Take A Fun Day In Downtown Sarasota Florida!

Looking to take a break from the Anna Maria beaches? Take a trip over to Sarasota and take in the beautiful views that this area has to offer. There are tons of things to see and do in Sarasota from the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art or if you have kids maybe you can spend some time at the fountains at the Bayfront Park. Sarasota is definitely a place to spend some time if you are vacationing to Anna Maria.

Check out this video of our very own Lisa and her daughter Savanna at the fountains at Bayfront Park:

The Bayfront Park in Sarasota is more than a splash pad. The views are beautiful and it’s a great way to take a walk and escape the beach for an hour or two. Here is another video of just one of the views at the Bayfront Park in Downtown Sarasota:

If you are looking for another place to take in scenery, you can always head over to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota. With over 15 acres of housing, 12 buildings (including 7 greenhouses) you will have plenty to look at and explore!

Here’s Our List

Also check out our list of things to do in the area here. You can also ask your AMI Local expert if you are planning a stay with us on Anna Maria Island, what they would suggest. There are so many things to see and explore around Anna Maria Island that you will want to keep coming back just to see it all.

What to Do When It Rains on Anna Maria Island

What to Do When It Rains on Anna Maria Island

Going on vacation is always fun especially when you go to the beach. But what if you have a day or two of rain when visiting Anna Maria Island? Don’t worry because there are plenty of things that you can do when it rains on Anna Maria Island. Let’s look below at a few activities that there are to do while you vacation in paradise.

Mote Marine Museum

What to Do When It Rains on Anna Maria Island

The Mote Marine Museum is a non-profit museum where you and your family can go and enjoy the day. The museum has many different exhibits that everyone in the family will want to enjoy. From their Shark Zone to the reef animals exhibits, you will be sure to learn about animals. The aquarium does offer a blend of entertainment and education with a working marine laboratory. You can visit this in Sarasota, Florida from 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week including holidays.

Anna Maria Island Jail & Historical Society

Visiting one of our historical museums can be so much fun for the whole family. You will not be disappointed if you come and visit the Old City Jail, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum and more. The historical society museum was constructed in a 1920 icehouse and then became a auto garage, sea turtle hatchery and an admin building. The exhibits you will see will help tell the stories of the first settlers of the island and what they left behind. This is open on weekdays from 10 am to 1 pm. What a fun day to spent with the family!

South Florida Museum

What to Do When It Rains on Anna Maria Island

South Florida Museum is another great option to take the kids out while it rains. Here you will be able to explore the largest natural and cultural history museum on the Florida’s Gulf Coast. Not only do you get to visit all the exhibits at the South Florida Museum, but you will also be able to visit the Parker Manatee Aquarium and the Bishop Planetarium as well. Admission to get in is $19 for each adult, $17 for Seniors 65+, $12 for each child from 4-12. Children under 4 do get in for free with each paying adult. Don’t let this visit slip by when you visit Anna Maria Island!

South Florida Museum South Florida Museum is another great option to take the kids out while it rains. Here you will be able to explore the largest natural and cultural history museum on the Florida’s Gulf Coast. Not only do you get to visit all the exhibits at the South Florida Museum, but you will also be able to visit the Parker Manatee Aquarium and the Bishop Planetarium as well. Admission to get in is $19 for each adult, $17 for Seniors 65+, $12 for each child from 4-12. Children under 4 do get in for free with each paying adult. Don’t let this visit slip by when you visit Anna Maria Island!

There are many other things that you can do while it rains on your vacation, but these are just a few we thought you’d enjoy. And if you don’t feel like going out for the day in the rain, then spend your time at your gulf view vacation rental. Bring board games or play a game of cards with the family. Watch movies or just enjoy a nice afternoon nap. No matter when you come to visit paradise and a rainy day happens, there is always something for you to do!

