Anna Maria Island is one of our absolute favorite places to visit as a family. This island is most famous for its beautiful beaches, one of a kind restaurants, and amazing boutique shopping. The reason we love AMI so much is that we feel like we are on our own private island and the atmosphere is so laid back and charming. There is plenty to see and do within the small island, but our favorite activity is to chill in the sand and enjoy each other’s company. Whether you choose to relax at the beach or head into town, I’m going to share some of the things that are a must when you are visiting Anna Maria Island for your next family travel destination.
The Rod and Reel is a private resort located in the heart of Anna Maria near the historic Rod and Reel Pier. The views of the Gulf are unmatched and the property offers intimate exclusivity. Guests have a choice of 8, 1, and 2 bedroom suites, that are finished and decorated beautifully. The resort offers all-inclusive and complimentary amenities that will make your family vacation luxurious and special. From the resort, you have access to one of the best beaches on the island, as well as access to the must-see Bean Point. When you are planning your next family vacation to Anna Maria Island you must consider the Rod and Reel Resort, you will not be disappointed.
This property blew us away! The Blue Horizon is a Gulf-front, 9 bedroom luxury home right in the sand. It offers 2 separate buildings that sleeps a total of 21 guests with plenty of room to enjoy all the great space. There’s a beautiful and spacious heated pool with a hot tub that seats 10 and a deck area that is perfect for family gatherings. There is also plenty of space on the beach side of the property, where you can play volleyball, sunbathe, or just dig in the sand. This place has everything you need for the perfect beach getaway. Take my tour below.
It’s true, the beaches are like no other in the world. With seven miles of pristine white sand and the gorgeous turquoise Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop, the scene is something out of the movies. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but they are also often much less crowded on most of the island, which makes it perfect for families to relax and play together.
Now for my favorite part of the island, the shopping! Pine Avenue has some of the most adorable boutique shops on the island. There is a little something for everyone in the family. From one of a kind collectibles to candy and ice cream, you can spend an entire day wandering and exploring. If you want to jump on and off the Free Trolley while doing so, it runs about every 30 minutes from one end to the other.
This is one of my absolute favorite boutique shops on the island. We stopped in to let the girls paint their own sand dollars, which was such a fun activity with a beautiful souvenir. Once inside, we were swept away by the whimsical decor and unique items. I found some really special gifts for the girls that i can’t find anywhere else. The owners are such wonderful people and they were so kind to my family on our visit. We will be visiting Shiny Fish every trip to Anna Maria Island going forward.
Anna Maria City Pier
The Anna Maria Pier was built in the early 1900s and is located at the North end of Pine Avenue. It’s 700 feet of amazing views including the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa Bay, and of course the Gulf of Mexico. There’s lots of great year-round fishing, bird watching, and perfect spots to sit and enjoy the marine life. Be sure to take the time to stroll this newly renovated pier when you visit Anna Maria.
Rod and Reel Pier
Located on the Northeast side of the island, this pier is much smaller than the city pier but has a rustic feel all of its own. With its unfinished wood and hand-painted signs, there’s something special about this gem of a pier. It’s a great place to visit for watching boats pass by and the Rod and Reel Pier Restaurant at the end is a local favorite, offering seafood and even breakfast.
We visit the Donut Experiment every time we are on the island. This place is so much fun. They have the best donuts with a huge selection of delicious toppings. Be sure to try the iced coffee, it’s what they are known for!
Absolutely love the outdoor seating with a view and the healthy options they have. They offer Açaí bowls, avocado toast, smoothies, coffee, and more. The owners and staff are very friendly and make you feel like a local. Open from 7:30am -3pm.
This café is on your way on and off the island in downtown Bradenton, but it’s too good not to share. Many breakfasts are served on skillets and they are mouthwatering. The kids will love the C.C. pancakes, which come with a special surprise. Be sure to stop in.
If you are looking for amazing seafood with tables on the sand then you need to plan a meal here! Everything we ordered was excellent and we found ourselves fighting over the sides. Be sure to order the Brussels sprouts. The best thing I’ve ever had!!!
If you have a favorite Anna Maria Island food spot please me know in the comments so I can create an ultimate guide.
Weather in Anna Maria Island
It is sunny in Florida all year round but the best time to visit Anna Maria Island is from March to May. The weather is moderately hot and there are so many outdoor activities going on. If you are looking for cooler temps our winters aren’t as hot and still perfect for beach days. January to February can be some of the coldest months and we have been known to have days in the 50’s and 60’s, so if you are planning time to visit beautiful Anna Maria Island just keep that in mind.
Thank You to Visit Bradenton, we had one of our favorite trips to date to Anna Maria Island. Thank you so much to Visit Bradenton for hosting us on this vacation. From the awesome family-friendly amenities to the laid-back lifestyle of the locals, we will be sure to come back again very soon. Anna Maria Island is a must-visit for your next family vacation!
Want an insider look into what it’s really like to vacation in Anna Maria? Head over to my Instagram to watch us enjoy our time there.
Have you been to Anna Maria Island? What was your experience like? What are some of your favorite things to do in AMI with kids? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Want to read more about our family travels. CLICK HERE
Diana Blinkhorn is a professional content creator, social media strategist, and owner of TheGrayRuby.com. Her site caters to the everyday mother, sharing the real and raw side of motherhood. She loves to write about trave,l with a focus on cruising and Disney, and sharing her everyday life raising 3 young girls. With over 6 years of experience in social media marketing, Diana has built a business in this ever-evolving industry. She has been featured in publications such as Tampa Bay Parenting, HGTV.com, and HuffPost Parents.
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