Anna Maria Island vs. Bradenton Beach

So, what makes the City of Anna Maria different From Bradenton Beach?

If you’re searching for Anna Maria Island places to stay, you’ve probably found that the City of Anna Maria is different than Bradenton Beach. Anna Maria is located to the north and features homes with a lot of “Old Florida” vibes. It is more tranquil and highly private. The downside? You have a slightly longer walk to the beach. Bradenton Beach is known for its funky Florida living vibes, coffee, and shopping.

In regards to attractions, things to do, and overall approach to living, what are the key differences between these two main sections of Anna Maria Island?

Bridge Street shopping in Bradenton Beach, FL

Attractions for Tourists

Bradenton Beach is the central hub for shopping and eateries on AMI. It features many gorgeous tourist attractions, including Leffis Key Preserve, the Bridge Street Pier, and, of course, Bridge Street itself.

Bridge Street is lined up and down with unique little shops. Most are souvenir-based shops, which are certainly fun to look at, even if you don’t buy them.

Once you’re done perusing the shops, you can take in some live music at Island Time Bar and Grill. All the bars and restaurants along Bridge Street are hopping places, so be prepared for them to be busy.

Anna Maria Top Attractions

If you are looking for something a little more reserved, head into the City of Anna Maria. Here you will find a lot of the island’s historical and arts attractions.

Anna Maria City Pier was unfortunately damaged extensively in a recent Florida hurricane but is being steadily rebuilt. If you make it to the pier during reconstruction, you can watch the ships and barges come and go across the glorious and quiet waterside.

Historic Green Village is a ‘must-see’ if you enjoy small cafes. Pine Avenue has some of the most delightful shops, such as Three Island Monkeys. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, be sure to hit up Shiny Fish. You can paint your very own sand dollar while you’re there!

Aerial shot of Coquina Beach in Anna Maria Island, FL

Nature at Its Finest

The beaches in Anna Maria are serene and more for sight-seeing than anything. Still, you can enjoy the expansive blue-green waters of Bean Point Beach. Located along the northernmost tip of the island, Bean Point gives you a stunning view of Passage Key Inlet and offers a comfortable swimming environment. It is one of the best sights to see on the northern side of the island, near Anna Maria.

Are you a nature lover? If so, you will delight in all the natural beauty you can take in on Coquina Baywalk on the southern end of the island, in Bradenton Beach. This wooden walkway winds you through a gorgeous wooded area. The shade is almost always provided by the expansive trees, and this is the perfect spot to take some artistic landscape photos.

If serene nature walks and quaint cafes aren’t your thing, head on over to Bradenton Beach proper. Its pristine white sands and clear cerulean waters are simply stunning. This sand will feel soft beneath your feet but not so hot it burns your soles. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a school of dolphins swimming by.

Coquina Beach is one of the most family-friendly beach options on the island. There are plenty of grilling spots with picnic tables, tons of public parking, and shaded areas. You will feel safe letting your kids enjoy the calming, gentle waves since there are plenty of public safety officials on duty at Coquina Beach.

When you’re researching places to stay on Anna Maria Island, consider whether your vibe is more laidback, nature-loving type you get in the City of Anna Maria or the fun-in-the-sun tourist-y type that Bradenton Beach provides.

Either way, both areas of AMI are exquisite and offer plenty for you to do. There is never a dull moment to be had on AMI!