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Escape to Anna Maria Island, Florida

This tiny barrier island proves that smaller is better when it comes to Florida beaches.  If you like to avoid the crowds, catch a glimpse of a dolphin or manatee, dip your toes in perfect white sand, and spend your afternoons biking around town, then Anna Maria Island may become one of your favorite Florida beaches.

Located on a sliver of land about 50 miles south of Tampa, the tiny Gulf Coast Island is known for its laid back style, peaceful (uncrowded) beaches and old-Florida charm.  Sunsets are a big deal on the island which has the benefit of being so narrow that you can see the magical Florida sunsets over the Gulf or Tampa Bay.

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The north side of the island is full of small, quaint shops where you can grab coffee, freshly baked treats, shop for knick knacks or take a long lunch.  You can bike just about anywhere or take the trolley to the beach. Everyone in your family will find something to do on the island.

Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

Bean Point

Make sure you visit Bean Point for a little slice of Florida beach heaven.  The water is absolutely beautiful and you’ll enjoy amazing views, stunning beach scenery, and one of the best beach walks in a good long time.  Look for the Blue Heron and for the ultimate experience, walk in the morning before anyone get there.  Also a great place to catch the sunset.


Rod and Reel Pier

A local favorite and ultra-casual, the Rod and Reel is part of the island’s charm. Wear your flip-flops, don’t worry about your hair, and hang-out sipping the beverage of your choice while you watch dolphins and manatees play in the surf nearby.  Its friendly, old-school charm is refreshing and fun.  Make sure you call ahead, there are only a few tables and it can get really crowded.


Walk the Island

If you like to get out and do some serious beach walking, try hiking from Coquina Beach all the way to Bean Point and around the corner for a seafood omlette at the Rod and Reel restaurant.  Great way to start the day!

Have you visited Anna Maria Island?  Share your favorite activities or places to eat in the comments below…

Read more:

Best City Beaches

Best Beaches for Adventure

3 Great Beaches for Treasure Hunting

East Coast Beaches with Nearby History


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. no way ……….. i grew up there ! and i live on longboat key , 1 island south of anna maria island. it was a great place to grow up and still go to the rod & reel and city pier once a month, not much has changed since the 80’s and that’s fine with me , still has the old florida charm ! thanks for posting
    P.S. you’re awesome 🙂

  2. I lived in West Bradenton, FL back in the summer of 2000 and would go to Anna Maria Island most every night to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. During days, it normally wasn’t crowded…only on Memorial Day really. It was a wonderful place that I have always wanted to go back to, but never made it so far….thanks for bring back memories!

  3. I live on Longboat Key also. I am in the water whether its cloudy or not. It’s my life and a must for my soul! With out it I am not whole!

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