by Laura Z
Somewhere in NJ
February 9, 2004
Where to Board: There are benches set up around the island with small trolley marker signs. Be aware that the benches are out in the hot sun with no covering or shade. I've watched more than a few families sit there looking very uncomfortable in July. Dress lightly and bring an umbrella if you need shade.
The route covers the course of the former Route 5 northbound on Marina/Palm to Pine and the city pier at Anna Maria, and on the southbound trip will divert right off Palm to serve the lodgings along Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach, returning to Marina (where it will connect with Route 3 to Manatee Ave. daily) then on to East Bay/Gulf to Coquina Beach Transfer Point, where it will meet the Route 6 connector to the mainland (Monday-Saturday).
Where to Hop Off:
One of the stops is the Manatee Public Beach. This is a really nice beach there with public facilities and a good place to eat. For breakfast, they have an all-u-can-eat pancake special. This stop is about a block away from the Umbrella beach resort (RCI timeshare).
The trolley also stops a half block down from the Gulf Stream/Smuggler's Notch Resorts. Along this road is a homemade ice cream place and several other good lunch spots such as the Beach Bistro or Beach House Restaurant.
A good place to jump off is Coquina Beach. Coquina translates to mean "shell" and that's exactly what you'll find on this white powder sand beach. We brought buckets with us and found more shells than we could carry. We later glued the shells on frames to make decorative souvenirs with photos of us on the beach!
The trolley also goes to the other side of the island, to the Anna Maria City Pier. This is a great casual spot for lunch or dinner. You can also watch the anglers pull in their catches. There are several shops to walk around while you're here and another ice cream place!
Trolley fees: The Manatee Trolley is always FREE!!
Special Tip: Gulf Stream Resort offers a free narrated trolley tour each week. Kathy, the tour director, takes a group on board and tells a bit about the island and places to eat and shop. You can stay on for the round trip or get off where you like.
From journal Anna Maria -- The Perfect Beach Getaway!