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The Things that Locals Know!

World’s Strongest Man Competition (2020)

What was supposed to take place in Bradenton during May, is now being held in Lakewood Ranch during November of 2020. If you were on Anna Maria Island last year, then you may have been staying when the Island was hosting the World’s Strongest Man competition. The Island was graced with contestants (including Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who played “The Giant” on the hit show Game of Thrones) and spectators for the event that took place in Bradenton and at the Manatee County Public Beach.

Competition setup on the beach. Photo from The Islander

Now our local area will be hosting the World’s Strongest Man competition once again, though it will be much different than previous years. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic spectators this year are prohibited. Though this may be disappointing news, this does not mean you shouldn’t come and visit the area/Anna Maria Island. Check out some vacation rentals, and enjoy the competition broadcast from the comfort of your rental.

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Suncoast Cuisine – Private Chef

Looking for a delicious, professionally made meal, but want to stay in the comfort of your own home or an Anna Maria Island vacation rental? Well you are in luck! Chef Melissa with Suncoast Cuisine is just who you want to get in contact with.

Suncoast Cuisine brings the restaurant to you with Chef Melissa’s amazing, up-scale style dining. Don’t worry about shopping, or preparing the ingredients, Suncoast Cusine will shop and prepare the food for you. All you need to provide is a kitchen for the chef to work her magic in. 

Suncoast Cusine menus are customizable, so even the pickiest eater will be pleased. This is perfect for a causal group dinner while on vacation, or a special occasion! This is a fantastic alternative to going out to a restaurant, which can be hectic during busy season. 

Suncoast Cuisine can be contacted by phone or email
(727) 286-1352
mdedloff@gmail.com

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Traveling Gourmet – Personal Chef Molly O’Connor

Life can get pretty hectic at times. And when life gets a bit crazy, cooking is the last thing anyone wants to do. So if you’re on Anna Maria Island and are looking to eat some absolutely PHENOMENAL food without having to do all the work, you need to get in touch with the Traveling Gourmet! This personal chef business by the talented Chef Molly O’Connor will have you wanting her to move in and cook every meal for the rest of your life.

Traveling Gourmet

This business offers chef services for all kinds of occasions like; Baby showers, BBQ’s, Cocktail Parties, Weddings, and more! O’Connor will design a menu around your taste (and budget), and then do all the difficult stuff. AKA the grocery shopping and cooking.

Traveling Gourmet also does Meal Services. Currently as of November 2019, Meal Services being offered include a Weekly Paleo Meal Service, and of course a Thanksgiving Meal Service. Both of which can be found and ordered through her website.

If you’re vacationing on Anna Maria Island, make the process of settling in a bit easier and have Molly get all of your provisions for you before your arrival. She can even have a great meal ready and waiting for you to enjoy when you arrive!

Now that’s service!!

 

Check out even more local businesses that will make your vacation stress free, like CabanUp!, and Consider It Done.

 

 

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CabanUp – Making Your Beach Day Stress Free

Everyone enjoys the beach, but no one enjoys dragging around umbrellas and beach chairs. It’s just an inconvenience that makes you worn out before you even get your toes in the sand. Luckily the new company, CabanUp, provides a hassle-free day at the beach!

CabanUp

This family run business will deliver and set up 10’x10’ tents, chairs, towels, and much more! You can even add on optional beach necessities like bluetooth speakers, boogie boards, cornhole, fans, and even WiFi. CabanUp provides everything to make your time on the sugar sand beaches of Anna Maria Island a blast!

Not only do they deliver and set up everything, they even take it all down for you too! So when you’ve had enough of the beach, just leave. It’s that easy!
On most days, the set up will be completed by 10AM, and will be labeled with your name. Then all you have to do is walk up and enjoy!

So next time you’re here make the most out of your experience, and contact CabanUp!

3216 East Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, 34217
941-243-3871
Open everyday of the week from 9AM – 4:30PM

 

Looking to make you’re time on AMI even easier? Check out Consider It Done, a professional errand and personal assistance service for locals and visitors!

 

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TreeUmph! Adventure Course in East Bradenton

In need of an adventure? Looking to add a bit more excitement to your vacation? If you said “Yes” to both of those questions, then TreeUmph! is definitely the activity for you. Located in East Bradenton, about 45 minutes to an hour drive from AMI, is where you’ll find this insane outdoor adventure park. TreeUmph! is 14 acres of zip lining, footbridges, hanging swings, hanging nets, and so much more!

TreeUmph!

With over 76 treetop adventure games, there is something for everyone in the group to enjoy! Everyone starts off on the Beginners course, with only the strongest reaching the Expert course. And let’s not forget about the kiddos. This place offers a children’s course for kids ages 7-11. This kids course, known as Children’s APE UP, is a 15ft tall course and includes bridges & nets, a zipline, a climbing wall, and even seesaws…IN THE TREES! How cool is that?!

This place is perfect for birthday parties, field trips, and team building with coworkers. Put your strength and agility to the test while having a blast here at TreeUmph!

21805 E State Road 70, Bradenton, Florida
941-322-2130

Check out some other great places in Bradenton. Like The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, Myakka River State Park, and more!

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Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

After spending hours on the flight, the last thing you want to do is travel even longer in a car and deal with traffic. Especially Tampa traffic. Which is why I always suggest flying into the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport if you can. Unlike Tampa International Airport, the Sarasota Airport is only a 30 minute drive away from AMI. With TPA being over an hour away.

