Posts Tagged ‘Anna Maria Island’

postheadericon Longboat Key, Florida




Visiting Longboat Key with Kids

A true Floridian at heart, this summer I wanted to get back to my roots and visit the Gulf Coast of Florida where I grew up.  I chose Longboat Key for its charming, laid-back, quite vibe, beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear water.  It neighbors the popular and touristy Anna Maria Island, but offers a more upscale and low-key atmosphere.  It’s close enough to things to do yet far enough to feel like you’re on a relaxing getaway.  There is never a need to fight for space and you won’t find a single chain hotel on the entire island.

Visiting Longboat Key with kids is a great choice because most accommodations are condos.  It’s nice to have your own space, a kitchen, and be right on the beach.  We stayed in Whitney Beach and can’t wait to visit again!


Our amazing view from the condo.

Our amazing view from the condo.


After visiting beaches all over the US, including some of the best beaches in Hawaii, it’s easy to say that Longboat Key is still one of my favorites.  What I love about it is that the water is fairly shallow even if you’re really far out and the waves are not too big.  Every day we would see dolphins swim by us and we were even lucky enough to see a few manatees.

There is very little public beach assess so it’s not uncommon to have the beach all to yourself!


Hello Manatee!

Hello Manatee!



Things to Do on Longboat Key

  1. Lounge at the beach all day.  Build a sandcastle.  Collect shells.  Take a long walk!  You can easily spend days just lounging at the beach taking it all in!
  2. Search for sand dollars and conch shells.  These are found mostly in the water and should only be looked at!  The little critters inside the conch shell doesn’t like to be touched!
  3. Go shelling.  Every day new shells wash up.  You can find beautiful treasures up and down the beach.
  4. Find coquinas in the shore break.  All you have to do is burry your feet a little!  These little creatures get exposed with the crashing waves and it’s fun to watch them bury themselves back in the sand.
  5. Search for ghost crabs at night with flashlights.  If you’re quiet the come out during the day, too.
  6. Watch dolphins and manatees in the wild.  It’s not uncommon to see dolphins and manatees just offshore.  You could be driving over the bridge and spot them or see them right from your window.
  7. Visit the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.
  8. Hang an ENO at Beer Can Island.  This is one of the most beautiful spots on the island.  It’s at the north end and you can walk to it from the public parking area on North Shore Rd.
  9. Visit Joan M. Durante Community Park.
  10. Rent a boat and visit the local sandbars.




Things to Do NEAR Longboat Key

  1. Visit Anna Maria Island – ride the free trolley or visit a beach.
  2. Go shopping or have lunch at St. Armand’s Circle.
  3. Go to Bean Point – one of the best beaches in Florida.
  4. Eat at the Rod and Reel Pier.
  5. Visit Coquina Beach and Coquina Baywalk.
  6. Make your on concoction at The Donut Experiment, Anna Maria Island.






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postheadericon Six Great Places You Can See Marine Life in the Wild


Monk Seals Hawaii

It’s an amazing feeling to see animals in the wild, in their natural environments.  There is something refreshing and peaceful knowing they’re doing exactly what they’re meant to do….what the choose to do.


Six Great Places You Can See Marine Life in the Wild

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postheadericon Beaches Worth Checking Out – Favorite Five

Five of My All Time Favorite Beaches


1.  Kaanapali Beach ~ Maui, Hawaii:  Voted my #1 because of its sugary soft sand, light waves, sandy bottom, beautiful coral, abundance of marine life, and breathtakingly beautiful backdrop.  Black Rock is known for its frequent visits by sea turtles, too!




2.  Crystal Cove State Park ~ Laguna Beach, California:  Voted my #2 because of its quaint feel, unique tidal pools, and fun character.  Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, grab a bite to eat, horseback ride, or explore, this beach has it all!




3.  Bean Point ~ Anna Maria Island, Florida:  Voted my #3 because of its private and unspoiled feel.  Just off shore is a sandbar where you can find sand dollars, conch shells, or possibly see a manatee swimming by.  Anna Maria Island has many beautiful beaches, lots of activities, and good restaurants!