Daily Beach Conditions September 12th, 2018

This post is the first of many showing off our live videos of our beautiful Anna Maria Island! We want everyone to stay updated on the conditions of our wonderful little island and we also like to show it off… because let’s face it, who doesn’t love Anna Maria Island? This most recent LIVE video was taken at the public beach at the end of Manatee Ave.

On this day we caught some people enjoying the clear beaches and even had some snorkelers out in the water. Most people don’t know that right now is one of the best times to visit Anna Maria Island because there aren’t many crowds and you can find some AMAZING deals when it comes to vacation rentals. Much like Montego Bay which is 40% right now as an “end of summer” deal!

Check out this video and you will see exactly what we mean and you may even want to experience it for yourself?

Have a Perfect Beach Day on Anna Maria Island

Have a Perfect Beach Day on Anna Maria Island

Summer may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the beach long after the kids have gone back to school. We know how you can have the perfect beach day on Anna Maria Island after school has begun for the kids. Staying in one of our beach view rentals can help you be close to the action and enjoy the fun fall weather. Let’s look at how you can make new memories with your family while you enjoy the beach on vacation.

What to Pack

When you go on vacation to the beach you want to make sure that you pack the necessities. Pack sunscreen at least 50 SPF especially if you have kids because well let’s face it, the sun is still hot even in the fall and winter months. We don’t want you to have your vacation ruined on your first day at the beach. You will also want to bring some chairs, an umbrella, a blanket for the kids to use, towels, hats and even bring baby powder (helps get the sand off easier). Also bringing a small cooler will help keep your drinks and food cold while chilling on the beach. But if you happen to be staying in one of our beach view rentals, then you can always head in if the kids need a nap or you want to take one. It’s OK you’re on vacation after all!

Lunch Time

Have a Perfect Beach Day on Anna Maria Island

Lunch time can always be fun if you add the sand in the mix of things especially if you have kids. It’s a known fact that when you vacation with the kids, sand will get into your food no matter how hard you try to keep it out of it. We suggest bringing a snack bag for the kids and then one for the parents. That way your food is sand free or let’s hope it is. There is a Publix Super Market in Holmes Beach that you can always go grab some groceries for the week. If you are needing a Walmart there is one over the bridge in Bradenton, FL. Waters are a good thing that you can freeze the night before and then you can bring on the beach as the day goes by, you will still have cold waters.


Timing can be everything on Anna Maria Island. If you go to the beach early, then you will want to stay out there for most of the day. But did you know that the sunsets on Anna Maria Island can be too beautiful to not enjoy. So, if you’d like to catch the sunset while spending time on the beach, head out on the sand around 2 or 3 pm. You will then be able to see the sunset and make new memories while watching it with your family.

Walk the Beach

Have a Perfect Beach Day on Anna Maria Island

Taking a walk on the beach in the mornings and of course in the evening can be wonderful for everyone. Not only can it be relaxing for just you but bring the kids along in the evenings and collect seashells. The sand is so soft on Anna Maria Island that why wouldn’t you want to walk barefoot on the beach with the family. Or if you like to run, go for a run on the beach in the morning and enjoy the sunrise. No matter what time you go to the beach just take in the beauty that Anna Maria Island has to offer you.

Any visit to Anna Maria Island will allow you to have a perfect day at the beach but these are just a few to help you enjoy your day a little more. We thought that coming and visiting Anna Maria Island any time of the year is better than not coming and visiting at all. Even if it’s for a short visit, you are still able to enjoy a few days away from life at home. If you are still looking for a beach vacation rental to stay check out what we have available for this fall. We hope to see you this year while you vacation on Anna Maria Island!


Historic Anna Maria Island City Pier


Anna-Maria-Island-City-Pier-AMI Locals

The Anna Maria Island City Pier

The Anna Maria Island City Pier has been a landmark on Anna Maria Island for more than 100 years. If you have ever visited us on beautiful Anna Maria Island then you have probably visited, or at least seen, the Anna Maria Island City Pier.  


