Come explore the islands!

Come explore with us!

We’ve been on the islands all our lives and have come to know and love many of the island’s locals and hospitality businesses. Check out the lodging, food, and activity companies that have made us smile over the years.

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for its gorgeous beaches and clear waters, so if this is on your itinerary, get ready to kick off your flip-flops and get to know this salty little island! Even though Anna Maria Island is only about 7 miles long, it’s actually comprised of three different cities: Bradenton Beach at the south end, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Anna Maria at the north end. Each of these cities has a very unique character and are all well worth exploring.

Bradenton Beach is a charming part of the island and has a history of having a barefoot, beach-loving community. Its “city center” is the locally famous Bridge Street, with restaurants and shops squished into a very walkable space that is just across the street from the beautiful white sands of Cortez Beach. But before heading to the beach, make your way to the end of Bridge Street and grab an amazing lunch on the pier at AMOB (Anna Maria Oyster Bar) – the reviews are correct – this place is awesome! If you’re on Bridge Street in the morning, try the Island Creperie for a delicious French breakfast. Make your way to the beach and you’ll easily spot what locals call the “Three Piers” – this has been a surfer’s hotspot for decades, so enjoy the show if there are waves.  The south end of Anna Maria Island is the best area for exploring the beautiful outdoors because there are plenty of beaches, sandbars, and mangrove islands to enjoy. Leffis Key has an excellent boardwalk trail through the mangroves – so cool to see the mangroves on one side of the island and then cross the street back to the white-sand beach! At the very south end of AMI is Coquina Beach, with its shaded walking trails, picnic tables, plenty of parking, and of course, award-winning white sand beach stretching all the way to the tip of the island.

Holmes Beach has plenty of amazing beach-front bungalows, (check out Cedar Cove Resort) and is also the island’s center of commerce, with the grocery store, 

The north end of the island is beloved for its . Back to map 

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Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for its gorgeous beaches and clear waters, so if this is on your itinerary, get ready to kick off your flip-flops and get to know this salty little island! Even though Anna Maria Island is only about 7 miles long, it’s actually comprised of three different cities: Bradenton Beach at the south end, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Anna Maria at the north end. Each of these cities has a very unique character and are all well worth exploring.

Bradenton Beach is a charming part of the island and has a history of having a barefoot, beach-loving community. Its “city center” is the locally famous Bridge Street, with restaurants and shops squished into a very walkable space that is just across the street from the beautiful white sands of Cortez Beach. But before heading to the beach, make your way to the end of Bridge Street and grab an amazing lunch on the pier at AMOB (Anna Maria Oyster Bar) – the reviews are correct – this place is awesome! If you’re on Bridge Street in the morning, try the Island Creperie for a delicious French breakfast. Make your way to the beach and you’ll easily spot what locals call the “Three Piers” – this has been a surfer’s hotspot for decades, so enjoy the show if there are waves.  The south end of Anna Maria Island is the best area for exploring the beautiful outdoors because there are plenty of beaches, sandbars, and mangrove islands to enjoy. Leffis Key has an excellent boardwalk trail through the mangroves – so cool to see the mangroves on one side of the island and then cross the street back to the white-sand beach! At the very south end of AMI is Coquina Beach, with its shaded walking trails, picnic tables, plenty of parking, and of course, award-winning white sand beach stretching all the way to the tip of the island.

Holmes Beach has plenty of amazing beach-front bungalows, (check out Cedar Cove Resort) and is also the island’s center of commerce, with the grocery store, 

The north end of the island is beloved for its . Back to map 

Driftwood trees in crystal clear water on secluded beach in Longboat Key Florida

Longboat Key

Home to several well-managed preserves and natural spaces, Longboat Key (sometimes called “LBK” or just “Longboat”) is celebrated for its refined, yet “salty” lifestyle that savors the quality of life that open spaces provide. Tucked in nooks across the island are waterfront restaurants that aim to bring the refined coastal vibe to your tummy, and one of our favorites is Mar Vista. This bay-side restaurant has a white sand beach to land your kayak while you enjoy a delicious break from your paddling adventure. So fun!! Back to map

Driftwood trees in crystal clear water on secluded beach in Longboat Key Florida

Sarasota & Bradenton

While the islands often get most of the attention, some of the best places to explore around Sarasota Bay are actually just across the bridge! An excellent example is Bradenton’s Robinson Preserve, where you can paddle through the maze of mangrove trees and experience Florida’s unique “water forests” that are home to friendly manatees, the locally famous jumping mullet, an incredible diversity of birds, and so many more of our favorite wildlife friends! Back to map

Driftwood trees in crystal clear water on secluded beach in Longboat Key Florida

How to make your visit sustainable...

Sarasota Bay Sustainability Guide

Check out our guide on things to do during your visit to Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key that will leave the people and places you visit even happier than you found them. However you choose to enjoy the islands of Sarasota Bay, remember to tread lightly so that all can enjoy these islands for generations to come.