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Places to go and things to see on Anna Maria Island?


Apr 2nd, 2014, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
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Places to go and things to see on Anna Maria Island?

Heading to FL this summer, to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. No one I know has ever been there. It came up as a "place you might be interested in" on TripAdvisor and it looks like they were right. I have read that it is like "old Florida" and am anxious to get there.

I was hoping that folks out in Fodors-land might have some insight for me. Would love to know the usuals:

- what is there to do? (other than the beach, of course)
- what should we see when we are in the area?
- what would you recommend as far as good restaurants in the area?

We'll have a car, so we're not tied to the island for the whole week. Willing to travel a little bit. Would appreciate any info anyone can give.

Thanks in advance!
HawaiiVirgin is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 06:54 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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We stayed in Bradenton beach,so just south of Holmes beach.
1. I highly suggest stopping and getting groceries before the island.mthe public off island was much easier to maneuver through.
2. We rented bikes and rode up and down the whole island. Highly recommend. We rented from AMI beach fun rentals, a brand new rental place near the walgreens and just beyond the public.
3. We rode our bikes over to the bridge to Cortez and turned right at the first street and ended up at the Cortez bar(?) not sure of the name. They had a great band on a Sunday afternoon.

For meals
We loved
Eat here in Holmes beach
Sandbar restaurant in anna maria.
Blue marlin in Bradenton beach

We picked up Indian food from island spice. Think that's the name.mit was great and I'm not a huge Indian food person.
And we picked up lunch from Maria's diner in Bradenton beach. I'm sure there have to be comparable places in Holmes beach that are a little more convenient.

Wish I could tell you what else to do but that's about all we did. Beach and nike except for a day trip to Sarasota to see a friend.

Have fun. We lived anna maria and hope to go back and stay closer to pine street.
williamscb13 is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2014, 03:26 AM
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You should realy drive to Sarasota for a day. You can visit The Ringling House and the beautiful collection of art at the Ringling Museum and if it interests you the Ringling Circus Museum(all located north of downtown Sarasota). Then head down to DT area of Sarasota. Great galleries, restaurants, nightlife(specifically the historical Gator Club), bunch of boutique shops, antique shops, etc.

There is also St. Armands Circle on Lido Key. Restaurants, intersting shopping, nightlife.

Historic Spanis Point in Osprey is worth the drive.

AFAIK Anna Maria Island is just laid back, full of restaurants and bars and beautiful beach island.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2014, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Take in City Pier and Rod and Reel pier in Anna Maria for "over the water" breakfast and dining
If you enjoy nature, there is Myakka River State Park, east of Sarasota. There are airboat rides on the lake for bird and wildlife viewing as well as hiking trails and other activities.
Also, there is the Desoto National Memorial in Bradenton which has historical artifacts and demonstrations.
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Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:45 AM
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Others make very good points. Anna Maria is a great base, it has a fabulous beach with very good restaurants. But you will want to explore other areas from there - Clearwater is also not far from Anna Maria and has another great beach. Sanibel is jaw dropping and has the nature park there.
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Apr 4th, 2014, 06:38 PM
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We too, enjoy the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria. We always go for lunch, eating out on their deck on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach.

Agree too that Sarasota is worth a day or two and is a pretty drive down from Anna Maria. On the way you will pass Mote Marine, with their exhibits, then hit St Armand's Circle with some more up scale shopping. We really enjoy Selby Gardens, set on an old estate on Sarasota Bay. Their orchid green house is spectacular, and the grounds all lovely. The Ringling house, Ça d'Zan is well worth the tour. We've seen it in various stages of its restoration, and it's quite fascinating seeing its transformation. It was all but crumbling not too long ago, a victim of neglect and it's environment at the edge of the water, but elegant once again. Ringling takes the better part of a day (house, circus museum and art museum) and Selby Gardens and St Armand's Circle could easily fill another day.

Hope you enjoy your stay!
OO is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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Thank you all for your replies. I will make note of all of them. We DEFINITELY will get to Myakka River. That sounds right up our alley. Can't wait!! Looking forward to researching all the other suggestions. Again, thank you so much!
HawaiiVirgin is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2014, 02:39 PM
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We really enjoyed our 2 hour sunset cruise on the Katleen D, highly recommend it. Also if you have kids, we took a day trip to Adventure Island in Tampa. And you could also stop by the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg. Both are about a 45 minute drive.
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