4 Fun Beach Games that the Whole Family will Love

Father and daughter playing frisbee

Do you and your family have a vacation planned to Anna Maria Island this year? If the answer is yes, then allow us with AMI Locals to share a few games to play on the beach. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will allow you and your family to connect. Let’s look below at what four fun beach games we’d like to share with you that the whole family will love.

Seashell Hunt

two young children, a boy and his baby brother are on the beach by the ocean shore, picking up seashells

Anna Maria Island has an abundance of seashells that you may not find on beaches that border the Atlantic Ocean. So naturally, a seashell hunt along the shoreline of the beaches can be just what your family needs. The objective of this fun game is to see who can find the most seashells or the biggest shells in a certain amount of time. When everyone is done finding their shells, you can give points on the number of shells, the size of the shells, or the color of the shells. Think of the fun the kids will have by getting to have a fun hunt on the beach.

Musical “Towels”

A fun game that is often played at parties is musical chairs, but since you’re at the beach, trade those chairs for towels. All you need is towels, a phone, and some fun songs. If you don’t have enough towels, you can use spare clothes in place of the towels. The rules for musical chairs will apply to this game. Anyone in the family can play this game, and this game can be played multiple times during the day.

Sand Mermaids

Three kids playing in the sand, burying one little girls legs in the sand.

Another fun game that the whole family will love is to make sand mermaids. This is especially fun for the little ones as most times; it’s the parents or siblings getting to become the mermaid. Have the person who is going to be the model lay in the sand, and the rest of the family will then cover their legs and waist with sand. Then the shaping of the mermaid tail begins, and then time to decorate the tail. Use the seashells you found on the beach during the seashell hunt, seaweed, and other beach finds. Don’t forget to take pictures of each person who has become a mermaid!

I Spy

For families with younger kids, this game is perfect for you. Just like you play this game on road trips in the car, it’s ideal for playing on the beach. This game can be played while eating lunch on the beach or while you’re having the kids take a break from the water. You can use different themes such as colors, nature, or items seen on the beach. Depending on how old the kids are, it is how hard you make the guessing game.

There are many other fun games that you can play while you’re on vacation; we wanted to share the above with you. If you are still on the hunt for the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental, give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear how you and your family loved playing the games we shared with you above.  

3 Things to Do this Spring on Anna Maria Island

Beautiful Sand Dunes and Sea Oats on the Coastline of Anna Maria Island, Florida

This spring, do you have a family vacation planned to come to Anna Maria Island this spring? If the answer is yes, allow us to share three things you can do in the area. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will allow you to be close to the action. Let’s look below at what you and your family can do this spring on the island.

Snorkeling Fun

A family snorkeling in the crystal-clear water

One of the best things about vacationing to Anna Maria Island is getting to experience something you’ve never done. If you’ve ever vacationed in the Caribbean, you might have had the opportunity to snorkel, but our crystal-clear water allows you to do it here. Some of the wildlife that you’ll be able to spot while in the water are shells, dolphins, manatees, and even stingrays. If you don’t have your equipment, have no fear as there are a few different tour companies that offer snorkeling tours around the island. Think of the new memories that the whole family will have by getting out in the water and seeing what you can spot in the water.

Bean Point Beach

Another great location that many locals and visitors love to visit is Bean Point Beach. This is one of our best-kept secret spots on the island because you won’t be able to find large signs showing the way. You will go a little north of the Anna Maria City Pier to see this beautiful spot, just past the crossroads. You can get to this location by car or even biking. There is much different wildlife that lives there that you can admire, swim or walk with the family. Don’t forget to stay to see the sunset and grab that picture for Instagram!

Mini Golf with the Family

Teenagers, 14 and 15 years, playing miniature golf

Playing mini-golf together is a tradition for many families who vacation to the beach every year. One of the places where you can head to play a round or two of mini golf is The Fish Hole in Bradenton Beach. If you’re concerned about the heat being too much during the day, don’t worry as they have cooling misters throughout the course. Some of the other things that you’ll be able to do while playing are grabbing a souvenir to take home, grabbing a cool drink, and you can feed the Koi.

There are many other fun things that you can do this spring, but we wanted to share these few with you. Now is the time if you haven’t booked your next trip to Anna Maria Island. We can’t wait to hear what you did this spring on your vacation!

Why Should You #BookDirect with AMI Locals?

Hands holding digital tablet with application booking flight travel search ticket holiday and hotel on website discounted price, concept technology online marketing and promotion.

