Laid-back and natural, Anna Maria Island is just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Tampa but feels like a world away. A seven-mile strip of beautiful white-sand beaches lines the barrier island of Anna Maria Island between the turquoise Gulf of Mexico and peninsular Florida.
Along these 7 miles, 3 cities govern this little Island. It does seem crazy that 3 cities, all with different regulations, can work harmoniously together, but it works! In fact, it can be hard to tell where one neighborhood ends and the next one begins. Here is a guide to the unique cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton.
Anna Maria Island
The city of Anna Maria rests on the northern end of the island and consist of beautiful Pine Avenue with lots of wonderful shops, salons and fantastic little eateries. The City of Anna Maria is also home to the brand-new City Pier and the Rod and Reel Pier – both with stunning views and old Florida food.
In the middle of the island is Holmes Beach; This is where the main public beach, with beach parking and volleyball courts and the beach side café can be found. This is also where the island’s only grocery store can be found. Some of Holmes Beaches hidden gems are Skinny’s Burger joint and the West Coast Surf Shop.
On the southern tip of AMI is Bradenton Beach. From beach to bay is only a few blocks wide. You can wake up to the morning sunrise and watch the sunset all from your rooftop deck. Bridge Street is a hustle bustle of bars, restaurants and shops. This “up and coming” area is earning rave reviews from visitors who want a little more excitement than laying on the beach all day.
All of Anna Maria Island’s Gulf beaches are publicly open with multiple access points. Anna Maria Island also offers a free trolley. Several trolleys loop the island from Coquina Beach on the southern tip in Bradenton Beach up to the City Pier in the City of Anna Maria on the northern end of the island on a daily basis. The trolleys also run on most holidays. So sit back, relax and enjoy all that Anna Maria Island has to offer.