Anna Maria Island is surrounded by four amazing and bountiful bodies of water; Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) and Sarasota Bay. Anna Maria Island lies just to the south of Tampa Bay, snuggles the Gulf of Mexico to the west and gently brushes Sarasota Bay and the ICW to the east and southeast. The island of Anna Maria is the northernmost key in a string of amazing barrier islands that run south from Tampa Bay to Sarasota, Florida. Home to the three cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach along its seven-mile length, Florida’s’ wonderful island heritage is generously preserved by the island’s governmental bodies. In fact, and unusual to most of Florida’s coast, there are only two buildings on the island of Anna Maria that stand taller than three stories.
The city of Anna Maria is located along the island’s northernmost shore. Its original inhabitants were Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes, with recorded history dating back five centuries. Homesteaded in the late 1800’s, George Emerson Bean is credited with laying out its street and water systems and the first church built on the island by the creator of the Fig Newton, George Roser, still stands and serves this grateful community. The city has approximately 1,800 permanent residents who enjoy the idyllic tropical lifestyle alongside the beachgoers, anglers and seafood lovers.
Holmes Beach is located at (27.509782, -82.715852).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 km² (1.7 mi²). 4.2 km² (1.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (6.36%) is water.
Also homesteaded in the late 1800s, Holmes Beach began as the 160-acre residence of Sam and Annie Cobb. Although the Cobbs were its first residents, the community was named after its developer, Jack Holmes. Mr. Holmes is credited with creating this 600-acre community nestled in the center of Anna Maria Island at the end of WWII. Today, 5,000 residents take time to relax on the county’s only public beach, wander through the eclectic shops, and dine in its fantastic restaurants. As the island’s largest community, Holmes Beach also offers the greatest assortment of motels, rental condominiums, and marinas.
The newer community of Bradenton Beach was incorporated in 1953 and boasts 1,500 permanent residents. In 1921, a wooden bridge provided access between Anna Maria Island and the mainland. When replaced by a newer bridge, the western portion of that original bridge was retained to provide one of the island’s many great fishing spots and is now known as the Bradenton Beach Fishing Pier. The community’s quaint seaside inns, charming motels, and shoreline condominiums house vacationers and natives alike as the community offers a selection of waterfront dining opportunities, a 96-acre beach nearby, and a newly refurbished downtown.
Information provided by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce