Over our spring break a couple of weeks ago, our family drove down to Anna Maria Island Florida where my brother and his family live. We try to make this trip every spring and we absolutely love this small, quaint Florida island town. And since we have family down there, we get the scoop on all of the secret spots (and not-so-secret spots too)! Here are some of our favorites:
Where We Stay
Cory’s Coastal Cottage
– This sweet beach cottage is owned by my brother and sister-in-law and it is the perfect place to rent for a week or a month (or more). The cottage is located less than 150 steps from the beach, near a (free) trolley stop in a quiet accessible area on the Holmes Beach side of the Island. Inside, it is beautifully decorated and has an awesome screened in porch and a stunning backyard perfect for relaxing and playing after a long day on the beach. Check out Cory’s Facebook page
for more information on the cottage and availability.
Where We Eat
Duffy’s vs. Skinny’s – the island debate as to which burger joint is preferred is hilarious and ongoing! My husband even polled the grocery store patrons one afternoon. Some say Duffy’s burgers are better while Skinny’s sides – especially their onion rings – make them the hands down winner. Give them both a try and let us know how you vote!
Two Scoops vs. Joe’s – Another island debate (okay this may just be a family debate) is the best ice cream shop. Joe’s is a rainbow colored dive on the Holmes Beach side while Two Scoops is nestled among other shops across from the Anna Maria City Pier. And on this most recent trip, we discovered a newly opened favorite, Small Town Creamery that we loved so much – we went twice!
AMOB – Anna Maria Oyster Bar – If you want Florida seafood, you must try AMOB. Everything is delicious, but especially the oysters. Even my picky eater 10-year old loved Grandma Georgie’s Chipotle oysters during her 30 day food challenge! (Pro-tip: check out the AMI tourist maps for a free Margarita at AMOB with your meal).
The Donut Experiment – I’m not even much of a donut girl (gasp) – I mean, I’ll eat them if they’re there – but they’re not my favorite. However, I think this donut shop has converted me. They make vanilla cake donuts (in front of you) with choose your own icings and toppings and with flavors like salted carmel, key lime pie and cinnamon sugar – how can you not be a convert (apparently they also get creative with savory flavors, but the salted carmel is the winner for me)!
Ginny and Jane E’s Bakery Cafe – This bakery has cinnamon rolls the size of your head (ask for them warm) and my husband tried the creme brulee french toast which was to die for! The line is long, but so worth the wait. And while you’re in line you can take the guitar off the wall and play a little tune for the patrons, if you feel so inclined!
Starfish Company – I’ve never actually eaten at the restaurant (my brother loves it, though) but we pick up fresh seafood here to cook up back home. This year we made fish tacos and a seafood pasta too. Their seafood is fresh, local and delicious. (Sidenote: they only take cash).
Island Time Bar & Grill – This is a fun restaurant/bar with fine dining upstairs and a casual restaurant downstairs. Plus you can eat outside on the porch and they often have live music.
Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe
– We love to walk down the beach in the mornings to the Island Cafe where you can sit on the beach and devour all you can eat pancakes. They also have yummy omelets, burgers and on Friday’s they have an all you can eat fish fry. Next door, there is a beach playground for kids that parents can view (while kids are playing) from the patio seating.
What We Do
We spend a lot of time on the gorgeous beaches, but we also like to explore the island activities while visiting AMI.
The Fish Hole Mini Golf
– My girls and niece and nephew LOVE The Fish Hole mini golf and even 5-year-old June got a hole in one! The 18-hole course is quick, fun and filled with vegetation and small ponds where you can feed the fish. They’ve even labeled the native plants throughout the course.
The Island Trolley
and Monkey Bus
– There is a free Island Trolley that comes around every 20 minutes or so (with a stop right in front of Cory’s Coastal Cottage
and the local Publix). And if you’re not up for waiting, you can call the free Monkey Bus to pick you up (Be sure to have a little cash for Monkey Bus tips)
– City Pier is a must see on the Island where you can see the boats, walk along the planks and at the end their is a fun restaurant where you can get a drink, lunch or dinner or simply look out over the ocean.
Studio at Gulf & Pine
– This is a beautiful art gallery where – among other rotating artists – my sister-in-law shows and sells her work. It’s a good gallery for kids since it’s small but still open.
There is also tons of shopping and places where you can rent bikes, paddle boards, sailboats or go on fishing outings. There are several parks and playgrounds, running trails and a community center on the island too.
Have you ever been to Anna Maria Island? What am I missing that you love?