Shawn and I traveled to Anna Maria Island, Florida for the first time recently [early March] and if there is ever an island to fall in love with within the state of Florida, it’s this one. Anna Maria Island is 7 miles long with the most beautiful Gulf beach on one side, the bay on the other side, jaw-dropping homes scattered all over the place, a non-commercialized vibe, and the cutest quaint atmosphere. We stayed for 6 nights but wish we could have stayed for at least 30 [a girl can dream, right?] While we hated to leave, we are already planning our next trip back! If you are looking for a gorgeous place to get some R&R, consider Anna Maria!
Where To Stay
There are so many rental homes on the island of Anna Maria, in fact, most of your lodging options are homes to rent! We ended up renting a home through Anna Maria Vacations and the home we rented was amazing! It is called The Blue Crab and it is just a few blocks walk away from the beach. It was also within biking distance of many restaurants, bars, and shops. The house itself is large enough to sleep 12 with plenty of space to spread out. We were so impressed with the quality and decor of this home and would highly recommend it! As you can see from the photos below, it is beautiful! We got a ton of use out of the pool, however, we didn’t use the spa as it isn’t heated but simply a spot to sit with jets! I am already trying to plan another trip back with my family to stay here again!
Where To Eat
There are several great spots to eat right on the island, all within biking or golf cart distance if you prefer not to drive! With the rental house having a grill and full kitchen, we did take advantage of that and ate breakfast, lunch, and one dinner at home, however, we still found several great spots to dine at that I would recommend! Here are the spots we visited and enjoyed:
The Waffle Press for delicious waffles, sandwiches, smoothies, etc!
The Donut Experiment [I would recommend ordering ahead on their website and then picking up! Otherwise, it can be an hour + wait!]
Another great spot for breakfast is North Shore Cafe — they have awesome acai bowls, smoothies, coffee, etc!
Our favorite dinner location was The Sandbar restaurant as it sits directly on the beach with amazing views of the sunset. Before sunset, the servers go around and have every table guess the exact time that they think the sunset will set, whoever guesses correctly gets a bottle of champagne! It made for a fun dining experience and we loved our food as well!
Another absolute favorite of the trip was Shore on Longboat Key! The atmosphere is super cool right on the water and it has a swanky [think Miami] vibe! My burger and mac and cheese still has me thinking about it…
Last but not least, Shawn and I ate at Rod & Reel Pier one evening for a casual vibe right on the water. You walk out a pier and it’s just a small spot that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While we waited for our table we were able to see dolphins swimming around which was fun! This is definitely a casual place but you can’t beat the view!
What To Do
Whatever you do, I absolutely recommend renting bikes for the time you are on the island as this ended up being our favorite activity to do first thing in the morning and then as we would venture out for dinner. There are sidewalks all around the island so you feel safe while biking and it’s a great way to go down all of the side streets and “ooh” and “ahhh” at all of the beautiful homes. We rented through Just 4 Fun and they delivered and picked up the bikes at the house we were staying which was so nice!
Of course, you can’t go to Anna Maria without going to the beach. The sand is white and the water is Caribbean blue [and clear]! We walked the beach every day and while the water was too cold to get in while we were there, if you have kiddos it would be a great spot to hang out for the day! You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, boats, etc!
And for how we spent most of our time — right here, laying in the sun, listening to music, enjoying some cocktails and those warm Florida temps at the pool at the house. It seems as if most of the rental homes have pools on the island which makes for a perfect way to spend your day!
If you like to be on the go a little more, you are very close driving distance-wise to Siesta Key, Longboat Key, St. Armands Circle for fun shopping, Sarasota, etc! We have been to all of these locations and they are all beautiful and fun to visit! For traveling to and from Anna Maria Island I would recommend flying in/out of either Sarosata Airport, Tampa / St Petersburg Airport or Punta Gorda Airport!
Founder and creator of LIY, Erin turned her dream of a hobby blog into a full-time career which she now runs alongside the LIY team! When not in front of her computer screen [with a La Croix or wine in hand] or in front of a mirror taking mirror selfies, you can find Erin spending time on the water, cuddled up with her two pups and husband most likely watching the latest Shark Tank episode, or getting lost in an easy beach read.