Five Fun Things To Do on Anna Maria Island, FL
Back in December, the good folks at the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau invited us down to the region for the 2017 Bradenton Blues Festival. If you’ve never been, the Bradenton Area is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, just south of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg.
The primary geographical attraction of the area is Anna Maria Island, which offers white sand beaches, golf, watersports, tropical dining and historical attractions. This is also where we spent most of our time during our visit.
Not surprisingly, December is a fabulous time of year for a Guys Getaway to Anna Maria Island, and we were delighted to be reunited with our friends from MenWhoBlog for another excellent media trip. Meet the cast of this adventure above.
Any trip to Anna Maria Island is likely to include plenty of time at the beach, no matter what time of year you decide to visit. As you can imagine, a barrier island on the Gulf Coast offers miles of amazing beaches and that is by far the #1 thing to do when you visit the region. For this feature we wanted to dig a bit deeper though, so we’ve chosen some other things to highlight from our awesome guys trip to Anna Maria Island.
1) Bradenton Blues Fest
The annual Bradenton Blues Festival features an outstanding lineup of talented blues musicians on the big stage. Our favorite act by far was “The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman”, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. What can we say, we’re suckers for Zydeco and Chubby put on a fabulous show.
Proceeds from the Bradenton Blues Festival support Realize Bradenton’s youth, art, and music programs that are free to the community, including their ‘Blues in the Schools‘ program. The 2018 Bradenton Blues Festival will be held on December 1st, and tickets are already available.
2) Fishing with Egmont Key Adventures
Fishing is a perfect activity for any Mancation, and we had a great day on the water with our new friends from Egmont Key Adventures. We opted for an in-shore fishing adventure, which had us catching mostly snook, trout, mullet, redfish and even a needlefish. However they also offer nearshore or deep-sea fishing experiences if you want to go for the big one.
Our captain was a knowledgeable fisherman who kept the fish biting all morning, and even helped us prepare our catch for grilling later that evening. The inshore option was a perfect casual fishing experience for a fun day with no chance of getting seasick.
3) Flyboarding with Top Gun Flyboards
For those looking for a bit mode adventure, allow us to recommend Top Gun Flyboards. They’re located under a pop-up canopy in Palma Sola Causeway Park and the business is little more than a dedicated guy with a jet ski, flyboard, and safety equipment. But don’t let the modest setting discourage you, they keep the overhead low, and the good times high.
It’s definitely challenging for beginners, so your goal really should just be to get a bit of air and maintain control. However they tell us that many customers come back multiple times within a single visit to the area, and really get the hang of it.
4) Rent a Beach House
It may seem like a no-brainer if you grew up in a family that always stayed in beach houses, but many people only experience the beach in a hotel, and they’re really missing out. For the full beach experience, we greatly recommend renting a house like the “Beachy Villa Vista” that the good folks at Island Real Estate hooked us up with for our visit.
This spacious vacation rental had enough room for our entire group and is pet friendly. It has an amazing backyard pool and the poolside outdoor kitchen under the deck was the perfect spot to grill up a feast on our last day on Anna Maria Island. We can’t wait to visit again.
5) Eat at All the Places
- Never eat any place that we have at home.
- When in doubt, choose something with a view.
So with that in mind, we were delighted to find all of the independent dining options on Anna Maria Island. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below :
Beach Bistro is an amazing waterfront dining establishment that has been included in ZAGAT’s “Top Restaurants in America.” We met the owner, Sean Murphy, who graciously hosted us for a tremendous culinary experience, and then took us to his other properties in town, Eat Here, and The Doctor’s Office. All three should be on your list when you visit Anna Maria Island.
The Gulf Drive Cafe offers some of the best views in the region, with its awesome 450 sq. foot outdoor patio on the Gulf of Mexico. Southern Living Magazine listed them as having one of the “Best Breakfasts in Florida” so we made sure to visit for a memorable beachfront breakfast with live music.
If you prefer a marina view over a beach view, than Anna Maria Oyster Bar should be on your list. We love dining on a pier, and this local favorite didn’t disappoint with its casual seafood menu.
Lastly we suggest the eclectic Ginny’s & Jane E’s Cafe & Store. It’s not our usual style, but it’s a great place to grab a quick bite for breakfast or lunch, and their shop has some of the most unique items in town.
Road Trip Vehicle : Honda Odyssey
Our chariot for this MenWhoBlog Adventure in Anna Maria Island was the 2018 Honda Odyssey. While a minivan wouldn’t normally be our first choice, it ended up being the perfect vehicle for this trip. It had plenty of space for the four of us, and was loaded with tech features. Read our full review of the 2018 Honda Odyssey as driven recently by one of our other contributors.