Anna Maria Island vs. Holmes Beach

The general area of Anna Maria Island is known for beautiful beaches, happy and serene waters, and lovely weather year round. Even so, there is a difference between the many options of places to stay on Anna Maria Island. Two of those major places are Anna Maria Island and Holmes Beach. Even though it may seem like these areas are similar because they’re on the same island, there are unique factors that set them apart. So, here are some things you need to know before choosing places to stay on Anna Maria Island.

Aerial view of Holmes Beach in Anna Maria Island

Location

One of the main, and obvious, differences between Anna Maria Island and Holmes Beach is the location the towns are in on the island. Anna Maria Island is located at the northern end of the island, and Holmes Beach is more in the central area of the island. Some people will say that Anna Maria Island is less crowded than Holmes Beach. Holmes Beach tends to see more activity because of its centralized location.

Beaches

With the beaches being one of the best parts about visiting the island, you’ll want to know when the area has the best options.

Bean Point and Anna Maria Beach are the most well-known beaches in Anna Maria Island. Bean Point is known for being peaceful and less crowded. You can see where the Gulf meets the Bay from this area, but there are strong currents and riptides so swimming is not recommended here. However, Anna Maria Beach does have good areas to swim in. Another quiet beach with lots of space to spread out. There are no facilities on Anna Maria Beach, which is one reason it stays so relaxed and serene.

In Holmes Beach, you’ll find Manatee Beach, which is one of the most popular beach spots on the island. There are full facilities and lifeguards on patrol. A little crowded on nice days, get here early to claim your spot.

A popular beachfront restaurant in Anna Maria Island

Restaurants

It doesn’t matter which of the Anna Maria Island places to stay you choose, there are great places to eat all around you.

In Holmes, you’ll find one of the area’s best restaurants, Beach Bistro which boasts amazing seafood dishes daily. You can also head to Duffy’s Tavern, which serves up diner-style burgers for a classic and family-friendly atmosphere.

In Anna Maria, you can eat out at the famous Rod and Reel Restaurant known for its fabulous food and even more fantastic views. Also check out the Sandbar Restaurant which is one of the most popular dining spots around, putting its patrons right out on the beach to eat and topped off with some wonderful tropical drinks.

Anna Maria City fishing pier and restaurant

The Historic City vs. the Main Beach

Some other things to take into consideration when choosing Anna Maria Island places to stay include some miscellaneous factors.

Holmes Beach is about 55 blocks and has the only major grocery store on the island. Travel from end to end of the island is also simple from Holmes Beach since there are several routes to choose from, meaning there’s a lot less traffic congestion. It’s also the widest part of the island, giving most of the Eastside to have some great views.

Anna Maria is known for having many little shops and has more homes and fewer condos than Holmes Beach. This means the population is less dense, which contributes to the quieter atmosphere.

If you like to travel by bike or on foot, Anna Maria is very conducive to that. There are also two fantastic piers in Anna Maria to fish from if you are interested in casting a line while on vacation.

Whether you choose Anna Maria proper or Holmes Beach, there’s a little something to love anywhere you go!