Amazing Anna Maria - Day in my Lyfe - 1

Good Afternoon Readers!

Last month, I met up with a few distant cousins of mine for a family reunion. I had only just met most of them in 2018 on our trip to Charleston, and it was so nice to see them again! For this year's excursion, we wanted to go someplace a bit closer to home, while still feeling like a proper getaway. After much debate, we all agreed on Anna Maria Island.

In short, it was STUNNING.

*Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission for purchases made through some of the links on this page. My views and opinions are never swayed and will only recommend products or places I love or enjoy. I am not being sponsored by any of the places mentioned in this post. Just want to share my experience on this lovely island!

Anna Maria is part of a quant little barrier island on the Gulf Coast, (North-West of the bigger cities of Bradenton and Sarasota). The whole island is about 7 miles long and is divided into three cities: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria. Most of the island is filled with little condos, houses, and restaurants. Meaning no high-rises in sight!

It has the kind of vibe I'm attracted to. The "island life" of wearing a bikini and flip flops all day, there's tropical plants and palms everywhere, and everyone is so relaxed, happy, and kind. (Side note: it was the middle of January, with the warmest temperature being 65° F, so I was definitely not in a bikini... but the vibe was still there.) Our trip was for four days, and since I took so many pictures, I'll be dividing up my blog posts by each day... so stay tuned for more!

Our first day began on Friday, when we left Miami with a trunk full of luggage (and camera gear)! By the time we made it to the Bradenton area, it was still a bit early to check-in to our condo. So we had to stop at the beach first!

Coquina Beach

I've been wanting to go to Coquina Beach in (Bradenton Beach) for a few years. I was definitely not disappointed! The water was flat, incredibly crystal clear, in a beautiful shade of turquoise. And the sand was the SOFTEST sand I've ever felt. Almost like baby powder, (only it doesn't stick to your skin the same way).

As I walked North along the sand, I kept noticing small schools of stingrays gliding across the shallow shore.

I eventually made it to the pier, that's right on the border of Cortez Beach. Where I got a better view of the rays, and even spotted a Great Blue Heron!

Sunrise Garden Resort

We hopped back in the car made our way to our room at the Sunrise Garden Resort in Anna Maria. After a minute of unpacking, I took time to wander around the property to take photos of pretty plants.

Then I noticed an ancient artifact...

The bay side of the island is a 3 minute walk, heading East on Spring Ave, from the resort. So we made a quick stop there before meeting up with some of the family.

The Sandbar Restaurant

From the resort, its about a 10 minute walk, heading West on Spring Ave, to The Sandbar Restaurant. It's right on the beach, with lovely string lights hanging above the outdoor seating, and features a stunning view of the Gulf.

We sat with a couple family members and enjoyed the view, then strolled along the water's edge.

I found lots of empty Coquina shells that washed ashore.

From there, we decided to take a different route back, heading East on Pine Ave...

And then I got arrested!

Okay, I'm totally kidding.

Anna Maria City Jail
We stumbled upon a "jail" that sits in the City of Anna Maria Historical Park.

When it was first built in 1927, it had a door, a wooden roof, and only bars in the windows. If people were getting too rowdy at the nearby dance hall, they were put in jail to spend the night. Swarms of mosquitos would come in through the open windows and torment the offenders. Plus the hot, humid weather wasn't pleasant either... Needless to say, people learned pretty quickly to stay quiet at the tavern!

About 20 years later, a fire broke out and burnt the roof and door, so only the concrete walls were left behind. So the founder of the Islander Newspaper, Harry Varley, turned it into a tourist attraction by painting it with catchy slogans.

Anna Maria City Pier

On Pine Ave and S Bay Blvd, lies the Anna Maria City Pier. Well, at least it used to...

The pier was first built in 1911, and has been a staple in Anna Maria ever since. But in September 2017, Hurricane Irma damaged the pier so severely, that it needed to be closed and torn down. When I visited the area, this was all that's left.

As of February 2019, construction for a new pier has begun. And will look just like the old pier, but much stronger and equipped with solar panels to power the bait shop and restaurant at the end of the wharf.

The Waterfront Restaurant
For our first dinner on the island we went to The Waterfront Restaurant. We were a large group of loud Cuban-Americans, so it was great we were able to sit outside. It was getting colder as the night progressed, but there was a few heating lamps around to keep us comfortable. I had the Warm Kale Salad made up of kale, figs, sunflower seeds, clementine oranges, grilled chicken, and topped with Florida orange-honey vinaigrette. (I've been trying to eat clean this year so this was one of the more healthier options that wouldn't upset my digestion.)

It was a great first day in Anna Maria! You can check out day 2 to see what else we got up to!


P.S. - Outfit Deets!
Top - From Gap over 5 years ago


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