Coquina Beach Market – come explore with AMI Live

Coquina Beach Market

Who doesn’t love to shop in the sunshine?
During the months of November – July you can visit the Coquina Beach market! And it happens every Sunday and Wednesday from 10 am – 4 pm. It is located at Coquina Beach Park in Bradenton Beach, the southernmost point of Anna Maria Island. Very nearby you can stay with AMI Locals at The Sandbar or Atlantis Beach House and ride the free MCAT Trolley to the Market!

Come enjoy live music by the AMI String Band as you stroll the Coquina Beach Market. Accordingly, you will find many friendly AMI vendors with booths offering fresh produce, cotton candy, jewelry, beachy apparel, local artists, health and beauty items, and much more. In any case, you’re bound to find a treasure or two to take home with you!

Unfortunately, the Coquina Beach Market is not dog-friendly due to the Manatee County rules for the park. Just a heads up before you bring your four-legged family member.

So, take a sunny little walk through the market with us:

If you go:
The Coquina Beach Market is located at 2650 Gulf Drive S, Bradenton Beach, at the trolley stop/concession stand area. Specifically look for bright yellow and red signs that say Beach Market Today! They will guide you and there is usually plenty of free parking.

While you’re there, why not stop into the Coquina Beach Cafe and enjoy a Pina Colada and a lovely casual lunch on the beach? You can order that fun tropical frozen cocktail and be on “island time” with a fabulous view!

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!

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!

Breweries Near Anna Maria Island

Vacations are Better with Good Beer!

Need a beer? There are some amazing Breweries Near Anna Maria Island. What is more relaxing during a beach vacation to sunny Florida than enjoying a cold beer? If you are interested in exploring local craft breweries, you have come to the right place! The Sarasota/Bradenton area is home to many independent local breweries. Many feature outdoor dog-friendly and family-friendly beer gardens. This goes perfect with our Pet Friendly Vacation Rental Homes. They also host events such as food truck rallies, trivia, yoga, and bingo nights. 

Expanding out into St. Petersburg and Tampa, there are even more options for Breweries Near Anna Maria Island. These spots are within a 45-minute drive of Anna Maria Island. Several of them are local favorites that we especially enjoy. The brew masters and staff at each spot are inventive and enthusiastic about their unique brews. Well, are you ready to venture out from your fabulous Anna Maria Island vacation rental home to a Brewery Near Anna Maria Island? You won’t be disappointed! Let us show you how the AMI Locals crush some cold ones at the best Breweries Near Anna Maria Island!

Bradenton Breweries

First, let’s start in downtown Bradenton. You’ll cross the Manatee Avenue Bridge from Anna Maria Island to the Bradenton Mainland. You’ll continue down Manatee Avenue, you will find some of the best breweries. 

Motorworks Brewing Company

First up is Motorworks Brewing  features an amazing outdoor, dog-friendly, beer garden. It offers Cornhole, Human-Sized Jenga, Huge TV’s and more daily. It is a great place to watch the big games on TV. On the weekends they offer live music. On Tuesday nights they offer yoga in the beer garden and bingo.  They have won numerous awards for their beers, including a gold medal at the 2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship for the Mango Habanero Snowflake Unfiltered IPA. I can assure you, is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Motorworks Brewery has Amazing Craft Beers

Darwin Brewing Co and Taproom

Just around the corner from Motorworks Brewery, and located right next to LECOM Park where the Pittsburgh Pirates have Spring Training, you’ll find Darwin Brewing Co and Taproom. LECOM Park is also where the Pirates minor league team, the Bradenton Marauders play. One of the best ways to relax before or after a game is to head to Darwin and grab a brew! They always have something new and interesting to try.