For more than 100 years, this wooden plank walkway has allowed visitors of all ages stroll back in history and relive that “Old Florida” charm. George “Will” Bean and Charles Roser built the original pier in 1911. Fishing boats and steamboat excursions used the pier for harbor and dockage space. The earliest of tourists filled big paddle wheel boats such as the Mistletoe and the Favorite for a chance to explore the alluring barrier island. At that time there were no bridges linking Anna Maria Island to the mainland. These boats were the only way visitors could enjoy the beautiful and unspoiled beaches of Anna Maria.

Over the Years

The Anna Maria Island City Pier has weathered many storms and hurricanes throughout the years. Restoration and repairs always followed. Eventually, the “old school” bait shop and popular restaurant took over the 776 foot pier. Because of this the Anna Maria Island City Pier became even more of a destination for locals and visitors alike. Fisherman adorned the edges of the platform. Hoping to catch their dinner they casted lines into the bay and shared warm-hearted stories about their beloved island. All were welcome at the Anna Maria Island City Pier. For decades this was life until mother nature lashed out with Hurricane Irma in 2017.

After the Storm

Anna-Maria-Island-City-Pier-Closed-AMI Locals

After this iconic storm barreled across the State of Florida, the fate of the Anna Maria Island City Pier was left in shambles . Luck had run out. The gates were locked, and the City Pier was now in a position to be totally replaced. Flocking birds and schooling fish replaced the fishermen at the pier. The birds set up nests, and the fish found an unfamiliar refuge, on the eerily quiet pier and waters. 

The Rebuild Process


Demolition started very carefully. One by one the planks were removed. Sadly, some planks contained inscribed family names and remembrances, making this even more personal for some. The re-building of the Anna Maria Island landmark  was underway, and visitors and Locals alike will have to wait patiently for the finished product. So, the next time you are staying in one of our AMI Locals’ waterfront or vacation properties, be sure to stroll over to the Anna Maria Island City Pier. The view is always just as beautiful and the history is just as rich no matter what phase of the project the pier is in. So, be sure to visit our list of available rentals, and remember to Vacation Like a Local!

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

Do you have a family vacation this year on Anna Maria Island and not sure what there is to do with the kids? If you are staying in one of our beach and gulf view vacation rentals, we can tell you some of the best things to do with the kids. We have compiled a small list for you to check out and see what you and your kids can do on your next family vacation!

Go to the Beach

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

Well you are vacationing in Florida, so one of our number recommendations is to hit the beach and spend as much time as you can there. Let your kids spend as much time there creating new memories with them. Build as many sandcastles as you’d like and let the play in the beautiful, white sand. The best part of heading to the beach on Anna Maria Island is that there are sand bars that help create shallow water areas for your kids to play in. Let the kids wear their energy out on the beach for the day!

Hunt for Sea Shells

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

When you are vacationing hunting for sea shells can be a favorite activity for everyone in the family to do. This can be a great activity for the younger ones who are just learning to walk and for even the parents. Plus, we know of a great area to head to get to the best shells. If you head over to Beer Can Island (Greer Island) you can find some of the best area for the best shells. 

Play & Enjoy Bayfront Park

We understand that your kids build up more energy than you can handle and need to run it off. Take them to Bayfront Park where they can run off that energy and where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the bay. This is a free park and a great new place to visit when you are on vacation. 

Go Get Donuts

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

When on vacation you must get donuts especially at one of the most delicious places in the US! You will need to take the kids to The Donut Experience at least one time while you are on vacation to experience the made to order donuts. When you arrive though, don’t be surprised if you find a line out the door. This is a very popular place to go whether you are a local or a tourist. The process is simple and you will see many options to help you make your donuts better tasting. Just have fun and let the kids be creative. What a better way to enjoy these donuts!

Eat on the Beach

If you are looking for a new experience when it’s time to eat dinner or lunch with your family. Head over to The Sandbar Restaurant where you can eat with your toes in the sand. This is a locally owned restaurant that has an expansive patio with many tables over actual sand. And to make it better when you go just before sunset where you can experience a beautiful view of the sun setting over the water. They have a great kid friendly menu and no worry about the kids making a mess on the floor, it’s sand. Maybe make this your last meal while on the island. What a beautiful memory to make on your final day!

