Anna Maria Island, Florida Help

Old Nov 15th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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Anna Maria Island, Florida Help

My family and I are planning a trip to Anna Maria island in mid-February. I have a few questions:

1) Will it be warm enough then (barring freak weather) to enjoy the beach or should we try for March instead? Feb is more convenient for our schedules.
2) What's the real difference among Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton? We are considering renting a condo in Holmes Beach, though we had originally thought that we wanted to be in Anna Maria.
3) Is the trolley accessible throughout the island?
4) Any good suggestions for activities for a two-year-old other than beach and pool?
5) Any restaurant or even cafe recommendations? (We need our coffee!)

Thanks for your help!
mowrites is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2011, 12:22 PM
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We usually head to Sanibel but are going to Anna Maria Island for the first time this year because the rentals are more affordable. Perhaps someone else who has visited will give you better advice.

Anna Maria is north of Fort Myers/Sanibel, by Sarasota. It can be cool in Feb.--but we have also had cool weather in Sanibel in February. The weather would be warmer in March.

The whole island is only 7 miles long. The northern end is Anna Maria and is more residential and less busy. Holmes and Bradenton are the other 2 beaches. There are more condos, restaurants etc. there. The trolley does run the length of the island and appears to be within walking distance, if not right in front of, most lodging.

Two year olds are easy to travel with--they will do whatever you want them to do--and they do love digging in the sand. You need a beach umbrella. I think beach vacations are the perfect trip when you are travlelling with toddlers. You are able to relax and not worry about sightseeing and schedules.

Restaurants I have seen recommended: Rod and Reel, The Sandbar, Rotten Ralphs, Bridgetender, Gulf Drive Cafe for breakfast. More upscale: Beach Bistro, Beach House

I hope you write a trip report when you return. There aren't many reports for Anna Maria on the board. Enjoy your visit
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Old Nov 16th, 2011, 05:43 PM
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We used to travel there every winter around Super Bowl week. You could walk on the beach even when it was cool. It's been a while since we've been back, but I would agree that Anna Maria and Holmes Beach have a residential vibe. Back then, there wasn't much to do after 7 p.m. Bradenton was quite a ways "inland" and seemed more like a separate place. Sarasota seemed just as close from Anna Maria and Holmes. A few fancy shops in that beach area.
The Tampa/St. Pete area wasn't that far away when things got slow, and Orlando was a reasonable drive up the interstate.
edjim is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2011, 05:36 AM
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edjim,Bradenton is inland but Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island.

We are making our fourth visit to AMI this Feb. We much prefer it to Sanibel, btw. We have been in both Feb and March, beach is lovely, water is cool, but swimmable in March more so than Feb. We always stay in Anna Maria, like the quiet and residential feel, but Holmes Beach is not too crazy. We don't care for Bradenton Beach. If you really need to swim make sure you rent with a pool. Most rentals are booked for this year, I'd bet. Feb might have more availability??

trolley accessible everywhere. We like Mr Bones ( some do not), the waterfront, rod and reel.
Never have found great coffee shop, but we always have a kitchen, so no biggie.
There is a playground on the bay near rod and reel and some others. We liked the small aquarium in Bradenton.
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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I have been to a few places in Florida & Anna Maria is my absolute favorite. Beautiful sunsets, quiet, relaxing days, & sea-shells. Can't think of an easier trip with a 2-yr old~ bring some sand/water toys & you're all set for a relaxing vacation. We stay directly on the water as we spend all day on the beach reading, walking & napping! And, we also rent places with kitchens as you'll want your morning coffee at hand to step outside & enjoy the sunrises. The restaurants that LindainOhio recommended are great & one (can't remember the name) used to have musicians in the evening. My niece just spent a week there with her 5yr,3yr & 14month old & the kids loved the sand, water & walking on the beach. We are going in March & places on the water were hard to find a month ago. Longboat Key is also just as pretty, & quieter during busy seasons, but not as many restaurants on the beach. Hope this helps & enjoy the beauty of Anna Maria!
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