Explore Sarasota on your Next Vacation to Anna Maria Island

Explore Sarasota on your Next Vacation to Anna Maria Island

When you go on vacation to Anna Maria Island you will probably want to explore many different things on the island or surrounding towns. From the white sands of Anna Maria Island, art events, local restaurants to finding a new family friendly activity to do. There is so much to do on Anna Maria Island while you are staying in one of our Water Access vacation rentals but there is so much more to do. Why not have a day exploring Sarasota on your next vacation to Anna Maria Island? You won’t be disappointed in what you find there.

It’s a Circus

Explore Sarasota on your Next Vacation to Anna Maria Island

The first stop that you and your family must go to in Sarasota would have to be to explore the Ringling Grounds. Here you can explore the three amazing museums that are on the grounds which happen to be the Ringling Circus Museum, Museum of Art with a Sculpture Park. If you venture to the end of the grounds you will find a breathtaking museum on the water that is known as the iconic Ca d’Zan Mansion. When you come visit the museums it’s a celebration of the Ringling Circus decades of influential history which you don’t want to miss.

Big Cat Habitat

If your family loves animals, then we suggest heading over to the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. Located on Palmer Blvd in Sarasota you and your family can visit the safe haven for big cats and other animals. This sanctuary features 3 large habitats that are complete with swimming pools and plants to help create a more natural environment. What a wonderful way to learn and see demonstrations on how to understand conservation preservation.

Save Our Seabirds

Explore Sarasota on your Next Vacation to Anna Maria Island

With so many different wildlife that you may see while you are on the gulf coast, you will want to go see the Save Our Seabirds Conservation Center. Located on the Ken Thompson Parkway adjacent from the Mote Marine Aquarium, you and your family can see the center that rescues and cares for sick wild birds. They will release them back into their natural habitats once they have had time to healed and if there is a bird that isn’t able to return to the wild, then they will be a part of their Wild Bird Learning Center. Save Our Seabirds sits on about 3 acres of land and houses over 150 birds. As an outdoor museum that is used for educational purposes, this can be a great field trip while you vacation on Anna Maria Island.

Bayfront Park

Do you and your family love the outdoors and want to see more of Sarasota? Then head over the Bayfront Park where you can enjoy one of Sarasota’s best outdoor recreation spots. Here you can hike, ride a bike or jog as there are plenty of paths for you to enjoy. There are also full amenities here that your family can take advantage of such as playgrounds, picnic tables, restrooms and wildlife viewing area. Don’t forget your camera or phone so you can take beautiful pictures of the bay and city. The park is open from 6 am to 11 pm every day.

While there are plenty of things for you to do in the Sarasota area on your next vacation, don’t forget about some of the amazing things you can do here as well. Anna Maria Island is a vacation destination that you must visit every year with your family! Staying in one of our beautiful Water Access vacation rentals will keep you where you want to be. We want your next vacation to be as magical as the first one here on Anna Maria Island!

NCAA Bowl Games & An Anna Maria Beach Vacation

NCAA Bowl Games & An Anna Maria Beach Vacation

NCAA Football Bowl time is upon us! It’s time to pencil in a luxury beach vacation to Anna Maria Island on your bracket. In December and January, Florida hosts eight NCAA Bowl Games.  Four of those are within driving distance from the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria, Florida.

bowl games are fun

NCAA Bowl Games in Florida

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

The Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl starts at 8:00 pm on December 20th in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium. The local South Florida Bulls will take on the Marshall Thundering Herd. The Fan Invasion starts at 4:30 pm outside the stadium so be sure to arrive early.

Camping World Bowl

Next up, the Camping World Bowl will be played in Orlando on December 28th, and the match-up between the Syracuse Orangemen and the West Virginia Mountaineers is sure to be a good one! Kick-off starts at 5:15 pm.  FanFest will begin at 1:15 pm on Tinker Field next to the Stadium for this NCAA Bowl Game. Admission is FREE with lots of fun activities for everyone in your group.

Outback Bowl

On New Year’s Day, the Outback Bowl kicks off in Tampa at noon and has the Iowa Hawkeyes playing vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It’s held at Raymond James Stadium and there’s no shortage of excitement leading up to the game. The Pregame Bowl Bash starts at 9:00 am with live music and a Pep Rally outside the stadium, and food and refreshments will also be available.

Citrus Bowl

Finally, the VRBO Citrus Bowl starts at 1:00 pm in Orlando on January 1st, 2019.  The Penn State Nittany Lions will take on the Kentucky Wildcats at Camping World Stadium. FanFest begins at 9:00 am on Tinker Field next to the Stadium. Admission is FREE featuring interactive games, face painting, and food and beverages available for purchase from local vendors.


