Anna Maria Island is one of the places that offers a dream-like setting.
With its white sands and turquoise waters, it almost feels as though you’re not even in the country anymore, and you’re on a Caribbean island!
As a result of this, it’s the place to go if you’re hoping for a rejuvenating, tranquil and calming getaway that allows you to take a moment to de-stress and recharge.
Of course though, Anna Maria Island has lots of different beaches, so it can be a little tricky to know which ones are the best to head to and what you should know before you go.
Luckily though, we’ve done all the hard work for you.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 8 beaches on Anna Maria Island in Florida (Also check out the Best Beach Towns in Florida) and hopefully we can answer all of your top questions that you might need to know.
So, if you’re ready to learn a lot more about these beaches – then read on and find out the answers to all of your questions!
1. Cortez Beach
One of the best beaches to head to when you’re on Anna Maria Island is Cortez Beach.
It’s a 140 foot stretch of beautiful sands just south of the famous Bridge Street area and has one of the most recognizable sights to see.
There’s a set of three very long, concrete piers that head right into the ocean which gives you the chance to take a look at the waters in a much more unique way than you might normally do.
Despite being one of the best beaches to go to, it’s actually not one of the most frequented by others.
While this would sometimes raise a few red flags, it makes it a very good option for those of you who are hoping for a much more quiet and less crowded option.
There are some important things that you need to consider though.
After 4pm, the on-duty lifeguards finish their shifts, so if you’re going to stay longer than this, you need to be extremely careful when it comes to potential riptides.
However, if you’re there before this, you can take part in some super fun activities like snorkeling, surfing and shelling – all of which are perfect in this area and a great way to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind.
Second on our list of top beaches in this area, we head as far south as you can on the island.
It’s a very uniquely shaped beach, with its long and skinny stretch of glorious white sands that head out towards another peninsula.
Due to its beautiful sandy beach, unique landscape and picturesque Australian pine trees, the beach gets quite crowded because it’s one of the most popular beaches in this area.
As you can imagine though, this means that safety is paramount.
As a result of this, there are many lifeguards and other staff members that keep a watchful eye over people in the area from multiple towers.
However, it’s not just safety staff that are around the beach.
You’ll also find plenty of vendors looking to sell their goods and of course, many beach-goers!
You can take part and enjoy a portable barbeque, play on game tables, play volleyball, soccer or simply play in the sand!
If you’re looking to wind down from all of this excitement though, you can enjoy a relaxing and cleansing shower and get into more comfortable clothes so you can head to Leffis Key – a beautiful nature reserve open until 9pm.
Or maybe you’re hoping for a little shopping therapy – no problem.
Coquina Beach has lots of vendors at a flea market that sells anything you can think of from fashion to food.
Going from the most southern point to the most northern point of the island now, Bean Point Beach is a vast and wide area that is pretty much the polar opposite of our previous addition to the list.
If you’re not a fan of crowds and want to be more alone or just with your family or friends, then this is the area to head to.
The sounds of the waves and the ocean air is something that cannot be matched when it comes to finding something to calm you down.
The beach was named after its first ever resident back in the late nineteenth century, Mr George Bean, and bizarrely, much as it was in 1892, there are no other staff members or safety measures in place – so you have to be careful around here.
Therefore, it’s advisable not to go swimming if the waters are very active. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do though.
You can sit and enjoy the views of Tampa Bay across the waters, or maybe you want to go bird watching!
If you’re not a big fan of birds, no need to worry.
You can look out to the waters and see some of the marine life that calls this area their home, like dolphins, sea turtles and even sharks.
Getting here and the general plan can get a little tricky though.
There’s no designated parking lot so you will likely need to use the street parking option and head here from Gladiolus Street or North Shore Drive.
If you’d describe yourself as a “foodie” then this is the beach that you absolutely must go to.
Even right off the bat, you can head to Anna Maria Island Cafe, which offers an all you can eat option for pancakes.
After you’ve had a day working off the food you’ve gorged on, it’s time to refill (obviously!), so you’ll set your sights on Skinny’s bar and restaurant for a super juicy and amazing hamburger, right before you go to Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar to wash it down with a cocktail!
With all of these options, you may even decide to do it yourself and utilize one of the many public grills and enjoy your own food on the picnic tables.
