Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Traveling to Anna Maria Island

We recently took a mini vacation to Florida. We stayed in Bradenton, about 7 miles from Anna Maria Island, at the house that I inherited from my mother when she died.  We took all 3 kids, my 18 year old cousin and her boyfriend. It was a full car, but we managed the 12 hour drive with little excitement.

The gang at Downtown Disney
Since traffic was backed up around Disney, we decided to stop at Downtown Disney to stretch our legs and get a bite to eat before the final 2 hours of our drive. It was insanely busy, but we enjoyed watching the street performers and walking through the gift shops and, of course, the giant Lego store.

Once in Bradenton we had to do some upkeep on the house my mother left to me and my brother, but we spent most of our free time at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. The weather was gorgeous and the water was warm enough to hang out in, unlike the beaches here in North Carolina. The kids built sand castles and kicked the soccer ball on the sand. It was so great!
Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island

If you've never been to Anna Maria Island, it is a small island (about 7 miles long) on the Gulf Coast of Florida, south of Tampa Bay. It's full of vacation rentals, restaurants and small tourist shops. The beach extends the entire western coast of the island. It is a beautiful sandy beach which is kept very clean. At Coquina Beach there is ample parking (except on Easter, which we found out the hard way), grills and picnic tables, life guards and public restrooms. It's a perfect place to spend the day with the family.

If you like to explore, you can rent scooters for an hour or more. We rent from Island Scooter Rentals on Gulf Dr. It's in a great spot and their rates are reasonable. My cousin and her boyfriend rented a scooter for half a day to check out the island. They had to show their driver's licenses and give a credit card for the refundable deposit, but they didn't need any parental permission since they're 18. They opted for helmets, but in Florida it's only required if you're under 16. After a brief training and several practice laps, they were off for 4 hours!

While they scooted, we ate ice cream at Joe's Eats and Sweets. They have a large variety of sundaes that they make with their homemade ice cream. It is a little bit pricey, but so worth it! They have great homemade waffle cones too!

One of my favorite things to do is watch the sunset on Anna Maria Island. Sometimes, as the sun sets below the horizon a flash of green light can be seen...or so I'm told. We held my mother's memorial at sunset on Coquina Beach and it was gorgeous. This may have been our last family trip to Bradenton, but it will always hold a special place in my heart!

1 comment:

Jane said...

Hi CdS Mom!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Anna Maria Island to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)


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