ANNA MARIA ISLAND, FL
This area is known for its old Florida Charm. Everything is local, there are no high rises or chain restaurants. It has the most beautiful (besides Michigan of course) beaches with sugary white sand and crystal clear water.
We flew direct from Grand Rapids through Allegiant. We landed in Sarasota and it is about a 30 minute drive. We rented a condo through Airbnb within walking distance to Manatee Beach. We were centrally located between Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria. We had so much fun exploring this beautiful area.
The most northern part of the Island. A large beach area with sugary white sand and crystal clear water. If you drive to the northern end of the Island you will see lots of walkways to the beach. Find the side of the street with signs saying parking is allowed. There are no restrooms.
This preserve was very large.
It had a lookout tower where you could see a bridge and the bay. Biking, walking, running, are all allowed in this area. We saw a lot of wildlife from hermit crabs to egrets. Stroller friendly and has picnic areas. This spot is defiantly one to put on the list.
Myakka River State Park
This park was approximately an hour away from the Island but it was worth the trip. The cost to get in was only $6. We first did a canopy walk followed by a nature trail. Then we stopped for a picnic in one of the designated areas. After that we did the bird board walk. It was a boardwalk leading out to the Myakka Lake where you can view many different kind of birds. On our drive out we saw a wild hog and we also saw many gators sitting in the river. They also have a café on premises along with a boat ride. It was such a beautiful, unique park.
This is a charming town. Along bridge street you will find unique shops along with tasty restaurants. At the end of the street leads to the Pier. Grab a fishing pole or rent one at one the shops and throw a line out. They also have a beach area as well. We grabbed dinner at the Wicked Cantina along with a margarita.
This is a very family, friendly restaurant located in Anna Maria Island. They have a few yard games to play along with this grouper metal art figure. The food was delicious! We got the grouper tacos. Its a great environment with awesome service.
Our condo we stayed at was located near Manatee Beach. This beach was very popular. It has a lifeguard stand, a restaurant and tiki bar, restrooms, and changing bath houses. We walked here one morning to have breakfast on the beach!