Don’t Miss These Fun Events This December on Anna Maria Island

Sandy christmas snowman in red santa hat and sunglasses at sunny beach. Holiday concept for New Years Cards.

Do you and your family have a vacation planned to Anna Maria Island in December? If the answer is yes, allow us to share a few fun things in the area. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will allow you and your family to be close to the fun. Let’s look below at when and where you’ll be able to attend these fun events on Anna Maria Island.

Did Someone Say a Boat Parade?

Boats lit up with Christmas lights parked at the dock in Florida

 One of the best things about vacationing on Anna Maria Island during December is seeing the boat parade. This year head over to Bradenton Beach for the 3rd Annual Holiday Boat Parade. The event will take place on Saturday, December 5th starting at 6:00 pm along the Intracoastal Waterway. You and your family will be able to see the parade from two different locations – Longboat Pass Bridge and Bradenton Beach City Pier. Think of the memories you’ll make while watching the beautiful boats pass by, all decorated for the holidays.

Annual Christmas on Bridge Street

Another fun event returning in 2021 is the Annual Christmas on Bridge Street celebration in Bradenton Beach. On December 4th, 2021, starting at 3:00 pm on Bridge Street is where you’ll be able to locate this fun-filled event. There will be plenty for the whole family to do, including a kid’s zone, holiday crafts, shopping, and food. Don’t miss out on this event this year as you help us celebrate the holidays.

Two hot cocoa drink on a bed of snow and white background, close up. Concept of christmas winter morning

Many other things are happening in the area this December, but we had to tell you of the ones listed above. If you haven’t booked your next stay in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals, give us a call today. We hope to see you out there and can’t wait to hear which event was your favorite.

3 Natural Springs State Parks Near Anna Maria Island for a Day Trip with the Family

Lithia Springs State Park with a squirrel on a palm near Tampa Florida.

Have you ever wanted to head to a state park in the past but didn’t know which one to try? We at AMI Locals wanted to share 3 Natural Springs State Parks with you that are within a few hours’ drive of the island. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals, you’ll be able to not only enjoy our beautiful beaches, but you’ll be close to some of the natural springs state parks too. Let’s look below at where you and your family can head for the day to check out three of the many natural springs state parks in Florida.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs River with blues and greens

Have you ever heard of Weeki Wachee before? Too many tourists, it sounds like a fun name to pronounce, and as locals, we can say it is. The Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is located about 2-hours from our beautiful island and is one state park that we couldn’t mention. This Park first opened in 1947 and has been a favorite for many locals and tourists to head to for some fun in the sun. We must mention that during the summer months, they will reach capacity early and so be sure to get there as soon as they open at 9:00 am. A few of the things you can do while there are snorkeling, swimming, boat tours, mermaid shows, and even the waterpark. Be sure to add this to your list to check out your next vacation to Anna Maria Island.

Rainbow Springs State Park

The gardens at Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon, Florida.

Rainbow Springs State Parks is located a little further north of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park but is another beautiful park to visit. Located about two and a half hours from Anna Maria Island, you could easily make this another day trip with the Family. Some fun things you can do at this state park are snorkeling, swimming, tubing down the Rainbow River, Geocaching, and more. Think of the fun the Family will have to get to tube down the river after spending the morning doing some geocaching.

Rock Springs Kelly Park

Happy cute caucasian boy swimming in watermelon inflatable ring. Vacation on sea side. High quality photo

Rock Springs Kelly Park is located about two and a half hours from Anna Maria Island and is just north of Orlando. Depending on how you’re arriving at AMI, you could either do this Park before you come to your vacation rental or on your way home. They limit the number of vehicles in the park each day, so we thought it was a great way to start your trip or end it on a fun adventure. Some of the things that you’re able to do at the park are Kayak, Paddleboard, or even tubing. If you’re going to do a little tubing, they do offer rentals for tubes, or you can bring your own, which in turn, you could use on your trip to Anna Maria Island.

While there are many other natural springs state parks within a few hours of Anna Maria Island, we wanted to mention these. If you haven’t booked your next trip to stay in one of our AMI Locals vacation rentals, give us a call today. We’d love to hear all about your adventures to one of these amazing parks!

2 Fun Festivals to Enjoy this Fall with the Family on Anna Maria Island

Collection of autumn pumpkins on a blue background

Fall is an excellent time of the year to visit Anna Maria Island for many different reasons. You and your family can do plenty of fun things, and we are here to tell you about them. Staying with us in one of our AMI Locals vacation rentals will keep you and your family to the fun. Let’s look below at two fun to enjoy with the family on Anna Maria Island this fall.

