Anna Maria Island’s charming barrier island resort area is reminiscent of “Old Florida.” A laidback air pervades the place, with endless beaches backed by modest cottages and low-key resorts.
Anna Maria Island’s beaches include silky white sand suitable for wriggling your toes while lying on a beach towel. These seven-mile-long Gulf Coast beaches stretch from Bean Point in the north to Coquina Beach in the south.
You may walk along the shore in Anna Maria Island. For those who have a lot of energy and are willing to traverse the entire island’s beach, the sand is hard and flat, and they can walk from one end to the other.
Anna Maria Island’s beaches are easily accessible from Sarasota and Tampa. Except for Bean Point, parking is ample in vast spaces that rarely fill up. Most beaches have lifeguards, showers, and lockers.
Parking, especially along Historic Bridge Street, can be difficult at peak times. Park at one of the large beach lots like Coquina or Cortez and ride the free trolley around. If you are staying at a resort or rental property away from the beach, leave your car parked and stroll out to Gulf Drive. It runs every 20 minutes and stops at 35 locations.
Check out our list of Anna Maria Island’s most popular beaches to help you plan your vacation.
1. Palmetto Avenue Beach
In addition to being more secluded and pristine than some of the other beaches in the area, Palmetto Avenue Beach is located close to the northern tip of the island. It’s a lovely, quiet and uncrowded gulf-side retreat for sunbathing or swimming in clear turquoise waters. Because there are no lifeguards or facilities on this beach, plan ahead of time and bring everything you need.
The Palmetto Avenue Beach is located at 100 Palmetto Avenue on Anna Maria Island and is a popular tourist destination. To get to the beach, take Palm or Magnolia Avenue off Gulf Drive. Es el lugar más cerca de las principales tien
Parking is limited but free along Gulf Boulevard, with only street parking available. If you’re worried about parking, cycling around the island is a good option.
Expect to find no restrooms, showers, playgrounds, bars, beach or watersport rentals – the absence of these amenities is part of the price for privacy on a beautiful Florida beach.
This well-kept beach has soft sugar-white sand. The Gulf waters are some of the best on the West Coast. Swimming on a hot summer day is great fun, but please be careful as there are no lifeguards on duty.
This beach is a good place to look for long-lost shells, especially in the foliage. Beautiful unbroken shells that no one else has seen are possible. The competition is low because there are few visitors.
Pets are not permitted on the beach.
2. Anna Maria Beach
Anna Maria Beach, which is located on the island’s northernmost tip, is another popular destination. This beach stretches along the entire western end of the island and is ideal if you’re seeking some peace and quiet. Because of the large amount of area, it will be difficult to find facilities, which is why it does not draw a large number of tourists. If you’re searching for a quiet location to swim or catch up on some reading in the Florida sunshine, look no further.
3. Coquina Beach
And it’s not simply the ocean view that makes Coquina Beach a must-see. Beautiful Australian pine trees line the shore behind it. It’s a nice respite from the searing Florida sun beneath these trees.
Getting from the towel to the ocean is quick and easy here. The water is clear, warm, and shallow. On the beach, numerous lifeguard towers ensure that all visitors are fully protected and rescued when needed.
Grills, picnic shelters, and plenty of space to stretch out with the kids, grandparents, or other relatives make this a great family getaway. If the youngsters have had enough beach time, nearby playgrounds are great.
From November to March, a market springs up under the trees every Sunday and Wednesday. A variety of items are available for purchase, ranging from caramel corn to artwork and even contemporary attire. One of the best things to do on Anna Maria Island is to visit the market.
The Coquina Beach Café, with one of the nicest oceanfront patios on the island, is located in the “activity” zone of the beach. The beach volleyball courts are just to the north of the restaurant if you want to play a game of pickup. An attendant will collect the rental charge after a time.
Walking south along the beach to Longboat Pass offers breathtaking vistas. For this reason, Longboat Pass is one of the main entrance routes from Sarasota Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, and it is a constant source of entertainment.
For day trips, Coquina Beach is the nicest beach in Anna Maria. North and south parking lots separate the beach. Nearby the bridge to Longboat Key is another parking lot. The beach, like all others on the island, has free parking.
4. Cortez Beach
Are you looking for a beach that is family-friendly and offers plenty of entertainment options for both children and adults? Go to Bradenton Beach for a day of relaxation. Upon arriving on Anna Maria Island, you’ll cross the Cortez Bridge to enjoy the stunning white sand beaches and Caribbean-like waters that the island has to offer.
At Bradenton Beach, lifeguards are on duty 24 hours a day to keep an eye on you and your loved ones while you enjoy a swim in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Children can play in the playground if building sandcastles, swimming, and shelling don’t exhaust them from their activities on the beach.
