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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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The Things that Locals Know!

Anna Maria Island Vehicle and Airport Transportation

There are lots of choices for auto transportation on Anna Maria Island.  Sure you can pick up a Lyft or an Uber but using someone local that knows the area is half the fun!  The drivers listed below are local and they know Anna Maria Island.  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time traveling from the Sarasota or Tampa International Airport learning all the great things your driver can suggest you do on your visit to Anna Maria Island?

We have had some incredible feedback on the drivers below and imagine for 35-75 minutes having the time of a local to tell you about all fun things to do, places to eat, and out of the way local hot spots!

Don’t forget, professional transportation can help as well for that night out the town if traveling to Sarasota or Tampa as well.

Coastal Elite Limousine

Coastal Elite Limousine offers a fleet of Luxury Town and Country Minivans as well as Ford Expedition SUV’s.  The driver is local, born and raised on Anna Maria Island. Be sure to ask his favorite places to go eat, best activities, you name it! Airport service to Tampa International Airport starts at $100 and service to Sarasota airport is $55.  These estimated do include gratuity!  For more details on rates, schedules, be sure to call (941) 348-4971.  Coastal can help with any Anna Maria Island Transportation needs.Anna Maria Island Transportation

Anna Maria Island Airport Transportation

Alan and Andrea Shields of Anna Maria Island Transportation have a host of vehicles at the ready for all your local transportation needs. They currently have a Lincoln Town Car and several Sport Utility Trucks available.  Anna Maria Island Transportation has been finalist for three years in a row for the Anna Maria Island Chamber small business of the year award.  An enormous honor to just be a finalist and certainly a strong sign the are respected in the Community for their Anna Maria Island Transportation business.  For more details on rates, schedules and information call (941) 527-5602.

Please Note: This information has been gathered as a convenience.  We cannot guarantee the rates.  Please call individual vendor for details.

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The Things that Locals Know!

Anna Maria Island and area golf courses

If Golf is your game then Anna Maria Island provides a relaxing central location to a great deal of local Golf Courses.  Anna Maria Island does have one private 9 hole executive golf course for members only however in the Summer they do allow short discounted memberships for the avid golfer.  Golf in the morning and go to the beach and visit with family in the afternoon.  What could be better?  There are Key Royale Vacation Rentals that surround the golf course or just a walk away.  Let our sponsored real estate professionals help find your golfing paradise or if a shorter stay is in order then review the vacation rentals available very near the Key Royale Club.

There are options on the mainland.  North West Bradenton has several courses, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota are all great options as well.  See our list below of golf courses worth visiting.

Anna Maria Island Golf

Buffalo Creek Golf Course
This is a public golf course
8100 Erie Road
Palmetto, Florida, 34221
(941) 776-2611

IMG Academies Golf and Country Club
This is a private golf course
4350 El Conquistador Parkway
Bradenton, FL, 34221
(941) 758-1466

Imperial Lakewoods Golf Course
This is a Semi-Private Golf Course
9680 Buffalo Road
Palmetto, Fl, 34221
(941) 747-9432

The links at Greenfield Plantation
This is a public golf course
10325 Greenfield Plantation Blvd
Bradenton, Fl, 34202
(941) 747-9432

Manatee County Golf Course
This is a public golf course and closest to Anna Maria Island
6415 53rd Avenue West
Bradenton, FL, 34210
(941) 792-3288

Pinebrook/Ironwood Golf Club
Executive Golf Course
4260 Ironwood Circle
Bradenton, Fl, 34209
(941) 792-3288

The River Club
This is a Semi-Private Golf Course
6600 River Club Blvd
Bradenton, Fl, 34202
(941) 751-4211

River Run Golf Links
This is a public golf course
1801 27th Street
East Bradenton, Fl, 34208
(941) 708-6331

River Strand Golf Club
This is a Semi-Private Golf Course
7155 Grand Estuary Trail
Bradenton, Fl, 34212
(941) 708-3617

Stoneybrook at Heritage Harbour
This is a public golf course
7900 Stone Harbour Loop
Bradenton, Fl, 34202
(941) 746-2696

Terra Ceia Bay Country Club
Executive Golf Course
2802 Terra Ceia Bay Blvd
Palmetto, Fl, 34221
(941) 729-7663

University Park Country Club
This is a Semi-Private Golf Course
7671 The Park Blvd
University Park, Fl, 34201
(941) 359-9999

Waterlefe Golf and River Club
This is a Semi-Private Golf Course
1022 Fish Hook Cove
Bradenton, FL, 34202
(941) 744-9771

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The Things that Locals Know!

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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The Things that Locals Know! Uncategorized

Bowlero – Bowling in Bradenton

Bowling is a perfect activity for the whole family. While there may not be a bowling alley on Anna Maria Island, there is one close by. Bowlero is in Bradenton, and only a 20 minutes car drive.

Bowelro features 64 lanes, an arcade, a billiards/pool area, an ATM, and a sports bar & lounge area. They even offer free WI-FI! If you’re looking for something to do off the Island, definitely stop by and play a game.