5 Best Things to Do with Kids on Anna Maria Island

While there are still many other things to do with your kids but these are just a few that we’d thought that you’d like. While staying with us in one of our vacation rentals, you will find that there is something for everyone in the family. Take pictures, make new memories and come back to the island for years to come!

4th of July Celebration – Boom, Boom, Pow

4th of July Celebration - Boom, Boom, Pow

We LOVE celebrating 4th of July just as much as the rest of the country! We just like to do it “Island Style”! This time of year brought plenty of people to our beautiful beaches to enjoy all the holiday and summer festivities.

4th of July Parade Fun

Just like every year, this 4th of July started with an awesome local parade
that spanned the entire length of the island from Coquina Beach to the City Pier. The parade route winds through Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and the City of Anna Maria and is a short stroll from all of our spectacular vacation homes. This annual parade is hosted and led by the Privateers. So, next year,
be ready to spot the pirates and their ship coming down the street followed by an array of decorated floats, cars and golf carts throwing treats and cooling down the crowd with super soakers! And, if you have ever dreamed of being more than just a spectator, be sure to sign up to participate and decorate
your own vehicle! The more the merrier!

More Fun After the Parade

After the parade was over, we grabbed ourselves a spot at the beach and caught some rays! July always brings the heat, but a dip in the crystal aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico refreshes the soul. Afterwards, we just relaxed poolside and grilled out with our friends and family. With full hearts and bellies we were sure to make our way back to beach as the sun went down. Firework displays were a plenty in the area and there was no bad spot to catch a great show! For more than 30 years The Sandbar Restaurant located at 100 Spring Avenue, on the north end of the island, has been graciously lighting up the night sky for all to enjoy. So, next July, If you are looking for an all-inclusive event, be sure to grab a ticket to their VIP Party which includes an amazing array of local foods, an open bar, and prime beach
seats for the fireworks. These tickets sell out quickly, so do not hesitate to mark your calendars for next year!

With so much sunshine and patriotic activities on the island, it’s hard not to have the time of your life. So, if you are looking for a laid back way to just enjoy the 4th of July with your family and friends be sure to visit us next summer and vacation like a local!

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

It is that time of year again, yup you guessed it, it’s Tarpon Fishing Season! If you have been out on the North End of Anna Maria Island lately, known as Bean Point. You may have noticed all the boats sitting side by side in the deep waters of Bean Point Pass jockeying for position to try and catch one of these once in a lifetime big game fish! You may have also noticed boats circling or casting at fish off the beach, or drifting Egmont Key, or trying their luck at any one of our bridges – especially the Sunshine Skyway.

When to Fish for Tarpon

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

During the Summer months of late May until late July, these fish can be found all around our areas in large numbers. You’ll likely identify them because of the anglers chasing them. The Southwest Florida area is a tarpon haven, and these fish pile up here during their annual migration starting on the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of Florida. They can be found up the Gulf coast around Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, and ending in Central America. They love the Anna Maria fishery due to the large amount of baitfish in our area, consisting of mainly what the locals call “shiners, threadfin (threadies), and sardines.”

More about Tarpons

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Tarpon are also big fans of our Summer tidal flows that results in very large tidal drops for our Gulf waters of over 2 feet in just a few hours. This large tidal flush causes significant currents, especially around these “passes” where deep water channels meet our shallow flat areas or islands. This tidal flow not only flushes water through these passes, but it also brings these bait fish and small “pass” crabs. The tarpon sit in these narrow inlets and wait for the buffet to start… and so do the anglers!

