When Hurricane Irma caused major structural damage to the Historic Anna Maria City Pier on the North end of AMI, it felt like a main piece of the island’s most beloved landmarks was now gone. Thankfully, our supportive community was dedicated to bring back the pier and make a fresh start of memory-making on a new pier. One big bright spot of 2020 was the re-opening of the City Pier.
Many believe that it’s truly not a trip to AMI without a visit to the City Pier. Ideally, with an ice cream cone in hand and a fishing pole in tow. Island locals and visitors alike have created countless fond memories created on this pier. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have access to the Pier back and better than ever!
The new Anna Maria City Pier opened on a limited basis in June for the first time since the pier closed in September 2017, but full access to the $6.8 million structure and its grill and bait shop opened earlier in December. Now, you can visit the pier for a nice stroll, great meal, beautiful view, or relaxing spot to fish.
The City Pier Grill and Bait Shop, owned and operated by longtime island locals, serves an extensive and largely locally-sourced options for any craving. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a beer and wine license and features six taps offering domestic and local craft brews, along with canned beers, and a wine selection.
All seating is outdoors, offering picnic tables, high-top tables and barstools along with benches throughout the pier, and the restaurant plans to feature live music regularly. Bait shop options include live and frozen bait, tackles and fishing rod and bait bucket rentals.
Fishing coincides with the grill and bait shop hours, which are 7 a.m.-10 p.m daily.
So, we’ll see you at the new City Pier, 100 N. Bay Blvd, you can’t miss it!
As the uncertain, anxious, and downright disappointing year of 2020 winds to a close we are probably all looking forward to what 2021 has in store. If this last year has taught us anything it’s that even the best plans can unravel, the most solid traditions can change, and the most calm spirits can become… well, less calm. Amidst the wild things that go on in the world, we’ve been prompted to be extra grateful for the things that remain among a storm.
For this new year’s resolution we’ve decided to give ourselves a break. We’re putting aside any of the typical resolutions: fitness plans, sales goals, pressures be gone. This upcoming year, we’re opting to give ourselves grace and the gift of relaxation.
I know what you’re thinking… the last year gave us an abundance of “free” time. We cancelled plans and stayed home more than ever as the opportunities to get out and about and stay busy were at the minimal. However, with the stress and weight this year put on our shoulders it’s pretty safe to say many of us are likely not ending this year in a “zen” state of mind.
So, our goal for 2021 is to be intentional with our self-care and to actively seek a healthier and more relaxed state of mind. We may not be sure what exactly 2021 will bring and we know that just because a new year starts on the calendar doesn’t necessarily mean a swift reset of everything else. However, we want you to be intentional about taking care of yourself. It’s the best thing you can do to care for others. Whether you start scheming for the new year or pick up whenever you want: We challenge you to seek peace and relaxation.
Of course, our best suggestion for that is spending some time on the beach. Whether you’re an island local who can take some time to do more sunset walks on Anna Maria or treat yourself or a loved one to a nice dinner at a waterside eatery. Or if you’re a visitor who is looking for the ultimate place to take some time to breathe deeper, soak in some Vitamin-D, and enjoy the calm clear waters of AMI. Either way, spending some time alone or with your loved ones in paradise is the ultimate mental and emotional reset to help you feel more balanced.
If you need help getting your piece of peace in paradise, give us a call at (800) 237-2252 so we can set you up in your perfect getaway!
Make a difference this holiday season and donate to Toys for Tots! Provide joy to children over the holidays.
The holidays might look quite different this year for your family, but the opportunity to make a child’s eyes light up is still there! In fact, this uncertain year is even more of a reason to give back this season. More families are struggling financially and many are finding it harder to get into the holly jolly spirit. There is still a chance to spread holiday cheer, even right here in our community, through Toys for Tots.
Last year in Manatee County, our area really showed up to give back! 60,671 toys were distributed to almost 14,400 children through Toys for Tots. We know this holiday time has really snuck up on many of us, but it’s not too late to join the gift-giving goodness! Just pick up a new toy and drop it off at one of our 2 convenient locations in Ellenton or on Anna Maria Island!
Easy outside drop off available at both office locations from Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm.
