THINGS TO DO ON AND AROUND ANNA MARIA ISLAND
Restaurants & Bars
There are TONS of great places to eat and drink.
Below is a very short list to give you some ideas.
Ginny and Jane E's Cafe is our absolute favorite place for breakfast. The Creme Brulee French toast is to die for. They also have smoothies! While you wait for your order to be prepared you can shop for items made by local artists. It's an eclectic, quirky little place. Always a busy place but worth the wait.
Harry's Grill has great burgers! We actually haven't tried anything else from there but it's a casual, laid back spot. We love to sit out on the patio.
The Doctor’s Office is a unique craft cocktail bar - Florida style. It's probably one of the only spots for real and authentic signature cocktails. We're talking boozy drinks. It's in an actual old doctor's office and appropriately themed.
The Freckled Fin is your friendly neighborhood Irish pub. They have live music most nights and even Karaoke. This is a hidden gem for casual, good food and great service. The kitchen stays open later than most!
Scott's Deli serves up the best sandwiches and wraps on the island. They also have creative side salads as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. Want to know the best part? THEY DELIVER TO THE BEACH! That's right. They deliver straight to your beach chair. That's pretty tough to beat.
Rod and Reel Pier is at the North end of the island and has been there since the ’40s. Hurricane Irma destroyed the Anna Maria Pier which was just right around the corner but the Rod and Reel pier remained unscathed. It's a casual place for a Grouper sandwich or other fresh fish. You can also rent a pole and fish off the pier. I've been told the Eggs Benedict is amazing but I haven't tried for myself yet.
Hurricane Hank's is an all-around great spot. Don't be put off by the plaza location - that's where you find some of the best spots in Florida. Hank's menu offers something for everyone. Their peel and eat shrimp sold by the pound are delicious. They have excellent burgers and fish sandwiches and the pasta looks good, too!
The Blue Marlin is a great spot for a nice dinner. It's down in the Southern part of the island near Bridge Street. When we first discovered it we were pleasantly surprised. I expected a hole in the wall but it's actually nicely appointed with delicious food. This is a great date night spot!
Also at the South end, Island Time Bar and Grill is a fun open-air restaurant with yummy casual fare. There is often live music and it's a great place to go to watch a sports game. They have TVs all over the place. For a fancier atmosphere, go upstairs to Bridge Street Bistro for delicious fresh seafood entrees. The Bistro menu is also available downstairs at Island Time.
No trip is complete without a visit to The Donut Experiment. The donuts are delicious as it is, plus you get to design your own. Just fill out an order sheet indicating what type of icing and toppings you want and they'll create a fresh donut just for you!
The place to be on Longboat Key is definitely Shore Restaurant. We love the mid-century vibe and huge waterfront patio. The service at Shore is exceptional and the plates are delicious, creative and contemporary. This is the perfect spot for a date night!
Whitney's is an adorably retro cafe in the North end of LBK. They offer casual but very well done breakfast and lunch selections. Walk up to the counter to place your order and they will service you on their laid back patio or indoors.
For nature and outdoor enthusiasts, the Sarasota and Bradenton area offers a number of great spots to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air while taking in all Florida's wildlife in its natural state. Here are a few of our favorite places to explore.
Robinson Preserve - In northwest Bradenton, the Robinson Preserve offers 487 acres of coastal saltern, marsh, and mangrove habitat. Environmental activities include hiking and biking trails and a canoe/kayak launch. Additional amenities include observation towers and platforms, picnic areas, and a visitors center.
Desoto National Memorial Park - also in Bradenton the Desoto National Memorial commemorates the 1539 landing of Hernando de Soto and the first extensive organized exploration by Europeans of what is now the southern United States. The park is a significant archaeological site where the Manatee River flows into Tampa Bay. The Riverview Point Trail offers perspectives of waterfront habitats and passes by memorials for early visitors to this shore. The trail winds through a mangrove forest on boardwalks at the point where the river and bay meet.
Myakka River State Park - A bit south of Sarasota is our favorite park in the area, the Myakka River State Park. Here, the majestic Myakka River flows through 58 square miles of one of Florida's oldest and largest parks. If you are looking to see alligators, this is your spot as you're sure to see plenty of hiking through the park. Boating, fishing canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on the water while hikers and bicyclists explore miles of trails and backroads.
If you love sports, you're able to find professional sports games to take in year round within an hour drive in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Buccaneers are the hometown NFL team and the excitement of taking in a Tampa Bay Lightning NHL hockey game is unmatched. Downtown St Petersburg is home to the Tampa Bay Rays of the MLB, but during February and March the Baltimore Orioles are in Sarasota and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in Bradenton for Spring Training so they are the areas adopted teams as well!
Bayfront Park Sarasota - If you're looking for a nice way to spend a while exploring downtown Sarasota, Bayfront Park is a great spot. Bayfront Park is a magnificent waterfront green space with a promenade, playground, tiki bar, restaurant, marina and a spectacular 360-degree view of downtown Sarasota and the beautiful Sarasota Bay. From here, If you're up for a walk you won't be disappointed to check out the view from the peak of the Ringling Bridge. It's an amazing view from which you can see downtown Sarasota, Siesta Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key, and the southern tip of Anna Maria Island. After your walk, cool off with a drink at O'leary's tiki bar while enjoying live music!
St Armands Circle - St Armand's Circle is well known to many as a continental marketplace. Located in the heart of Sarasota, only one block away from beautiful Lido Beach and the Gulf of Mexico, the Circle is a charming and graceful combination of past and present. Relax and enjoy award-winning restaurants, shop for souvenirs, high fashion and beachy home decor. You'll find everything you can imagine in At. Armand's Circle.