Enjoy a Magical Christmas on Anna Maria Island

Let the locals show you just how magical Christmas on Anna Maria Island can be. There are so many holiday events to experience and beautiful sights to be seen. If you’re here for vacation, it’s sure to be a one of a kind vacation; one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Magical Christmas on Anna Maria Island

While we can’t offer a white Christmas, (well we really can) it’s a white sand Christmas, you won’t be missing that cold wet snow one bit!

Kick off the holiday tonight with the Christmas tree lighting at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and the Holmes Beach downtown merchant’s holiday open house from 5-8pm.

On 12/8 at the Palma Sola Presbyterian Church, come enjoy the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra as they present their annual holiday concert.

Visit Santa in the Park and the City of Anna Maria Holiday of Treasures on 12/13 from 4-8pm for holiday cheer, live music, and some lite bites.

The holiday celebrations continue on 12/13 from 5-7pm at the Centre Shops in Holmes Beach. On this night, the shops will be staying open late, spreading holiday cheer to all, with entertainment, eats and treats!

The big event on the island is the Anna Maria Privateer’s Christmas Parade. The parade takes place on 12/14 from 10am-12pm. The holiday parade stretches the whole length of the island, starting at Coquina Beach, running north to Bayfront Park. There will be a children’s Christmas Party with Santa himself at City Pier Park immediately following the parade.

The Annual Christmas on Bridge Street and Boat Parade is back for another year, this time with a new format. Bridge Street will be closed off, allowing for street wide strolling, with drinks in hand and roaming carolers singing holiday cheer. Santa will be making his rounds with a photo opp in front of the Christmas tree. Bars and restaurants will have food and drink specials available, there will also be many vendor booths out on the streets. The boat parade arrives on Bridge Street Pier at 7:30pm.

The 2nd Annual Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade begins at 7pm on 12/14. The boat parade route starts at Jewfish Key, heads north past the Historic Bridge St. Pier, and ends at Bradenton Beach Marina. It’s a really pretty sight to see.

Join the merchants on the boardwalk on December 21st from 5-7pm at the Anna Maria Plaza located on the corner of Holmes Blvd and Gulf Drive. This will be their first annual Christmas on the Boardwalk and Ugly Sweater Contest. The event will feature some old fashioned holiday fun, and even have a prize for the best ugly sweater, so be sure to wear one!

Who would have thought a Christmas vacation on the beach would have so much holiday fun?

Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island

Thanksgiving on Anna Maria IslandIf you’re lucky enough to be spending Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island your tropical vacation will be wonderful and won’t be forgotten anytime soon! Vacations during the holidays have a way of making vacations extra special.  

The most difficult part of your vacation will be deciding if you’re cooking turkey or going out for turkey! If you’re looking for that traditional turkey dinner, don’t worry, there are several restaurants that are open and serving turkey and all the fixings. One of those is the Anna Maria Island Beach Café.  There you can eat turkey on the beach! How many people can say they did that? Imagine feasting on turkey and stuffing with your toes in the warm white sand, gazing at the beautiful blue gulf waters, watching dolphins playing in the distance… the things dreams are made of.

After you’ve eaten to your delight, since you’re already here on the beach, it’s the perfect place to walk off all that food and go look for some shells. Get the whole family together and enjoy the day in paradise. The tropical weather is perfect for spending the day outside taking in the views, splashing in the water, building that sandcastle, or whatever you choose to do!

Finish the day by taking in one of our gorgeous sunsets. No visit to Anna Maria Island is complete without seeing one.

The free Anna Maria Trolley runs all holidays, and will be running all day until 7pm on Thanksgiving, so there’s no need to worry about driving anywhere. You can still explore the whole island!

If you are staying through the weekend, you don’t want to miss the lighting of the tree. The Annual Bridge Street Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Bradenton Beach on November 30th.   The tree should be located around the traffic circle on the east end of the Bridge Street Pier. The ceremony will take place between 4pm and 6pm. It’s the perfect way to kick off the holidays!

October Vacations on Anna Maria Island

October vacations on Anna Maria Island mean that the humidity is going away, and the temperatures are dropping slightly. That doesn’t by any means mean that it won’t be beautiful, warm and sunny here; all things you expect on from an Anna Maria Island vacation, it just means that things are cooling slightly. This also means that farmers markets, fairs, festivals and outdoor activities are beginning to return in full swing!