While this airport may be closer, it unfortunately does not offer as many airlines/destinations as TPA does. Unlike Tampa which has over 60 non stop flights (including international flights), Sarasota-Bradenton only has 20, with none being international. However, they do appear to be slowly adding more destinations, so hopefully one day there will be more options. As for now, if you can get a flight to this airport rather than Tampa, I would highly suggest it.

 

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Tampa International Airport – TPA

Serving over 21 million passengers annually, is the Tampa International Airport (TPA). This airport is the second closest airport to Anna Maria Island (a little over an hour drive). Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) being the closest (about a half an hour drive). While TPA may be a little further, it offers more flights, and is significantly larger.

Tampa International Airport

TPA has routes going to 90 different places around the world, and has even been named the second best domestic airport by Travel + Leisure magazine, and Condé Nast Traveler. This airport has over 40 restaurants/places to get a bite to eat. This includes 6 Starbucks locations, 2 Chick-fil-A’s, and even a Columbia Café! Seriously, there are so many restaurants here, it can be kind of overwhelming.

There are currently over 20,000 parking places at Tampa International Airport. The parking spaces are split between the short-term and long-term parking garages. A really nice feature to the TPA is their Cell Phone Waiting Lot, which has a huge display that shows real time flight info. It really is a wonderful feature, and helps to decrease traffic at the Landside Terminal.

Need a last minute gift to bring back from your Florida vacation? No worries, go ahead and check out some of the shops here! You’ll find stores like Ron Jon Surf Shop, Swarovski/Tumi, Dylan’s Candy Bar, and many more!

So why haven’t you bought you’re ticket yet? Anna Maria Island is calling your name.

 Tampa International Airport
4100 George J Bean Pkwy, Tampa, FL 33607
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Pirate Adventures of Cortez – Kid Friendly Fun

Ahoy Mateys! If you’re looking for a super fun activity for the kiddos to take part in, then I highly suggest checking out Pirate Adventures of Cortez. This kid-oriented pirate excursion is super unique, and you definitely won’t find anything else like it in the area.

Pirate Adventures of Cortez

Pirate Adventures of Cortez operates year-round. Which means no one gets to miss out on this awesome experience, no matter what time of the year you’re here. Once your child steps foot on the Sea Gypsy, they will be thrown into a whole new world. Here, they will become a brave pirate or a beautiful mermaid before they embark on their adventure. Once aboard the “Pirate Ship”, the Sea Gypsy crew will explain the rules of the sea before following a treasure map to the sunken treasure. The kids even get to use water cannons on the ship to fight off the smelliest pirate there ever was. Pirate Pete.

The whole experience is really exciting for everyone involved. I wish they had this kind of stuff when I was a kid!


Hours of Operation:

Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Sailing four times daily at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm

For more activities to keep the kids entertained, check out our blog on Fun Children Attractions near Anna Maria Island.

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4th of July Festivities On and Off AMI – 2019

Summer time on Anna Maria Island is truly paradise. It’s not too crowded, the Gulf water is warm enough for us locals to jump in, and the cold beer is even more refreshing. Though the best part of Summer on the Island is when the 4th of July comes around. The 4th of July festivities on AMI are always a hit with visitors and locals, and it really is a fun filled day of celebration. As we count down the days to the holiday, let’s discuss all the festivities taking place locally.

4th of July Festivities On the Island

  • Privateers Parade: The Privateers Parade is an annual 4th of July parade that begins at 10am. The parade starts down at Coquina Beach, and travels North to Anna Maria. The parade ends at City Pier Park (Pine Ave and North Bay Blvd), which is where the next event takes place.
  • City Celebration: This takes place at the City Pier Park as the parade comes to an end at 12:30pm. This event is open to everyone, so don’t be shy. Come stop by and enjoy some hot dogs, beverages, and some patriotic tunes.
  • Fireworks: This year The Sandbar Restaurant will be hosting a firework display after sunset (weather permitting). For the best view, try to get a spot on the beach just to the North or just to the South of the restaurant.

4th of July Festivities Off the Island

  • Longboat Key: The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce is putting on their Freedom Fest from 9am – 11am July 4th. The Freedom Fest event includes a parade, music, food, and more!  The parade begins at the Suntrust Bank building (510 Bay Isles Road), and wraps up at the nearby Bicentennial Park.
  • Cortez: If you really enjoy a good hot dog,than maybe you should participate in Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bars 6th Annual Hotdog Eating Contest. The contest begins at 1pm.
  • Bradenton: Pier 22 (1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton), a restaurant on the Manatee River in Downtown Bradenton, will be presenting a firework show, shown in the picture at the top of this blog, after sunset. You can view the firework display from downtown Bradenton, and on the waterfront in Palmetto.
  • Sarasota: The firework display in Sarasota, also taking place on the 4th, will have the best viewing in downtown Sarasota, on the Bay front.

Have a safe holiday everyone!!

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Cell Phone Waiting Lot at TPA

Planning on picking someone up from the Tampa International Airport? Then you might want to check out the airport cell phone waiting lot. The lot is located South of the Main Terminal and across from Economy parking. The cell phone waiting lot has a large display that shows real time flight information. It also has restrooms, vending machines, free WiFi, and a station to charge your electric vehicle. We suggest waiting here until your guests have grabbed their luggage.  The Tampa Airport is only about 3-4 minutes away so it is perfect to stay out of the way until the flight arrives.