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.

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!

We can’t wait to travel again!

What to Pack for Your Vacation to Anna Maria Island

Things we can’t wait to do when it’s ok to travel again…

We don’t know about you, but the time spent at home with our loved ones has been wonderful… but… we can’t wait to travel again! The beaches of Anna Maria Island especially are calling our name. So, here are the things we most look forward to visiting in the near future!

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals

We can’t wait to…

  1. Spend a beach day in the warm Florida sunshine at Manatee Public Beach, beginning with all-you-can-eat pancakes at AMI Beach Cafe!
  2. Stroll down Pine Avenue and shop in person instead of just Amazon shopping online. We are great at spending money either way (whoops!) but we love the warm ambiance of the city and saying hello to the local shopkeepers.
  3. Enjoy a Sazerac with our friends at The Doctor’s Office. It’s not often you find the perfect cocktail, but this one is pretty darn close.
  4. Play a round of miniature golf at The Fish Hole on Bridge Street. And then walk over and check out the new Daiquiri Deck.
  5. Get our hair cut at Acqua Aveda!!! And also our nails, massages, facials…
  6. Just sit on the beach at Bean Point.
  7. Wave at the adorable manatees and grab a beer at Rod ‘n Reel Pier!
  8. Hike the mangrove trails of Leffis Key Preserve.
  9. Sit on the patio at Wicked Cantina and watch the sunset with a big group of pals, chips & salsa, and a margarita. Yum.
  10. Get out on the water with Egmont Key Adventures. Sunset cruises, Dolphin watching, maybe even go fishing!
Anna Maria Island Florida Vacations

We can’t wait to do all of these things, and to welcome new visitors back to our beautiful Anna Maria Island.

So please stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and we hope to see you all soon on the beach! When you’re looking to book your summer vacation, give AMI Locals a call!

MLB Spring Training and an AMI Beach Vacation



So if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait for the day that baseball players report for MLB Spring Training. Finally, we can enjoy the sunshine, hot dogs and cold beer, and BASEBALL! And Florida is lucky enough to host the Grapefruit League, so there are plenty of teams and stadiums within a very short road trip of Anna Maria Island. Then why not enjoy a relaxing Anna Maria Beach Vacation along with an MLB Spring Training game? Let AMI Locals show you how.

National Anthem before an Orioles Spring Training Game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

Play ball! Spring Training begins in February.

Beginning in February, there are many Major League Baseball teams that come to Florida to play baseball in the mild Winter and warm Spring days that we enjoy here; such as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees. We here at AMI Locals are ready to be your guide to planning a grand slam vacation!

First, take a look at the Grapefruit League Spring Training schedule and available tickets. Second, find your favorite MLB team and choose a game (or several!) that you’d like to attend. With this in mind, get your cheering section together and book one of our fabulous AMI Locals luxury vacation rental homes for your adventure. After all, we have a wide variety of homes available for any size group. Such as Just Beachy with 6 bedrooms, or Island Life with 3 bedrooms, all the way up to our 9 bedroom beauty Island Sol! When you are combining a beach vacation with a Spring Training game in the same trip, it’s bound to be a home run of fun!

Our view from the bleacher seats at LECOM park in Bradenton.

Nearby Bradenton and Sarasota MLB Spring Training Stadiums

For example, Anna Maria Island is within a very short distance of two Spring Training fields. The Pittsburgh Pirates play at nearby LECOM Park in downtown Bradenton, an easy 20-minute drive from AMI. So be sure to head out for the game early and stop by one of our favorite breweries!
Additionally, The Baltimore Orioles’ Spring Training home is at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. So it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon there! Afterwards, why not explore downtown Sarasota’s Main Street for shopping and happy hour while you are in the neighborhood?

  • LECOM Park – 1611 9th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
  • Ed Smith Stadium – 2700 12th St, Sarasota, FL 34237

Tampa area MLB Spring Training Stadiums to visit

Then, about an hour away, you have the Bronx Bombers, The New York Yankees spending their Spring Training time at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Also, The Philadelphia Phillies play at Spectrum Field in Clearwater,  The Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, and The Detroit Tigers at Publix Field in Lakeland.

