Anna Maria Island is known for its beautiful beach coastline along Florida’s Gulf coast.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
A girl’s weekend is good for the soul. Sometimes there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with longtime friends, laughter, good food and of course, the beach! And Anna Maria Island is an ideal place to get away from it all. It’s a piece of paradise where you can enjoy hanging out in your flip flops, dining out on local seafood, seeing the perfect Florida sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and to watch the dolphins play. It’s been a while since I’ve written a travel post about Florida, so I thought I would share some highlights of out weekend.
Anna Maria Island Restaurants
As most of you know, I am all about the food and getting new inspiration! Thank you to all of you who commented and gave me ideas on where to go, I could have stayed a whole month and still not gotten to all your recommendations!!! We definitely found some gems—on Saturday we went to the Sand Bar for lunch—-what an awesome place!!! Right on the beach (which was beautiful), great service and stone crab appetizers that were fabulous!! Do plan to wait for a table if it is a weekend- but grab a drink and watch the waves- you will not be disappointed!
Another favorite was The Chateau, which we went to for dinner one night, and is located at the Waterline Villas and Marina. The ambient was great, our food here was very good too, with a mussel’s appetizer and mushroom ravioli entrée being one of our favorites.
Do not let the appearance of The Ugly Grouper fool you—this was by far one of our BEST finds!! Fun atmosphere, great service, and some of the best fish tacos ever!!!! If you are in the area you should really check them out- we ordered the Island Grouper Kabobs, Avocado Caprese salad and Grouper tacos with the cheese fan shells- these shells make the meal as does their mango sauce! Everything we ordered was delicious!!
How to get there
Flying in from New York and Tennessee, we met up with our Florida friends on beautiful Anna Maria Island. The closest airports to fly in for your Anna Maria Island stay are Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). Once we landed, we drove to the island which is accessible by car. While we did not use it since we had our own vehicle, there is also a free trolley on the island to make travel (and parking) easier. The closest major city is Sarasota, which you can reach in about 40 minutes by car.
Where we stayed
Anna Maria Island is quaint, with lots of cute hotels and rentals along the island. You won’t find high rise condos and fast food restaurants in this quaint town. We rented an Airbnb right across the street from the beach which was close to all.
What to do in Anna Maria Island
In between eating we were able to check out different beaches, the Anna Maria City Pier (where you can see manatee and dolphins) and check out some cute shops. We were lucky and had beautiful weather, sunset on the beach was of course mandatory and did not disappoint!
I highly recommend the sunset cruise we booked it through Anna Maria Island Dolphin Tours, it was reasonable priced, pontoon boat (no bad seats!) and we had great captain- Tristan! Even though this was a sunset cruise we still saw quite a few dolphins. The history lesson on the area dolphins, music, and boat-wide sing a longs made this cruise a highlight of our trip.
So, while our trip was too short (always is!), it was a wonderful weekend in a beautiful area! I am always grateful for time spent with my family and friends, making new memories, and enjoying every second together. If the pandemic has taught me anything it is that life is short and tomorrow is not promised. Enjoy today, surround yourself with loved ones and laugh- there is nothing better! Hope to see you again Anna Maria Island- thanks for the memories!