Anna Maria Journals

Anna Maria -- The Perfect Beach Getaway!

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An April 2003 trip to Anna Maria by Laura Z

Manatee Trolley Photo, Anna Maria, Florida More Photos
Quote: If you love crystal clear water and white powder sand beaches... If you love dining at open air restaurants with a view of the sun setting on the gulf of Mexico... If you love a laid back atmosphere with a tropical setting... You'll love Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria -- The Perfect Beach Getaway!

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Overview

Anna Maria Island Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
The best thing about Anna Maria Island is the atmosphere. It is a beach town. The Gulf of Mexico surrounds you. Where there isn't the gulf, there is the bay. There are no tall buildings or neon signs. There are no McDonald's or sprawling Hyatts. There is sun, sand, seafood, and relaxation. Still, you'll find things to do beside the beach. Check out the Mote Aquarium, the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the Ringling Museum, and if you really need some excitement, Tampa and Busch Gardens are a short drive away.Quick Tips: Take time to drive around the island. Stop in local stores and talk to the townspeople. You'll find they are happy to talk about their island of beauty. The restaurants...Read More

Umbrella Beach Resort

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Hotel

Umbrella Beach Resort Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Anna Maria is a wonderful beach destination. The beach is incredible and there are incredible places to dine on the sand and watch the gulf.Best Things About the Resort:The resort is situated in a convenient area on Anna Maria to shops and restaurants. The unit is large and clean. Staff members are friendly and offer daily activities. It feels more like a personally owned condo than a hotel unit.Resort Experience:This was one of my favorite trips! I was a bit skeptical when I arrived at the resort, as I hate staying "off" the beach. However, the unit, resort and surrounding area more than made up for the lack of proximity. The units are ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 8, 2004

Umbrella Beach Resort
3805 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria Island, Florida
(941) 778-6667

Resort Sixty-Six

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Hotel

Resort Sixty-Six Photo, Sarasota, Florida
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:The resort is situated directly on the beach. It is within easy driving distance to many restaurants. Tampa/Busch Gardens is a 1-hour drive to the north.Best Things About the Resort:The staff is very friendly and accommodating. The resort and unit are clean. The gulf-front units are directly on the sand, with nothing between you and the beach. There is a gourmet restaurant on site (Beach Bistro) and ample parking.Resort Experience:Our unit was no. 111 on the first-floor and directly on the gulf. There are only two units on the first floor that are gulf-front and two or three on the upper floors (nos. 225 and 226). The rest are located on th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2004

Resort Sixty-Six
6600 Gulf Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34217
(941) 778-2238

Via Roma

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Hotel

Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Busch Gardens is an hour drive to the north. Orlando takes two hours. Local attractions include the Mote Aquarium and pelican sanctuary, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and the Ringling Museum. The beaches are wonderful for shelling and walking (usually very calm waves and warm temperatures). The island offers a free trolley throughout the day. Via Roma is situated within easy driving distance to several excellent restaurants: The Beach House (watch the sunset on the gulf while dining outside on the patio sipping a Passion Fruit Colada), the Rod and Reel Pier (Enjoy the grilled Amberjack from their birds-eye view of the gulf), the Chart House (in Long Boat- don’t miss the m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2005

Via Roma
2408 Gulf Drive N.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
941/778-6691

Beach House Restaurant

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Restaurant | "The Beach House Restaurant"

Beach House Restaurant Photo, Bradenton Beach, Florida
Quote:
Imagine this: You've spent the day on a beautiful, white powder sand beach. Your children played in the calm blue water and hunted for seashells. You are a golden tan and relaxed from a day in the sun. You go back to your resort, take showers, and put on casual eveningwear. Now you're ready for dinner at the Beach House. The Beach House Restaurant is the perfect place for a relaxing family dining experience, with room for the kids to play on the beach while you sip a mango colada on the terrace next to them. You can enjoy your meal inside the large dining room or on the beachfront covered deck (where I always sit). Sometimes they have a musician at sunset, too. The view is absolutely ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 9, 2004

Beach House Restaurant
200 Gulf Drive
Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
(941) 779-2222

Rotten Ralph's

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Restaurant

Quote:
Rotten Ralph's is a unique and enjoyable dining experience. You can either eat indoors with windows all around or on the covered deck in the marina (it feels like you're in your backyard. That's if you lived on a yacht marina). From the hanging rolls of paper towels to the all-you-can-eat British style fish and chips for $7.99, it is memorable. The food is exceptional, as is the service and atmosphere. The extensive menu caters to all tastes. One day the special was lobster, with a whole lobster and all the accompaniments for less than $20! It was delicious! My husband tried the all-you-can-eat fish and chips and really enjoyed it. The helpings were very generous. My mother tried the fri...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 9, 2004

Rotten Ralph's
902 S. Bay Blvd.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
(941) 778-3953

Manatee Trolley

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Attraction

Manatee Trolley Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
Taking the Manatee trolley is a nice way to get around Anna Maria Island, whether it's going for lunch at the City Pier restaurant or an afternoon ice cream. It's fun for kids and free! 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 lodging...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 9, 2004

Manatee Trolley
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island, Florida
(941) 749-7116

Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum

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Attraction

Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
This is no ordinary museum -- this is an actual train! The volunteers at the Gulf Coast Museum are dedicated to preserving trains; it's obvious. They took the time to talk to my sons about trains and posed for photos with them. The conductor and brakeman walked through the cars talking to passengers and ensuring everyone was enjoying the ride. Their work is surely a labor of love for this non-profit organization. You can first go into an old caboose and historic sleeper cars and read about the train's history. They also have a gift shop with train memorabilia. We purchased a railroad spike with a metal train glued on top that my sons have in their room as a nice souvenir. For the train...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2004

Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum

Anna Maria Island, Florida
(877) 869-0800

Auntie M's Island Shopping Center

Attraction | "Auntie M's"

Quote:
Auntie M's provides an economical and efficient laundry service. I dropped my clothes off (three suitcases full) at the coin laundry location at 10am. By 2pm, she called my cell phone to let me know that it was done. She weighs the laundry after it is cleaned and charges by the pound. The fee includes the laundry soap, folding, everything. I paid $25 and enjoyed my time on the beach. The week prior, I had taken these same clothes elsewhere and laundered them myself. I spent $15 in quarters and $4 for detergent, and sweated in the heat and humidity for 2 hours. For $6, it was surely not worth it! Auntie M's is a service well worth the money! The owner is friendly and does an excellent job.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2005

Auntie M's Island Shopping Center
5400 Marina Drive
Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
I’m always looking for a great beach vacation - somewhere with soft sand, clear water, good restaurants, some fun things to do, and nice, clean accommodations. Anna Maria is all that and more! The island is carefully zoned to keep out high rises and offers a tropical beach-town atmosphere. There aren’t many timeshares. Exchanging into them is difficult but not impossible. I’ve stayed at one resort, Umbrella Beach Resort, and toured all of the others. I’ve spoken to the management, looked at rooms, and walked on their beaches. Here is an overall assessment from my perspective. The only two timeshares that are located directly on the beach are Via Roma and Resort Sixty-Six. These ...Read More