Saturday, November 1, 2014

Getting Here


Anna Maria Island (AMI) is located on the beautiful Gulf side of sunny Florida, conveniently within short driving distance to several international airports.  Being just isolated enough with no immediate on-island airport or Interstate highways running through the island helps to keep the quaint feeling of Old Florida alive and well on Anna Maria Island!

Here’s a view of Anna Maria Island and its location as part of Florida (the red push pin marks the location of Anna Maria, FL):


View Anna Maria in a larger map

And now, here’s a quick regional look at Anna Maria’s location:


View Anna Maria in a larger map

Notice that Anna Maria Island is located within an easy driving distance of several popular travel destinations and airports, including Orlando and all of the famous attractions and adventures there. Many folks plan their itineraries to visit some of those attractions at the beginning part of their vacation, and then drive over to Anna Maria to spend the rest of their time in Florida doing some laid-back relaxing on the beautiful Island beaches.

Driving From Anna Maria To Major Nearby Airports:

Flying in to Tampa International Airport (TPA), Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), or Orlando International Airport (MCO) seems to be a favorite way to begin a trip to Anna Maria Island for most folks.  This is probably because flights are very plentiful and affordable the area — and the same goes for car rentals.  Driving to Anna Maria Island from these major airports is quick and easy.  There are a couple of “bottlenecks” along the way for those used to point-to-point Interstate highway driving, but again, this is what helps keep the area somewhat isolated and easy-going.  Here are the details:

Driving from Orlando International Airport to Anna Maria Island:

The drive from Orlando to Anna Maria is mostly interstate until you begin to near the Gulf Coast.  It does go rather quickly one way, especially if you’re driving from AMI to Orlando for a day at the theme parks–but remember, after a long day of excitement and being on your feet, the drive back to AMI is not quite as quick!  Also, there are a couple of toll charges along the way, so do plan accordingly.

Driving from Tampa International Airport to Anna Maria Island:

Although the distance isn’t very long from point-to-point in a straight line, driving from Tampa and St. Petersburg to Anna Maria does take kind of a round-about path across Tampa Bay (via the famous Sunshine Skyway Bridge) and then around the Manatee River.  This does make the drive a little bit longer than you might initially expect, but it is scenic for a good part of the way as it follows the waterside.  There is a small toll charge to pass over the Sunshine Skyway bridge each way.

Driving from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport To Anna Maria Island:

As the closest major airport to AMI, the drive from Sarasota-Bradenton International is the quickest, but there’s still not a direct point-to-point freeway path from one location to the other.  Most driving directions will instruct you to follow US-41 northbound and then to proceed west on FL-684 until you’ve reached the island.  This is the quickest, but if you have just a few extra minutes, it’s well worth your time to take US-41 South towards downtown Sarasota and then hop over to Lido Key and follow FL-789 all the way up to the island.  You’ll get a better feel for Lido Key and Anna Maria Island this way, along with all of the area beaches and shopping areas enroute.

Finally, Here’s A Detailed Anna Maria Island, Florida Map:


View Anna Maria in a larger map

Remember, the Island of Anna Maria actually contains three individual cities:

Traveling south from AMI, you’ll connect to Longboat Key, and then to Lido Key before crossing the bridge back to the mainland at Sarasota.

One final word of advice traveling along the islands–be sure to follow the speed limit diligently.  The area law enforcement is known to keep a zero-tolerance approach to speeding traffic.  Also, be sure to keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing the roadway (oftentimes, they’re coming from or going to the beaches).  Florida law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians.  You’ll notice frequent well-marked pedestrian crossing zones along the way.

One thing is for sure…you’ll certainly enjoy the beautiful location of Anna Maria Island, Florida!