Things to do
What we love most about our location in Holmes Beach is just that – the location! Public beach access is just steps away and across the street. Holmes beach is right in the middle of the 7-mile island that is Anna Maria. At the North end is the city of Anna Maria which boasts beautiful Bean Point and the quaint main street of Pine Avenue. To the South you will find Bradenton Beach and historic Bridge Street. Each of these communities has a slightly different feel with unique characteristics.
The Publix grocery store is only about a five or six minute drive away. We know you'll want to cook some delicious meals in the well-appointed kitchen and it's helpful to be so conveniently located to a full service grocery store. The Dollar Tree is about one minute from Publix where everything is just a dollar.
Directly across the street is one of the many stops for the Anna Maria Island Free Trolley. The trolley can get you just about anywhere you need to go if you don’t feel like driving or don’t have a car. Or sometimes we just take it because it’s fun! The stop across the street will take to you destinations South. If you’d like to travel north, simply walk 3 blocks to 67th, turn right and walk one more block to Palm where the Northbound trolley stop is located.
Restaurants and Bars
There are TONS of great places to eat and drink on the island. Below is a very short list to give you some ideas.
Ginny and Jane E's Cafe is our absolute favorite place for breakfast. The Creme Brulee French toast is to die for. They also have smoothies! While you wait for your order to be prepared you can shop for items made by local artists. It's an eclectic, quirky little place. Always a busy place but worth the wait.
Harry's Grill has great burgers! We actually haven't tried anything else from there but it's a casual, laid back spot. We love to sit out on the patio.
The Doctor’s Office is a unique craft cocktail bar - Florida style. It's probably one of the only spots for real and authentic signature cocktails. We're talking boozy drinks. It's in an actual old doctor's office and appropriately themed.
Eat Here is another place that has good food with a trendy menu. Try the smoked fish dip! The Doctor's Office people own this. They also own Beach Bistro which is across the street on the beach near 65th. They serve cocktails right in front of the restaurant on the beach after 5pm!
Scott's Deli serves up the best sandwiches and wraps on the island. They also have creative side salads as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. Want to know the best part? THEY DELIVER TO THE BEACH! That's right. They deliver straight to your beach chair. That's pretty tough to beat.
Rod and Reel Pier is at the North end of the island and has been there since the 40’s. Hurricane Irma destroyed the Anna Maria Pier which was just right around the corner but the Rod and Reel pier remained unscathed. It's a casual place for a Grouper sandwich or other fresh fish. You can also rent a pole and fish off the pier. I've been told the Eggs Benedict is amazing but I haven't tried for myself yet.
Hurricane Hank's is an all-around great spot. Don't be put off by the plaza location - that's where you find some of the best spots in Florida. Hank's menu offers something for everyone. Their peel and eat shrimp sold by the pound are delicious. They have excellent burgers and fish sandwiches and the pasta looks good, too!
The Blue Marlin is a great spot for a nice dinner. It's down in the Southern part of the island near Bridge Street. When we first discovered it we were pleasantly surprised. I expected a hole in the wall but it's actually nicely appointed with delicious food. This is a great date night spot!
Also at the South end, Island Time Bar and Grill is a fun open air restaurant wit yummy casual fare. There is often live music and it's a great place to go to watch a sports game. They have TV's all over the place. For a fancier atmosphere, go upstairs to Bridge Street Bistro for delicious fresh seafood entrees. The Bistro menu is also available downstairs at Island Time.
For pizza we highly recommend J. Burns. The whole family loves it (and being from NY we don't take pizza lightly!). It's crispy and thin and they cut it into tiny little squares. Service is friendly and takeout is available.
No trip is complete without a visit to The Donut Experiment. The donuts are delicious as it is, plus you get to design your own. Just fill out an order sheet indicating what type of icing and toppings you want and they'll create a fresh donut just for you!
There are numerous places around the island, such as Fun and More Rentals, where you can rent bikes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and more.
Although not on the island, the Manatee Viewing Center in Tampa can makes a great day trip. It's only open November - April and the number of manatees depends on the water temperature. You can check their facebook page for an idea of how many manatees to expect.
Rainy day? That's a great excuse to check out the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
Mote Marine Aquarium in nearby Sarasota is a big hit with the kids!