20th Annual BayFest

Classic cars in a row parked on asphalt parking lot

We are so excited that Bayfest is returning to Anna Maria Island this year for the 20th year. Happening on Pine Avenue on Saturday, October 16th, 2021, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm is where your family can join in the fun. There will be live music during the day, arts & crafts, a car show, fantastic food and more. Admission to this fun event hosted by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is free. There will also be plenty of vendors that you can purchase things from to bring home with you. Think of the fun that the whole family can enjoy while you enjoy this fun event together!

30th Annual Pumpkin Festival

boy picks pumpkin at the farmers market. The person in motion, defocused.

Another fun thing that your family can take advantage of this fall is the 30th Annual Pumpkin Festival. This festival will be at Hunsader Farms in Bradenton, Florida, for several weekends in October. While this festival is not free to attend, the cost is $12 per person over ten years old, and parking is $5. They are only accepting cash right now, but some of the vendors at the festival may accept cards. The dates you can attend are October 16-17th, 23-24th & 30-31st from 9 am to 5 pm. Some things you can do at the farm are pony rides, corn maze, hayrides, arm painting, pumpkins, and more. How cool would it be to bring a pumpkin back to your vacation rental for the remainder of your stay?

While there are other fun things that you can enjoy this fall, including our white sandy beaches and vacation rentals with pools, we wanted to share these. If you still are looking for a quick getaway to beautiful Anna Maria Island this fall with the family, give us a call today. We hope to see you soon so you can enjoy these fall festivals too!

Hunt for Shells on Anna Maria Island

Hunt for Shells on Anna Maria Island

Do you like to collect shells for something at home, or a project your working on? If the answer is yes, then we suggest vacationing here on Anna Maria Island this winter. Anna Maria Island has crystal clear waters, white sandy beach and a healthy amount of Florida sunshine. If you are staying in one of our Beach and Gulf View vacation rentals, then you will be close to where you’ll find the shells. There is something for everyone when you vacation on Anna Maria Island including looking for rare Florida seashells. Let’s look at where you and your family can hunt for the shells and what shells you’ll find.

Early Morning

Hunt for Shells on Anna Maria Island

Many of the families who visit Anna Maria Island have kids who like to get up at the crack of dawn even while on vacation. So why not go ahead and head to the beach in the early morning to hunt for some seashells. Walk slowly by the water searching for that perfect shell that you’d been wanting. You may find several different kinds of shells, but we know of the few you may find. Many shells may have washed up on the beach during the night and so this can be the perfect time to find some. If it is low tide you may be able to find a few starfish but be sure to check if they are alive or dead. If they are alive, please leave them there and give them another chance at living more.

Where to Shell?

Anna Maria Island has many beaches that you and your family can head to find those perfect shells. Holmes Beach, Coquina Beach, Bayfront Park and Bean Point are great places to start to look for those beautiful shells. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty a little because sometimes the best shells you will find may be buried a little in the sand. We suggest that you bring a bucket (borrowing one from the kids will work), a small shovel, sunscreen and water shoes or flip flops. If you are bringing the kids with you, we suggest that you bring a towel with you as well because we know they will get wet.

What Shells Can You Find?

Hunt for Shells on Anna Maria Island

One thing that you might have to remember that when you go shell hunting, you need to know what you are looking for. So, we have a few that we know you will be able to find on Anna Maria Island. Here are a few of the shells you may come across while you are on your shell hunt.

  • Cockle Shell – These are very distinctive and found by many because of their fan shape they have.
  • Coquina Shell – These tiny, cute looking shell are what we call coquina shells. They are not any bigger than a dime and will come in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Junonia Shell – This shell is one of the rarest that you will come across on the island. Because it’s so beautiful, many shell collectors consider this one to be the best one.
  • Banded Tulip Shell – This shell is named after it’s colored bands that can be seen on the exterior.
  • Horse Conch Shell – This shell has been Florida’s state shell since 1969 and is a beautiful shell. You’ll often find this shell in a larger size but you’ll find them small too.
  • Murex Shell – The Murex shell is often identified by the spines located on the outside of the shell. Many will get these shells mixed with a whelk but they are bright in color compared to whelks.

While there are many other shells that you will come across while hunting for them, these are just a few we thought you’d enjoy. And a few little tips to remember while you shell, it’s best to go after high tide in the morning. We highly suggest wearing water shoes or flip flops, so your feet don’t get cut in the process of wading through the shallow waters. Beach and Gulf View vacation rentals will keep you and your family close to the fun and action on Anna Maria Island. We can’t wait to see you as you come down to stay with us.

