If you’ve ever escaped to Anna Maria Island for the winter holidays, you know how magical it can be. Whether you’re escaping inclement weather back home or just coming to relax by the shore, sugary white sand beaches and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico await you. Our weather falls in the tame range of the low 70s, allowing you to soak up the fresh air outdoors through activities like bicycling the island, having lunch with an ocean view, and taking sunset walks on the beach. And you won’t have to worry about missing out on the Christmas cheer either, because we’ve compiled a list of the best Christmas activities and events on Anna Maria Island!
Visit the Big Tree in Bradenton Beach
At the southern end of the island, you’ll find the town of Bradenton Beach, which celebrates each year by putting up a 25-foot Christmas tree in the Historic Bridge Street District. The lighting typically kicks off before Thanksgiving, but if you’re visiting any time after that for the holidays, you’ll still be able to admire its twinkling lights and grab a holiday photo or two. There are several restaurants within walking distance, making it the perfect activity after a dinner with family or friends. It also gives you the chance to explore the Bridge Street area, which is one of the most popular neighborhoods on AMI!
Holiday Festival and Boat Parade
The boat parade annual event that comes to AMI every December, taking place in Bradenton Beach. This is a treasured local Christmas tradition, and a festive evening out with family and friends. Marvel at the boats decorated with glittering Christmas lights, watching them drift by along with their shimmering reflection on the water. Nearby restaurants offer food and drink specials for the event, which typically starts at 6 p.m. The parade usually takes place at the beginning of December, with this year’s parade scheduled for December 3rd, 2022. If you’re visiting during this time, this unique Christmas event is not to be missed!
Visit a Local Farmers Market on AMI
We have several farmers markets on the island, and it’s the ideal weather for experiencing them, especially compared to the heat of earlier months! In Bradenton Beach you can find the Bridge Street Market, which operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday from November to April. Down a bit further south, you can browse the Coquina Beach Market, which takes place on Sundays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each market features an array of local vendors selling fresh produce and handcrafted goods such as art, jewelry, and home goods. Pick up the missing ingredient for your special Christmas dish and grab a bite to eat for lunch as you walk through the market. It’s a great way to get a taste of the local life around the holidays!
Enjoy an Outdoor Movie for Christmas on Bridge Street
This event is an ideal outing if you’re visiting before Christmas, as it usually takes place the week before the holiday. Before the screening of the movie, you can watch the Crowsley Carolers preform in Christmas costumes, and kids can make crafts while they enjoy the show. The movies are family friendly, such as this year’s movie, Home Sweet Home Alone. This year’s Christmas on Bridge Street takes place on December 17th, 2022 from 3:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dine Oceanside for Your Christmas Vacation Meals
Take advantage of the mild temperatures and dine oceanside for the requisite Christmas Eve dinner before preparing your own holiday meal. We have several restaurants with spectacular ocean views, such as The Sandbar Restaurant where you can dine right near the sand and snack on casual dishes with a gourmet twist. Or dine right on the water at Rod and Reel Pier, admiring the scenery of Tampa Bay. Another great idea is to pre-order your Christmas meal from a local grocery store or restaurant—Anna Maria Island Beach Café offers pre-orders for takeaway, and you can heat them up back home in your vacation rental!
Host the Ultimate Holiday in Your AMI Vacation Rental
Whether you’re going all out or enjoying an intimate Christmas away from home, we have a wide selection of vacation rentals where you’ll find something perfect for your Christmas vacation to AMI. Our vacation rentals offer fully equipped kitchens, so you can effortlessly make your own holiday feast, or conveniently store holiday catering. Our homes all offer their own features, but things you can find in our collection of properties include flat screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and washers and dryers. Outside, you might find highlights such as private heated pools, jacuzzies, BBQ grills, and beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy. Take the plunge on your Christmas getaway to AMI and give us a call—we’ll assist you in booking your dream Anna Maria Island vacation rental today! Contact us today!