4.  Black Sand Beach ~ Maui, Hawaii:  Voted #4 because there are not many black sand beaches making this a unique and beautiful spot.  Black lava rocks, black sand, and deep blue water make this beach a favorite for its picturesque quality!  It’s located off of the Road to Hana, one of the most beautiful drives in the world!




5.  Lanikai Beach ~ Oahu, Hawaii:  Voted my #5 for its relaxation and beauty.  There are no facilities and it’s located in a residential community, but it is by far one of the most serene beaches I’ve ever been to!


postheadericon Travel and Photography Today Year in Review 2011

Holy Cow…I can’t believe 2011 is coming to an end!  It’s been quite a year, wouldn’t you say?  To sum it up I would just have to say it went by too FAST.  It really was a great year, but I can’t believe it’s over. 

This blog made it’s debut on June 19, 2011 and it’s been quite a journey!  I’ve learned a lot about how to run and maintain a site (I’m still learning) and have a long way to go with where I want it to be!  I’m coming along in my photography journey and hope to spend a lot more time on that in 2012!  It’s like a never ending process that most of the time brings me joy, but other times makes me want to cry! 

I’m so inspired by the different blogs I follow…there are amazing, creative, talented people out there and they inspire me to want to soar!  Regular people sharing their lives is so real!  I love trying new recipes and occasionally new crafts (I’m so not crafty) from people out there in cyberspace and I haven’t been disappointed yet!  I hope that I’ve given a little travel inspiration or maybe provided a recipe that turned out to be a hit! 

I have big plans in the new year… thank you for being part of this with me and for all the kind words you shared with me!  Here is a little recap of 2011….. 


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postheadericon Coquina Bay Walk Nature Walk: Anna Maria Island

The Coquina Bay Walk is a nice little set of walking trails and boardwalks that lets you go through the mangrove tunnels and see all different types of Florida wildlife.  It’s between Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key and is directly across from the public area of Coquina Beach!  We took a nice little walk just before sunset and just a couple minutes into our walk I was head on with the biggest raccoon I’ve ever seen…at first glance I seriously thought it was a bear!  It was more scared of me, though and ran away before I could snap a photo!  We encountered all types of birds and really enjoyed reading the information boards describing the trees and mangroves and giving a little history of each one!  Some of the paths are sandy and if we were quiet enough we would see tons of little crabs (cutie crabs according to the girls) scurry off into their holes!  There is a wide variety of vegetation here and it protects and provides shelter for the birds and marine life that call this place home!

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postheadericon Bean Point

I want to tell you that this place is terrible and you should not go, but I wouldn’t be honest if I said that!  This place is Anna Maria Island’s best kept secret for sure!  It’s a shallow sandbar where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay and my only regret is that I wish we would have discovered it earlier!  The sand is the softest white sand ever.  The water is calm and clear and I kid you not, we walked out at least a half mile and it was no more than waist high!  We found conch shells, sand dollars, crabs, and even came up close and personal with a giant manatee swimming by!  The girls were so excited that he came up for air at just the right time when we were literally 2 feet from him!

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postheadericon Top 5 Free Things to Do on Anna Maria Island


We just got back from one of our favorite spots in Florida where the sand is like sugar and the emerald water is calm and warm!  This little slice of paradise is Anna Maria Island which is located on the west coast about 90 minutes southwest of Tampa International Airport and about 40 minutes north of Sarasota.  It’s a laid back, charming little beach town free of big resorts and high rise hotel chains.  It is only 7 1/2 miles long and less than a mile wide and it is surrounded by the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, and the Intracoastal Waterway!


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postheadericon Seagrass Flats #4: Anna Maria Island Accommodations

We just got back from a wonderful stay on Anna Maria Island, Florida where we stayed at Seagrass Flats # 4, an adorable and affordable beach condo located just across the street from one of the best parts of Bradenton Beach!  This 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condo was fully stocked with everything we needed to make our vacation complete!  It was actually our second time staying here and we look forward to coming back again in the future.  It is in a great location on the island and is close to everything!

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