Where to Stay

With Anna Maria just a short drive away, why not enjoy a relaxing week at the beach before or after the big game? Traveling with all of your family and friends? Atlantis Beach House has plenty of room and a waterslide! Or, Nautical Tides features a fantastic rooftop deck overlooking the Bradenton Beach Marina. While Blue Pearl has a lush and tropical backyard oasis to escape to after a long day of adventures. So, plan on a day in Tampa, Orlando, or St. Petersburg for the big game, and then spend the rest of your time on the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico beaches!

What’s Your Next Move?

Well, grab your playbook, call an audible to an agent, and get yourself booked into one of our available vacation rental homes! There’s not much more for you to do once you touchdown in Anna Maria Island, but relax!

2017 Outback Bowl Fans

Christmas on Anna Maria Island


Yes, spending Christmas on Anna Maria Island is just as dreamy as it sounds! Just imagine trading snow drifts for sand dunes, pine trees for palm trees, and snowmen for sandcastles! If any of these visions light your yule tide log, then you should not waste another second and start planning your holiday vacation to celebrate Christmas on Anna Maria Island! AMI Locals is here to help you find the perfect vacation home for your family and friends.



Movie at the Pier – December 5th

Christmas spirit is in full swing on the Island, and everyone is ready to celebrate Christmas on Anna Maria Island! You will not run out of fun options no matter when you plan to visit during the month of December. First, starting December 5th, catch a family friendly movie under the stars at the City Pier Park on Pine Avenue. Show starts at 6:30pm and refreshments will be served.

Holmes Beach Tree Lighting – December 7th

Next, be sure to mark your calendars for the Holmes Beach Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting! This crowd-pleasing event takes place on December 7th from 5:00p-8:00p. The stores will stay open late, carolers will sing merry tunes and refreshments will be enjoyed. Be sure to get a picture in Santa’s sleigh with the jolly old man himself!

AMI Privateers Christmas Parade – December 8th

Santa Claus Visits Anna Maria
Santa loves visiting Anna Maria Island

As a matter of fact, you can also spot St. Nick in the AMI Privateer’s Christmas Parade on December 8th at 10:00 am. This Christmas caravan starts at Bayfront Park and stretches the entire length of the island, finally ending at Coquina Beach where the kids can visit with Santa and receive a special gift. Christmas on Anna Maria Island isn’t the same without the Privateer’s Parade and a visit from Santa. No matter where your awesome vacation home is, you are close to the parade route! So be sure to pull out the chairs and join in the merriment!




Holiday of Treasures – December 14th

The holiday celebrations will continue on December 14th at The City of Anna Maria Holiday of Treasures! Start in the park with Santa and join in singing Christmas carols from 4:00p-6:00p. Then, casually take an evening stroll down Historic Pine Avenue from 5:30p-8:30p all the while relishing in the sounds and sights of the Christmas season. Get some shopping done at the unique shops that adorn the street all while enjoying drinks and snacks provided.  If you happen to be staying in Holmes Beach, there will be a similar event from 5:30p-7:30p at the Shops at Anna Maria Island Centre.

Other Events and Ideas

Christmas on Anna Maria is so FUN!

There are so many holiday happenings just off of the island in neighboring Bradenton and Sarasota too! Keep tabs on all the fun by visiting our EVENTS CALENDAR for up to date information! On the other hand, maybe you are just ready to kick back and relax at the beach!  Well, you are in luck, as we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Take a short walk from your vacation home with awesome gulf views and stick your toes in the sand!


As usual, great food is in abundance on Anna Maria Island. Be sure to visit some of our favorite local hangouts such as Duffy’s, The Waterfront & the Sandbar to quench your thirst and your appetite! Check out our THINGS TO DO PAGE to find a place to head out to.

If you are looking to have dinner delivered and relax by the heated pool of your waterfront vacation home, be sure to take advantage of Island Eats! This locally owned food delivery service brings some of the most popular island restaurants right to your door!

Lastly, if you want to dine island style when celebrating Christmas on Anna Maria Island on Christmas Day, then head over to the Anna Maria Island Beach Café! You can join Santa himself for breakfast from 9:30a-11:30a before he heads back to the North Pole. Or stop in anytime between 12:00p-5:00p for an All-You-Can-Eat traditional Christmas Dinner buffet with all the fixings. If you time it right, you will be in the perfect spot for a beautiful December sunset! What more could you ask for?