Holmes Beach office
5201 Gulf Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217
945 25th Drive East, Suite 10 Ellenton, FL 34222
Or, if you can’t make it to either of our locations to drop off a gift there are convenient ways for you to give online as well! You can make a monetary donation to our local Toys for Tots campaign by clicking this link. Or, you can make a virtual toy drop at their link here!
Whether you’re shopping and dropping in person at one of our A Paradise locations, donating online, or selecting toys virtually- thank you for answering the call and joining us to make this season merry and bright for kids who really need it right here in our vibrant community!
Your kindness is the gift that keeps on giving, and we’re grateful to be a part of the holiday magic.
Happy Holidays from our A Paradise family to yours!
After a long year like this, it’s important to make the holidays a time to prioritize relaxation and joy. Whether that means embracing new traditions, tweaking old ones, or just making it up as you go! A great way to make the holidays a bit more calm? Take a vacation to the most serene and beautiful place we know – Anna Maria Island!
Jack Frost won’t be nipping at your nose and the only way you’ll get a white Christmas is on our powdery-sand beaches. The weather may be warmer than any other typical Winter you’re probably used to but spending the holidays in paradise can bring its own unique kind of magic.
Here are a few ways to make the most of celebrating the holiday season in paradise.
Build a Snowman out of Sand
Take the classic Winter activity but make it beachy. Take the snowman idea and just trade it for sand! Your hands will stay warm and you can snap a pic to share with all of your colder-weather loved ones!
Stay warm and make your own decorative paper snowflakes with this longtime favorite! It’s a great way to bring back some childhood memories as well as pretty much the most inexpensive craft and way to decorate that you could ever ask for!
If you’re in the crafty mood and want to make a keepsake to remember your time in paradise year after year, we have a list of easy DIY coastal-themed ornaments! These work great as a family activity, stress-relieving activity, or can be given as Christmas gifts!
Trade Hot Cocoa for Iced Coffee
You may be used to cuddling up next to a warm fire and sipping hot cocoa or warm cider which you can certainly still do here… But it may be a little more comfortable with sometime to help cool you down. Here’s a list of some of the BEST coffee shops in the area where you can get your favorite coffees, cocoas, and teas – hot or iced!
Toys For Tots
Giving back is a major part that makes the holiday season so lovely. Toys for Tots is an incredible initiative that we at A Paradise are happy to partner with every year. Just drop off a toy to either our Ellenton or Anna Maria Island office to take part in making someone’s Christmas special!
Go Golfing instead of Shoveling Snow
An even better way to get a good arm workout than shoveling snow? There are plenty of really great golf courses in the area. Much more fun than breaking a sweat to get into your driveway… Much more of our kind of driving!
Water Sports instead of Snow Sports
There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can enjoy in our area, especially ones on the water! If you love skiing, try water-skiing! Or there are plenty of fun Gulf activities like paddleboarding, charter fishing, or skim boarding!
See, there are just a few wonderful ways that you can make the holidays on Anna Maria Island special. Give us a call to hear about some of our latest deals and see how we can get you and your family your perfect getaway for winter in paradise! (800) 237-2252
Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos, Pixabay and Sharon Hoatland
The holiday season is quickly approaching so it’s best to get started on your gift planning soon! But did you know that your holiday purchases can greatly affect our local economy? There are simple ways to shop responsibly and give back while doing your regular holiday shopping. The best way to shop is by shopping small, local businesses.
Many of our rentals on Anna Maria Island are conveniently located near some of the best shopping spots on the island, so whether you’re looking for a holiday gift for a friend or a souvenir for yourself, you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for and more right here on AMI!
It’s easy to head to big retailers to simplify things, but every time you shop small you are not only building up a local artisan or business owner, you’re helping support the local economy. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be about 200,000 new jobs! That’s the gift that truly keeps on giving.
Our local, small businesses need our support now more than ever. Some of the the best shopping on AMI can be conveniently found on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and Pine Avenue on the North End of Anna Maria. Both streets host plenty of walkable shopping! We’ve compiled some of our favorite island shops to get everything from sunglasses to surf gear to the latest fashions and more!
