Where is Anna Maria Island and How Do You Get There?

We love Anna Maria Island, with its beautiful beach sides, perfect weather, and comforting views.

But where is Anna Maria Island? How do you get to your Anna Maria pet-friendly rental from the major nearby destinations? Before you have an amazing AMI vacation, you have to find it. Below is your guide to getting here and finding the best Anna Maria Island vacation rentals.

sea debris on the beach
Photo from Pixabay

Where is Anna Maria Island?

Broadly, Anna Maria Island can be found about halfway down Florida along its western coast. It is just southwest of Tampa. It is actually on the cusp of Tampa Bay. If you clear that massive body of water and carry your eyes to the furthest southwestern point at the entrance of the bay, you will land upon the island.

What are the main parts of Anna Maria Island?

The island is separated into three distinct cities or municipalities. The first is the city of Anna Maria, which encompasses the northern portion of the island.

Holmes Beach makes up the middle of the island. It is home to the island’s most famous and heavily-trafficked tourist locale, Manatee Beach. Manatee Beach has everything you could ask for in a popular gulf side beach destination and it one of the best beaches in Anna Maria Island. You can find public grills, accessible parking, picnic areas, a kid’s playground, clean facilities, including showers, and clear walking paths.

The final part of Anna Maria Island is Bradenton Beach. This is the chic and boutique portion of the island, with its colorful architecture and design mixed with some lovely and small-town beach décor.

What is the difference between Anna Maria Island and the city of Anna Maria?

Anna Maria Island is defined by its three main areas: Bradenton Beach in the south, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Anna Maria city in the north.

Even locals confuse Anna Maria the city with Anna Maria Island. The city is the main historic district on the island and features the bulk of Gulf Dr., north of Manatee Ave.

Anna Maria city has a population just shy of 2,000 and is home to many of its boutique shops, surfwear stops, kayaking rental providers, and more. Many of our Anna Maria Island rentals are situated right in this part of the island.

The city proper also features the island’s historic destinations, like the AMI Historical Society and Bean Point.

bridge near anna maria island

What are the Biggest Cities Near the Island?

So what are the biggest cities near Anna Maria Island? The biggest city in the region is, undoubtedly, Tampa. Tampa is a massive metropolis and houses about 385,000 people. It takes a little over an hour to get from Tampa to the island.

There are two cities which are quite a bit closer. The first is Bradenton, not to be confused with Bradenton Beach, which is a part of the island. Bradenton is directly east of the island. It is known for its Old Florida aesthetic and Riverwalk area. Bradenton is about 30 minutes away from Anna Maria.

Jump about 45 minutes southeast of the island, under Bradenton, and you will enter Sarasota. Sarasota is most famous for its grand gardens and the epic Ringling Museum of Art.

Plan Your Vacation

Anna Maria Island is a rewarding place to visit, filled with possibilities on its shores or in its nearby cities. Review our listings of vacation rentals on Anna Maria to find the one place you can call your island home-away-from-home.

How Do You Get to the Island?

There are three main entrances to the island. If you are heading in through Bradenton, you will likely utilize the island’s northern bridge entrance at 64, Manatee Ave. If you are coming from Tampa, you are also likely to use the entrance (with an extended ride along highway 275 onto 19, first).

The island has another eastern bridge entrance, which is helpful if you are coming in from Bradenton or Sarasota. If you prefer an extremely scenic route, you can enter the island directly south at 789. You will drive along with Longboat Key and enter AMI from its southern bridge entrance by Bradenton Beach.