There are also a variety of watersports available for the older and more adventurous members of the family. Some of the exciting activities available at Bradenton Beach include parasailing, jet skiing, and kayaking, to name a few.
When you’re in Bradenton Beach, make sure to spend some time at Coquina Beach, which is right across the street. Shelling enthusiasts, in particular, should not miss out on this breathtaking beach. It is well-known for its natural beauty and is considered to be one of the most beautiful spots to visit on Anna Maria Island.
5. Manatee Public Beach
Manatee Public Beach can be reached in minutes by taking Highway 64 all the way to its terminus and pulling into the parking lot. You’ll find a wide beach here that’s perfect for a relaxing family day at the beach. As soon as you pull into the parking lot, you’re just a few steps from the beach. Surf and beach paraphernalia can be purchased at any of the many beach shops.
Volleyball is a great way to get some exercise in the sun, and there are five sand courts to choose from. Walking to the end of the island to Bean Point provides another option for those who can’t stay still. Consider a return trip of just over seven miles.
Spend your days lounging in the sun or going for a swim in the shallow, warm waters, all while keeping an eye on things thanks to the lifeguards stationed in their imposing towers. If you’ve worked up an appetite during your workout, head back to the Anna Maria Island Café and enjoy a meal while feeling the sand between your toes. Otherwise, you can make your way back to Gulf Drive and eat at Skinny’s, an authentic hamburger stand.
6. Bean Point
Bean Point can be found at the northernmost tip of Anna Maria Island. If you prefer a wide, empty beach, this is the place for you. There are few places in St. Petersburg where you can see the Gulf and Bay waters meet, and Bean Point is one of them. The sunset at Bean Point is one of the best on the island.
A large swath of the island’s land was purchased by George Emerson Bean in 1892, and he established a home here. Because getting to the beach and finding parking can be a challenge, it’s best to arrive as early as possible. Both North Shore Drive and Gladiolus Street, where it meets Fern Street, provide access.
From the Manatee Public Beach, many people choose to walk or bike to the various access points, which all have bike racks. Bring everything you need; there are no beach vendors in this area. Furthermore, there are no lifeguards, washrooms, or changing facilities. Swimming in the north end of the beach, where the current is particularly strong, is not recommended at this location, especially for beginners. Due to the lack of lifeguards on the southwestern side, caution is advised.
7. Bradenton Beach
Bradenton Beach, located on Anna Maria Island off the coast of Florida’s Gulf Coast and a short drive from the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota, is a small town known for its fishing piers, sugar-sand beaches, and a charming strip of shops, restaurants, and other family-owned establishments. Bradenton Beach, a Gulf retreat, has a noticeable difference in the pace of life. Exhibit A: There are no drive-through restaurants allowed in this area. For example, on Pine Avenue, near the northern end of the island, you can find French-milled soaps, specialty olive oils, handcrafted clothing, and small art galleries, among other things. Aside from the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum and Artspace Studios and Gallery, Pine Avenue is also home to Anna Maria Accommodations, which offers bikes and paddleboard rentals to explore Bradenton Beach and the surrounding area.
8. Holmes Beach
Despite the fact that it is not depicted on many maps, Holmes Beach is roughly the beach area south of Manatee Beach and north of Bradenton Beach. It’s no surprise that this is one of Anna Maria Island’s most peaceful beaches because of the large number of condos and private residences that line its shore.
Beach access points located off side roads will provide you with convenient access, though parking may be limited. Because so few people consider visiting Holmes Beach, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to snag one of the available parking spaces. To get to the beach, head either north or south from Manatee Beach.
9. Beer Can Island Beach
Beer Can Island Beach has the feeling of being your own private beach due to the low number of people who visit. It’s the ideal location for taking stunning photographs without feeling self-conscious. The surrounding natural beauty serves as the ideal backdrop for even the most adventurous of beach photographs.
Information on beach parking on Anna Maria Island
The majority of the beaches on Anna Maria Island have parking lots, although some of the beaches have restricted parking or require you to park on the street in rare cases. On Anna Maria Island, you’ll be delighted to know that the beaches and parking are both completely complimentary.
We visited in early April and parking was not a problem for us while we were there. However, spots do fill up quickly, especially during the summer months, so arrive early!
Numerous people use golf carts or take advantage of the free shuttle service or the monkey bus to get around the island. They will transport you to a number of locations on Anna Maria Island and will make stops at the majority of the beaches.
There may be some locations, particularly on the northern end of the island, where you will have to walk a little distance to get to the beach from the bus stop, so plan accordingly.
Anna Maria Island enforces strict parking regulations, so be sure to only park your vehicle in a designated area. In particular, be aware of pedestrians on Gulf Drive. Use the free island trolley if you’re worried about getting to these beaches. Since May through October is turtle season, there’s also a lot to be concerned about. Take extra care in these months if you come across a group of turtles, as some areas may be restricted.