Amazing Small Businesses on the Island
Original Sand Dollar 5302 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL
The Original Sand Dollar Gift Shop is a cute shop located in Holmes Beach. This store is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike because they have such a unique and trendy selection. Everything from sea shells and candles to jewelry and clothes awaits at The Sand Dollar!
These locally made candles are the PERFECT gift and there is a scent for everyone! Each candle is hand-poured in small batches, made with natural soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, and premium fragrances that are infused with essential oils. In addition, they are dye-free and contain no additives.
West Coast Surf Shop 3902 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL
West Coast Surf Shop has been on Anna Maria Island since 1964! If you’re looking for a real surf shop, than this is the place to go! At West Coast, you will find beachy apparel, the best brands of swimwear, sunglasses, jewelry, surfboards, skateboards, etc. If you have a water sport enthusiast, this is the place to get the latest and greatest gear.
Pink & Navy 216 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL
This adorable boutique features hip and trendy clothing and accessories for women, men and children of all ages and sizes. With a focus on buying brands that give back and do good, you can feel good about your purchases and hopefully find clothes that make you feel beautiful. Because you are – inside and out.
The Island Cabana 403 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL
The Island Cabana, located on Anna Maria Island, is a resort lifestyle beachwear and gifts boutique for both you and your home. Quaint, local shop with women’s brand-name resortwear & trendy jewelry, plus home decor & souvenirs. In 2015 The Island Cabana become a Lilly Pulitzer Premier Specialty Store.
Island Bazaar 3304 E Bay Dr. Holmes Beach, FL
Bridge Street Bazaar 117 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL
A family-owned small business since 1987 that has grown over five times through the years to offer our customers a wide selection of quality goods. Definitely known for its wide variety of funky souvenirs but they also have a great selection of sunglasses! They have everything you need for the beach from Tshirts and beach novelty items as well as everyone’s favorite beachwear brands: Costa and Salt Life.
The holiday season is coming up before we know it and we’re all spending more time at home than ever before. So what can we do to help make our homes more functional and less cluttered? Organizing your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful. Instead, there are several quick ways to take each of the main parts of the house and tidy up in a pinch. We’ve included some tips that are so simple you could accomplish them all even in one afternoon!
Tackle that Tupperware
When you go to open up your kitchen storage drawer are you often left under a mountain of mismatched containers OR can never seem to find the right lid for that jar? Now’s the perfect time to go through and pair up your Tupperware matches and toss any that don’t have a match. Then, place your jars and containers with their matching lids so next time you go to grab a container for your leftovers: You’re ready to rock.
Unjumble the Junk Drawer
It seems as though we all have the dreaded, chaotic junk drawer filled with push pins, paper clips, tape, extra scissors, paperwork, ribbon, and pretty much any random thing we haven’t found another place for. Use small containers to clean up that clutter and organize the necessities for when you need them!
Display Your Jewelry Piles
Don’t allow your jewelry to pile up on your dressers and side tables. Instead, display it in a way that’s functional, accessible and stylish too. That helps keep your favorite jewelry from tangling, getting lost, or rusting!
Keep Products From Your Counters
Counter space is prime real estate in your home! Don’t let them become cluttered and covered with all of your many products – especially in the bathroom! Baskets work and we recommend using extra shelving underneath the sink or above the toilet.
Put those Papers Away
Mail piles, flyers, bills, cards, etc. It doesn’t take long for loose papers to pile up and make any area of the home feel chaotic. Go through your random papers again – Recycle what you don’t absolutely need to keep and file away to organize the rest! Bonus points? Put instruction manuals in a three-ring binder and you’ll never rifle through drawers again.
Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Make your medicine cabinet a repository of things you need and use regularly, which means chucking any outdated medicines and relocating excess to another location. Toss those expired medicines and random bottles. Organizing your medicine cabinet to only feature useful times or necessities.
Taking a little bit of time to tackle some of the cluttered spaces of your home and organizing in a functional and clean way is a great way to spend an afternoon that will make you feel better about the busy months to come.
When you’re done with all of that great work? It’s time to plan yourself a vacation – you’ve earned it! Give us a call at (800) 237-2252.
