Florida’s Anna Maria Island Overview
This quaint little seven-mile-long island in Florida’s Cultural Coast has a unique “Old Florida” atmosphere with a small town charm. Anna Maria Island is bordered by Anna Maria Bay, Sarasota Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The island is somewhat set apart from the more developed areas found closer to Bradenton. Being a bit off the beaten trail tends to contribute to the community atmosphere encountered here.
Anna Maria Island is one of the many places in Florida’s Gulf Coast that sea turtles nest on the beaches. From May through October in Florida, sea turtles come ashore to nest. Protection of the sea turtles has become important aspect of the island culture, and information and training is available for tourists and locals in abundance.
Manatees are also frequent summer visitors at Anna Maria Island, and similarly, the Manatee is held in great reverence by islanders. A subspecies of the Indian Manatee, these herbivores call Anna Maria Island their summer vacation home and can often be observed in the protected estuaries of Anna Maria Sound on the eastern side of the island..
The entire island is a bird sanctuary, and pelicans, multiple types of cranes and herons, wild parrots, sand pipers, hawks and seagulls are found in abundance. Naturalists will enjoy the wide variety of shorebirds along with a variety of migratory visitors.
Bottlenose dolphins can be observed both in the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf. You can watch them from the shore or while exploring the island by boat. They often dive in and out of the wake from boats, leaping high into the air and thrilling their watching audience.