shade. It is the perfect environment for sunbathing and cooling off in the glimmering Gulf of Mexico with a swim.
Adventurous travelers will find a wide range of beach activities to keep busy. From kayaking to sailing to scuba diving to parasailing, Anna Maria Island offers just about every outdoor adventure activity under the sun. Whether you’re an expert or giving an activity a try for the first time, Anna Maria Island will provide an ideal backdrop. If you’re planning some quality family time, why not head out for a deep sea fishing charter?
Get Ready to Explore
One thing frequent visitors to Anna Maria Island love about this destination is that there is always more to explore. Take a stroll along the beach and discover gorgeous seashells, rent a bike for some sunset exercise, or hop aboard the local free trolley service to take in the views.
The peaceful atmosphere of Anna Maria Island means that you can explore at your own leisure. There are no crowds here to fight, and you can plan your day on a whim. If you want to go parasailing or charter a fishing boat, there’s no need to plan days in advance if you don’t want to. Part of the fun of exploring in Anna Maria Island is striking while the iron is hot.
The Sophisticated Side of Anna Maria Island
Visitors don’t have to worry about loud nightlife or noisy neighbors during a trip to Anna Maria Island. This destination is known for its relaxed atmosphere and romantic scenery. While families do travel here and enjoy all of the adventure activities, this is also a wonderful place for couples to go and reconnect during a vacation.
A walk on the beach, an afternoon spent bird watching, or a picnic during a sunset sail — there are many ways to send sparks flying in your relationship during a visit to Anna Maria Island. The island is also home to excellent shopping and dining. For those who want even more sophistication, local art galleries and attractions will add another dimension to your trip.
Get more info on what to do with our guide to the best things to do on Anna Maria Island.
Many visitors will be tempted to see nothing but the pristine beaches during a trip to Anna Maria Island. If you prefer a little more sightseeing infused in your vacation, there is plenty to see as well. Some travelers don’t realize that this coastline is actually full of cultural attractions. Get your culture fix by attending a show at the Island Players live theatre or the Ringling Museum of Art. It should come as no surprise that many of the local landmarks are based around wildlife. If you’re interested in learning more about the wildlife of Florida, there are many opportunities in this region including the South Florida Museum and Aquarium, the Mote Marine Aquarium, and the Florida Aquarium.
More Thrills in Anna Maria Island
There are also 45 golf courses in the area surrounding Anna Maria Island if you’re looking to work on your swing. A local tennis academy is a great place to work on a different type of swing, while Busch Gardens in Tampa is an ideal place to blow off some steam on a few roller coasters. A trip to this area of Florida can be as exciting or relaxing as you desire.
Super Shopping in Anna Maria Island
One of the best ways to explore the island is with shopping. After a few days spent sunbathing and boating you might be in need of a little retail therapy. There are stores here where you can find beachwear, jewelry, local art, and even fine linens. Every visitor will have his or her own favorite shops, but some of the top favorites include Creations by L and Pierro’s Jewelers for jewelry and Island Gallery West for local art. From upscale boutiques to flea markets, you will find a wide variety of shopping options during your trip to Anna Maria Island.
The Local Flavor of Anna Maria Island
If you love a scenic view to accompany your dinner, you are in luck with the restaurants of Anna Maria Island. From casual seafood joints to elegant candlelit restaurants on the beach, this Florida destination has it all. Many restaurants feature a catch of the day that was plucked from the Gulf of Mexico. Popular local fish includes grouper, red snapper, blue crab, and mullet.
Any Anna Maria Island travel guide will tell you that the local specialty is fish. Many travelers come here to eat fish every night — and enjoy every single bite! If you’re looking for fine dining, check out Harry’s Continental Kitchens, Island Gourmet, Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant, or Beach House Restaurant. More casual options include City Pier Restaurant, Gathering Place, and Feeling Swell.
It is important for an Anna Maria Island travel guide to tell potential visitors about the best time to visit. Yet, many of these guides oversimplify things. The truth is, every traveler must decide what season fits best. Some people love the hot and humid summers while others prefer the mild days of winter — it’s all up to individual taste!
One thing is true across the board — hurricane season reaches its peak at the end of August and into early September. If you plan your trip during this time there is a chance that your vacation could be interrupted by a storm. Anna Maria Island doesn’t experience the same crowds that other beach destinations do, so you don’t have to worry about planning a trip to avoid the crowds.
The beauty of getting away to the beach is not having to worry about too much. Unlike a ski vacation that requires a long packing list, you really only need your beach basics to enjoy a trip to Anna Maria Island. As long as you have a bathing suit, flip flops, and sunscreen, you will enjoy every minute of your trip. There are options for fine dining here, so if you plan on sampling local cuisine, do pack along a few nicer outfits. A vacation rental is always more fun with a little entertainment, so bring along a few board games and make game night a fun part of your family getaway.
The services in Anna Maria Island meet the needs of visitors. You will find grocery stores, florists, places to rent kayaks, and fishing boats to charter. Visitors should be aware that in this relaxed town, things operate according to business hours, so as long as you aren’t trying to get groceries at 10 p.m., you won’t be disappointed.
Anna Maria Island is located 40 miles south of Tampa. This means that a trip here can be both an escape to an island oasis and an exploration of an exciting cultural city. Many travelers spend a week on the beach without giving much thought to exploring beyond the borders of the island. While a straight beach vacation has its own merits, there is also a lot of wildlife, attractions, and culture to discover in this immediate area of the Sunshine State.
Most travelers either drive to Anna Maria Island or drive from the Tampa Airport. This international airport has excellent connections to cities across the U.S. and beyond, making Anna Maria Island very easy to get to from almost anywhere. Once you arrive in Tampa, you might want to rent a car. Anna Maria Island is located 40 miles south of Tampa, a distance that justifies a rental car. Many travelers also enjoy the freedom of a rental car that allows for easy exploration of nearby attractions.
The picture of a blissful beach vacation just isn’t complete without a vacation rental. An oceanfront villa, where you can watch the sun rise and set, where you can sip a glass of wine under the stars, where you can spread out in comfort; this makes the difference between a good vacation and a great vacation.