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Anna Maria Island: A Mom’s Guide to the Best Sarasota Neighborhoods

We love that bikes and golf carts are equal in number to cars around the island. Everything is close by, there are sidewalks everywhere, and you are surrounded by beautiful beaches. With a relaxed beach town atmosphere, it can feel like you are always on vacation.

What local attractions are nearby?

Beaches

Anna Maria Island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Clearly this is where you should spend your free time!

Coquina Beach on the south end of the island has playgrounds and pavilions which are great for large gatherings. Just be aware they are a short walk from the sand and water. There is also a trolley stop and concessions available.

Manatee Public Beach is part of Holmes Beach. This beach has a playground, restrooms and showers. It is also home to Gulf Drive Café.

Manatee Public Beach

Bean Point is found at the northern tip of the island. It is a more secluded beach and is best accessed by bike. The sand dunes and white sugar sand make it our personal favorite.

Bean Point

Bayfront Park

Looking out across Tampa Bay and the Skyway Bridge, this park has the best view in SRQ. Complete with a playground, covered picnic tables, restrooms, and changing stations, this is the perfect place to spend the day.

Bayfront Park

Public Library

When the weather heats up, the Island Library is a great option. The children’s section of the library has puzzles, coloring books, and cozy reading areas. Preschool story time is every Tuesday at 10:00am, and there are other events for kids throughout the year.

Where do kids go to school?

Anna Maria Elementary is a highly rated school with a close knit community, and the only school on the island. Students can also attend nearby private schools in Bradenton – Bradenton Christian School and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.

Anna Maria Elementary

What are some of your favorite local businesses or shops?

Pine Avenue

Located on the north end of the island, Pine Avenue is filled with local shops. You can find gifts, clothing, jewelry, art, and even a cup of coffee to sip on as you shop. Three Island Monkeys and Pink & Navy are two of our favorites.

Loony Dunes

Loony Dunes is a wine bar that offers wine tasting for adults and frozen yogurt for the kids. The casual atmosphere is perfect for a date night or a family night out.

Bridge Street

The recently revitalized historic Bridge Street is a walkable street full of shops on the south end of the island. This is a great place to find unique items for your home, resort wear, or gifts of all types. Check out The Hive and Bridge Street Bazaar.

Publix

Take care of your grocery shopping at the local Publix. Fresh meat, produce, and a deli and bakery provide everything you need for your family. The store’s slogan, “Where shopping is a pleasure,” really does ring true.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

Beach Bistro

Great for a date night, Beach Bistro offers beachfront fine dining. The menu boasts of seafood, lamb, and beef dishes and locally sourced farm products. Savor a bottle of wine and do not leave without dessert.

The Donut Experiment

There is a line out the door every morning at 7:00am when The Donut Experiment opens. Choose from over 20 toppings and frostings to create your own custom donuts. Then watch as fresh donuts are baked and created before your eyes. Key lime or maple bacon, anyone?

Which neighborhoods would you recommend?

Since the island is a small coastal community, there are not different neighborhoods. There are many homes located on canals or quiet streets that would be perfect for families.

Key Royale is an association neighborhood set apart from the weekly rentals. It is more focused on seasonal residents and the golfing community.

Why is Anna Maria Island one of the best neighborhoods in SRQ?

Let’s be honest, living where people vacation is always a good idea! The small town feel and idyllic beach atmosphere make it a safe and unique place to raise a family.

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