8 Best Beaches on Anna Maria Island, Florida

Are you looking for the best beaches on Anna Maria Island? From the most popular to the most secluded, this article has them all!

Sweetly nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa bay, Anna Maria Island is a beach paradise blessed with sunshine and pleasant weather pretty much all year round.

With hot summers and warm winters, the inviting turquoise waters and white powder sands of Anna Maria Island make it the best vacation spot in Florida for those craving some sun, sand, and ocean.

Aerial view of beach on Anna Maria Island

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Anna Maria Island’s 7-mile-long stretch consists of beaches for all types of vacationers, whether you’re traveling with little ones in tow, are planning a honeymoon, or a beach getaway with your best friends.

And besides lazying on the soft white sand, the beaches on Anna Maria Island offer various activities — from fun water sports like kayaking and jet skiing to seeing wildlife like manatees, dolphins, and birds.

If you’re not sure where to go, here are the 8 beaches on Anna Maria Island to consider the next time you head over!

Planning a Trip to Anna Maria Island In a Glance
Here is a snapshot to help you plan your trip to Anna Maria Island!

How to get around: If you don’t have your own car, you can book one via Discover Cars. Alternatively, you can rent a golf cart in the many rental shops on the Island, use the free Anna Maria Island trolley that goes around various parts of the Island, rent a bike, or join guided tours.

Must-do tours and experiences: Speaking of joining tours, the ones you shouldn’t miss include; this Parasailing Adventure (5/5) to take in the beauty of Anna Maria from above, this guided kayak tour through Mangrove Tunnels in Sarasota (5/5) to spot Manatees and Dolphins.

Where to stay: Compass Hotel by Margaritaville Anna Maria Sound (9.0/10) is the best hotel to stay at in Bradenton for a luxurious vacation. You can opt for Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club, Autograph Collection (8.9/10) which is in the heart of Holmes beach and overlooks the ocean. With stunning views of the ocean and located right on Bradenton Beach, you can’t go wrong with Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages (8.8/10).

What to pack: Don’t leave sunscreen (take this one that is eco-friendly with SPF50), this beach cooler with rollers, this sand-proof beach mat, this wide-brim beach hat, a swimsuit, a beach coverup, and more.

Best Beaches on Anna Maria Island, Florida

Here are the best Anna Maria Island beaches with the softest sand and clearest waters.

1. Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach is one of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island.
Coquina Beach is one of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island’s most popular and well-loved beach is none other than Coquina Beach in the city of Bradenton Beach, and there are lots of reasons why it’s often at the top of most visitors’ lists.

Besides its powder-soft sand and clear waters that will strike you as soon as you see it, there’s pretty much everything you would need here.

From Coquina Beach Cafe with beachfront patios to ample free parking, picnic tables, grills, biking trails, playgrounds, changing cabanas, lifeguard towers, to various beach activities. There is even a tree-covered shady area to cool off if it gets too hot.

The fact that it’s well-facilitated on top of the shallow water makes it one of the most family-friendly beaches in Anna Maria Island.

On top of the beach facilities, Coquina Beach stands out for its wildlife and sea creatures! If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot some manatees, dolphins, manta rays, and all sorts of brilliantly colored fish.

Coquina Beach is one of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Another perk that makes Coquina Beach one of the best Anna Maria beaches is that it hosts an outdoor market where you can buy anything from food, antiques, jewelry, souvenirs, and more.

In November the market takes place on Sundays. From December to March every Sunday and Wednesday, and from April to July, it opens on Wednesdays and Fridays.

For nature lovers, Leffis Key is just a short walk from the beach where you can enjoy a quiet walk and take in beautiful views of the bay and the ocean from the various observation decks.

And if you stay till late, you’ll be treated to the most beautiful beach sunset on Anna Maria Island.

If your idea of a beach getaway involves soaking your feet in warm water, walking on soft sand, seeing some wildlife, and taking a nature trail while also having all the facilities, then Coquina Beach is the best beach on Anna Maria Island to go to.

Location: Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.

2. Cortez Beach

Cortez Beach is one of the best Anna Maria Island beaches.

Also located in the city of Bradenton Beach and close to Coquina Beach is the equally family-friendly Cortez Beach whose sand feels like walking on powdered white sugar and its clear waters perfect for snorkeling, making it one of the best places for snorkeling on Anna Maria Island.

It’s most recognizable for its three iconic piers that extend into the ocean, which were designed for protection against heavy rain and storms.

Thanks to the piers, you can swim safely in the calm waters and they also act as an excellent base for fishing!

Other popular activities not to miss at Cortez Beach include surfing, kayaking, birdwatching, biking, and hiking. There’s also a lovely loop trail (Robinson’s Preserve) equipped with paved trails nearby.

Some of the amenities you can enjoy at this beach include free parking though it fills up fast due to its small size, lifeguard towers, picnic benches, and shaded areas under the trees.

Though there are no public bathrooms on site, it’s still one of the best Anna Maria Island attractions not to miss.

Location: 698 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.

3. Bean Point Beach

Bean Point Beach is one of the best beaches in Anna Maria Island.

This is one of our favorite Anna Maria beaches! For those who’d prefer a quieter stretch as opposed to a bustling beach, Bean Point Beach is the place to go.

Located on the northern tip of Anna Maria, Bean Point Beach is rather secluded and offers a peaceful respite.

Not many people make their way here as it’s not equipped and easily reachable and there is no real parking space but parking on the street is possible though limited too. Make sure you park in the right spot and not on the pavement as that will land you a fine.

And unlike other public beaches on Anna Maria Island, this one has no amenities or lifeguards, and swimming is not recommended as the currents can be dangerous.