Darwin’s Brewery

3 Keys Brewing & Eatery

Traveling a little further East on Manatee Avenue, you will find 3 Keys Brewing & Eatery. This brewery is family-owned and operated, and a super cool place to hang out. With a large comfy front porch and a flair for yummy beer, plus an original Nintendo, it is a great place to relax. Plus, they are also very involved in the local community. 3 Keys features a full kitchen (even with a “half-pint” kids menu!). This feature sets them apart from the usual food-truck fare you find at many craft breweries. They have a ton of board games and are very welcoming to kids and pets. Try to visit on one of their many event nights, Tuesday’s – Name that Tune Poker is especially entertaining!

3 Keys Brewery






Good Liquid Brewing Company

From here, you’ll head South West to US 41. You’ll travel passed Manatee Ave (SR 64), passed Cortez Road, until you get to Good Liquid Brewing Co.  It is one of the newer kids on the block, but we love the energy and atmosphere of their taproom. They are owned and operated by a husband and wife team. They do some amazingly inventive things with their beer. Good Liquid features rotating small-batch brews, wine on tap, and even wine and beer slushies for the non-traditional beer drinkers in the group. Happy Hour on Tuesdays, Bingo on Wednesdays, Trivia on Thursdays, Pints & Poses Yoga on select Saturday mornings, and a monthly food truck rally… truly something for everyone!

Good Liquid Flight

Breweries Further South in Sarasota County.

Calusa Brewing Company

The first Brewery on our stop is Calusa Brewing. This is the one particular local brewery that really got us started on exploring taprooms and craft beer in the area. Ed, the taproom manager is a font of knowledge and appreciation for the fine art of craft beer. If you are lucky enough to visit at a time when he is behind the bar, just ask him to tell you what to try! On special “Limited Edition Can Release” Saturdays sometimes the line of people to purchase the beer is not only out of the door to the taproom… it’s outside of the parking area and into the street. Trust me, Calusa is worth a trip

Calusa Brewing






JDub’s Brewing Co

JDub’s Brewing Co feels like hanging out at your coolest best friend’s house and backyard when you were growing up. It’s fun and chill, with an especially impressive Food Truck Rally on the 3rd Saturday of every month featuring the finest eats that the Sarasota area serves on wheels! My favorite part of visiting (besides the beer) is the Storm Trooper artwork over the taps.

J Dub’s Brewery





Sarasota Brewing Co

Sarasota Brewing Co has been around since 1989, serving up a full menu featuring Chicago-style pizzas in addition to their beers. It’s tucked away in the Gulf Gate area so you are in a prime spot to really get that true Sarasota locals experience. They have at least 20 different seasonal brews on tap in addition to a core few that are always available.

Sarasota Brewing Company






Big Top Brewing Co

Big Top Brewing Co fully embraces the Circus history of Sarasota with their décor, logo, and sense of adventure in trying all sorts of (possibly) crazy ideas for flavors in their beers. I have had everything from a magnificent triple IPA to their award-winning Coconut Coffee Porter, the Hawaiian Lion. Love love love! They host indie craft markets, 5k fun runs, trivia (not to brag – but we won one time!) and more. Check them out!

Big Top Brewery


Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island

Spending Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island is a wonderful way to celebrate this joyous family holiday! What better way to spend this holiday than at one of our luxury vacation home. Imagine spending time with your loved ones while a sweet ocean breeze sways the palm trees around you. So, sit back, relax and let the Feast-tivities begin!

What’s For Dinner?

Thanksgiving Dinner


As we all know, one of the main components for Thanksgiving is food, food and more food! While you are spending Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island you have quite a few great options that you can enjoy.

One such option is to follow tradition and spend quality time with your family preparing your favorite recipes. Use the fully stocked kitchen in your vacation home to cook. If you still want to eat in the comfort of a beautiful waterfront home, but don’t necessarily want to cook, then you are in luck! You may order an entire Thanksgiving spread from locations such as the Holmes Beach Publix and The Fresh Market just off the island on Manatee Avenue. Furthermore, both offer a tremendous array of selections for all the guests around your holiday table!

