Taking its name directly from the island; Anna Maria is not only the founding city, but the capital of Anna Maria Island too. Located proudly at the top of the seven-mile stretch of land, Anna Maria city is a very popular place and thriving community. Colourful shops and beautiful homes adorn Anna Maria’s pretty streets the historic culture seems to just pour out from every building as you pass them by. Many of the original buildings have been well maintained and are preserved just as they were. The old city jail for instance; looks as it did when it was built. However, now it is merely a tourist attraction… free of charge.
Anna Maria City has museums with free entry and plenty of places to explore just off the beaten track. Take a picnic with you and find a quiet spot with sensational views of the Intracoastal waterways of the Gulf Coast. Check out the famous Little Belle Haven Historical Cottage that fell into the sea at Tampa. Originally built on Anna Maria City Pier in 1920, Belle Haven has now been fully rescued and restored for visitors.
Take only a short walk from the town and you are literally standing on the shores of some of the world’s most fabulous beaches. The spectacular white sands meet the sparkling blue waters of The Gulf of Mexico. The two main beaches at Anna Maria are Beans Point and Palmetto Avenue Beach. Both are utterly beautiful and have unspoiled views of natural beauty. Beans point is more isolated and less popular so tends to be less crowded. Whereas Palmetto Avenue Beach is the opposite.
Should you happen to be here between the months of May and October then you could be in for a real nature treat. These months signify the start and end of the turtle season on Anna Maria Island. In particular, the loggerhead and green turtles come ashore to nest and lay their eggs. One of their most popular nesting beaches is Bean Point, probably due to the isolation and peacefulness of the surroundings.
If you are staying in Anna Maria late in the turtle season; you may even be lucky enough to see the young turtles leaving by the moonlight. It is a tremendous sight and a once in a lifetime experience for a vacationing family. Don’t forget to stay quiet and watch from a safe distance as the baby turtles make their first steps on their journey to the sea.