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Old 10-14-2012, 08:30 PM
18 posts, read 60,336 times
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I've vacationed in Siesta Key before (absolutely LOVE it!) and this year have decided to give AMI a try. There's a potential rental in Holmes Beach, AMI that I'm considering renting. Is this a safe area? I'm told it's very quiet and residential. The area we're considering is on South Harbor Drive. I'm very excited about this vacation, but haven't reserved yet. I have a 6 year old daughter and will also be taking a 17 year old, so safety is my main concern. Siesta Key is always another option, but I'd really love to try AMI. Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:51 PM
Location: SW Florida
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Anna Maria Island is beautiful and I actually prefer it to Siesta Key. My only concern would be having to cross over Gulf Drive (very busy street) to get to the beach. I would try to find a place on the beach side of Gulf.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:49 PM
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Thanks! I appreciate your response! I've been looking into some other options as well. Thanks again.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:02 PM
Location: Tampa
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Anna Maria Island is my favorite beach. We enjoy parking near the end of the island (north side), parking ourselves on the beach and walking over to The Sandbar restaurant that is directly on the beach. I took friends who came to visit from NJ. The husband was hell bent to visit Caladesi island. He read that it is beautiful and one of the best beaches. I tried to persuade him to go to Anna Maria Island instead. You can only spend 4 hours (plus a ferry ride at $14 per adult, $7 for kids). We stayed only 3 due to a thunderstorm. The next day, I did take them to AMI. We stayed all day through sunset. The whole family agreed, AMI was much better.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:59 PM
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We booked our stay on Anna Maria Island. I'm so excited! We are close to Bean Point. I've only heard wonderful things about this area. Looking forward to a great time!
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:41 AM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
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I too enjoy Anna Maria more so than Siesta Key because it is more residential, no towering condos, yet lots of great little restaurants. Coquina Beach on the south end of the island is one of my favorite beaches in our area.

As someone already said, The Sandbar is a good restaurant to check out, both for food and live music and the view can't be beat.

Other restaurant suggestions while you're visiting: Peach's on Bay Drive in Holmes Beach, Rotten Ralph's on So. Bay Blvd, Banana Cabana on Gulf Drive in Bton Beach, Sharkey's & Blue Marlin Grill in Bton Beach, Hurricane Hank's in Holmes Beach, Bridge Tender Inn in Bton Beach on Bridge street and Slim's Place in Anna Maria for their fabulous lobster mac & cheese.

You can take the free trolley to travel up and down the island, or rent bicycles. You can also find kayak tours, fishing tours, dolphin tours and ride horses along Palma Sola (although that may not last much longer unless the various horse owners start doing a better job of cleaning up behind their horses....) Another great day trip is the boat trip to Egmont Key state park in Tampa Bay.

You didn't mention when you're coming. Just about every weekend from now through Easter there will be all sorts of local special events, festivals and activities throughout the Bradenton and Sarasota area, including a number of things going on at Anna Maria Island.

Hope you have a great vacation!
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:38 PM
25 posts, read 69,165 times
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We too are coming end of mArch. We've never been to ami and very excited. I got two young boys and were thinking orlAndo during spring break or AMI. Craving some sand and sun, Chicago right now 20-30 degrees just had a few inches of snow..
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:57 AM
Location: Florida
4,850 posts, read 13,423,008 times
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Both Siesta & AMI are great islands with Anna Maria being a bit more laid back than Siesta Key. Both my sons were born & raised on AMI; my oldest just got his license & practicing driving so beware, just kidding. It's pretty safe due to distance from mainland. There's only three roads on & three roads off so that's made catching bad guys in the past pretty easy for all the island police in the past. The proximity away from Bradenton has made most of the crime on the island, local vs. the element that's in downtown & surrounding areas. It's pretty busy out there these days as we're about to come into high season next month. Plan plenty of time to get on & off the island, if you're planing day trips away such as Busch Gardens, Orlando, etc...There's enough restaurants & places to grab a beer for everyone, truly you will have found paradise!
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:17 AM
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,681,212 times
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Anna Maria is a very laid back sleepy beach town and is one of the few towns that still has the "Old Florida" feel to it. I used to live out that way when I was a kid and my father started the Islander Newspaper, which was the first newspaper for Anna Maria Island. As a kid I attended Anna Maria Elementary and have fond memories of the school.

The original old city pier the Rod & Reel that's been there since 1910, is still there. There are a few little restaurants and small beachy stores but definitely not touristy. Here's the local chamber website: The Official Guide to Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria has a free trolley that shuttles people up and down the island. It runs from Coquina Beach to the south end of Anna Maria. Anna Maria is actually known as the "wedding capital of Florida". It also has a great arts and theater community.

From May through October in Florida, sea turtles come ashore to nest. Anna Maria Island is one of the many places in Florida that sea turtles nest on the beaches. Protection of the sea turtles is an important aspect of the island culture, and information and training is available for tourists and locals in abundance. Manatees are also frequent summer visitors at Anna Maria Island, and similarly, the Manatee is held in great reverence by islanders. A subspecies of the Indian Manatee, these herbivores call Anna Maria Island their summer vacation home.

The entire island is a bird sanctuary, and pelicans, multiple types of cranes and herons, wild parrots, sand pipers, hawks, vultures, seagulls, and crows share the island with humans.

Anna Maria Island is actually comprised of three cities-Anna Maria in the north, Holmes Beach in the middle and Bradenton Beach in the south. Oh yes, and the beaches are beautiful.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:19 PM
Location: Northern NJ
453 posts, read 1,660,250 times
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I sure wish we could go back in May. However, Superstorm Sandy put any vacation plans on hold while we fix up our badly-flooded shore house here in NJ.

Sadly, it has also made us re-think some of our plans about barrier island life in general, but we'll miss the visit this spring.


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