Last weekend, Josh and I traveled to Anna Maria Island for a little getaway for my birthday. It was so lovely and relaxing. When going to FL we typically visit Rosemary beach or Seaside so AMI was completely new to us. It was quaint, cozy, and food was delicious. The beach was beautiful and the sunsets were incredible. We will absolutely be going back!
The island is only about 7 miles long and it’s very family-oriented. Lots of families and children there. Had some questions about going there for a honeymoon and I think it would be wonderful, although there are tons of families that visit.
We flew into Tampa, but would probably fly to Sarasota next time. Either one will work but Tampa is a bit further. The drive from Tampa airport to Anna Maria Island is about an hour and a half.
If you’re not driving, I would recommend setting up a rental car for when you land. This was something we didn’t do but realized we should’ve. We spent more in Uber’s and stress of getting one than we would’ve with a rental car.
We stayed at Bali Hai Beachfront Resort for three nights and it was so wonderful. There are different condos/homes you can rent throughout the island but Bali Hai was beautifully renovated and lovely. It’s located in Holmes beach and is about a 1/2 mile radius from all the wonderful restaurants and local spots.
Their beachfront rooms are not renovated but the others are! We stayed in one of their rooms overlooking the pool and it was so dreamy. I loved the interior I could’ve literally moved in haha. Very boho beachy for sure! The rooms had beach towels, smart TV’s, huge balcony’s, and a small kitchen too.
Some other highlights about Bali Hai:
- Spa on property
- Lovely heated pool (which was fabulous in Jan.)
- Lounge with a full bar & espresso machine for drinks and snacks
- Complimentary bikes
- Beach chairs/ lounge chairs available (don’t have to rent)
- Corn hole and fun turf lawn for kids
I mentioned above about getting a rental car but here’s a few other ways to get around:
- Electric GEM car
- Monkey Bus
- Golf Cart
We did bikes one morning and it was so fun. But restaurants are a little spaced out so we didn’t want to take them at night. We took the monkey bus one night and it was quite the experience lol. They work on tips and it’s like this old party bus. It was definitely a blast and would totally recommend for a girls trip or large couples group to have pick you up to go to a bar. The rest of the trip, we ended up renting an electric GEM car and it was a life saver. Of course, next time we will just rent a car and get around that way.
Food was delicious everywhere! Here’s some places we made it to:
- North Shore Cafe- Probably my favorite of everything. Yummy avocado toast, coffees, and acai bowls.
- The Waffle Press
- Donut Experiment
- Poppo’s Taqueria- Josh’s favorite of course haha. So delicious for beach tacos!
- Waterfront Restaurant- So many recs for this place and it was delicious. One of the nicer restaurants on the island.
- Rod and Reel Pier- We had dinner here but I would’ve rather gone to lunch or breakfast for the view!
- Sandbar Restaurant- Went here twice! So dang fun.
- Beachfront Restaurant- Overlooking ocean and delicious food.
Other recs sent to me but didn’t make it to:
- The Doctor’s Office – a bar!
- The Feast – for dinner!
- Island Time – for dinner!
I wanted to note for anyone visiting: almost everything is first come first serve and huge waits. Plan to wait about an hour and a half for dinner every night. We would go get drinks at Sandbar and put our name in somewhere else and wait. Basically everyone eats at the same time and a lot of restaurants close at 8/9pm. I had to learn to be super patient lol!
- Lay on the beach
- Bike around the island
- Go to the Spa
- Fishing – Deep sea fishing or just fishing off the shore.
- Beach horses- Seriously wish we would’ve done this! I saw them in the water and it looked amazing.
- Boat tours
- Jet ski
Seriously had so much fun in Anna Maria Island with the hubs! Was the best birthday and I can’t wait to go back.