Of course though, you’ll want to know how you’re going to burn off all of these calories while you’re there, right? Luckily – there’s lots to do.
Manatee Beach has so many options like volleyball courts, paddleboarding, cycling, soccer, football and the list goes on.
When all is said and done, there’s live music in the evening – so you’ll want to take advantage of the nearby showers and toilets to get your gladrags on and wash off all of the sand you’ve got covered with in the day!
5. Holmes Beach
Holmes Beach is named after the property developer who actually built the first ever community here, and nowadays it’s known for being one of the most quiet and tranquil beaches on Anna Maria Island.
It’s situated in between Manatee Beach And Bradenton Beach and has a lot of private homes and condos around.
As you can imagine, this beach is not somewhere to go if you’re looking to have a lot of games and be as loud as you want.
This is a much more calm, quiet and relaxing area that some people will absolutely adore.
Aside from the nearby stores and restaurants, there’s not a great deal left to shout about with Holmes Beach – but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a calming reset by the water.
Speaking of Bradenton Beach, it must be included on this list because it simply is one of the best beaches you could go to on the Island!
It’s situated towards the south and it has absolutely everything you could hope to have in terms of a beach.
You’ve got showers, changing rooms, grills, playgrounds, picnic tables, gaming areas and safety staff like lifeguards.
Of course, these aren’t all crammed on top of one another.
There’s plenty of space for all of these things to have their own areas, so you can get some privacy and room for everything you’re hoping to do.
When you find yourself getting hungry and you feel your tummy rumbling, you’ll think to yourself that it’s time you got yourself some food – and there’s a great option nearby for that.
You can set your focus to Beach House Restaurant, which is a massively popular restaurant in this area, but this also means that you’ll need to be prepared for a long wait at peak times.
But trust us when we say that the wait is worth it – the food is spectacular!
When you’ve been fully fed and rested, you will probably want to head to the nearby stores for a little retail therapy within the Bridge Street District.
There’s lots of options for you here!
Are you somebody that likes a little variety with their beaches? Palmetto Avenue Beach has a lot to offer you.
There’s an excellent mix of velvety, white sands and shell-covered areas – which makes it ideal for people who are a big fan of shells of course!
While this beach doesn’t have any additional amenities, lifeguard staff and dogs are banned from the area, it doesn’t detract from being one of the best beaches on the island.
Much like Holmes Beach, it’s a perfect place to unwind and find yourself.
The sound of the waves and the ocean air, along with the comfortable temperature and beautiful scenery is something that is difficult to match in any other area.
So, if you’re looking for some self-therapy, this is absolutely the place to go on the Island.
Once you’re done with the beach, you can go to the nearby stores and shop for some super cool items and even premium things that you might not be able to find at home!
Finally on our list we have potentially the most unique beach on the Island.
It’s located near the public pier and has a glorious set-up which tourists and even local residents will adore.
Arguably, it’s more of a city park with a small area of sand, but this doesn’t stop tourists heading here and enjoying the scenery.
In fact, generally people will set up underneath the trees and formulate a plan from there.
There’s a farmer’s market every Tuesday from 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon which is a great day to go for an all-day fun session at the beach.
You can sit with your family and enjoy making sandcastles and play games.
Once you’re all tuckered out, walk down to the bottom of the pier and settle into the cafe for a pick-me-up cup of Joe and a tasty sandwich to settle the tummy!
While you’re there, take a moment to look around at the magnificent views of the waters.
See if you can spot any marine life in the deep and just take a breath and recognize the glory of where you are!
Once it comes to a late time in the day, head to the row of boutiques and small eateries before you decide to finally head home or to your vacation accommodation.
What To Remember
Before you choose any of these beaches, be sure that you’ve investigated the parking situation, as not all of these beaches will cater for it.
Not only this, not all of these beaches are pet-friendly either.
The best thing to do is to speak with a lifeguard if you have the opportunity beforehand, or you can look online for much more information.
Anna Maria Island is home to many beaches, and as we have seen – some are perfect for family days out, whereas others are perfect for some individual therapy and calming times to read a novel and enjoy a coffee.
Just remember, whichever beach you choose, check up their own rules and regulations before you head down there!
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