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Long before Hernando Desoto threw down his sword into the white sands north of what today is called Anna Maria Island (aka Anna Maria Key) in 1539 -- this barrier island was the pantry of local Timucan and Caloosan native tribes. Both indigenous peoples hunted and fished from this island's shores. Back then of course, you arrived by boat or canoe as there was no bridge to this island, like there is today. Back then you caught or harvested your own food. No longer the case thank goodness.
WHERE TO DINE
Well, first and foremost with any trip to any beach, is knowing ahead of time, where to find the essentials of any dream vacation or day at the beach. Aside from your accommodations, the single most important thing on everyone’s is mind -- where are we going to dine on this seven mile long island and what are we going to eat? Here are a few of the many great places to eat while there:
Dream Travel Today’s Top 6 Picks for Where to Dine on Anna Maria Island
Beach House Restaurant -- 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island - waterfront with climate controlled outdoor deck -- Highlights: Towers & Castles, crab cakes, Cornish hens, bourbon salmon, and even a free-range chicken sandwich.
Donut House Expresso & More -- 3211 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, Anna Maria Island - Highlights: Conutes, coffee, espresso, latte, frappe, teas, Vietnamese spring rolls, banh, and so much more!
Gulf Drive Cafe -- 900 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton, Anna Maria Island - waterfront with entertainment -- Eco-friendly -- Highlights: Grouper, Maryland Crab Cake, Faroe Island Salmon, pastas, chicken, and so much more!
Oma's Pizza and Italian Restaurant -- 201 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island - Highlights: If you love pizza and Italian food this is the place! Hand-tossed and thick Sicilian and made to order pizzas along with a wide varieties of dining selections.
Sandbar Restaurant -- 100 Spring Avenue, Anna Maria Island - Highlights: Fresh seafood, pickled shrimp, crab and green fried tomatoes, squash blossoms, seafood tacos, steak burgers, po’boys, hoagies, oyster on the half-shell handcrafted cocktails, and spectacular sunsets. (My personal favorites -- Seafood Tower or Castle and Stone Crab (when in season).
Seafood Shack Marina Bar & Grill -- 4110 127th Street W, Cortez, Anna Maria Island -- Access by sea and by land marina restaurant with outdoor waterfront patio -- Highlights: Fish tacos to die for! S.S. Margaritas, The Shack Rum Punch, and Shack Snack onion rings with whale sauce.
WHAT TO DO - 5 ANNA MARIA ISLAND BEACHES & 4 PIERS
Enjoy the four "S's" on Anna Maria Beach -- "Secluded" -- "Serene" -- "Stunning" -- ending in a perfect beach day well done --"Siesta" time.
Bicycle Trails, Birding, Hiking, Playground, Scenic Highway/Byway, Snorkeling, Swimming, Water Recreation.
Great Old Florida beach for kids and wheel chair accessible entrance. It still has some tall non-native Australian trees, lots of native grasses on small dunes, and it's just an overall laid-back lazy day beach. Perfect for beach picnics and playing in the sand.
Grab the kids and "get your pancakes on at Manatee Beach's Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe before you hit the sand and water. Don't forget your snorkeling gear or volleyball either.
Talk about a sunset photo op setting! Look no further than Bean Point on Anna Maria Island Beach! Also the perfect place to stroll on what many claim as being the softest beaches ever!
Four quaint top piers on the island --Anna Maria City Pier, Bradenton Beach City Pier, Bridge Street Pier, and Rod Reel Pier -- Safe places to fish, great views, shaded benches. and manatees -- all things you can find exploring these beach piers.
As much as locals and visitors love Anna Maria Island, it would be irresponsible to not point out to its many visitors - a staggering 3.1 million of you a year coming just to the Anna Maria Island area - that there are a few important water safety warnings we'd like to pass on:
Dream Travel Today wants all our Gulf Coast visitors, especially children, to stay "water safe" when visiting Anna Maria Island. Rip currents are a real danger even for those who are simply wading in knee water. One poignant reminder of this was the case of 14 year old Dushay Nelson, who lost his life after being swept into deep rip current Gulf water when he originally was only in knee deep water.
Keep your dream vacation or day trip to beautiful Anna Maria Island "water safe" by educating yourself and your loved ones about rip currents before you go!
Check out this great video from Surf Life Saving Australia that will help you understand all you need to know about knowing how to spot a rip current. Please visit Anna Maria Island buy also check out our link above for tips to survive rip currents from Tips2SurviveRips.com