Testing your Luck

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Locals and tourists alike test their luck with these fish and is truly one of the best fishing experiences you’ll have. It is not uncommon to “jump” multiple tarpon in a single fishing day, and maybe “boat” a couple. What we mean by jump is exactly that, these fish love to jump when hooked. They are acrobatics at their core and the aerial display they put on when hooked is amazing. Even if you aren’t holding a fishing rod with a tarpon attached to the line, it is an amazing experience to just sit and watch the other anglers fight these fish.

Let’s Go “Boating”

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Because of these acrobatics, these fish are very difficult to catch, or “boat” as we call it. Boating a fish counts when the leader line is touched, or the fish is safely grabbed to remove the hook. And ensuring the fish is unharmed, safe, and ready to be released. You may or may not know, but these fish are catch and release only, they are just a game fish. This ensures the safety of the species, helps to ensure a large population and fishing experiences for years to come. In fact, Tarpons are a very protected fish. No fish larger than 40 pounds can be brought on board of a boat for photos.  Therefore, all the photos you see will be with anglers holding them in the water or alongside the boat. Tarpon fishing is truly one of the most fun times of the year. We highly recommend it for any experience level of angler. Our team of property managers would be happy to recommend some anglers to you, so don’t hesitate to ask. You can also check out our website and view our preferred fishing charter vendors.

AMI Locals recommends:

Justin Moore- http://moorefishing.com/

Jason Stock- http://www.jmsnookykayakcharters.com

Brian Peacock – http://www.baytobayfishingcharters.com/

Mac Gregory- https://www.facebook.com/CaptainMacGregory/

We have great local guides to help ensure a quality fishing experience for you. If Tarpon isn’t of interest, they can help you find many of the great fish species in our area. Some of the fish might be: Snook, Redfish, Grouper, Snapper, Trout, Permit, Pompano, Cobia, Tuna, Sailfish, and more!

Tarpon Fishing on Anna Maria Island

The Hernando De Soto Parade

Did you know that on April 28th, 2018 marked the 78th Annual Hernando De Soto Parade in Bradenton, Florida? This classic Manatee County event brings travelers from Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Sarasota and other parts of the state! In fact, we can probably say that it brings people from all over the world now.  Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and the City of Anna Maria Island have guests from other countries visiting for the event. We have recommended this wonderful event to many of the guests staying within the area.

About the Parade

With over 150 floats in this parade, it is one of the longest and oldest
parades in all of Florida. The parade kicks off every year from Manatee
High School, located at 902 33rd St Ct W, Bradenton, FL 34205. It travels
down 33rd Street, to Manatee Avenue (SR-64), and it ends in Downtown
Bradenton around 3rd or 4th Street. Every one of the 150 floats entered in
this event is armed with beads, pirate bullions, candy, and much more.
Days before the parade you’ll see people claiming their spot with their
lawn chairs or caution tape. No one wants to miss this spectacle. You’ll
find pirates dancing down Manatee Avenue alongside their float. Local
businesses displaying themselves and their products in unique and custom
floats. Mascots and floats representing our local professional sports
teams like the Tampa Bay Lighting and Tampa Bay Rays.  Police and Fire
Department apparatus of all kind in the parade and so much more. The
Hernando De Soto Crew and their newly crowned De Soto Queen and Princess
usually steal the show.

Let the Fun Begin

Mainly, everywhere you look you’ll find people genuinely having a blast. Children running to pick up treasures and yelling at floats and patrons for “beads, throw me beads.” Honestly, the adults might take it more seriously than the children. It is always a competition in our family to see who can collect the most, but it is always done in good fun.

Don’t Miss Out Next Year

The Hernando De Soto Parade has been a staple in our area for 78 years now, and that is primarily due to the good-natured fun and entertainment that it provides. It’s a great way to see our local community gather in one space and have fun together. Our family goes every year, and we always recommend it to our AMI Locals family that is visiting us that week. So, if you’re planning to be in town next year in 2019, make sure you mark April 29th, 2019 on your calendar because that is when the Hernando De Soto Parade will roll down Manatee Avenue for the 79th time. You won’t want to miss it!