This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about spending the 4th of July in Anna Maria Island.
Independence Day ParadePhoto Credit: lstuvik via Flickr CC2.0
When you think about the 4th of July, the first thing that comes to mind is a giant Independence Day parade. Fortunately, Anna Maria Island has one of the best. The Anna Maria Island Privateers put on a massive parade that stretches the entire length of the beach.
Get there early if you want to get a good spot. Technically the parade begins at 10 a.m., but people start flocking to the parade route at least 30 minutes ahead of time. The parade begins at Coquina Beach, kicking off the celebrations with cannon fire and fanfare. Then, over the course of the next two hours, the Anna Maria Island Privateer's parade heads down Gulf Drive and ends at Anna Maria's pier.
Beach House Restaurant July 3rd FireworksPhoto Credit: Angie622 via Flickr CC2.0
Bradenton Beach's BeachHouse Restaurant has the best pre-Independence Day fireworks, kicking off the holiday on July 3rd. The firework show starts at 8 p.m. and is entirely free to the public. With its gorgeous white sand beaches and fabulous ocean view, Bradenton Beach's BeachHouse Restaurant is an ideal place to show your patriotism and see a great show.
You can watch the firework display from the beach itself or head out on the water for a unique experience. If you make reservations well in advance, you can even get a table at the BeachHouse Restaurant for the show.
Sandbar Restaurant FireworksPhoto Credit: islander.org
Sandbar Restaurant is another great place to check out a fireworks show. This popular Anna Maria Island eatery has been hosting fireworks displays for 30 years, and every year is better than the last. When the sun sets, guests are ushered into an alfresco wedding pavilion to see the show. There are VIP packages available that give you access to a special party afterwards. VIPs also get a front-row seat to the firework display.
PIER 22 Restaurant Fireworks and BuffetPhoto Credit: pier22dining.com
Bradenton's PIER 22 Restaurant is another fantastic place to catch some of Anna Maria Island's best fireworks, as well as sample a massive buffet of family-friendly favorites. These festivities are exceptionally popular with locals and visitors alike, so make sure that you get there early.
It all kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a pig roast and a giant buffet. After you have your fill, you can find a great spot on the beach to watch the fireworks display which will start around 9:30 p.m. While the PIER 22 Restaurant Fireworks and Buffet celebration is a family-friendly event, alcohol is served. Legal guests are invited to toast the holiday by purchasing a wristband and partaking in the open bar.
Hot Diggity Dog ParadePhoto Credit: annamariaislandcondorentals.com
If you head to Longboat Key, you will find one of the most unique 4th of July offerings on the beach. The Annual Freedom Fest and Hot Diggity Dog Parade is an annual favorite that rivals Anna Maria Island's big Independence Day Parade.
It's a good idea to get there early. While the parade starts at 8:30 a.m., people start setting up their chairs along the parade route at least 45 minutes prior. Expect fire trucks, bicycles, police cars, and some of Anna Maria Island's cutest furry friends. After the parade, there are games and food at nearby Bicentennial Park.
If you put this all-ages event on your Anna Maria Island 4th of July to-do list, plan to spend at least half the day.
Sarasota Powerboat Grand PrixPhoto Credit: gatorboy1975 via Instagram
While it's not technically in Anna Maria Island, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is a short drive from the island and a fun place to celebrate the week of 4th of July. Of course, Sarasota itself has its fair share of Independence Day events, but the crown jewel has to be its annual powerboat festival.
Although the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix isn't actually on July 4th this year, it's the same week, running from July 1-3. That means, you can enjoy the Grand Prix then head to a vacation rental on Anna Maria Island for the 4th.
There are so many amazing things to do for the 4th of July on Anna Maria Island. This year, make your Independence Day as memorable as possible by partaking in some of these events.