3 Restaurants to Try on Anna Maria Island this Summer



Summer will be here before you know it, and now is the time to start getting excited over the food you’ll find on the island. Anna Maria Island has many different restaurants that provide seafood, kid-friendly food, and southern food. Staying in one of our AMI vacation rentals will keep your family close to several of these delicious places to eat at. We understand that you’re on vacation and who wants to cook all week while you’re relaxing. Let’s look below at three restaurants to try Anna Maria Island this summer with the family.

Mr. Bones BBQ

bbq ribs smoked

Does your family love pulled pork, BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken & more? Then look no further as you can find all that southern deliciousness at Mr. Bones BBQ in Holmes Beach. This restaurant opened up in 1992 and has become a staple to get some fantastic BBQ on the island. Some of the things you’ll find on the menu are spare ribs, baby back ribs, BBQ chicken, jambalaya, and more. If you get stuffed at the restaurant, then take your leftovers back to your vacation rental and savor them for another day or night. Mr. Bones BBQ is one restaurant that is a must-try on the island!

SMOQEHOUSE

Another restaurant that your family may enjoy is the SMOQEHOUSE located over in Holmes Beach. This is another restaurant where you’ll find traditional BBQ dishes like the SMOQEHOUSE Cuban, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Brisket Burger, and Sarasota Special. For the kids, they offer grilled cheese, pulled pork sandwiches, and cheeseburgers. Their hand-cut fries are just like you’d find on a boardwalk on the east coast and are to die for. This can become your new favorite restaurant to give a try on your next vacation to Anna Maria Island this summer!

Brick’s Smoked Meats

sandwich with beef brisket, fries and coleslaw

While Brick’s Smoked Meats is not located on Anna Maria Island, it was one that we wanted to mention—located in Bradenton is where you’re going to find this Texas BBQ-style restaurant. The family will love some of the menu items from their “OMG” Brisket Chili Cheese Fries, Pulled Pork Platters, St. Louis Ribs, Bacon Burnt Ends, and more. Don’t worry about the kids not having something to eat because there is something for everyone on this menu. This is a restaurant that is worth trying on your vacation to Anna Maria Island if you’re looking for a home-cooked southern BBQ.

There are many other fun restaurants that we could mention in this post; we wanted to share these with you. If you haven’t booked your next vacation to stay in one of our AMI vacation rentals, give us a call today. We can’t wait to see you and your family this summer and about how you enjoyed one of these restaurants!

Easy Ways to Explore Anna Maria Island on your Next Vacation

Easy Ways to Explore Anna Maria Island on your Next Vacation

Do you and your family have a vacation coming up to visit Anna Maria Island? If the answer is yes, then we have to tell you all about the ways you can explore the island. Staying in one of our Water Access vacation rentals can keep your family close to the water. Getting around the island is easy as 1, 2 , 3 and we are here to let you know how you can explore the island for free!

Anna Maria Island Trolley

Take a FREE local trolley when exploring Anna Maria Island.

We have been asked numerous times if you can still visit Anna Maria Island without a car and the answer is absolutely! Not only can you explore the island by walking around it, you can also explore the island by using the Anna Maria Island Trolley. This service is available to all those who visit the area and is available 365 days a year. Depending on where you are staying at on the island will depend on which location you need to start at. Many will find that beginning at the Anna Maria City at 6:00 am and there will a trolley at each stop every 20 minutes throughout the day. If you are concerned that there will be no air, you will be pleasantly surprised that each trolley does have air-conditioning but there are a few that do offer open-air seating too.  This is a great way that you can explore Anna Maria Island for free with the family!

Island Beach Monkeys

When you visit Anna Maria Island and are headed to enjoy some nightly activities, but the trolley isn’t running that late, have no fear. Island Beach Monkeys is just the service you are looking for then. This is another free mode of transportation to get around the island. One thing that is different compared to other transportation around the island is that the drivers work for tips only. How cool is that?! Their hours of service are from 12:00 pm to 3:00 am every day which is perfect for those who love late night outings. Some of the other services that Island Beach Monkeys offers are tours, weddings, airport & cruise ship shuttles and even off-island rides too. Their fleet includes 2 mini-buses (one equipped with a karaoke, an 8-passenger golf cart limo and an SUV. Give them a call at 941-565-6542 to catch a ride on the Monkey Bus on your next vacation to Anna Maria Island!

