Ice Cream

Anna Maria Island’s Best Ice Cream Shops

There is nothing better this time of year – okay, any time of year – than a nice walk on the beach with a delicious ice cream cone. You can never go wrong with a couple of scoops of ice cream to end or start your day! With our year-round tropical temperatures, it’s always a good idea to grab a sweet treat. Luckily for us on Anna Maria Island, we have a variety of excellent local ice cream shops in the area to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite places to grab some ice cream or dessert of your choice.

Small Town Creamery 5404 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Ice Cream

With ever-changing 50 ice cream flavors, homemade fudge, candy, and lots more. Their ice cream even won the Grand Master Award for exceptional flavor, consistency, and taste. So when you’re searching for wholesome, tasty goodness, step out of the Anna Maria sun and into Small Town Creamery. They also include vegan options. It is especially fun for kids as they have a fun selection of popular trinkets and toys for sale.

Tyler’s Ice Cream1904 Cortez Rd W, Cortez, FL 34215

Located just over the bridge in Historical Cortez Village, Tyler’s Homemade Ice Cream has been one of the best ice cream shops for the last 3 decades.  In fact, over three hundred flavors have been created since Tyler’s opened in 1984. Each batch is hand made in small five-gallon quantities to ensure distinct taste and freshness with each and every flavor. Stop in and try some of Tyler’s old fashioned gourmet ice cream. You won’t be disappointed!

Dips Ice Cream503 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216

Dips Ice Cream on Gulf Drive in the City of Anna Maria is an AMI classic and the perfect spot for ice cream and candy.  Dips serves 32 flavors of ice cream, as well as 2 flavors of soft serve, Italian ice, and an amazing selection of candy.  This family ice cream shop has been voted #1 ice cream by the Anna Maria Island Sun 8 times already!

Holy Cow Ice Cream3234 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

This shop serves up a variety of ice cream flavors & frozen desserts in an offbeat interior. Holy Cow Ice Cream features 36 delicious flavors to choose from, including Sugar Free, Dairy Free and Frozen Yogurt offerings.  Enjoy your favorite flavor in your choice of cone, cup or as a hand-spun milkshake! The tiki lounge and kids area is a great place to enjoy a cool treat with the family. Holy cow!

Two Scoops Ice Cream –  101 N Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216

Ice Cream

Two Scoops has much more to offer than ice cream. Located just across the street from the Anna Maria City Pier, Two Scoops Ice Cream is a convenient place to grab an ice cream cone or snack.  Grab a cool treat and take a stroll along the boardwalk by the bay. This shop is known for its 32 flavors of homemade ice cream but their menu includes a variety of casual dining choices at value prices.

Island Scoops103B Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

Along with Ice Cream, Island Scoops offers an evolving, extraordinary selection of luscious gourmet cupcakes, desserts, gourmet pies, cakes, cookies, cheesecakes and more. Their ice creams and sorbets are made from quality all-natural ingredients, locally sourcing products whenever possible, and many of our ice cream inclusions are made from scratch in our facility.

Photos courtesy of Pexels.com

Beach Renourishment

Beach Renourishment on its way down AMI

If you’ve visited the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island lately you may have noticed some new beachgoers – the heavy machinery and massive pipes being used for our latest beach renourishment and dredging projects.

There recently began an extensive beach renourishment to restock a 5.5-mile stretch of beach northern Holmes Beach to the southern end of Coquina Beach at Longboat Pass. But don’t worry, this is a construction project worth investing in and rooting for- it helps makes our beaches more sustainable.

Why Beach Renourishment Done

“The work you see is maintenance that will help ensure the continued presence of a sandy beach and storm protection for the upland, as well as provide important nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles and shorebirds.”- Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Parks, and Natural Resources Director

Hunsicker said the beach loss averages 100 feet of depth every 10 years. He said the retreat of the sand is measured until it reaches a point where renourishment can begin before too much sand is lost. Each successive event requires less sand until a sustainable pattern is reached.

