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Things To Do

Published on April 29, 2017 by Terry Whyte

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There is undoubtedly so much to see, do and experience while visiting Anna Maria Island and the surrounding Gulf region.

While staying with us and taking in our tropical paradise we are sure that you are going to fall in love with our seven-miles of white-sand beaches, crystal blue waterways and back in time way of life.

We have partnered with Book A Little Sunshine to encourage you to have deeper and richer experiences while visiting the area.

Book A Little Sunshine is Anna Maria Island’s premier concierge and vacation planning service provider helping visitors to Anna Maria and the surrounding Gulf region experience it like never before. They draw upon over 30 years of adventure travel and tourism experience in offering only the highest quality, individually tailored and off-the-beaten path experiences and service offerings.

You can be assured in working with the Book A Little Sunshine staff that they will be there every step of the way in meeting all your wants, desires and vacation aspirations.

We invite you to utilize the vacation concierge page below to see firsthand all that there is to see, do and experience while staying here with us. You will find varying discounts on the service provider links below as a guest of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals. As our guest we pass all the applicable discounts on to you. Experience the difference here!!!

Beaches

Florida is home to 1,200 miles of golden coastline, with powder-soft white sands that rake in the superlatives. And yet, even among such fine company, Anna Maria Island still reigns supreme.

Named by TripAdvisor as America’s #1 Beach Vacation Destination, our pristine sands are considered some of the best in the nation. And for good reason: tall, wispy sea oats frame protected shoreline, where foamy waves roll onto iridescent sands. The warm Gulf breeze and ubiquitous salty scent is the the sweet, sweet icing on our island cake.

Read more about Anna Maria Island beaches. And don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite beaches and sandy corners.

Fishing

Without a doubt, after sunbathing and swimming and beachcombing, sport fishing is the most popular pastime on Anna Maria Island. It’s part allure – will you catch “the limit”? – and part simple pleasures – fresh Florida seafood is a definite delicacy – but whatever the secret sauce, Anna Maria Island fishing is a perennial favorite among our guests.

If you ask us, one of the best ways to while away an afternoon is on an island pier. Three fishing piers – Bradenton Beach City, the Rod & Reel Fishing Pier, and the historical Anna Maria Island City Pier – offer a relaxing environment and some serious catches. Be aware that if you fish off the beach, a fishing license if required; if you fish off a licensed pier, you’re covered. (Always check current regulations, as requirement change per state and federal law.)

Of course, fishing on Anna Maria Island doesn’t have to be laid-back. Hire a fishing charter and head out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay and the Backwaters, and explore the wilds of Florida waters. Tours are tailored to you, whether you’re a serious angler, a family with kids, or leisurely fishing for your next meal.

One thing is sure: there’s always something special about spending time on the water. Remember what anglers say – days spent on the water don’t count against your days on earth.

Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite fishing spots and charters.

Attractions & Recreation

Anna Maria Island’s recreational options are almost as numerous as grains of sand on the beach. From boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing, to sail boating, scuba diving and snorkeling (check out the sunken ship 200 yards from your condo’s front door!); from kayak rentals, bicycle rides and scooter adventures, to air boat tours, wind surfing, and dolphin tours; from mini-golf, shark-teeth treasure hunts, and fishing, to alligator tours, greyhound races and manatee watching, Anna Maria is determined to thrill.

Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite attractions, activities and tours.

Restaurants

On Anna Maria Island, our restaurants enjoy some of the best real estate anywhere: beachfront, Gulf-front, Bay-front and Waterway-front. But if there’s anything that could even hope to outshine the view, it’s the food: just-caught seafood, fresh produce, and all other matter of home-cooked delicacies, served under an umbrella with a side of sea breeze.

The Anna Maria Island dining scene offers an incredible variety of restaurants from Cuban to American, from German to Italian, from French to Chinese. Trust us when we say, you haven’t truly experienced the island until you’ve witnessed the spectacular sunset from your favorite restaurant, café, or bar & grille.

