The Art of Smart Timing
Southwest Florida, including Anna Maria Island, experiences its peak tourism activity from Christmas through Easter, when travelers come to escape the cold in exchange for near-constant sun and warmth. That also means highest lodging rates and most traffic and crowds. If you have pre-school-aged children, shoot for after spring break and before summer vacation or after school starts and before the holidays. That's when rates and visitation numbers are lowest, and the weather is typically most pleasant.
The summer months bring swarms of vacationing families, sweltering and humid days, and the threat of tropical storms. Summer rates are, however, lower than in high season, except for the holidays, when many Anna Maria Island resorts hike them up.
The closest major airport to Anna Maria Island is the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, but it offers limited airlines service. Tampa International Airport (TPA) welcomes more airlines and lies about one hour and 15 minutes north with interstate access.
Extremely safe and family friendly, Anna Maria Island is also easy to navigate if you are driving. A free trolley runs the length of the island from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. if you'd rather not to rent a car. Finding parking spots, especially in Bradenton Beach, can be tricky, so there's another reason to take the trolley. Parking is free at beaches and most places of business. Stroller-friendly sidewalks and pedestrian crossings make walking an easy way of getting around.
Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce
Manatee County Convention and Visitors Bureau