One of the largest festivals in the area, BayFest, takes place on Saturday, October 19th from 10am – 9pm. But there are also local farmers markets returning during October which are fun as well. They feature produce (of course) local arts and crafts, food and other vendors, and are just fun local events.

October Vacations on Anna Maria Island

Of course October is filled with fun Halloween events as well!

If you’re looking for a fright, check out Bradenton Beach Ghost Tours. This is a 90 minute family friendly walking tour, giving you some of the area’s rich history about the founding of Bradenton Beach. This walking tour is based on historical accounts and is factual, not theatrical. Tours run Tuesdays through Saturday, tickets are limited and tours book quickly.

For a more children’s themed event, check out Bradenton Village of the Arts. The Village of the Arts is a vibrant art community which is home to art galleries, specialty shops, studios, restaurants and more. Each year they host a trick-or-treat event geared towards young children. Both residents and businesses will be on hand to pass out candy to children. The event begins at 6pm on Thursday October 31st and ends at 8pm. If you’re sticking around the next day, on November 1st, they’re hosting their annual Festival of the Skeletons, a Dia de los Muertos celebration of life! This event features live music, shrines, face painting, sugar skulls, great food and of course amazing art!

Fall Fun on Anna Maria Island

Fall Fun on Anna Maria IslandIt’s always a great time to visit Anna Maria Island. We have wonderful temperatures, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous sunsets. With 7 miles of white sand beaches, there’s plenty to do all year round. But when fall rolls around, festivals, farmers markets, and art walks come back to town for some fall fun on Anna Maria Island.

If you’re here in October, you’ll be here to take part in one of the islands biggest events of the year. It’s the 19th annual BayFest, the event is free, and attracts both locals and visitors alike. Pine Avenue transforms into an amazing showcase of food, art, and music! BayFest takes place on Saturday, October 19th from 10am – 9pm.

Pine Avenue will be filled with food vendors of all types including hard drinks and ice cream, there will be music from various local artists on the main stage each day playing everything from soul, to country, to pop music.  

This is a fun family event too. There is a whole area just for the kids complete with inflatables, a bounce house, and a pirate ship. One of the biggest attractions is an antique car show. The car show features over 100 classic, antique, custom muscle cars and street rods. There will be block after block of shopping and vendors to shop and enjoy. There is plenty for everyone to enjoy!

Don’t worry about parking, the Anna Maria Trolley is free, and runs the length of the island. There is also parking at the Crosspointe Fellowship Church, and the church is also running a free and dedicated trolley service to Pine Avenue. There is some limited neighborhood parking, but be sure to read signs as to where you can and can’t park.

Please be advised that there are no coolers or alcoholic beverages allowed. For more information, see their website here.

Anna Maria Island Fishing Tips

Anna Maria Island boasts some of the best game fishing around. Not only does our little island have some of the best fish, we have some excellent locations available to fish from! Between the multiple rental facilities to take you out locally or deep sea fishing, there are many piers, docks, and rock jetties where you can catch some of these tasty fish. Here are some of our Anna Maria Island fishing tips to help you out on your island vacation.

fishing tips

Go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website and obtain your saltwater fishing license. It is better to do this ahead of time this way you can get right out there and start fishing. Each person fishing will need a license if you are between the ages of 16 and 65. The licenses can be purchased for 3 or 7 days, or annually for non-Florida residents, if you are a resident of Florida, then you can purchase one for a year for only $17.00.

If you have already traveled with your own fishing gear, great! If you didn’t want to carry that with you on your travels, don’t worry, there are rentals available for that right here on Anna Maria Island! Rod and Reel Pier located at 875 N. Shore Dr., Anna Maria Island, FL is not only a great place to fish from, but they offer rentals. Even if you’re not fishing, it is a must stop on your vacation. You can also fish from Bradenton Beach City Pier located at 200 Bridge Street Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.

The best times to fish on Anna Maria Island are at dusk and dawn. Not only are those times of day best for beating the heat and sun. Dusk and dawn are when many types of fish are most active, those are the hours that they are typically feeding.