Are you and your family planning a vacation to Anna Maria Island this year? We need to tell you why you should #bookdirect with us if you are. Many online third-party vacation rental sites can add a 5%-20% additional fee to your reservation. We know that your vacations are significant and may limit how much you can spend each year. AMI Locals wants to make sure that you get the most out of your money when visiting Anna Maria Island. The only way that you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without getting hit with that unexpected fee is by booking direct today!

family sitting in sand building a sandcastle with water in the background and sunny day with little clouds making new memories

What You Need to Know About Booking Direct

On February 2nd, 2022, we celebrate the 5th Annual Book Direct Day, which was created to help educate vacation rental guests on the benefits of booking directly through an owner or Property Management Company vs. using a Third-Party agency such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VBRO & TripAdvisor.

While you may recognize these big-name companies and their gimmicks in helping you save money, you will soon learn that they will charge you a fee for using their website. Who wants to pay extra just to try and save a little money? Some of the expenses that you may incur when you book with an OTA can range from 5%-20% of the total cost of your vacation rental, which in turn can cost you thousands of dollars extra depending on which rental you choose.

Why You Should Book Direct with Us

When you book direct with AMI Locals, you will not only speak with one of our vacation specialists who are local to Anna Maria Island and can give you the best information on the area. We know all the details on each property because we have personally been to them. We can provide you with our recommendations on where to dine, play, shop, and visit businesses in the area. Our office is conveniently on Anna Maria Island, so if any problems arise while you’re on vacation, we’re here to help.

How You Can Book Direct with AMI Locals

You will find that booking directly with us at AMI Locals is easy! We encourage all guests to book their vacations directly through our safe & secure website, www.amilocals.com, or call our office at (941) 757-8226. Rest assured that we will never charge any hidden fees, and we will always provide you with the best available rates on our professionally managed vacation rentals. We don’t want you to have to pay anything extra so that you can use that money to go out to eat, explore the island or make a local day trip. We understand that your money is precious, and we can help you see that your vacation to Anna Maria Island is the best one it can be each year!

Are you ready to plan your vacation today? #BookDirect with AMI Locals today to have the best-planned vacation year after year!

Let’s Learn about Beach Flag Warnings



The beach flag warning system is meant to protect all of us from potentially dangerous situations and elements. 

It’s not only smart but fun to learn about beach safety. We all want to get out in the beautiful beach water as quickly and often as possible, but we also need to stay safe! When you are staying at one our our AMI Locals Beachfront Properties this information can be especially useful, but really it is just great information to know.

Let’s check on the meaning of each flag:  

Green Flag – Low Hazard 

Green Beach Flag - All clear

A green flag means that the threat of danger is low, and you should be safe when heading out into the water. However, the green flag does not mean that we should throw caution to the wind. We still need to exercise safety in the water and watch children and weak swimmers closely. There is never a reason to take chances. Better safe than sorry. 

Yellow Flag – Medium Hazard 

Yellow Beach Flag - Extra Caution

The yellow flag does means that there is a potential for danger, though not life-threatening. We must use extra caution when we see the yellow flag. Ocean conditions could be more rough than usual with moderate surf and/or currents! Anyone swimming or enjoying the water should be extra aware. Again, children and weak swimmers may be more vulnerable when the yellow flag is out. When possible, stay near a lifeguard station or sit out on the beach and enjoy fun on the side until the water calms.  

One Red Flag – High HazardA red flag on a pole on a beach

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HIGH ALERT! One red flag means business! It is a sign of dangerous currents, high surf or both. The red flag is the most serious among the beach warning flags, and everyone is strongly discouraged to enter the water.  

Two Red Flags – Closed to Public 

Double Red Beach Flag - STOP

Two red flags means – STOP – the beach and water are closed to the public because of extremely dangerous conditions. Do not attempt to swim or enter the water when there are two red flags under any circumstances!  

Purple Flag – Dangerous Marine Life 

Purple Beach Flag - Dangerous Marine Life

The purple flag indicates that there is dangerous marine life out on the water or beach. This could mean stingrays, jellyfish, sea snakes, or other marine life. Anything except sharks – If a shark is in the water, then a red flag or double red flag will be hoisted. Not taking any chances with those guys!  

Red over Yellow FlagA flag on a pole

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Lifeguard on duty! The is a welcome flag. The red over yellow flag does not mean something is inherently dangerous. It is saying, hey you are in good hands. The red over yellow flag signifies a recommended swimming area that has lifeguard supervision. 