Address: 4208 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210

Bradenton Bowlero Hours

Monday – 11AM – 12AM
Tuesday – 9AM – 12AM
Wednesday – 11Am – 1AM
Thursday – 9:30AM – 12AM
Friday – 11AM – 1AM
Saturday – 9AM – 1AM
Sunday – 11AM – 12AM

Need some more family friendly places to visit while you’re on Anna Maria Island? Head to the Bishop Museum in Bradenton, The Fish Hole Miniature Golf in Bradenton Beach, or Sarasota Jungle Gardens in Sarasota.

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Activities Family Fun Kids Corner Out of Town Uncategorized

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Formerly known as the South Florida Museum, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is located in Downtown Bradenton. It is the biggest cultural and natural history museum on the Gulf coast of Florida. Most people know the museum as the home for Snooty the Manatee. The oldest recorded Manatee ever. Sadly, Snooty passed away in 2017 at the incredible age of 69 years old. But don’t worry, you can still see other Manatees here in the Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature has tons of awesome exhibitions, an impressive planetarium, and of course, the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat.

 

 Exhibitions

Let’s begin with the first floor of the museum. Here is where you will find some incredible fossil evidence of the earliest animals to live in the state. The exhibits on the first floor include; Great Hall, Land of Change, Fabulous Florida Seas, Archaic Peoples and the Tallant Gallery. There is even a underwater viewing window that lets you see the manatees being cared for in the rehabilitation facility. The second floor features the River Heritage Hall, the Environmental Hall ,and the Visible Storage Gallery.

Planetarium

The digital full-dome planetarium theater is truly out of this world. Featuring a digital 25,000 watt Dolby 5.1 surround sound system and stadium like seating. It’s even the west coast of Florida’s premier astronomy education facility! Check out the planetarium show schedule on the museums website.

Manatee Habitat

The most popular part of the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature would definitely be the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat. It consists of a giant medical pool, about 60,000 gallons of water, and some manatees of course. This manatee habitat serves as a second stage rehabilitation facility. This is where the manatees temporarily stay before being released back into the wild. The manatees end up at the habitat after they have received treatment. There is an exhibit area where the medical pool is which allows visitors to learn about Manatees, and view the ones in the pool from above and below the water. Believe me, it’s pretty awesome!

 

While you’re in Bradenton, check out some other great places, like the Red Barn Flea Market, and Myakka State Park!

 

 

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Activities Family Fun Out of Town Recreation Shopping

Red Barn Flea Market – Bradenton

The Red Barn Flea Market in Bradenton Florida is definitely a place you should visit! Since opening their doors in 1981, this flea market has grown to over 600 vendors on 20 tree-lined acres. The Red Barn Flea Market is a traditional flea market combined with food courts, plaza shops, and farmers markets. There is really so many things to see, it may be a bit overwhelming. There’s clothes, jewelry & accessories, home decor, art, fresh produce, etc.

88,000 of the 145,000 sq.ft area is air conditioned. So don’t be afraid to make a trip here during the Summer time. They even host special events throughout the year, and you can find live music in the food court every Friday and Saturday.

Because the Red Barn Flea Market is so expansive, there is a Market Map available on their website. The market has their Summer hours, and their Winter Hours.

Summer Hours:

  • Monday – Closed.
  • Tuesday & Thursday – Plaza only from 9am to 4pm.
  • Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday – Entire market from 9am to 4pm.

Winter Hours:

  • Monday – Closed.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – Plaza only from 9am to 4pm.
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday – Entire market from 9am – 4pm.


Red Barn Flea Market:

1707 1st St, Bradenton, FL 34208
941-747-3794

Learn more about markets in the local area. Check out the Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach, and the Bradenton Farmer’s Market in Downtown Bradenton.

 

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Activities Events Family Fun Out of Town Shopping

Bradenton Farmer’s Market in Downtown Bradenton

From October through May is when you can expect to find the Bradenton Farmer’s Market in Downtown Bradenton. The market begins at 9am, and wraps up at 2pm. The Bradenton Farmer’s Market is a wonderful way of getting to know the local community.

What this market offers

Here you will find locally grown vegetables & fruit, plants, organic products, etc. The farmer’s market is also an awesome way of seeing/purchasing  some work by local artists and craftsmen. In fact, the 3rd Saturday of each month Mainly Art hosts many local artists/craftsmen who display and sell their works at the Market.

A few artists/craftsmen you can expect to find here are:

  • Reds Shadow: Handcrafted shadow boxes.
  • Sea Side Studios: Prints & canvas’s of local scenery and wildlife.
  • Game On: Family games that are handmade out of refurbished pallets.
  • Logan Pottery: Hand built, high-fired stoneware.

The Market takes place on Main Street downtown, where there are tons of restaurants, bars, and small boutiques to enjoy. So stop by Robins Downtown Cafe for breakfast, or O’bricks for a cocktail and lunch.

