Birdwatching on Anna Maria Island

While most areas around the county are starting to see temperatures that dip into the lower 40’s and 50’s (and several even anticipating the first (or second!) snow storm of the season), the central Florida Gulf Coast is still averaging temperatures in the lower-mid 70’s.  Beautiful Anna Maria Island, located 45 minutes south of St. Petersburg, is home to 6 gorgeous, sandy white beaches.

Relaxing fall day on Anna Maria Island beach in Florida
Gorgeous views at Anna Maria Island beach in Florida

A step back in time…

This laid-back, charming beach town offers a quiet atmosphere, far away from the congestion of the Tampa metro area.  Instead of of big businesses, hotel chains, chain restaurants, and endless apartment complexes and housing developments, you will find charming local cafes, beach side cottages, and beautiful, colorful waterfront homes.  Anna Maria offers a nice change of pace from some of the more commercial beach areas.

Lots of birds at Anna Maria Island beach in Florida
Tall beach bird on Anna Maria Island beach in Florida
Bird on Anna Maria Island beach in Florida

Anna Maria Island beach is a quiet option, a gorgeous beach with beautiful soft, white sand and relaxing views. It’s the perfect place to visit during the cooler fall months. Although the waters will be too cold for swimming, the temperature outside is perfect for taking a nap, relaxing with a good book, enjoying a romantic stroll, or watching a gorgeous Gulf coast sunset.

Relaxing on Florida's Anna Maria Island beach
Relaxing on a cool fall day in Florida - Anna Maria Island beach
Taking a stroll along Anna Maria Island beach in Florida

Check out this crystal clear water

Crystal clear water of Anna Maria Island beach, Florida

And beautiful soft, white sand!

White sand at Anna Maria Island beach in Florida

Fall…the best season for beach walks

In my opinion, the summer months in Florida are not the best time to visit the beaches. Oftentimes, your entire visit consists of trying to find enough shade, repeatedly slathering yourself with sunscreen, and finally jumping in the water because you are completely overheated (only to find that the bath temperature water does absolutely nothing to cool you down). Add in noisy crowds and oftentimes “impossible to find” parking and your fun beach day becomes a stressful beach day.

Fall, on the other hand, offers the unique opportunity to visit the beach sans the heavy crowds, with the added bonus of cooler, more enjoyable temperatures. We were able to spread out and relax on the beach with barely another person in sight. In addition, taking a long stroll and finding unique seashells was fantastic on a day like this!

Strolling along beautiful Anna Maria Island beach in Florida

If you are looking for a bit of relaxation this fall season, look no further than Anna Maria Island. Get here right after the summer crowds die down, and right before the snowbirds arrive – it’s the best time! Don’t expect to find a lot of chains and beachfront attractions here – just a relaxing, clean beach with plenty of local dining gems to choose amongst. The Sandbar is one option – this highly regarded beachfront restaurant serves great seafood and offers spectacular views at sunset.

The Sandbar restaurant in Anna Maria Island, Florida

Location & Parking

Anna Maria Island Beach is located at the corner of Spring Ave and Gulf Drive. Free parking is available. Be aware that no restrooms, lifeguards, or any other facilities are available at this beach.

Have you ever visited Anna Maria? Share your experience at this beach and other Gulf Coast favorites in the comments below.