A Week in Anna Maria Island, Florida
Updated: Jun 10
My family and I spent a week in AMI, and I would 100% recommend this destination for vacation whether for family, couples getaway, girls weekend, bachelorette party, day trip, etc. Anna Maria is just an hour south of St Petersburg and Tampa, but once you get on the island, you feel far away from the hustle and bustle. Here are some recommendations if you’re planning a trip there!
Where to Stay
There are several places to choose from when picking where to stay. One of the best things about AMI is there are no high rise hotels or condominiums. The entire island is only homes or small resorts/inns. We booked a beautiful home through VRBO, but we saw plenty of other rental companies, resorts and inns. Edit : May 2022 the rental was bought by another rental company so I have included the new link! Here are a few to choose from:
Bali Hai Beach Resort
Anna Maria Island Beach Resort
White Sands Beach Resort
South Bay Inn
Where to Eat
There are many places to eat at on AMI, and majority of them do not take reservations. I recommend either heading out to dinner early to put your name down or eat during the week. We vacationed during the Labor Day week, and the island was pretty quiet. Locals told us it did get very busy during the summer months, so expect a 2+ hour wait if you’re visiting during the summer! But chances are you can put your name down then bike around, walk the pier, or chill somewhere else until you get the text that your table is ready. Here are some recommendations!
Northshore Café – Breakfast, Lunch
The Donut Experiment - Breakfast
Waffle Press – Breakfast, Lunch
Waterfront Restaurant * – Lunch, Dinner
Ginny’s and Jane E Café – Breakfast, Lunch
Harry’s Grill – Lunch, Dinner
The Sandbar * – Lunch, Dinner
Poppos Taqueria – Lunch, Dinner
Pizza Social – Lunch, Dinner
Dips - Dessert
Two Scoops - Dessert
Hometown Desserts - Dessert
My AMI French Food – Breakfast, Lunch
Slim’s Place – Lunch, Dinner
The Porch * – Lunch, Dinner
Anna Maria Island Beach Café – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
AMI Creamery and Bakery – Desserts
Beach Bistro * – Dinner
The Ugly Grouper – Lunch, Dinner
The Doctor’s Office – Cocktail Bar
Skinny’s Place – Lunch, Dinner
The Beach House * - Lunch, Dinner
* more popular dinner places that will have a wait
(left to right: Northshore Cafe, Northshore Cafe, The Donut Experiment, Ginny's & Jane E Cafe, The Waffle Press, The Waffle Press, The Doctor's Office, The Doctor's Office, Waterfront Restaurant, Hometown Desserts, Hometown Desserts)
Bradenton Beach (10 mins), Long Boat Key (15 mins) and Sarasota (30 mins) are not far from AMI, so we spent some time exploring around, and here are so close by restaurants I’d recommend as well!
Wicked Cantina – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gulf Drive & Café – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tiki Bar
The Overton – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Whitney’s LBK – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Smoque House – Lunch, Dinner
Project Coffee – Breakfast, Lunch
Shore – Lunch, Dinner
Blue Marlin - Dinner
Bamboo Island Bar - Cocktail Bar, Dinner
Island Time Bar and Grill - Lunch, Dinner
(left to right: Wicked Cantina, Whitney's LBK, Whitney's LBK, The Overton, The Overton)
What to Do
Hang out at the beach – the beach is wide and gorgeous! We rode our bikes to the beach, and enjoyed the extra shade from the trees!
Ride Bikes – bring your own or rent some on the island (Beach Bums Island Attitude). You can get to everything on the island by bike or golf cart (if you prefer more speed)!
Rent a Boat – There are several ways to rent a boat or find a boat tour! Egmont Key is nearby as well as Fort DeSoto, Sarasota, etc.
Have a Picnic - Luxury Gulf Picnics is AMI located, but will serve surrounding areas such as Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota and more! You’re able to customize your picnic, and picnics are great for date nights, bachelorette parties, dinner parties and more. Make sure to include a Gulf Shore Charcuterie for a delicious assortment of meat, cheeses, nuts & fruit! Here is a link to Luxury Gulf Picnics’ Instagram https://instagram.com/luxurygulfpicnics?utm_medium=copy_link
Shop – AMI has several local stores (AMI outfitters, Pink & Navy Boutique) , and Sarasota (Modern Soul Boutique and Pineapple Lain Boutique) is only a 30 minute drive with several shopping areas. I recommend checking out St Armands Circle in Sarasota for food and shopping all in walking distance!
Fishing off the city Pier or Rod and Reel Pier – you can rent equipment if you don’t have your own, but you must have a valid fishing license for the state of Florida
Renting Kayaks or Paddle Boards – Beach Bums rents out beach equipment like kayaks and paddle boards as well as bicycles!
Fun Tips & Facts
I recommend going during spring, late summer or fall! Since it is a smaller island, summer break months will book up quick.
100% bring or rent bikes – this will make traveling & exploring the island so much fun
Here is the link to our rental – https://www.amilocals.com/anna-maria-island-rentals/sea-pearl
Northshore Café was our favorite restaurant – we went almost every morning or afternoon for coffee
You can see the Skyway Bridge and St Petersburg from the piers