As we hit the mid-point of October and Fall is officially in full swing, it’s undeniable that the end of the year is quickly upon us. A year that has been full of uncertainty, change and for many of us, a lot of canceled plans. Thankfully, there is still time to redeem the last part of 2020 and have the vacation of a lifetime on Anna Maria Island.
Anna Maria Island Vacation for Any Reason
Whether your holiday plans have changed or you want a little getaway before or after the busy holiday season inevitably takes over – At A Paradise we’ve got something for everyone seeking a tropical retreat. If your family wants to get out of the house and reconnect if you want a couples weekend to escape the cold, or even for just a solo beach vacation… It’s easy to feel at peace at the beaches of AMI. Even if you’re a local who can’t travel to visit faraway family, why not have a staycation on Anna Maria Island over the holidays? Make the most of paradise!
There’s no better way to relax and reignite an attitude of gratitude than on our powdery sandy beaches and crystal clear calm waters. You can seek a warm refuge and get some Vitamin-D soaking up the sun, unplug for the day on a fishing charter, or go on a family bike ride to tour the whole island. The best part? Our weather is absolutely glorious this time of year. With our many outdoor activities and plenty of beach spots, you can rest assured your vacation is safe whether you want some outdoor adventure or just a nice spot to catch up on some reading and catch some rays.
Taking a vacation on Anna Maria Island will provide the ideal paradise in a time when we could all use a little bit of joy. It’s impossible to walk our beaches during a sunset and not feel an emotional release – that’s our guarantee. Check out our many wonderful rentals still available or give us a call so we can find the right fit for your trip this Fall!
Picture this: Perfect warm weather. You’re sunkissed from spending a couple of days on the crystal clear water. You spend the day teeing off at the golf course before heading back to watch the sunset from your beautiful vacation rental on Anna Maria Island. Does it sound like a dream? Well, we can help make your dream a reality with your next AMI vacation!
We’ve rounded up some of the best local golf courses to the Anna Maria Island area so you can plan your next trip. Check out our list below then give us a call to book your next vacation. We’ve got an incredible selection of beach rentals so we can find your perfect fit!
This is the only golfing course on Anna Maria Island. The 9-hole walking course is designed to be an enjoyable and relaxed experience. It’s open dawn to dusk and does not require you to schedule a tee-time, but it is private so give them a call to get set up. The club also offers a dining room and banquet facilities.
As one of the closest mainland golf courses to Anna Maria Island, the Bradenton Country Club is located just 10 minutes from AMI. Its Donald Ross-designed 18-hole course with a beautiful layout features fountains, lagoons, and trees.
The club also offers a variety of other social sports, such as tennis and pickleball, as well as events and activities for the whole family!
Timber Creek is a 9-hole course located 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island is perfect for beginners and families looking to get out and play. It’s also one of the more budget-friendly places to golf near AMI. Depending on the season, a round of golf will cost you anywhere from $10-$20.
The Manatee County Golf Course is located in West Bradenton, about 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island. It offers a challenging public course that underwent a facelift not long ago! Rates range from $15 to $26 for 9-holes, and $35 to $54 for 18-holes, which are time of day and season dependent.
Play where the pros train! The IMG Academy is located in Bradenton– about a 20-minute drive from Anna Maria Island. The club has a challenging layout and offers excellent value. It has plenty of trees for shade, and it’s a great place to spot wildlife while teeing off. It has a nice restaurant to enjoy a meal after your round of golf with attentive staff, and a professional, well-stocked pro shop.
This course provides a surface superior compared to your typical course with a lush ultra dwarf Bermuda Greenway. The green is designed to give you a great experience from exceptionally maintained grounds. It is a well-maintained and scenic course that will be a fun challenge for all ages.
This is an upscale 18-hole public course that is definitely one of the best golf courses in about an hour’s drive from most of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals but it’s worth the trip! This is said to be one of the best courses in Southwest Florida—it’s an Arnold Palmer Signature Design. There’s also a bar and grill for you to enjoy after your game.
Ready to tee off and take off for your next Anna Maria Island vacation? Give us a call and we’ll get you all set up! (800) 237-2252
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
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.
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 Cream – 503 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 Cream – 3234 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
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 Scoops – 103B 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.
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!