• Tony Smith

Staycation Spotlight: Anna Maria Island, FL

Of all the hidden gems on Florida's Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island shines a little more brightly. It's been an old standard for generations of Florida visitors, who have known about the 7-mile-long stretch of paradise since a wooden bridge connected it to the mainland a century ago. So if you love the Florida lifestyle and have never been to AMI, you've been missing out on a true taste of Old Florida - from broad, family-friendly beaches to rustic watering holes to the ever-present opportunity for a variety of island adventures.


Nick Taylor grew up on the beaches here and has spent the better part of the last decade traveling the world as a professional wakeskater. An avid surfer, musician, freediver, hydrofoiler and fisherman, he recently returned home to AMI to get his commercial helicopter pilot's license. And, we're excited to announce, he is now hosting a variety of Anna Maria Adventures on AIO. We asked him to describe a few highlights of the island and his Adventures below ... Welcome, Nick!



1.) Sea-Doo Cruise around Bean Point, the north end of Anna Maria Island


Exploring the emerald green waters around AMI’s northern tip, you’re almost guaranteed to encounter dolphins, manatees, & all sorts of sea life, while taking in all the sights/sounds of the local fisherman’s daily commute along Anna Maria’s world-class beaches. Sunset Adventures highly recommended!


2.) Helicopter Tour over Anna Maria Island

You’ve spent a week on the beach, at the pool and on the boat, and now you’re looking for a fresh perspective to make a great vacation even better? Time to get airborne! Taking off from Sarasota, FlyVenture’s Ultimate Beach Tour will take you 700 feet over the AMI’s best views, including the cluster of islands at Longboat Pass, the white sand beaches along the entire Gulf side and the seemingly-hand-painted sandbars of the north end. Dolphins, devil rays, manatees, tarpon and even sharks can all be seen easily enough from above. Bring a camera!


3.) Wakeskating the Backcountry

Whether you’re looking for personal coaching, want a pull through Anna Maria’s crystal blue waters while you’re on vacation, or want to take the family out wakeskating with someone who knows the ropes, I'm stoked to get out on the water with you! The session takes place behind the 2020 Sea-Doo WAKE 170, around some of Anna Maria Island’s most scenic waters and mangrove stands. Time allotted is guaranteed time for you to ride, so you won’t feel rushed during your Adventure and everyone can enjoy our time on the water!


4.) Hydro Foil Sessions Around AMI


Loyal to the Foil! Whether you’re a newbie who’s been wanting to see what this whole hydrofoil-boarding thing is about, on some calm flat water, or if you’re a black-belt foil ninja looking to shred some minute-long rides untethered on the waves of our outer sandbars, or if you find yourself anywhere in between, we’re stoked to get out on the water with you! One-on-one hydrofoil session pulled behind the 2020 Sea-Doo WAKE 170, around Anna Maria Island’s most scenic waters.


Extras: If it's open and COVID safe - Saturday night at the Blue Marlin. Go where the locals go! Grouper tacos, mellow music and ice-cold libations. Same with grabbing an ice cream cone from DIPS (AIO’s favorites are the Tangerine Dream & Blueberry Cheesecake) DISCLAIMER: When ordering your ice cream at DIPS, if you start talking to Vic about baseball, you are unlikely to make it out the door before your ice cream has already melted, your friends have left and the sun has gone down.


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