In addition to the desserts at these stores, you can also order sweets from local island bakers. This will complete your Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving feast. One such choice is ordering a delectable homemade pie from Chef Molly at The Travelling Gourmet. Her kitchen is located within the walls of the local Community Center of Anna Maria Island. Her freshly prepared foods and pies are an amazing addition to any meal.

Another delicious dessert option, is a stop at Hometown Desserts located on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. Try the Key Lime Coconut Cake! You won’t be disappointed! Lastly, you can indulge in a selection of gourmet chocolates & truffles from famed chocolatier William Dean available at the Island Creamery and Bakery on the corner of Gulf Drive and Palm Avenue. These exquisite treats are sure to impress your Thanksgiving guests that join you for dinner on Anna Maria Island.

Gourmet Chocolate from Island Creamery

However, cooking isn’t for everyone. If you desire a true Anna Maria Island vacation free from all your holiday duties, then make a reservation at one of these popular dining destinations. For a unique Thanksgiving dinner, head over to the Anna Maria Island Beach Café. Stuff your bellies beachside with their casual and family friendly Thanksgiving Buffett, all the while basking in the warm Florida sunshine and listening to the relaxing sound of the Gulf of Mexico.

On the other hand, perhaps you are in the mood for a more formal option. If this is the case, then head out to Pier 22 in downtown Bradenton and enjoy a lavish, homemade style Thanksgiving meal complete with a panoramic riverfront view. In the same fashion, you can head just south of Anna Maria Island to dine and celebrate at Marina Jacks with sweeping views of Sarasota Bay. Or go a step further and book a table on one of the Marina Jacks II Thanksgiving Dinner Cruises. Sail through the waters and enjoy a spectacular meal and live entertainment. Any of these is sure to create wonderful and special memories for you and your family!

I Am Stuffed! Now What?

You Can’t Beat an AMI Sunset


With full hearts and bellies, head out to the beach for a nice sunset stroll. After all, our sunsets and beaches are what Anna Maria Island is famous for! All of our vacation homes are within a short walk to the sand. Or maybe you were lucky enough to reserve one of our Gulf Front Properties! Either way, it is a must-do, peaceful addition to your Thanksgiving plans!

Go Shopping!

Are you ready to shop yet? Keep the Thanksgiving holiday spirits going and head out for some serious shopping  just off Anna Maria island! First, join the bargain hunters out at the Ellenton Premium Outlets. With a  wide selection of stores such as: Adidas, Banana Republic, Gymboree, Chico’s, and more, you are bound to find any gift you are searching for! Next, you can visit some wonderful shops at the University Town Center. This breathtaking mall is where you can find Santa Claus waiting for the little ones to visit.

Any Other Fun Activites?

Amazing Seafood and Great Live Music

Be sure to keep an eye on our Events Calendar to stay up to date with all the Anna Maria Island and surrounding area festivities! Furthermore, check out details here for both the Sarasota Medieval Fair and the Lakewood Ranch Seafood & Music Festival which are happening during the weekends surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday!

For additional advice, be sure to ask your personal property manager or give us a call in the office. We love nothing more than sharing all of our local Anna Maria Island knowledge and activities with our guests! You can also check out our Things To Do link on our website for fun options for the entire family. But let’s be honest, sometimes it feels good to just Relax by the pool of your vacation home! We cannot wait to see you all this Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island! Life is good when you Vacation Like A Local!


Sports + Beach Vacations

Combining Sporting Events and Beach Vacations

Combining Sporting Events and Beach Vacations? You’re probably wondering, is that really a thing? Combining sporting events and beach vacations might not be something you’ve ever thought of before; but, it can be done! Furthermore, sporting events and beach vacations makes for one amazing trip! So, let AMI Locals show you how to do it right!

The Tampa Bay Buccanneers

Since the NFL Season is right around the corner, let’s start with a look at our local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This season, the Bucs have some great home games to play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

First and foremost, lets take a look at the schedule:

Now, look over these games, and figure out which sporting event works best with your beach vacation plans. Then, contact AMI Locals to help to plan your getaway around it!

