Questions about Anna Maria Island, Florida

Old Aug 13th, 2012, 08:02 AM
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Questions about Anna Maria Island, Florida

Can anybody tell me how Anna Maria Island compares with Sanibel? Are there any bike paths? Nature areas? Thanks!
wliwl is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Sanibel is very remote as compared to Anna Maria Island. While both are known for the old Florida feel they are very different. I would say the largest difference is that Sanibel is more remote then Anna Maria. Anna Maria has 30 or so restaurants to choose from as well as tons of shopping but still keeps that old Florida charm. Sanibel is known for shelling as well so the beaches have lots of shells. Anna Maria Island has some but better known for their soft sand. So, if you have no intention of eating out more than once or twice and you want to find shells on the beach and dont care about soft sand, Sanibel is your ticket. If you want some shopping and more restaurant choices choose Anna Maria Island.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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We have been visiting Sanibel for many years and love it. We visited Anna Maria Island this year and really enjoyed our stay there. We love both beaches: More shells in Sanibel, better sand on Anna Maria Island. Both have great sunsets.

AMI has more restaurants on the water. Both have a busy main road.

No golf course on AMI but there are golf courses about a half hour drive away. My husband liked stopping in and playing twilight rates/hitting a bucket of balls at the Sanibel course.

Better biking on Sanibel. The north end of AMI is quieter and more residential--maybe better for bike riding there.

You can rent a beachhouse for a week on AMI as opposed to monthy only rentals for homes on Sanibel. No charge to cross the bridge to Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria is farther north so when visiting in Jan. or Feb., the weather may be cooler--not a problem this past winter anywhere in Florida--or really for that matter not even in Ohio.

Sanibel has gotten very expensive in season (we've visited about every other year for about 20 years) and I wanted to get a condo on the beach with an ocean view. Anna Maria Island has more affordable lodging and lots of options right on the beach. They also offer some very upscale condos.

We love to bike Sanibel and I was told there was a lovely bike trail on Longboat Key--that trail did not appeal to me. It runs along the road.

What we did discover on AMI and wish we had found earlier was the Robinson Preserve. We kayaked there but there are wonderful trails where you can walk and bike. Easier to bike than Ding Darling.

We loved Anna Maria Island and will return. We will probably also return to Sanibel.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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Anna Maria Island is really three small beach communities. Starting at the northern tip is Anna Maria. Followed by Holmes Beach and then Bradenton Beach.
Each has its own character, beaches, restaurants and lodging. Tne northern part is more quiet and a throwback to old Florida. There is a free rubber wheeled trolley bus that connects all three so depending where you stay you can easily get from one end to another.
Try the Rod and Reel restaurant (on the pier) in Anna Maria for breakfasts and dinners.
Wew go every year.
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Old Aug 16th, 2012, 10:59 AM
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I've been to Sanibel/Captiva twice, Anna Maria once.

I doubt we'll return to Sanibel. It's expensive, and you have to pretty much drive everywhere. Unless you stay on Captiva, but, your drinking/eating options are pretty limited.

We enjoyed our time on AMI, despite hitting a nasty cold spell, I can't remember if it was November or December. Although we did find ourselves driving quite a bit, it was just too darn cold to wait for the trolley, driving seemed less of a hassle than on Sanibel.
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