If you have never been to Anna Maria Island before, you may not realize that it’s like Florida’s secret time capsule. Many visitors who come to Anna Maria Island for the first time will often ask “Where are all the High-Rises?” Being only an hour south of Tampa on the west coast of Florida, you will find one of the best beaches on the gulf coast. And if you happen to be staying in one of our Gulf View vacation rentals, then you will understand why this beach is the best.
Unlike many of the other larger cities and really most of Florida, where you can see high-rises as far as the eye can see, you won’t find that on Anna Maria Island. There is only 1 building that happens to be taller than 3 stories on the entire island which is a condo complex that was built in the 1970’s. How can this even be like a normal beach town? It’s easy, it doesn’t have those big hotels but instead has amazing vacation rentals that you get to stay in every-time you visit.
On Island Time
The speed limit on the main road which happens to be a two-lane “highway” that runs the entire length of the island is a nice speed of 35 mph. While this may seem like there is no way that you can find a time capsule of a town or beach that has all of the qualities that it has, it makes you glad that they take life one day at a time. Their motto is ones you’re on the island you are on island time and many visitors like that feeling.
While you may think that visiting the island during the fall and winter months may be unreal, think again. Anna Maria Island has casual surroundings and have a climate that is temperate which is why many consider it a year-round destination. During the winter and early spring months, you may find more people trying to come visit who live in the colder states. During the summer months you find that families will occupy the area and will spend as many hours at the beach soaking up the rays. And even Coastal Living magazine has recently named Anna Maria Island among some of the nation’s “10 Best Little Beach Towns to Visit in the Fall”. What an honor that our area has received, and we take pride on it.
Modes of Transportation
While many younger people would consider the only way to get around the island is by car, many others enjoy other modes of transportation. We mean, you are on island time so why not enjoy the scenery instead by getting around via walking, bike riding and even golf cart rentals. But please note that you must have a valid driver’s license to be able to rent a golf cart on the island. Hitch a ride on the Monkey Bus as you explore our beautiful scenery. No matter what your mode of transportation may be, you will enjoy your time while on the island with your friends and family.
These are just a few reasons that you may realize that Anna Maria Island may feel like it’s Florida’s secret time capsule, but the time spent on the island for your family vacation will feel the best. Sometimes going to a different beach and noticing the hustle and bustle there will allow you to want to vacation with us at AMI Locals. We can tell you that being on island time is always fun for everyone as you will want to vacation here year after year. We hope that we can see you and your family for your next vacation to 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.
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?
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.