Just a little bit of paradise....
|Located on the west coast of Florida,
Anna Maria Island is the barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay with
white sand beaches stretching for 7 miles along the gulf coastline. There is a canal network throughout
the island that allows an interesting selection of water-front lifestyles, plus an island trolley system for
transportation throughout the three individually unique island cities.|
Anna Maria Island supports a very special ecology and "Old Florida" philosphy. The laid-back lifestyle allows time to step back from the hectic energies and
just walk on the beach, or enjoy a picnic supper at sunset.
Surrounded by the lush sub-tropical growth and island birds, you feel the peace and security of times gone by.
Once you've visited our island, you'll want to come back.
There are 7 miles of Gulf of Mexico Beaches on the island and many smaller beaches on the Tampa Bay and intracoastal waterways. The Manatee County beach has the Cafe at the Beach where you
can enjoy your breakfast right out on the beach. There is also a children's playground on the beach along with picnic tables under the trees for family gatherings.
Coquina Beach at the southern end of the island has a huge parking lot along wth life guards and fishing areas on both the intracoastal side and the gulf side.
The beaches in Anna Maria City are a bit more seculuded with a small parking lot and limited on street parking, but it's a favorite spot to watch the sunsets over the gulf.
Anna Maria City,
to the north, is basically residental with the addition of
sandwich shops, a few restaurants, and the Bay View Plaza on the bay-side of the island, with boutiques and the historic Anna Maria City Pier.
Pine Avenue (running east to west from the city pier to the Gulf) is undergoing reconstruction to restore some of the historic island cottages to maintain the 'old Florida' look and feel.
One can shop for antiques jewelry and clothing, or enjoy the restaurants or visit the Anna Maria Historical Museum on Pine Avenue.
|George Emerson Bean,a world traveler from Connecticut, became the first permanent resident on the Island and homesteaded what is now the City of Anna Maria.
He built his home near the present location of the Rod and Reel Pier in 1893 and homesteaded 140 acres, from the North Point (Bean Point) to what is now Magnolia Avenue, where the Island Community Center is located.
His son, George W. Bean, became the first land developer and with John Roser formed the Anna Maria Beach Company. Streets and sidewalks were laid out; homes, businesses and a water system were built.
We recently had a wonderful email from Mr. George Bean of South Carolina, one of George Emerson Bean's decendants. Click here to read his own island
memory. Thank you George.
The first house of worship, Roser Memorial Community Church, was
built by George Roser in memory of his mother. Roser was the creator of the Fig Newton which he eventually sold to Nabisco Brands. Roser Memorial Community Church still stands on Pine Avenue, along with the George Bean house
across the street.
Holmes Beach, is the "business" center of the island.
The island library, the banks and island grocery store are all in
Holmes Beach along with a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Manatee County Beach greets the visitors to our island, where the
Beach Cafe serves their guests on the beach patio right on the Gulf.
One of the two bridges to the island, Manatee Bridge, brings the traveler into Holmes Beach at the end
of SR 64, which ends on the island.
Holmes Beach is a homogenous mixture of residential
single-family homes, multi-family condominium
developments and businesses existing in harmony
with the landscape as well as the Islandís small-town
At the end of World War II Jack Holmes,
a developer with a dream, created a 600-acre community in the center of
the island. In 1948 an airstrip was built as a landing strip for small
planes. The film "On An Island With You," starring Esther Williams and
Peter Lawford, was partially filmed on the island. Esther Williams bought
property, although it is not known if she ever lived on the island.
In 1970 an airplane accident signaled doom for the airstrip. Despite a "Save Our Airport"
campaign the airport closed in 1973.
|Bradenton Beach, at the southern end of the island, is home to many condominium units, luxurious resorts and
gulf front rentals. Coquina beach stretches along the gulf shoreline and supports the largest
beach parking area on the island.
|Historic Bridge Street hosts a variety of festivals and from time to time, a farmer's market that is a
wonderful opportunity to purchase locally grown produce.
Prior to 1921, the only way to get to the island was by boat. In 1921 Anna Maria was physically connected to the mainland by a
wooden bridge that extended westward from the fishing village of Cortez
to the Island.
The Bradenton Beach fishing pier is the western end of that
original bridge. Within the last few years, historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach has been restored, and the both residents and tourists can enjoy a meal at the
City Pier Restaurant.
At the southern most end of Bradenton Beach is the Longboat Key bridge, and one can
continue along the gulf barrier island to Sarasota for more shopping and restaurants
on St. Armand's Circle.
Anna Maria City