But what it lacks in amenities makes it up with a tranquil stretch with amazing views of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll also be able to see where the two meet and get a glimpse of Skyway Bridge in the distance.

Traveling to Anna Maria Island with your significant other? Bean Point Beach is definitely worth spending a couple of peaceful hours at. Bring your own picnic mat, hammock, and snacks if you’d like to stay long.

And if you have time, stay for the sunset because Bean Point offers the best sunset views on the island.

If you love the peaceful vibes of just laying on the white sand beach, taking in beautiful views, and occasionally spotting some wildlife like stingrays, dolphins, Manatees, and birds, this will be your ideal Anna Maria Island public beach.

Location: 793 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216.

Related Post: Airports Close to Anna Maria Island

4. Manatee Public Beach

Manatee Public Beach is one of the best public beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Located in the city of Holmes Beach, Manatee Public Beach is another one of the few widely popular public beaches on Anna Maria Island, thanks to its iconic establishments that line the beautiful sand stretch.

Besides soaking in the sun on the soft sand beach or dipping in the shallow clear waters, you can chill at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe — an iconic casual dining restaurant that’s loved by locals and tourists alike. It is also one of the best places to have breakfast on Anna Maria Island.

The cafe is most renowned for its all-you-can-eat pancakes, but it also serves other small bites and hand-dipped ice cream, and awesome specialty non-alcoholic cocktails.

Umbrella and chair rentals are also available from the cafe plus nightly live entertainment to wind up the day. There is also Skinny’s Place nearby which serves hamburgers and hotdogs.

Other facilities that make this beach family-friendly include sand courts (great for friendly volleyball matches), souvenir shops, restrooms, rinse-off stations, lifeguard towers, picnic tables, grills, a playground, and more.

One drawback about this beach is that it’s usually crowded, so make sure you arrive early to get the best spot.

You can check out this complete guide on how to visit Manatee beach on Anna Maria Island to plan your trip with ease.

Location: 4000 State Road 64 and Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217.

5. Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach is one of the best Anna Maria beaches.

The long and wide Bradenton Beach is well-loved for its laid-back and fun vibe. If you’re traveling to Anna Maria Island with friends or family, this one is the beach you want to head to!

In fact, many people consider it the best beach on Anna Maria Island. Located on the southern end of the island, Bradenton Beach has a great selection of waterfront restaurants that bring out the Caribbean vibe, shops, Anna Maria bars, and hotels.

Most of these Anna Maria Island restaurants along the beach offer great views of the ocean and serve delicious bites, but one that stands out the most is Bradenton Beach House Restaurant, a seafood restaurant.

The best part is that both Holmes Beach (listed below) and Cortez Beach are within walking distance from Bradenton, so you can easily visit all three without needing transportation.

And although most beaches on Anna Maria Island are not known for shelling, Bradenton Beach is the exception. You can find several colorful shells along its beautiful stretch.

Other fun activities to do on Bradenton Beach include kayaking, jet skiing, and ending your day with a nice sunset.

Location: 200 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.

6. Holmes Beach

Holmes Beach is one of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Holmes Beach is a fairly quiet stretch and is great if you want to chill without too much crowd.

Since it’s not that crowded, the beach is great for adrenaline junkies who wish to indulge in watersports such as jet skiing, surfing, and parasailing.

Do note that parking is limited (most people choose to walk from neighboring areas) and you won’t find many amenities such as beach rentals but there’s plenty of white sand and crystal-clear water to make up for that!

Looking for an Anna Maria Island dog beach? Holmes Beach is the best stretch for those visiting with dogs!

The beach comes with a small dedicated area for dogs known as the Paw Playground where your dogs can run around freely without a leash.

7. Bayfront Park Beach

Next up on our list of Anna Maria Island beaches is Bayfront Park beach, which honestly stands out more as a shady park rather than a sunny beach!

Perfect if you want some green space fronted by a small beach area, Bayfront Park Public Beach is popular amongst families.

There are plenty of family-friendly facilities, including sheltered picnic tables, shady pavilions, playgrounds, swings, barbecue grills, and restrooms.

If you’re planning a trip with a big group, this beach is your best chance of finding a picnic spot that can accommodate all of you comfortably.

The waters are also calm and shallow making it perfect for those traveling with kids.

Location: 316 N Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216.

8. Beer Can Island Beach

Beer Can Island Beach is one of the best Anna Maria Island beaches.

Photo by OutlierForLife/Flickr

Last up on our list of public beaches on Anna Maria Island is Beer Can Island Beach.

Often missed out by most visitors, Beer Can Island Beach (or Pine Key) is not easy to get to compared to other beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Nestled on the northern part of Longboat Key, it can be reached by crossing the Longboat Key Bridge (you can park at Coquina Beach located close to the bridge, and walk over), or by boat if you’re not up for walking.

With aesthetics like a driftwood jungle, the beach is small but great if you want some peace and quiet.

It’s also a lot more hugged by nature compared to other Anna Maria beaches and it’s filled with mangroves and driftwood.

Because of this, it’s probably not the best beach if you’re visiting with kids. They’ll be safer off running around the other beaches mentioned above.

Location: N Shore Rd, Longboat Key, FL 34228.

Final Thoughts on the Best Anna Maria Beaches

We hope you liked our list of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island! Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or your significant other, there’s definitely a beach for you on Anna Maria.

Every beach on Anna Maria has its own charm and is well-suited for different groups of travelers, so be sure to pick one based on the kind of trip you’re looking for!

Are you ready to conquer the beaches in Anna Maria Island?

But before you go, consider sharing these best Anna Maria beaches if you found this article helpful!

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