There are many other ways that you can get around the island but these are the few we wanted to share with you. If you haven’t booked your next vacation to Anna Maria Island yet, now is the time. We hope that you and your family will enjoy using these services while on vacation

Must Have Items for Your Beach Bag

Must Have Items for Your Beach Bag

Are you headed to the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island this spring for your vacation? Nothing says vacation like spending a few days sitting on the beach, soaking up the rays. When staying in one of our Beach and Golf View vacation rentals, having the right items in your beach bag will help enjoy your vacation a little better. We have compiled a small list to be sure that you will be ready for your next vacation to Anna Maria Island.

Must Have Items

Beach Bag

Must Have Items for Your Beach Bag

Having the right beach bag can make ALL the difference in the world. Sure, you can throw all of your items into any old bag, but did you know that all beach bags were not created equal. We suggest looking at the size, water and sand resistance, security and stylish when searching for your bag. We have found that even using a backpack, diaper bag or an even a large utility tote bag works perfect for a beach bag.

Beach Towels

Pack a towel for everyone in your family whether you are going to sit in the sun or swim in the ocean. Bringing an extra towel with you is always a good idea especially if you have little ones with you. Having a beach towel with a different design can help each member in your group remember which one theirs is. This can help with the upset that the little ones will get because someone else is using their towel.

Sunscreen

Must Have Items for Your Beach Bag

With the hot southern sun on Anna Maria Island, sunscreen is a must for any beach bag. Use a sunscreen that is designed for your beach activities such as waterproof, sport, high SPF, etc.). Dermatologists recommend that you use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF while you are enjoying the sunshine. And don’t forget to Reapply throughout your day as we don’t want you to ruin your vacation the very first day your here with a sunburn. If you do happen to get a little too much sun, pack a bottle of aloe and stick it in the fridge. This can help soothe the burn so you can enjoy your vacation a little more.

Mesh Bag for Sand Toys

When you go on vacation with kids, bringing toys to play in the sand is a must. But we understand that bringing back the sand into your car or vacation rental can be a hassle. If you pack in your beach bag a mesh bag such as a laundry bag or a bag specifically for beach toys can help eliminate the mess. Just throw the sandy toys into the bag, give it a good shake or two and leave the sand behind at the beach. You can purchase these online or in a local store to bring with you on your vacation.

Baby Powder

This is a must when you go on vacation whether you have the kids with you or not. Whether you are staying in a vacation rental or you decided to drive your car to the beach access, sand will be all over you when you leave the beach. So, bringing baby powder in your beach bag will magically get the sand off of your body without irritation and leave a nice scent too.

Hat & Sunglasses

Bringing both of these items can be very useful for anyone who visits the beach. The sun in the south is a lot warmer than it would be up north, and so we want to make sure you are protected. Having sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun bright rays and will offer you some relief when trying to keep an eye on your little ones playing. Whether you have a floppy hot or a baseball cap, you will be happy that you brought these along with you. Be sure to pack one for each member of your family.

Beach Blanket

This is an item that is often overlooked when packing your beach bag for many families. You get so caught up in the excitement of spending your days on the beach that you forget to pack one. One beach blanket that we recommend you try and grab is sand-proof beach blanket. This is made to make it easier to keep the sand off the food, little hands of the kids and all the clothes. Now we can’t guarantee that the kids won’t bring back sand to your vacation rental, but know that while you’re sitting on the sand your belongings will be safe.

There are many other items that you can pack into your beach bag for your next trip to Anna Maria Island, but these are the must have items we thought you should have with you. If you are still looking for a place to stay for your next getaway or vacation, then check out our Beach and Gulf View vacation rentals today. We can’t wait to see you and your family as you enjoy the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island!

Enjoy Spring Break on Anna Maria Island



It’s hard to believe that Spring Break will be here before we know it, and now is the time to start planning it. Getting away from life at home will allow both you and your family to recharge a bit, all while relaxing in the area. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will keep you and the family together. Let’s look below at what fun things you can do this spring break with the family!

Day Trip Fun

Enjoy Spring Break on Anna Maria Island

One of the best things about vacationing to Anna Maria Island this spring break is being close to several different amusement parks. Busch Gardens Tampa is located about an hour and a half from the island and is a quick trip to make. If you’re looking to travel a little more, then you can always head to Orlando, which is about a 2-hour drive from the island. Here you and your family can choose from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Discovery Cove, Sea World, and Legoland. We do, however, recommend that you purchase your tickets before heading over to the parks, as Walt Disney World does require you to make Park Pass Reservations. No matter where you go for the day, know that you will be able to come back to your vacation rental and relax the rest of the week!