“Our goal is to get in balance with sand coming into the system and sand coming off the beach”

How Beach Renourishment Accomplished

The sand will be delivered by barge from an offshore borrow area about 2,000 feet offshore of the north end of Anna Maria Island, near Passage Key. The sand is dredged from the offshore areas by a hydraulic cutter suction dredge, then pumped through a pipeline to the beach as a water/sand slurry. The submerged pipeline comes ashore onto the beach at a designated landing location and connects to the shore pipeline, which runs along the dry beach. The sand slurry is discharged from the pipeline and bulldozers move the sand to fill the designed construction template.

Construction equipment moves down the beach around the clock, traveling about 300 feet every 24 hours, with heavy activity along the way expected to last no longer than a few days.

The project schedule calls for restocking about 300-feet of beach per day, baring weather delays, the project should be complete by the end of October.

Portions of the beach will be closed during active construction, preventing the public from accessing that area of the shore. But, the plan will always move in a way that leaves plenty of public beaches still open for visiting. The progress will be updated throughout construction and a list of frequently asked questions are available on the website.

So, if you notice some action on the beaches of AMI over the coming weeks, you can be in the know about what’s happening on our shoreline and rest assured- our beaches will be stocked and ready for many more years of fun in paradise!

Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos

Breakfast

Breakfast Spots on Anna Maria Island

Start your day off right with one of these delicious local Anna Maria Island breakfast spots… It is the most important meal after all! There’s something on this list for everyone so check it out to see where the next breakfast/brunch on AMI you should try! Then, fuel up before you hit the beach or boat for the day.

Minnie’s Beach Cafe
5360 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Family-friendly breakfast and lunch restaurant on Gulf Drive with delicious home cooked meals and baked goods. This cozy, family-owned business since the 1990’s is an island staple that never disappoints!

The Donut Experience
210C Pine Avenue, Anna Maria FL 34216

Create your own vision of the perfect doughnut and they make it happen! They start with a delicious, fresh-made cake donut and then you pick from our huge selection of icings and toppings made-to-order. Great fun and great flavors!

Peach’s
3240 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Their breakfast and lunch menus cater to health conscious individuals and comfort food seekers alike. For over 20 years, Peach’s has been proudly serving generations of families and friends in Sarasota and Manatee counties!

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe
4000 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

If you want to start your morning beachside and full – check out Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe located “Where Manatee Avenue Meets the Gulf”! Famous for their “ALL U CAN EAT” Pancakes & Sausage on the beach, but they offer much more.

Ginny’s & Jane E’
9807 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, FL, 34216

An island staple for more than 15 years with an eclectic mix of café, bakery, and store. Here, you can grab a giant cinnamon roll, breakfast sandwich, borrow a book to read from the café library, or peruse the funky gift shop.

Paradise Bagels Cafe
3220 East Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Known for their delicious bagels and bagel sandwiches, but host to a slew of American breakfast staples. Grab-and-go or sit-and-eat some fresh bagels, specialty sandwiches, pancakes, homemade soups, coffee bar, and much more. 

Cortez Cafe
12108 Cortez Rd W, Cortez, FL 34215

A hearty, affordable breakfast in the fishing village of Cortez. A great place to feast where the locals eat. Their extensive menu has everything from diner favorites to Greek specialities.

The Waffle Press
425 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34217

Try these unique “Walkable waffles”. At the core of their menu is the Leige waffle, a sweeter, smaller cousin to the Belgian waffle. They serve locally roasted, small-batch Cosmos Coffee, and offer specialty brews, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, cold brews, iced coffee and select cold beverages.

Whether you stop at one of these or the many other great breakfast spots in the Anna Maria Island area, you can’t go wrong with starting your day in paradise! Need help getting there? Give us a call and we’ll get your perfect vacation started… and we’re not just talking breakfast food! (800) 237-2252

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Anna Marie

Anna Maria Island in the Movies

Here on Anna Maria Island, we’re known for our picture-perfect beaches but did you know that our little island has actually been featured on the big screen? Yes, AMI has been featured in music videos, indie films, and even a couple of major motion pictures! So, check out some of these movies with a tie to AMI the next time you’re missing paradise or need a rainy afternoon activity!