Anna Maria Island has 7 miles of white sandy beaches. Littered among those beaches are jetties, several beach access points, and public docks. Many times these areas aren’t as crowded as the piers and make for excellent fishing. The local fisherman favor these areas. They are likely to give you some great fishing tips too!

Make the Most of a Beach Vacation on Anna Maria Island

Are you ready for the best beach vacation ever? Anna Maria Island is the best place for a beach vacation! Once you visit, you probably won’t want to leave. Many people come to visit, then decide they want to make our little island their forever home. Here are some ways to make the most of a beach vacation on Anna Maria Island.

Beach Vacation on Anna Maria Island


Do all the things. All the things that make you happy that is. Which can be all or nothing! It is a beach vacation after all. For some that means taking it all in, for others it means relaxing on the beach and taking in all the sun and salt water. Whatever it means to you, do it, it’s your time!


There’s plenty to do here, whether it be taking a sunset cruise to watch our famous sunsets, or taking a fishing charter to catch some amazing fish. Tee off on a local golf course or mini golf course, they are amazing if golf is your thing. Go on a high flying adventure and view the island from above while parasailing! It’s sure to be thrilling.


Something you probably can’t do at home is yoga on the beach. Yoga is even more peaceful and calming while looking out at the beautiful gulf waters while watching a dolphin swim by. Or even try your hand at SUP Yoga, if you do fall in, it will be like falling into bath water. You could even get a massage on the beach. How peaceful is that?

Check out our page for many different area activities, there are so many options of things to do and places to go explore. There’s no chance of getting bored, there are plenty of options for life long memories to be had! A beach vacation on Anna Maria Island is definitely one that will be remembered!


Stay Active on Your Anna Maria Island Vacation

While on your Anna Maria Island Vacation, you can enjoy all the benefits of vacation, and still stay active on top of your fitness goals. There are so many things to while you’re here, you won’t want to leave. You might not want to leave anyway.

Stay Active

There are miles on the island to bike ride. It’s a beautiful way to take in all the sights of the island. There are plenty of places to stop along the way. Whether you’re stopping to shop, beach, eat or whatever, there is a lot to do and you’ll find yourself enjoying every mile of the ride!

Get out on the water and enjoy a stand up paddle board session. This is such a great exercise. You are working everything from your arms, back, legs, abs, right down to the muscles in your feet! Stand up paddle boarding is also great for the cardiovascular system too!  While you’re out there you could encounter dolphins and manatees as well. What’s better than that?

Taking a kayak out for a spin is another great form of exercise while enjoying all the beautiful sights that Anna Maria has to offer. It is great cardio vascular exercise as well as many of the same benefits that stand up paddle boarding offers. There isn’t much skill involved in kayaking, just about everyone can do it. You can even rent tandem ones so that the whole family can enjoy it together. Fishing off kayaks is a fun thing to do as well.

Anna Maria Island also boasts some preserves that are great for walking and exploring. There are shaded trails that lead out to beautiful ocean views which are perfect for viewing birds and other marine animals.

Our island is also a great place to run! Whether you’re taking a run on the beach at sunset or sunrise, or running the length of the island, it’s another great way to take in the sights and get some exercise while on vacation.

There’s an abundance of opportunities to stay active on your Anna Maria Island vacation, you don’t have to miss out on a thing, and you can enjoy all the beauty we have to offer while doing it, you won’t even notice you’re working out!

4 Reasons to Visit Anna Maria Island Right Now

Anna Maria Island is a wonderful place to visit year round, but it is especially nice once the winter visitors have left, and in that special time at the end of spring and just before summer. When you visit Anna Maria Island right now, you’re not going to experience any cold days, and there’s still plenty of activities going on, right now is just a perfect time to visit!


The weather is perfect right now. Well, we like to think it’s perfect all the time. But for visitors, right now is perfect. The humidity isn’t at its summer time highs just yet, so there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy all that our beautiful 7 mile island has to offer!  It’s time to say good bye to the cold rainy dreary north, and say hello to sun, warmth and palm trees!