  • Steinbrenner Field – 1 Steinbrenner Dr, Tampa, FL 33614
  • Spectrum Field – 601 N Old Coachman Rd, Clearwater, FL 33765
  • Dunedin Stadium – 373 Douglas Ave, Dunedin, FL 34698
  • Publix Field – 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33805
Representin’ the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and the NY Yankees at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Baseball and friends – what a great way to spend a day!

Teams worth traveling a little further to see – The BoSox and beyond

Next up on the tour, the Tampa Bay Rays play at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, about an hour and 15 minutes away. Our hometown Rays are always fun to watch!

  • Charlotte Sports Park – 2300 El Jobean Rd, Port Charlotte, FL 33948

Then, you’ll hear Sweet Caroline playing when the Boston Red Sox win at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, and the Minnesota Twins also take the field at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, about a 2 hour drive south of Anna Maria Island.

  • JetBlue Park – 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33913
  • Hammond Stadium – 14100 6 Mile Cypress Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33912

Visit Orlando to see ATL

Finally, the Atlanta Braves play at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, just outside of Orlando, about 2 ½ – 3 hours from Anna Maria Island.

  • Champion Stadium – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, 700 S Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL 34747
Watching the Orioles play at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Night games are also a great way to enjoy your beach days and then an MLB Spring Training game!

Directions and destinations from Anna Maria Island to MLB Spring Training stadiums

To get from Anna Maria Island to these ballparks, you’ll first cross the Manatee Avenue Bridge. Then you will continue eastward on Manatee Avenue – and now you need to choose your destination: Bradenton/Sarasota, Tampa area, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, or the Orlando area.
Before you leave the Island, search by the chosen ballpark’s address that we have provided above. Our favorite is Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions and time estimates.

So, whatcha waiting for? Pack your bathing suits and baseball gloves, buy your tickets, and call your AMI Locals to book your vacation rental home. Since the peanuts and Cracker Jack will be at the stadium, there’s no need to bring that from home! Batter up!

NCAA Bowl Games & An Anna Maria Beach Vacation



NCAA Bowl Games & An Anna Maria Beach Vacation

NCAA Football Bowl time is upon us! It’s time to pencil in a luxury beach vacation to Anna Maria Island on your bracket. In December and January, Florida hosts eight NCAA Bowl Games.  Four of those are within driving distance from the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria, Florida.

bowl games are fun

NCAA Bowl Games in Florida

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

The Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl starts at 8:00 pm on December 20th in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium. The local South Florida Bulls will take on the Marshall Thundering Herd. The Fan Invasion starts at 4:30 pm outside the stadium so be sure to arrive early.

Camping World Bowl

Next up, the Camping World Bowl will be played in Orlando on December 28th, and the match-up between the Syracuse Orangemen and the West Virginia Mountaineers is sure to be a good one! Kick-off starts at 5:15 pm.  FanFest will begin at 1:15 pm on Tinker Field next to the Stadium for this NCAA Bowl Game. Admission is FREE with lots of fun activities for everyone in your group.

Outback Bowl

On New Year’s Day, the Outback Bowl kicks off in Tampa at noon and has the Iowa Hawkeyes playing vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It’s held at Raymond James Stadium and there’s no shortage of excitement leading up to the game. The Pregame Bowl Bash starts at 9:00 am with live music and a Pep Rally outside the stadium, and food and refreshments will also be available.

Citrus Bowl

Finally, the VRBO Citrus Bowl starts at 1:00 pm in Orlando on January 1st, 2019.  The Penn State Nittany Lions will take on the Kentucky Wildcats at Camping World Stadium. FanFest begins at 9:00 am on Tinker Field next to the Stadium. Admission is FREE featuring interactive games, face painting, and food and beverages available for purchase from local vendors.

 

Where to Stay

With Anna Maria just a short drive away, why not enjoy a relaxing week at the beach before or after the big game? Traveling with all of your family and friends? Atlantis Beach House has plenty of room and a waterslide! Or, Nautical Tides features a fantastic rooftop deck overlooking the Bradenton Beach Marina. While Blue Pearl has a lush and tropical backyard oasis to escape to after a long day of adventures. So, plan on a day in Tampa, Orlando, or St. Petersburg for the big game, and then spend the rest of your time on the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico beaches!

What’s Your Next Move?

Well, grab your playbook, call an audible to an agent, and get yourself booked into one of our available vacation rental homes! There’s not much more for you to do once you touchdown in Anna Maria Island, but relax!

2017 Outback Bowl Fans

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

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!