During the silent film days, Anna Maria Island had a lot of promise in becoming a staple of the film industry.

In 1921, actor Paul Gilmore purchased about 40 acres of land where Coquina Beach is, with the intent to build a film colony, later renamed Gil-Mor Isle. His dream was to make this isle a sort of rival to Hollywood. He did get one movie to be filmed here by Character Picture Corporation, The Isle of Destiny with Gilmore himself appearing in the movie. The Isle of Destiny, a six-reeler, performed well when it premiered in New York theaters, and Gilmore planned at least two other films for production on Anna Maria Island. However, the movie never ended up getting national distribution. Gilmore had no luck with getting other movies filmed there. But, you can stream Isle of Destiny on free Prime Video for a classic glimpse into the AMI of almost 100 years ago!

On An Island With You

Another classic film features our paradise. In 1948, On An Island With You was filmed on Anna Maria Island. This historical romantic comedy featured legend Esther Williams in the lead role along with Jimmy Durante. The film’s plot centers on a romantic triangle at a military base in Hawaii, with Anna Maria Island working as a perfect substitute for Hawaii. You can also stream this classic for rent on Amazon.

Now, for something a little more recent. The Perfect Storm starring Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney tells the tale of a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The calm waters off Anna Maria Island were used to film the scenes that showcased the calm before the storm.

Whether the island’s showcase in the media is big or small, we’re always happy to see our paradise getting the limelight it deserves! So check out these movies and try to pay attention to location scenes you may recognize. Add a little bit of AMI to your next movie day!

Photos courtesy of On An Island with You release poster archives and Wikipedia page.

Desoto National Memorial Park

Visit Bradenton’s Desoto National Memorial Park

Looking to get outside, stretch your legs, and learn a bit of Florida history along the way? Visit Bradenton’s Visit Bradenton’s Desoto National Memorial Park! Visitors can attend living history demonstrations, try on a piece of armor, or walk the nature trail through a Florida coastal landscape similar to the one encountered by conquistadors almost five hundred years ago.

The History

On a sweltering day in May of 1539, Hernando de Soto and an army of over 600 soldiers splashed ashore in the Tampa Bay area. This park in Northwest Bradenton, just a few miles off of Anna Maria Island, commemorates the 1539 landing of Hernando de Soto and the first extensive organized exploration by Europeans of what is now the southern United States. The mission of De Soto National Memorial is to preserve the controversial story of this exploration and interpret its significance in American history.

The Memorial

The memorial includes about 26 acres, where the Manatee River joins Tampa Bay. It has 3,000 feet of coastline and eighty percent of the area is mangrove swamp. So, there is lots of Florida landscape to explore and enjoy at DeSoto park. Other park activities include nature trails and guided trail walks, fishing, bird watching, and picnicking. Park admission is free, so bring the whole family!

Check their website for frequently updated times for events, shows, and programs in the near future.

Photos courtesy of Desoto National Memorial.

get active on AMI

Get Active on AMI

If you’re wanting a slow, relaxing beach vacation in your future then Anna Maria Island (AMI) is the perfect place! Just because you may be on island time here, doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. There are so many fun ways to take advantage of our beautiful great outdoors and get moving! Here are a few ways to adventure on our island AND get some exercise in!

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father's day 2020 father and child on a beach

Father’s Day on AMI

It’s been hard to keep track of the days in the last few weeks, so here’s your friendly reminder that Father’s Day is coming up this weekend! Don’t fret – Father’s Day on Anna Maria Island has so many options your Dad will love, planning should be a breeze. We’ve gathered a few ideas to make this AMI Father’s Day one for the books!

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staycation sunglasses on the beach

Have a Staycation on AMI

You’ve been cooped up with your family for months on end, trying to juggle the many different life-changes thrown at you in this uncertain time. Now, with Summer upon us, we want to remind you to take some time for yourself to relax.

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Holmes Beach Office

On Anna Maria Island
5201 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
941-778-4800
Se Habla Español | Wir sprechen Deutsch

Ellenton Office

Located in Ellenton Plaza
945 25th Drive East
Ellenton, Florida 34222
941-729-2381

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