Shirt, Shorts, and Sunsets on Christmas


We know that you will LOVE the holidays on Anna Maria Island just as much as we do. So come on down and let us host you in one of our spectacular vacation homes! We have just what you are looking for! And we even have a large selection of Pet Friendly Homes, so there is no need to leave your furry family members out of all the fun! Our AMI Locals team of property managers are standing by to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to reach out! Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at AMI Locals!

Bring your Pets to Serve as Reindeer!

Take A Visit To Orlando

There are so many things to do and see while you stay with us on Anna Maria Island but one attraction captivates the attention of most visitors. A trip to Orlando is fun for the entire family and isn’t far at all from our little island! Orlando is the perfect distance for a day trip and is a great way to take a break from the beach for a couple hours. Recently one of our AMI Locals visited Epcot, one of Disneys theme parks, and captured some video to show the food and wine festival and some of the other attractions you can visit within Epcot. Check out the videos below:

New Years on Anna Maria Island

New Years on Anna Maria Island

New Years Eve on Anna Maria Island is the Best

It’s almost time to Ring in 2019! What would be a better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than toasting with champagne on the sandy shores of Anna Maria Island? Check out our favorite Local ways to celebrate New Years on Anna Maria Island! Oh ya, and some amazing homes that are still available for you to reserve!!

Places to Go and Things to Do

The Beach House Restaurant

200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, FL

The Beach House Restaurant is a great place to watch sunset, grab a happy hour cocktail, or ring in the New Year on Anna Maria Island. Check out the video below to see for yourself! Although the exact event details have not been announced at the time we are writing this, we are assured that it will be very similar to last year’s New Years Eve event. So, you can look forward to dancing the night away with a DJ from 8:30pm – 12:30am. The Beach House will feature dinner and drink specials, and a fantastic fireworks display! This will definitely cap off the evening and send you into 2019 with a big smile on your face. Come and stay with us in one of our nearby luxury vacation rentals that are still available for New Years Eve! Amazing homes like Nautical Tides, Gulf View Beach House, or Tropical Hideaway are still available. You’ll be sure co celebrate New Years on Anna Maria Island the right way, cheers!

Main Street Live!

Old Main Street, 400 12th St W, Bradenton FL

Main Street Live! It’s a block party from 5:30pm – 2am EST! Main street traffic is shut down and all of the restaurants, pubs and bars are open! Walk around Downtown Bradenton and enjoy the festivities. There will be a concert stage with live music all night from 5:30pm – 11:30pm EST. There will be a large Street Fair. It will include food trucks and local merchants. Grab a bit to eat and stroll, snack, and dance your way into the new year.

Old Main Street in Bradenton is an eclectic mix of old and new, with a place for everyone. The Village of the Arts is nearby as well, with even more fun offerings. There are numerous bars and restaurants, and plenty to do if the Street Fair and Main Street Live is too much for you. Tuck into a bar or restaurant and enjoy. Your property manager would be happy to give you any advice on which places to go and what to do if you need more specifics. Or, do it all! There is a good chance you’ll run into the AMI Locals here.

Sarasota Pineapple Drop

Gulf Stream Avenue and Main Street, Downtown Sarasota

After all, why watch the ball drop like everyone else in the USA? Boring! Instead, every year on December 31st, from 1pm – 1:30am EST, Sarasota counts down to midnight and drops a large light up Pineapple! Main Street in downtown Sarasota is blocked off for an awesome street fair all afternoon and evening. There will be a ferris wheel, carnival-style fairway with games, funnel cake, and live music into the wee hours of the brand-new year, 2019. Fireworks also happen at midnight over Sarasota Bay, so you will be in a prime viewing spot!

Transportation – Get Home Safe

Picking a place to spend your New Years on Anna Maria Island is almost as important as making sure you get there, and back home safely! Don’t worry though, we have you covered with tons of Transportation options! Anna Maria has a lot of options for our guests. Don’t stress about a designated driver, parking, or having an extra cocktail when celebrating!

The AMI Free Trolley is a great option to get around the island. If you want a little more lively environment, and transportation that runs late, be sure to check out the Monkey Bus. It is always easy to use, fun, and a great way to get around. If you need something more private or luxurious for your New Years on Anna Maria Island, be sure to contact Mark at Coastal Limousine. He has an assortment of vehicles. He is professional, timely, and always available for your transportation needs. Uber is also another option.

Follow the links provided above for Contact information, hours of operation, and more details.

And Remember, no matter how you choose to celebrate the New Year on Anna Maria Island, our entire team here at AMI Locals want to wish you and yours a very happy and healthy 2019!