Read more about Anna Maria Island restaurants. Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite restaurants, on and off island!

Entertainment

Anna Maria Island and its neighboring cities offer a full schedule of live entertainment, mind-bending fun, and intellectual stimulation. Close to home you’ll find the Island Players live theater, South Florida Museum and Aquarium, Ringling Museum of Art, Selby Gardens, Jungle Gardens, DeSoto National Park or the Manatee Players, and the Asolo Center for the Performing Arts and many other venues.

Of course, if you can drag yourself off the island – and really, it’s debatable; once we’re here, we never want to leave! – you could visit the G-wiz science museum, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota West Coast Symphony, Tampa’s Florida Aquarium and the renowned Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg.

Then there’s Adventure Island and Mote Marine Laboratories, where you’ll come face-to-face with live sharks in a 135,000-gallon shark tank. Learn about marine life and stroll along a boardwalk, in picturesque waterfront areas filled with lush vegetation.

Our neighboring cities also play host to year-round excitement with training and seasonal games for teams like baseball’s legendary Pirates, the Red Sox and the Tampa Devil Rays, as well as Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Stanley Cup winners, the Tampa Bay Lighting.

Golf is also another favorite pastime, and with more than two dozen public and private courses from which to choose - not to mention at least 200 more within a short drive - Manatee County and its neighboring communities are a virtual golfing paradise.

Our Florida beach rental condo is located within 10 minutes of the internationally famous David Leadbetter IMG Golf Academy and Nick Boliterie Tennis Academy both located in Bradenton Florida.

Tampa is 35 miles north, where you can go wild at find Busch Gardens. The most famous Mouse in the world, as well as Disney World and all the Orlando attractions, are only a two-hour drive to the northeast.

Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite entertainment offerings!

Shopping

Beach shops. Elegant boutiques. Gift shops. Jewelry stores. Art galleries. Treasure troves. Souvenir markets. Craft shops. Mom-and-Pops.

Anna Maria Island is something of a shopping paradise. From elegant evening wear to one-of-a-kind souvenirs, from casual beach gear to artisan coffee, there’s something to please absolutely everyone here. So whether you’re looking for something with local flavor, or just a replacement
for the beach towel you forgot on the lounge chair, you’ll find it.

And for bigger shopping trips, the nearby cities of Bradenton and Sarasota offer four full-service shopping malls, hundreds of specialty shops, quaint shopping villages, upscale boutiques and flea markets. Driving south along Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll discover Sarasota and the world-famous St. Armand’s Circle shopping district, renowned for its upscale shopping and fine dining.

For the shop-till-you-drop type, the Prime Outlets Mall in Ellenton is just the place. It’s the largest manufacturer’s outlet on Florida’s West coast. A beautiful Caribbean environment is the setting for over 135 designer and brand name outlets that will save you 25%-75% off retail prices.

Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite shopping stops!
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Meet The Author
Hi, I am Terry, my wife Sandy (who writes our blogs) are the caring, hands on owners and managers of Anna Maria Condo Rentals. We’ve been here for years, so we know Anna Maria Island, the island’s condos, and our island’s guests. We understand you – what you need, what you want, and what you’d really like to have. With us, every stay balances the rigorous requirements of professional managers with the enthusiasm, pride and personal touches of an owner-managed rental. That means that with us, you enjoy the dual benefits of an in-the-know local combined with the professionalism and expertise of a serious company. Come on down and experience the difference for yourself. Our family fell in love with Anna Maria Island the first time we visited in 1989. Every summer since, we’ve spent our vacations on this island, and in 1995, we bought our first condo here. Having a young family at the time meant we had to rent our condo to offset ownership costs. Thankfully, by offering luxurious accommodations at an affordable price, we were able to keep the condo booked for an average of 50 weeks a year. These steady bookings allowed us to purchase our second condo in 2013, and a third in 2014. While opening up these homes has allowed us to keep returning to the island—and even better, to a house that feels like home—we also truly enjoy offering a place to guests to discover Anna Maria Island and feel at home here, too.
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