 

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Activities Bradenton Beach Family Fun Out of Town Recreation Shopping The Things that Locals Know!

Farmer’s Markets On and Off Anna Maria Island

Farmer’s Markets, who doesn’t love them? I know I sure do! Below you will find some great information on a few of our local Farmer’s Markets.

Anna Maria Island:

  • Bridge Street Market (107 Bridge St. in Bardenton Beach):
    The outdoor Bridge Street Market runs every Sunday, November – April, form 10AM – 3PM. This Bradenton beach tradition is a great place to find local artwork, jewelry, produce, and live music.
  • Coquina Beach Market (2650 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, Florida):
    The beach market at Coquina Beach takes place two days of the week, Sundays and Wednesdays. The Sunday market starts in November and is held every Sunday through July. While the Wednesday market takes place December – April or May. Both last from 10AM – 4PM. This is the only beach farmers market in the area, so don’t miss out. The Coquina Beach market is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Dogs are NOT allowed within Coquina Park. Stop by to find some great food, fresh produce, purses, pottery, and more!

Bradenton

  • Bradenton Farmers’ Market (Old Main Street/ 12th St W.):
    The Bradenton Farmers Market in Downtown Bradenton is hosted every Saturday in October through May, from 9AM – 2PM. This farmers market is very popular with the community and is a great way to start your Saturday. Fresh produce, live upbeat music, free activities for the family, etc. On the 3rd Saturday of each month during the farmers market season, they do “Mainly Art”, where local artists/craftsmen display and sell their work.
  • Red Barn Flea Market (1707 1st St.):
    At this market everyone in the family is sure to find something they want. The Red Barn Flea Market is located about 25-30 minutes away from Anna Maria Island. But the drive is worth it, and its bound to be a few hours of shopping and walking. This Market has over 600 vendors! Out of the 145,000 sq.ft area, 80,000 sq. ft. is indoor and air-conditioned. The indoor area includes shopping, fresh produce, entertainment, and a food court. Trust me, the Red Barn Flea Market is worth a visit while you’re in the area!

Sarasota:

  • Sarasota Farmers’ Market (Main St. & Lemon Ave.):
    Established in 1979, the Sarasota Farmers Market continues to carry the tradition of providing the community with plants, local produce, prepared foods, and artisans. With 80 vendors, there is quite a bit to check out here. Rain or shine, the Sarasota Farmers Market is open all year round, from 7AM – 1PM. This market is about 40-45 minutes away form AMI, though because this market is held earlier in the day, traffic shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Want more ideas on what to do in the local area, check out some of our other blogs, including; Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Myakka River State Park, and Fun Children Attractions near AMI .

 

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Activities Dining & Nightlife Family Fun Restaurants Restaurants

Anna Maria Island Pizza Restaurants

There is no shortage of Anna Maria Island Pizza Restaurants. In fact, the island offers five different places to munch on a slice and two places just off island.

Anna Maria Island Pizza Restaurants

Anna Maria Island Pizza Restaurants
Head over to Danny’s Pizzeria just a short drive in land from Anna Maria Island.

Pizza is the perfect food to enjoy on the beach, or in a fantastic Anna Maria Island beach house rental!

Oma’s Pizza in Bradenton Beach

On the south end of the Island you’ll find Oma’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant at 201 Gulf Drive N. Oma’s offers big floppy slices of pizza along with many of the traditional family style Italian specialties.

Solo’s Pizza in Holmes Beach

This casual restaurant is located in the Anna Maria Island Shops plaza at 3244 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. Solo’s is a mix between a pizza joint and a sports bar. They also have thin sliced pizza, sandwiches and pub grub fare.

The Feast in Holmes Beach

Not only can you find great pizza here, but also an assortment of great seafood and something for everyone. The Feast is casual, but slightly higher end. This isn’t really a pizza place, but an nice restaurant that also offers fantastic pizza pies. Find the Feast in the Island Shopping Center at 5406 Marina Drive.

Island Gourmet Grill in Holmes Beach

Located at 5910 Marina Drive, Island Gourmet has something for everyone. Find great pizzas along with a wide selection of menu items. This restaurant is always offering daily specials, so be sure to ask.

J Burns Pizza in Anna Maria

Find this quick and easy pizza place at 308 Pine Avenue. J Burns offer thing and crispy square cut pizza. Additionally you’ll find gluten free options and sub sandwiches.

Off Anna Maria Island Pizza Restaurants

There are plenty of pizza restaurants on Anna Maria Island, but you’ll also find two right off island.

Danny’s Pizzeria in Bradenton

Located at 7220 Manatee Avenue in West Bradenton, Danny’s is a very popular spot among locals. They serve delicious thin crust pizza, sandwiches and delicious Italian specialties for dinner. Excellent pizza and wings along with a great meatball! Danny’s also offers pizza by the slice.

Village Idiot Pizza in Bradenton

This pizza shop is located at 11904 Cortez Road West just past the city of Cortez. Village Idiot has many specialty pizzas, tacos and daily specials.