If available at your beach, we always recommend swimming within red over yellow flag areas. 

Black and White or quarted FlagA flag on a beach

Description automatically generated 

The black and white or Quartered Flag sometimes used in pairs and spaced apart, indicate a designated area or zone along a beach or waterfront that is being used by those with surfboards and other non-powered watercraft. They are just to make sure beach goers are aware of this and stay safe from the hazard of collision with any type of watercraft. 

The Black Ball FlagA yellow tent on a beach

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Opposite of the black and white, quarted flag the black ball flag prohibits the use of Surfboards and other non-powered watercraft where this flag flies.  

There are multiple national and regional variations, but the majority of signs are universal. Jump in and enjoy – but as always, be cautious!  

Rip Tides – Currents  

Waves crashing on a beach

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Rip tides and currents can catch you off guard, sweep you out into deep waters very quickly and cause you to lose control. Rip tides can be very powerful especially when there is larger surf, and even if you are a very strong swimmer there is still a possibility you can be pulled out by these harsh currents. Areas near Bays, river mouths, estuaries or piers are usually the most dangerous areas for rip tides and currents to arise.  

If you do get caught in a rip current, the RNLI advice is to: 

– Stay calm, and try not to panic 

– If you are able to stand, wade rather than swim 

– If you have a board, keep hold of it as it will help you float 

– Raise your hand and shout for help 

– Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip, then make your way to shore. 

Everyone should learn how to stay safe in the surf, sand, and sun. The beach and the ocean hide many hazards. Make sure to be aware of these visual signs that can be spotted on your favorite beaches.  

Now that you know the drill, get out there and enjoy our island!

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!

This Weekend is the De Soto Parade



A big event is returning to the Bradenton-Anna Maria Island area! After being cancelled last year due to COVID, the De Soto Parade is making a much-anticipated 2021 comeback on Saturday, April 24th.

As a heads up to our Anna Maria Island visitors who will be arriving to check in this day – traffic will be more tricky than usual! Manatee Avenue will be CLOSED late afternoon (4pm-ish) for a large section headed west toward the island, so you will need to use an alternative route if you are driving during this time.

Map of alternative route to AMI

This map outlines a little work-around! If you are coming from the highway or from US 41 and going out Manatee Avenue, instead try this:

From Manatee Avenue headed WEST, turn LEFT onto Tamiami Trail US 41.
Continue SOUTH until 44th Ave W, and turn RIGHT
Continue heading WEST until 59th Ave, then turn RIGHT
Go NORTH until you come again to Manatee Avenue, where you will turn LEFT
Then continue WEST and you will arrive on Anna Maria Island!

We hope this helps! Just pack a little extra patience, and build in the time to go around the parade route. Or, stop and enjoy the parade with the locals!! If you have any questions, please text our awesome AMI Locals Guest Services team at 941-226-8442

*IF YOU GO to the De Soto Parade

Details: 7 p.m. April 24. Free to attend.

Route: Parade begins at Manatee High School, travels west on Ninth Avenue West, north on 39th Street West and then east on Manatee Avenue West, ending at Ninth Street West.

Info: desotohq.com/parade.

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!

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!

Anna Maria Island City Pier is Now Open



Are you and your family visiting Anna Maria Island soon and looking for something to do. The good news is that the Anna Maria Island City Pier has officially opened for you to enjoy. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will keep you and your family close to the fun. Let’s look below at a little more information on the Anna Maria Island City Pier.

History of the Pier

The Anna Maria Island City Pier first opened for business in the early 1900s to provide a dock for big and small ships. This is where many imports and exports for fish for the area were a staple, and this was the perfect pier for just that. However, the dock has faced many different hurricanes and storms that would pose a port problem. In 2017 Hurricane Irma came through and caused some significant damages. It was evident that the pier would have to be repaired, and instead decided to replace it.

The New Pier is Open

Since the old pier was damaged more than most thought, it was time to build a new pier.  Instead of making the pier with planks, they reconstructed it using metal instead. This, in turn, is good that it should be able to withstand hurricanes. While the new pier was supposed to open up to the public back in March, it was delayed due to COVID-19. The pier is now officially open for all those to come and enjoy it. Go check it out on your next trip to Anna Maria Island with the family!

The Anna Maria Island City Pier has been around for more than 100 years, and we hope that it will be around at least 100 more. If you haven’t booked your next vacation to stay with us in an Anna Maria Island vacation rental, now is the time. We hope to see you and your family as you explore the new city pier too!