Play on the Water

Another great way your family can enjoy spring break this year is to enjoy time on the water. This year, either rent yourself a boat where you can sail along the coast and enjoy fishing, relaxing, and having a great time together. Suppose you’re looking for something a little more entertaining, then head on over to the Fun Life Waterpark, where you’ll be floating a long the water and enjoying some of the fun trampolines and slides into the water. There is so much to do on the water that these are just a few of the things you can do.

Enjoy a Day on the Beach

Enjoy Spring Break on Anna Maria Island

Spending time away from life at home is getting to walk to the beach from your vacation rental or driving over to the beach. Be sure to bring your beach chairs, towels, umbrella, sunscreen, and sand toys for the kids with you. If you’d like to get a book or two with you while you relax as the kids play in the sand. Bring your lunch down on the sand along with a cooler full of drinks to keep you and the family hydrated for the day. Make new memories as you spend time relaxing and enjoying your time together on the beautiful white sands of Anna Maria Island!

While there are so many other things that you can do while on vacation to Anna Maria Island, we wanted to share these with you. If you haven’t booked your spring break vacation to stay in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals, now is the time. We can’t wait to see you and your family make new memories this spring break together!

Take a Romantic Getaway to Anna Maria Island this Valentine’s Day

Take a Romantic Getaway to Anna Maria Island this Valentine’s Day

Finding time for just the two of you can be a little tricky at home with the hustle and bustle of taking care of the kids to working from home. This year surprise your loved one with a romantic getaway to Anna Maria Island for Valentine’s Day. Staying in one of our 1-2 Bedroom vacation rentals will allow the two of you just to relax and enjoy your time away from home. Let’s look below what you can do while you’re on your romantic getaway here on the island.

Romantic Dinner

Take a Romantic Getaway to Anna Maria Island this Valentine’s Day

We understand that taking a vacation with the kids can be a little hectic at times. So, while you’re on your romantic getaway to Anna Maria Island, enjoy a few romantic dinners together kid-free. Head on over to The Sandbar Restaurant located here on the island to get one of the best local cuisines in town. Ask to sit outside so that you can feel the sand under your feet as you enjoy your romantic dinner. Some of the fantastic foods you can have for dinner are Two Docks Clams, Seafood & Grits, Stuffed Shrimp, and don’t forget about the Key Lime Pie. Many other delicious foods are available on the menu, so get a few different ones and give them a try!

Explore the Island

Take a Romantic Getaway to Anna Maria Island this Valentine’s Day

Another great way that you can enjoy your romantic getaway is by exploring the island together. Whether you’re looking to do something adventurous like kayaking or looking to do something a little off the well-beaten path, there is something for everyone here. Head over to the Anna Maria City Pier and take a long walk enjoying the serene water and wildlife. Rent a bike and explore the island together by getting a little fresh air as you take your time pedaling around town. With all of the fun options available on the island, you may never want to leave to go back home.

While there are many other things that you and your loved one can do while you’re on your romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share these with you. If you haven’t booked your trip to stay in one of our 1-2 Bedroom vacation rentals, now is the time. We look forward to seeing you in the next few weeks as you enjoy your time together as a couple enjoying island life!

Escape the Cold to Sunny Anna Maria Island



Are you and your family looking to escape the cold and head to a warmer climate? If the answer is yes, then allow us at AMI Locals to share a few reasons you should vacation with us. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will allow the whole family to join you and enjoy the warmth. Let’s look below at what fun things you can want while you vacation to Anna Maria Island this winter to escape the cold.

White Sands

Escape the Cold to Sunny Anna Maria Island

This year exchange the cold snow and ice for the lovely warm sands of Anna Maria Island. Instead of worrying about what warm clothes you should pack on your vacation, worry about what summer clothes you want to wear. Allow the family to soak up the sun while sitting poolside in one of our AMI Locals vacation rentals or enjoying the white sands of the beach. The weather is perfect for you and the family to want the Gulf of Mexico’s water instead of bundling up to go outdoors.  

Fun in the Water

Escape the Cold to Sunny Anna Maria Island

Your family can do a few other things while on vacation here on Anna Maria Island is enjoying time out on the open water. Many love to head on over and enjoy Fun Life Water Park, which allows your family to have your party on the water. It’s like a floating water park that you’ve never experienced before, and we can tell you it’s quite fun too. Some of the other fun things you can do on the water are Paddle Board or Kayak together by renting for a few hours and having a good time. No matter what you’d like to do this winter with the family on the water, there is something for everyone!

While there are many other fun things you can do, such as rent a bike or golf cart, head to an amusement park, or just relax, we wanted to share these with you. If you haven’t booked your next winter getaway to stay with us at AMI Locals, now is the time. We hope to see you and your family enjoying the island’s warm sands instead of the cold snow on the slopes!