Water Sports

Anna Maria’s Gulf Coast offers so many opportunities to enjoy water sports! Between kayaking, jet skiing, and stand up paddle boarding, to swimming and snorkeling. There are so many different types to enjoy. There are also many places to choose from when looking for rentals or day trips. You’re bound to find something that will interest you.

Visit Anna Maria Island Right Now

Family Fun

It’s perfect weather to get out and enjoy some fun with the family. Whether it be playing mini golf, or exploring the island by segway. There are opportunities for that too. Right now is a great time to get out and explore Anna Maria Island any which way you can! 7 miles isn’t too far to take a beautiful bike ride either. Who knows what you might come across.


Right now is a great time to catch the last few market Sunday’s at Coquina Beach, there you will find some great treats from local artisans. There is also great shopping on Bridge Street and Pine Avenue. As well as some great places to eat!

Sea Turtle Nesting Season on Anna Maria Island

Sea Turtle Nesting SeasonMay 1st is just around the corner, so that means that Sea Turtle nesting season on Anna Maria Island is about to begin. Really it can begin any time now. Volunteers on Anna Maria Island are getting ready to take watch on the beach for signs of nesting so they can protect them when they do begin making their nests.

The most common type of turtle to make their nests here on our island are loggerhead turtles. If you’ve visited here before between the months of May and October, you’ve probably seen nests marked off throughout our 7 mile stretch of white sandy beaches. Not only are these loggerhead turtles amazing to watch, but they are a vital part of our ecosystem and help to keep our beaches beautiful. They graze on sea grass and help to provide key nutrients promoting the healthy growth of vegetation which is crucial for other types of marine life.

These turtles are facing extension, mostly due to human interference, between fishermen’s nets,  and trash in our seas, but the biggest problem they face is being disorientated. When the babies hatch, they follow the light from the horizon leading them to the ocean. Here are ways you can help them get there safely.

  • Turn off any lights that are visible to the beach as to not confuse nesting sea turtles between sunset and sunrise
  • Don’t use flashlights, lanterns or a camera with a flash at night on the beach
  • Don’t light or use fireworks
  • Don’t leave items on the beach such as beach chairs or umbrellas, they can deter sea turtles from nesting and disorient the hatchlings
  • If you’re playing on the beach and dig a hole, please fill it in so it doesn’t create a trap for a turtle
  • Please, never touch a sea turtle; it is the law, and if you see someone touching one, report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They have an alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

10 Things to Do on Anna Maria Island for Spring Break

Anna Maria Island is the perfect vacation spot for Spring Break. It’s located along the Gulf of Mexico just south of Tampa and north of Sarasota. It boasts near perfect temperatures of around 77 during spring break, sure beats the snow up north, doesn’t it? So if you’re looking for a great spot to get away, look no further than Anna Maria Island!

10 Things to Do on Anna Maria Island for Spring Break

Here are 10 things to do on Anna Maria Island for Spring Break

  1. Horseback riding on the beach. Palma Sola Bay located on Manatee Ave West offers just that! The waters are nice and calm, and it’s quite the unique experience, one to last a lifetime!
  2. Spend a day relaxing on the beach. We have quite a few to choose from. All have gorgeous white sand and crystal clear blue water, what more could you ask for?
  3. Take a snorkel or scuba trip. We have our very own shipwreck, Regina, an Archaeological Preserve. It’s located about 175 feet offshore in about 20 feet of water and marked with a buoy near 7th street.
  4. Rent kayaks or paddleboards and explore the mangroves. Not only are they great exercise, seeing the water from this vantage point is so much fun. You might even see a stingray, dolphin or manatee!
  5. Browse the beach market at Coquina Beach. It’s a unique market and a great place to pick up some local art, jewelry, fruits, and a keepsake.
  6. Take advantage of one of our many nature preserves, Robinson Preserve, Perico Preserve, and Coquina Baywalk to name a few.
  7. Visit some of our local breweries. We have Motorworks, Darwin Brewery, and 3 Keys Brewery; they’re all worth visiting during your stay.
  8. Go shopping on Pine Avenue, it’s full of colorful little shops and eateries. This little street is “Old Florida” at its finest.  
  9. Go fishing! There are many places to fish either on land or by sea, and we have so many varieties of fish to catch and release or eat!
  10. Catch a sunset! We have the best sunsets!