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Things to do

Things to do on THE ISLAND

WATERSPORTS

The newest island crazes are paddleboarding and kayaking -- everyone's doing it! You can rent the paddleboards and kayaks just about anywhere on the island and use them for exercise, or to explore the intracoastal and back water areas around the island. Anna Maria island has the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Tampa Bay to the north, the Intracoastal waterway to the East and Sarasota Bay to the south -- all are accessible with paddleboards and kayaks.

Scuba diving and snorkling allows you to seek the wonders of our Gulf and Bay. a popular spot is the Regina sugar barge which sank in a 1940's just off Bradenton Beach. The dive site is in 20 feet of water about 75 yards off the coast and in the past has been marked by a buoy. The site is just to the North of Cortez road. A great landmark is the Gulf Drive Cafe on Gulf Drive, look out into the water for the buoy and you are in luck. Blue Water Explorers can help you with your plans.

The island has 3 fishing piers, Rod and Reel, Anna Maria City Pier and the Bradenton Beach City Pier. If you prefer seeing the island or fishing from a charter boat, these services are readily available. For the ultimate island experience you might want to rent a boat during your vacation.

We also have something you might not have heard of just -- Horse Surfing. This is one of the few place in Florida where you can legally ride your horse on a beach. The calm waters and flat sandy bottom of Palma Sola Bay make it possible to ride on a horse that is swimming. This is the birthplace of Horse Surfing™. Horseback riding on the beach, swimming with horses, and Horse Skiing™. Reservations required.

While doing nothing is Anna Maria Island’s prime pastime, there are plenty of options when you want something to do. You can rent rent a scooter, wave runner, kayak, sailboat, bicycle, beach wagon, book a fishing charter, para-sail or simply indulge your self with a beach message right on the beach just a few minutes walk from our Anna Maria Island beach condos.

SHOPPING, MARKETS and ISLAND EVENTS

Just about every weekend has a special event planned for islanders and vacationers. You can enjoy the diversity of the island boutiques and shops all week long and then browse through one of the Farmers' Markets at the beach, or enjoy an art festival in Holmes Beach over the weekend. There are a few very special island events that come once a year:

  • January -- The Chalk Festival on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria
  • March -- Springfest (sponsored by Art League of Anna Maria Island)
  • April -- CityFest (sponsored by Chamber of Commerce)
  • May -- Food and Wine on Pine in Anna Maria
  • October -- Bayfest, Anna Maria (sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce)
  • November -- ArtsHOP and Symphony on the Sand
  • December -- Winterfest (sponsored by Art League of Anna Maria Island)

Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City serves as the main thoroughfare from Tampa Bay to beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Charming family stores and breakfast cafes are housed in quaint Florida cottages as well as a shopping center across from the City Pier on the Tampa Bay end of Pine Avenue. You might be interested in the Pine Avenue Historic Green Village, one of ONLY 100 PLACES WORLDWIDE to have achieved the highest possible green building standard – Platinum LEED – PLUS at the same time Net Zero Energy. The Green Village combines the restoration of historic cottages, plus new age technology. The Historic Green Village houses a Cafe, an Art Gallery a unique jewelry store, a Village Bakery and an Outfitters store selling high quality fishing and kayaking equipment, plus performance clothing.

Inspired by its natural beauty, many artists reside in the area where their works can be found:

Art classes are regularly offered through the Artists' Guilf and the Art League, while weekly demos are offered in season at the Island Gallery West. Check their web sites for the schedules. The Anna Maria Island Community Center also offers classes during the year in a variety of subjects.

Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach offers another island shopping experience as well as entertainment. Their web site will give you a listing of the merchants, plus a schedule of planned events. Parking is a difficult issue for Bridge Street and it's best to make use of the FREE island trolley so that you can enjoy your time poking around the shops and restaurants rather than spending that time trying to find a parking place.

There are plenty of parking places at the Holmes Beach shopping center with a delighful mix of clothing stores, gift shops, jewelers, and even a hardware store! You might want to have lunch at Tortilla Bay, the Feast or Hurricane Hanks while you are there.

ISLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Mike Sales has a drum circle at sunset at the Manatee County Beach (every other Saturday, weather permitting - check his schedule). The AMI Cafe (Cafe on the Beach) at the Manatee County Beach offers nightly live music -- check their schedule. On the third friday of every month, Pine Avenue sponsors the "Porch Parties" where various venues keep their doors open and offer libations and food samples (the Porch Parties are a meeting place for both tourists and residents). During the year the grounds beside the Holmes Beach City Hall are filled with various festivals with food, drink and local artists.

The Island Players produces a season of plays -- you can purchase season tickets or check with the box office for their schedule and to purchase tickets to individual plays. Amazingly, Anna Maria Island has a world class orchestra and chorus, AMICCO - Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra, that produces a season of concerts from December to March. Tickets and schedule are available on their web site. AMICCO in conjunction with the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce also produces Symphony on the Sand in November -- check the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce) web site for ticket information.

Most people visit Anna Maria Island for the exquisite beaches. You can relax in the serenity and capture the feel of old Florida on the remote stretch of Anna Maria Island or simply enjoy the warm seas of the Gulf and the amenities – playgrounds, picnic tables and showers – that the more public beaches (Manatee, Holmes Beach, Coquina) have to offer or try the more secluded and private beaches (be aware that there are no bathroom facilities or life guards at these beaches).

However you decide to spend your time on Anna Maria Island, try to end your day at the beach or on your condo balcony, enjoying the most magnificent sunsets you will find anywhere in the world.

GOLF AND TENNIS

Golf is also another favorite pastime, and with more than two dozen public and private courses from which to choose - not to mention at least 200 more within a short drive - Manatee County and its neighboring communities are a virtual golfing paradise.

Our Florida beach rental condo is located within 10 minutes of the internationally famous David Leadbetter IMG Golf Academy and Nick Boliterie Tennis Academy both located in Bradenton Florida.

BASEBALL

Our neighboring cities play host to year-round excitement with training and seasonal games for teams like baseball’s legendary Pirates , Red Sox and the Tampa Devil Rays as well as Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as the Stanley Cup winners of the Tampa Bay Lighting.

McKechnie Field is a baseball field located in Bradenton, Florida. It is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

OFF ISLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Tampa is 35 miles north, where you will find Bush Gardens. The most famous Mouse in the world and all the Orlando attractions are only a two hour drive to the northeast.

Anna Maria Island - the perfect spot to explore in Florida. Our Anna Maria Island, Florida condo is just a short drive from noted attractions such as; Adventure Island, Mote Marine Laboratories, where you will come face to face with live sharks in a 135,000 gallon shark tank and learn about marine life and directly across the parking you can stroll along a boardwalk or two waterfront areas filled with lush vegetation.

From our own Island Players live theatre to the nearby South Florida Museum and aquarium, Ringling Museum of Art, Selby Gardens, Jungle Gardens, DeSoto National Park or the Manatee Players, the Asolo Center for the Performing Arts and many other venues, Anna Maria Island and its neighboring cities offer plenty of mind-bending fun and intellectual stimulation. Visit the G-wiz science museum, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota West Coast Symphony, Tampa’s Florida Aquarium and the renowned Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg.

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