Anna Maria Island Vacations: Best Beaches, with Photo Tour
The biggest attraction with Florida vacations is usually the beach. Anna Maria Island is located just south of Tampa, in the Gulf of Mexico. It's just across the bay from Bradenton and Sarasota. The island is laid back and friendly, and it has some great beaches. There's a beach for everyone at Anna Maria, no matter what you're looking for in a beach. If you're a young single and want a beach with lots of other young people, Anna Maria Island has it. If you have small kids and want a beach that has safe water, Anna Maria has that, too. If you're a saltwater angler hoping to land some nice fish, you'll find Anna Maria Island beaches to suit your purpose.
Best for families: The beach at the northern tip of the island, between the two fishing piers, is perfect for families with kids. The beach itself is not very wide, but there are a few large shade trees that provide respite from the hot sun. There's also a playground and a picnic area adjacent to the beach. The water here is very clear and super calm. It's also shallow. You can wade out a long way, without having to worry about dropoffs or channels. Be sure to take along snorkels for the kids. There are plenty of sand dollars and huge starfish lying on the sandy bottom. If you get hungry and didn't pack a lunch, just take a short stroll to the pier for some fried shrimp, a snack, or a burger.
Best for young singles: The beach near the south end of the island, on the gulf side, is the best for girl watching or boy watching. This is probably the most active beach on the entire island. You'll hear lots of music blaring, especially on the weekends. There's usually a game of beach volleyball or football going on somewhere on this broad stretch of sand. Snorkeling around the rocks is also popular at this beach.
Best for fishermen: The beach at the south end of the island, on the bay side, is great for fishermen. The strip of sand is narrow, but you can drive right up to it, so you don't have to lug all your gear very far. You can wade out in the water, but don't get too close to the southernmost tip, the cut. The current is brutal there. This beach has restrooms nearby, and plenty of shady areas. There are also lots of fish here! You'll see several small wooden docks jutting from the shore. Just take a gander under one and you'll see all kinds of fish, including grunts, sheepshead, pinfish, and mangrove snapper. Cast out deeper for snook and reds.
See? I told you Anna Maria had a beach for everone! If you love soft white sand, clear turquoise water, friendly folks, and glorious weather, you'll love this place. It's one of the few places in Florida with the atmosphere of the "Old Florida." It hasn't been taken over by developers...yet. Don't take my word for it - visit the great Anna Maria Island beaches and see for yourself!
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