If you are looking for a special way to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, Anna Maria Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast is the perfect destination. This charming barrier island offers a unique Thanksgiving experience filled with relaxation, serene nature and a warm holiday atmosphere.
One of the main draws of Anna Maria Island for a Thanksgiving getaway is its mild and pleasant weather. The island enjoys average temperatures in the 70s (F) during November, providing an ideal place to escape the cold. Plus this time of year tends to be much quieter than peak tourist season, making it a great time to enjoy the island’s beaches and other attractions without the spring and summer crowds.
Eat your turkey and trimmings by the beach at a number of waterfront restaurants offering holiday meals on Anna Maria Island or in Bradenton.
- Anna Maria Island Beach Café will be open on Thanksgiving Day, offering a traditional meal for pick-up (pre-order required). For those who are hungry for some beachfront dining, a breakfast will also be served in the morning.
- Pier 22 is a waterfront restaurant in nearby Bradenton with a special Thanksgiving holiday menu starting at 11am. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
- Bridge Street Bistro in Bradenton Beach offers a Thanksgiving buffet starting at noon, including seafood and other less traditional dishes available in addition to turkey and mashed potatoes. Reservations are required and can be made on their website.
- Beach House Waterfront offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and relaxing outdoor dining directly on the beach. Open normal hours on Thanksgiving, with typical menu options available.
Things to Do Over the Thanksgiving Holiday
There are lots of activities to choose from during your Thanksgiving vacation to Anna Maria Island, with options for everyone.
- Get a head start on your holiday with the Bradenton Turkey Trot 3-Miler Fun Run. Starting at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, this event is open to all levels, and proceeds will support local food banks. Race day registration is available for cash only.
- Explore the laid-back and quaint atmosphere of Anna Maria Island by bike. The slow traffic and flat roads make the island a great place to get around by bike for riders of any level, with trailers and kids’ bikes available for rent as well. On the northern end of the island, do your Black Friday shopping along Pine Avenue, then continue along the Anna Maria Island City Pier for a great view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. On the southern end, check out serene Leffis Key Preserve for wildlife viewing and bay views along the boardwalk, then stop by lively Coquina Beach across the road.
- Rent a kayak or paddleboard and set off to explore the serene waterways of Anna Maria Island on your own. Or book a kayak tour, where you will have the opportunity to see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife. Booking a charter boat for a fishing trip or dolphin tour is a great way to experience a saltwater adventure in the Gulf of Mexico.
Where to Stay
Staying in a vacation rental on Anna Maria Island over Thanksgiving has several benefits. It allows you to enjoy a more relaxed and private holiday with your family and friends, and you have the flexibility to cook your own Thanksgiving meal in a fully equipped kitchen, or order takeout from one of the island’s restaurants. Additionally, our vacation rentals offer more space and amenities than a hotel room, such as private pools and outdoor living spaces, and living rooms that the whole group can gather in.
Located steps from Coquina Beach, Angie’s Place is a cozy beach cottage with a backyard pool oasis for ultimate relaxation. The stylish Lime Kiss offers a palm-fringed pool area and a rooftop deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Spacious Sunshine-Bradenton Beach Club offers a private screened balcony, two pools and boardwalk beach access.
Anna Maria Island is a great destination for a special Thanksgiving experience. With mild weather, fewer crowds, and plenty of restaurants offering a special holiday meal, it’s a great place to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones. Book your vacation rental and start planning your Thanksgiving getaway to Anna Maria Island!