Discover the History of Anna Maria Island’s City Pier

For your next trip to Florida, escape to the quaint and welcoming location of Anna Maria Island. Here, you’ll find the gorgeous white-sand beaches you’d expect from a Florida getaway, as well as delicious local restaurants and unique shopping opportunities. One more thing you’ll find on Anna Maria Island? Tons of history!

The island as a whole has several fascinating historical sites, from the old jail to the Historic Green Village. But there’s one spot on the island that you definitely don’t want to miss: the Anna Maria Island City Pier. 

Paying a visit to the pier is one of the best ways to get an up-close look at Anna Maria Island history.

pier across the water
Photo by Unsplash

Anna Maria Island’s Pier Phases

The Creation

The Anna Maria Island City Pier has been a landmark of the community for more than 100 years now. There’s a sign right as you enter the pier that perfectly sums up the early days of the area: “The Anna Maria Development Company built this pier and wharf in 1911-1912 to provide dockage for ships from St. Petersburg and Tampa.” 

Back in 1911, the pier was originally built by Charles Roser and George Emerson Bean. If that “Bean” name sounds familiar, it should! George Bean was the first official settler on Anna Maria Island, and his homestead was located on the stretch of land that we today know as Bean Point Beach.

When the pier was originally built, the only way that visitors can get to Anna Maria Island was by boat. There were absolutely no bridges that connected Anna Maria Island to the mainland. Having a pier not only helped bring in fishing boats and steamboats, but it also gave residents and guests a place to enjoy the view from the water or go fishing for an afternoon.

Storms and Rebuilding the Pier

Unfortunately, the Anna Maria Island City Pier has been through a lot over the years. Multiple storms over the last century have essentially brought the pier to ruin, but thanks to the dedication of the locals, it’s been rebuilt and restored every time. There were a few storms that came through in the 1970’s, causing minor damage that could be repaired relatively quickly.

The first major storm that rocked the pier came in 1988: Tropical Storm Keith. The storm truly shook the foundation of the entire island, destroying almost the entire wharf and the building of the restaurant nearby. Locals all pitched in to ensure that the pier would be rebuilt and brought back to its former glory, and it even increased in popularity after the storm.

view of hurricane from above earth

However, in 2017, the devastating Hurricane Irma made its presence known. Hurricane Irma had a huge impact on state of Florida as a whole, and it essentially completely demolished one of the most popular things to do in Anna Maria Island.

Rebuilding Process

After Hurricane Irma swept through, there was simply no saving what little was left of the Anna Maria Island City Pier. The pier had to be completely demolished and rebuilt. This was an emotional journey for a lot of people, especially considering some of the planks were inscribed with family names and remembrances from locals across the island. 

peir at dusk
Photo by Shutterstick

It’s been a long time coming, but the Anna Maria Island City Pier has finally been rebuilt as close to the original site as possible. It took $6.8 million to bring the pier back to its former glory, and locals were thrilled when they were able to step onto the pier again in June 2020. A few months later, the iconic City Pier Grille & Bait Shop opened in December 2020.

Visit the Anna Maria Island City Pier

So, now that you know the history of Anna Maria Island City Pier, you’ll understand why you should visit! It’s one of the best places to get a glimpse into the past and understand what life might have been like for the locals 100 years ago. Of course, it’s also a beautiful place to simply come out, sit down, and watch the waves roll by. If you feel so inclined, stop by the nearby bait shop and cast your line out into the water. Who knows? You might even get a great catch to have for dinner that night!

Many people enjoy coming to the pier for the view, but the water isn’t the only thing you’ll be looking at! There’s also lots of fascinating wildlife that like to hang out around the pier, so it’s the perfect place for animal lovers. Look up to spot some incredible birds, or peer down into the water to see some fish. Gaze out toward the horizon and you might even spot some manatees or dolphins!

As we mentioned, the City Pier Grille & Bait Shop has just recently opened and it’s definitely worth a visit. No matter what time of the day you come out and visit, you can always get a great meal, since they’re open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. They serve up all of your favorite classic dishes, from pancakes and bacon in the morning to delicious burgers and seafood favorites for lunch or dinner.

family sitting on beach together

The Pier is located close to the iconic Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria, which is worthy of a visit in and of itself! This street is the best place for shopping on the northern side of Anna Maria Island, offering everything from souvenirs and gift shops to apparel, home decor, cafes, restaurants, and more! 

If you want to spend some time on the beach, the pier is just moments away from Bayfront Park. This destination has beach access, of course, but there’s also a wide park area perfect for families to spend a day in the sunshine. Bayfront Park has plenty to do for kids, like a fun playground and a huge grassy area for relaxing in the shade or having a picnic lunch with your loved ones. Want a beach that’s a bit more secluded? You can also walk to Bean Point Beach for a quiet look at the water, perfect for a romantic evening with your partner.

Plan Your Next Trip

We are proud to offer luxurious yet affordable accommodations that groups of all kinds are sure to love. We’ve got you covered with the perfect room and can recommend all the best activities on the island! We treat every single guest like family and are dedicated to ensuring you have a truly unforgettable stay. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to learn more about our resort and book your stay today!

Where to Stay

A visit to the Anna Maria Island City Pier is just one of the most exciting things to do on the island, but it’s certainly not the only thing! If you want to be just moments away from the pier (or any other attraction) at all times, book your Anna Maria Island room in our luxury resort! We’ve got tons of options for families big and small, so you’ll have more than enough room no matter how many people are coming on vacation with you.