Do you think it’s a little crazy to consider planning an Anna Maria Island holiday this year? We know it may be different but it’s the perfect time to visit Florida. Even if you don’t come right around the actual holidays, the entire month of December is full of activities on the island and around the entire area.
Most people think of cold temperatures and a white Christmas when it comes to the holidays. But, there is such a thing as a white Christmas in Florida – minus the cold temperatures, of course (unless you live here and think 65 is freezing). Here are some of the upcoming events to get you in the holiday spirit. Try and work a visit here even if it is just for the weekend:
Holmes Beach Downtown Merchants Holiday Open House, December 2, 5-8pm
One thing about the island and people who live here is their desire to get together at community events. To kick off the holiday season, the merchants in Holmes Beach hold their annual open house. The merchants offer holiday cheer with drinks and treats, and keep their shops open so that everyone can Christmas shop. The Christmas tree lighting also takes place, and yes, Santa makes an appearance to listen to wishes and take pictures with the kids. This is a fun even to attend especially when dinner at a local restaurant follows.
City of Anna Maria “Holiday of Treasures,” Friday, December 9, 2016
This event kicks off a busy weekend on during the Anna Maria Island holiday. There is nothing like meandering up and down Pine Avenue enjoying everything it offers. During the holidays, there is nothing like it. Stores and other businesses keep their doors open so people can shop and enjoy the atmosphere, meet new people and get into the holiday spirit. This open house starts at 5:30pm, and like the Holmes Beach event, the perfect ending to have dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Privateers Christmas Parade, December 10, 2016, 10am – 12:30pm
Anna Maria Island is known for its unbelievable community parades. If you are thinking about planning an Anna Maria Island holiday trip, this is the perfect weekend to do it. The Christmas parade is the biggest and best one of all. It goes from Bayfront Park in the City of Anna Maria and goes all the way to the south end of the island at Coquina Beach. Local and area businesses, area school marching bands, vacationers, and residents participate in this huge parade. People line the street to grab beads and candy while getting into the Christmas spirit even if the attire of the day is shorts and a t-shirt! At Coquina Beach, Santa hangs out with the kids for lunch and gives them the opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with him about what they want.
Manatee Holiday Boat Parade, Bradenton, December 10, 2016, 6pm
After a fun filled day on the beach, head into Bradenton to see the Holiday Boat Parade. In Florida, boat parades are so much fun to see. People decorate boats of every size and shape in lights and decorations to line and cruise up and down the Manatee River. The parade starts at dusk up near Snead Island in Palmetto and heads east past the Bradenton Yacht Club. From there, they pass the Riverhouse Reef and Grill and Regatta Pointe Marina to the Green Bridge. At that point, it turns south and comes back up by PIER 22 and the Twin Dolphin Marina. A great idea is to make reservations at one of the area restaurants where you can watch the parade. The Bradenton Riverwalk is also an option to see this spectacular light show.
DeSoto National Memorial Winter Luminary, December 17, 2016, 7-9pm
This is such a special event for the holidays. Travel back to a time when the area was first discovered by Hernando DeSoto discovered the area. At DeSoto National Memorial in Bradenton, guests meander along the pathways lighted with luminaries. They lead the way through a winter paradise Florida style creating a wonderland. Throughout the walk, guests enjoy the season with carols and other holiday performances by participants dressed in their best attire from the 1500-1600s. The Winter Luminary is a must-do and favorite of locals all over Manatee County. If you’re here, head off the island to see this event.
Start planning an Anna Maria Island holiday – even if it’s only a weekend! We can’t wait to see you!