Traveling to Anna Maria Island

So, who’s your home team? Are they listed above? If they’re headed this way when it’s snowy and cold at home why don’t you be the ultimate football fan and travel along?  Getting here is easy, and you have tons of options. Either drive down, or fly into the Sarasota or Tampa airport and rent a car. Or, get fancy and hire a car or limo to take you between your destinations.

For example, if you’re a Carolina Panthers’ fan, you can fly from Charlotte, North Carolina to Tampa on December 1st, 2018 roundtrip for about $230. Then, add on a week’s stay at one of our lovely 2-3 bedroom Anna Maria Luxury Vacation Rentals such as Island Time East for about $2,450. Combine it all, and boom, you have a fantastic sporting event and beach vacation planned for just under $3,000.

How to Get to the Buccaneers Stadium from Anna Maria Island

Here’s your game plan for game day when you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations! How do you get from here to there? Tampa is about 35 miles north of Anna Maria Island. An easy 1 hour drive, and it’s very scenic! Especially if you take the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

First, you will need to take one of the bridges to the mainland, SR-64, or Cortez Road. From there you’ll hop on to I-275 N to cross the beautiful Sunshine Skyway bridge. Then, continue through St. Petersburg and then on to Tampa. The highways are easy to navigate and the exits to the stadium are clearly marked.

Parking and Tailgating at the Stadium

Parking is plentiful around the stadium, with 14 official parking lots just outside of the stadium. Furthermore, there are other parking facilities within easy walking distance. Remember to bring some cash to pay for parking! Most parking lots average around $25 per vehicle. With most people driving to the games, tailgating around the stadium is always fun. Because of that, make sure you bring some snacks and a favorite beverage or two. As a result, you’ll hang out and engage in some friendly rival team banter with the locals. After the tailgate, you’ll head into Raymond James Stadium for kickoff and the big game. Remember to #vacationlikealocal and take photos by the pirate ship, mate! Tag us @amilocals!

Other Professional and College Teams

Maybe NFL Football isn’t your thing. That’s fine, there are more options for comining sporting events and beach vacations. Instead, maybe MLB Baseball, College Football, NHL Hockey, or NBA Basketball is more your speed. Well, you’re in luck!

Within 45 minutes to 3 hours of Anna Maria Island, we have everything you need! Located 45 minutes away, we have the Tampa Bay Rays, with a season running from March-October. Also, there are some great NCAA College Football teams within 1-3 hours of Anna Maria Island. Those teams include the USF Bulls in Tampa, the UCF Knights in Orlando, and the Florida Gators in Gainesville. The NCAA College Football season runs from September until late November. The Tampa Bay Lightning are about an hour away in Tampa. Their season runs from September – April each season. Finally, the Orlando Magic, are located about 2 hours away from Anna Maria Island. This NBA team offers a great sporting event to attend from October – April each season. 

Why it’s the Best Option

When you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations you become the smartest fan in any stadium. Taking that one step further, when you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations on Anna Maria Island you become one of the smartest fans in the world. The convenience of our island, and it’s fantastic proximity to so many great sport events and venues, makes this the ideal vacation for all sports fans.

Tampa has hosted the NFL Superbowl, NCAA College Basketball Tournament for Men and Women; and, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, all have NCAA Football Bowl Games including the Orange Bowl. There is so much here, within a short drive away. Skip the crowds of the big city, and commute in for the event only. Spend the rest of your time relaxing at the beach. 

Plus, most sports occur during the Fall and Winter months. Fall on Anna Maria Island is an absolutely wonderful time of year to visit. Check out our recent AMI Locals blog post, FALL in love with Anna Maria, to get a little more insight into how we locals feel about the autumn months here on the Island. Spoiler alert: we love it!

 Just remember to wash off your game face paint before applying your sunscreen!


Labor Day Weekend on Anna Maria Island




When and Why?

