Anna Maria Island

GET SWEPT AWAY
Anna Maria Island is an ideal place to relax and getaway from it all. Each of the island's three cities provides access to spectacular beaches and outdoor
activities while at the same time offering an enjoyable selection of shops, restaurants, performing arts and other attractions.

Anna Maria has a rich and long history dating back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors.

 

After Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Puerto Rico in 1506, he convinced King Ferdinand of Spain to finance his famous quest for the Fountain of Youth. It was during this ill-fated quest that he discovered our fair state on Easter Sunday, thus naming it “Pascua de Florida” meaning Feast of Flowers, Spanish for Easter Sunday. He continued his journey along the coast and during that journey found our island and named it Ana-Maria-Cay to honor the Virgin Mary and her mother Anne. After Ponce de Leon’s attempt to colonize the area was foiled by the Timucan Indians, he returned to Puerto Rico where he died in 1521.

In 1539, another Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, in his quest for the gold of the New World started a settlement just across the bay from Anna Maria Island at Shaw’s point in what is now the city of Bradenton. After he explored vast areas of the new world, Desoto died leaving his men with out a leader. They became disorganized and disillusioned and returned to Mexico.

The island’s history remained dormant for over three hundred years until, in 1892, a Scottish man named George Emerson Bean discovered Anna Maria and homesteaded 160 acres at the north end of the island. The north western most part of the island continues to be known as Bean Point.

After his death in 1898, Mr. Bean’s son entered into a partnership with an investor by the name of George Roser. The two men formed the Anna Maria Beach Company which laid out streets and started the first municipal development on the island, the City of Anna Maria.

It was during this time that George Roser built the Roser Memorial Community Church in memory of his mother. Roser was the inventor of the Fig Newton which he eventually sold to Nabisco Brands. The church still stands today and continues to attend to the spiritual needs of islanders.

1911 saw the construction of the Anna Maria Pier at the end of Pine Avenue. The pier still stands and is frequented by local fishermen and visitors.

In 1921 it was finally possible to drive to the island with the construction of the first Cortez Bridge. this wooden structure served as the only bridge to the island until 1957 when the manatee drawbridge was constructed as well as the new Cortez drawbridge. The remains of the old wooden bridge serves as a fishing and observation pier at the end of historic bridge street.

Anna Maria’s rich history is very important to islanders and preserving the island’s “old Florida” heritage remains a cornerstone of each of the island’s city governments. Through height restrictions and managed growth, the island’s unique character has been protected. The island remains a mixture of year round and seasonal residents, vacationers and holiday makers, all existing together in harmony and each contributing to Anna Maria Island’s friendly, relaxed, and quietly sophisticated lifestyle.

 

 

Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler's Cove Beach Resort is located on Anna Maria Island, which lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway. The area is known for its white-sand beaches and azure waters of the Gulf. Resort a...

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Umbrella Beach

Umbrella Beach

Umbrella Beach Resort, on Anna Maria Island, is situated on Florida's west coast, where the white-sand beaches and azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide abundant water sports. The area is well known as a cultu...

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Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream

Besides being just steps away from the beautiful Gulf waters, Gulf Stream Beach Resort offers a heated pool, whirlpool spa, picnic and playground area, horseshoes and bicycles. For golf, there are more th...

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Penthouses at Gulf Stream

Penthouses at Gulf Stream

The Penthouses at Gulf Stream are located on Anna Maria Island and is nestled between the Gulf...

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