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

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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!


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.


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!

Best Florida beaches to visit for Labor Day weekend

Where are the Best Florida beaches to visit for Labor Day weekend? Thinking of a little getaway for the long weekend? One of the safest way to travel in this Covid time is a road trip to a private beach house!

The best beaches in Florida await you on Anna Maria Island for Labor Day weekend. Less crowded than Miami, Clearwater, and St. Pete, and with tons more charm and small town feel. There are also 7 miles of pristine white powder soft sand and crystal clear turquiose water for you to explore.

Why not stay within walking distance to the beach, in a private luxury beach house? AMI Locals offers only the best vacation rental homes in the best locations on the best island in Florida!

Surfer's Dream - Vacation Rental Anna Maria Island FL

For a family and friends staycation, you should check out Surfer’s Dream! 4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms plus a bonus loft area that the kiddos will go crazy over! Pillow forts and late-night ghost stories for the win! Which also means the adults can enjoy happy hour in the large, open plan kitchen in peace and quiet.

AMI Locals has vacation rental homes of all different shapes and sizes, to accommodate any group! We hope to see your smiling faces (underneath your masks) soon!

Call our reservations specialists today at 941-757-8226 and let us help book you into your dream vacation – all safe and socially distanced as you choose to be.

Coming Back to Island Time – An AMI Update

Do you have a family vacation planned to visit Anna Maria Island this summer but aren’t sure of the current updates? We at AMI Locals have got you covered as we, too, want to make sure that your family is safe on your vacation. Staying in one of our AMI vacation rentals will allow you and your family to stay together and still have a good trip. Let’s look below at a few updates that we have compiled together on how you can still enjoy your summer vacation this year.

Is Anna Maria Island Open for Business?

Yes, Anna Maria Island is open for business, and we at AMI Locals are ready for you and your family to come vacation with us. There are, however, some things that we must tell you about before you schedule your next trip or before you head to the island to relax.

  • Right now, the parking on the streets in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria Island has been restricted with time limits. There are, however, Public Beach Parking lots that are open with no time restrictions for you to use.  
  • Social Distancing on the beach is strongly encouraged, but it is not being enforced. This also goes for being out in public in general with the family.
  • Restaurants and Businesses are operating at a lower capacity and will be following all recommended safety measures to keep the guests safe.
  • Visitors from “hotspot” states that have been defined by our Governor are being discouraged from coming to AMI and will not be allowed to check in to vacation rentals.

What Changes in Cleaning Have You Made?


Since we first heard about the outbreak of COVID-19, we have made some changes to our housekeeping services. We know that making sure each vacation rental has been thoroughly cleaned before and after each guest checks out. Our cleaning staff wears masks and gloves at all times, and we make sure they utilize a disinfecting spray. This spray has been approved by the CDC to kill viruses and bacteria as well. Our Professional Linen Service ensures that all linens, towels, washcloths, and kitchen towels are removed after each guest and are replaced with freshly laundered ones. Our cleaning company uses the OZONE system, which provides 100% sanitation.

Enjoy Some Local Virtual Fun from the Comforts of Your Home

Coming Back to Island Time – An AMI Update

While you wait for your upcoming vacation, get in the mood by having a little virtual fun from some local places. We have compiled a list that you and your family can enjoy from the comforts of your home.

While other things are going around in the area, we wanted to keep you and your family up to date on what is happening here on the island. If you haven’t booked your next vacation today to stay with us at AMI Locals, now is the time. We can’t wait to see you and your family as you make new memories this summer by relaxing and enjoying the beach!

The Best 3 Places to Go Fishing on Anna Maria Island

The Best 3 Places to Go Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Do you and your family love to fish when you go on vacation? If you do, then we need to tell you all about the three best places where you can go fishing on Anna Maria Island. Staying in one of our Water Access vacation homes will keep you and the family close to the fish and water. Let’s look below at where you can head to on the island to get in some great fishing.

Rod & Reel Pier

The Best 3 Places to Go Fishing on Anna Maria Island

One of the best-hidden treasures on Anna Maria Island is the Rod & Reel Pier located on the North End of the island. Not only can you fish off the pier, but you can also try their restaurant that is pretty famous for the area. Spend a day or two at the dock and soak up the sun and fun as you fish off this historic pier as a family for only a small fee. Plus, you will be able to grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner there if you choose not to cook for the day. Be sure to check out the Rod & Reel Pier on your next vacation to Anna Maria Island this summer!

Bay to Bay Fishing Charters

If you’re looking for a one of a kind experiences, then look no further for your fishing adventures. Bay to Bay Fishing Charters is an excellent charter to do some different charters. One of the unique fishing experiences that they offer is their Extreme Night Shark Charters! They also have other skills such as Inshore & Near Shore Charters, Tarpon Charters, and even some relaxing excursions around the bay. The least amount of time for fishing they offer is 4 hours, and they go up to a full day, which is 8 hours. If you’d like to do the night fishing, it will be for 4-5 hours. No matter what you are looking to do, Bay to Bay Fishing Charters with Captain Brian Peacock is just for you!

Anna Maria Island City Pier

The Best 3 Places to Go Fishing on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island City Pier has to be one of the most historical places to fish at on the island. It is being rebuilt from being damaged during Hurricane Irma and was supposed to open in March. Since the lockdown, we are hoping they will be open by this summer. You will have to have a Florida State License to fish off the pier but have no worries as you can get it there. We promise that your family will not want to leave the fishing pier at the end of the day, but it only means you can go back the rest of the week to fish.

While there are many other fun places around Anna Maria Island to go fishing, we wanted to share these with you. If you haven’t booked your summer vacation to stay with us in one of our Water Access vacation homes, now is the time. We hope to see you and your family as you travel after this quarantine is over!