Labor Day Weekend on Anna Maria Island is filled with cocktails by the pool, lounging at the beach or in the calm Gulf waters, or feasting on freshly caught Florida Lobster.  This is the last holiday of the Summer, and before the stresses of work and the Winter holiday season kick in, come and enjoy some fresh Florida fun, relaxation, and life. Life is a lot easier when you’re floating in a perfect blue pool, boating around Tampa Bay, or looking out at the tranquil Gulf of Mexico with sandy feet and a cold beer in your hand, isn’t it? This year, Labor Day Weekend occurs on Saturday, September 1, 2018 – Monday, September 3rd, 2018.

Places to Stay

AMI Locals can help you find the perfect spot to enjoy that breath of warm fresh air before the chilly fall days and school starts again back home. Luckily, our Anna Maria Island vacation luxury rentals make it easy on you. All our homes are within easy walking distance to a beach. Most of our vacation rentals also have Pools, Spas, and are Pet-Friendly. Check out Avalon, Blue By You, and Atlantis Beach House! Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach, Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach, and the Bean Point area in Anna Maria are all great places to soak up the sun and relax on Anna Maria Island. Grab your sunglasses and start enjoying life! 

Things to Do

Our gorgeous island and community offer far more than just our world-renowned beaches. You can:

Do as much of this, or as little of it as you’d like, it’s your vacation. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a giant list of things to do for you, so check all of them out on our AMI Locals website.

Lobster Season and Places to Indulge

After working up an appetite with all of these adventures, keep in mind that Florida Lobster season runs from August through March. Get your lobster bibs tied on tight and check out these awesome eats.

  • Beach Bistro – don’t miss their heavenly Butter Poached Lobster & Pan Roasted Gulf Shrimp entrée.
  • The Waterfront – try the Smoked Margarita, then enjoy a fabulous bowl of lobster bisque.
  • The Sandbar – Pop a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and dig into the Sandbar’s fantastic Seafood Tower! Florida lobster tail, seasonal crab, jumbo shrimp, premium oysters, middle neck clams and smoked fish dip. Anna Maria Island waterfront rentals are definitely the best way to kick back and watch the sunset after a feast like this.


While visiting, you can also check out a few fun Labor Day events occurring in the area. These will help you celebrate the “unofficial end of Summer”!

  • Florida Studio Theatre’s summer season has the FST Improv Troupe’s Comedy Lottery happening Saturday, September 1 at 7:30pm. Join the cast for a show that you help make up… literally! Before every show, 12 lucky audience members will be selected. Those participants will be asked to randomly select out of the FST Improv infamous bucket of over 50 games. Those 12 games will comprise the lineup for that night which will feature a unique combination of scenes, sketches and songs selected by you and your peers!
    • If participation isn’t your thing, Florida Studio Theatre also features Gilbert & Sullivan Unplugged on September 1, at 6pm & 9pm. Gilbert & Sullivan Unplugged has delighted audiences across the US. They have done this through lovingly loopy renditions and joyfully irreverent excerpts from HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, and The Pirates of Penzance. Location: 1265 1st St, Sarasota, FL 34236
  • The Sarasota Sailing Squadron will host the 72nd Annual Labor Day Regatta on September 1st and 2nd, 9am-4pm.  The event brings more than 300 competitive sailors from across the U.S. and Canada. It draws nearly 1,000 visitors to the area each year. Activities include 5 separate race courses, live music, BBQ, refreshments and an awards ceremony. Viewing of the event is free and open to the public.  Location: 1717 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, Florida 34236
  • The Summer of Rum Fest is taking place September 1st & 2nd, 12pm-11pm in Curtis Hixon Park, downtown Tampa. Music, Sunshine, and… Rum. You’ll find all of the tropical drinks your inner pirate craves!  Featuring Cruzan Rum, Blackheart Spiced Rum, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Appleton Estate Rum, and many more. Enjoy rum from around the world. Age: 21+ up. Ticket prices vary. Location: 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa 33602 

 Whatever your ideal Labor Day weekend, you can find it here on sunny Anna Maria Island. However, make sure you #vacationlikealocal with #amilocals.