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The Best Bird Watching on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a slice of oceanside paradise just off the coast of Florida. This seven-mile-long island is ideal for solo trips, romantic getaways with your partner, or vacations filled with fun family-friendly activities. Anna Maria Island presents the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life and truly connect with nature, allowing you to destress and reconnect with the ones you love most.

When you’re on Anna Maria Island, many of the most popular activities in the area involve being outdoors. Residents and locals alike love spending time on the beach, hiking or cycling along the trails, or kayaking or paddle boarding through the beautiful waters. But one of the most popular and fun Anna Maria Island outdoor activities is birdwatching!

If you’ve never been birdwatching before, your trip to Anna Maria Island is the perfect time to pick up this new hobby, and if you’re already experienced with birdwatching, you’ll get to see some incredible species you might not have witnessed before.

Here, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about birdwatching in Anna Maria Island, including the best places to go and what type of birds you might expect to see.

Where to Go

Coquina Beach Baywalk

Coquina Beach is located at the southern end of the island in the city of Bradenton Beach. The beach itself is known for being a family-friendly stretch of shoreline that is slightly less crowded than its northern counterpart of Manatee Public Beach. Since this beach and its adjacent bay walk doesn’t see quite as much human traffic, it’s a great place to come and watch the birds. You’ll wind up seeing more birds here than in other parts of the island since there aren’t as many people around to scare them away.

birds on the beach

During your time on the Coquina Beach Baywalk, you’ll be able to experience 30 acres of restored habitat at the beautiful Leffis Key. The area was actually destroyed in the 1950s due to dredging of the Intracoastal Waterways, but restoration started in the 1980’s, and now, this area is one of the most vital spots for wildlife on Anna Maria Island. Not only will you get to see some amazing bird species here, but you can also keep your eye out for marine life and walk between the 50,000+ native plants!

Bean Point

On the opposite side of the island, Bean Point is a quiet stretch of shore located on the northern end of the island in the city of Anna Maria. Bean Point got its name from the first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island, George Emerson Bean, who had set up his residence here. Similar to the Coquina Beach Baywalk, Bean Point is a bit off the beaten path and isn’t a place that you’ll find a bunch of tourists, so it’s perfect for a romantic evening with your sweetheart or, of course, witnessing incredible bird species that might be too scared to come out on the rest of the island.

view of the beach from overhead

To get to Bean Point, you’ll need to head all the way to the north end of the island, then look for small white signs that denote beach access points. You can find these signs at the intersection of Fern Street and North Shore Drive, as well as Gladiolus Street and North Shore Drive. Be sure to bring your camera with you and a picnic or blanket if you prefer, as there are no amenities available at Bean Point. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll immediately understand why this tiny beach is praised for its stunning views and diverse wildlife.

What Will You See?

While you’re experiencing one of the best outdoor activities in Anna Maria Island, you’re probably curious about what you should be looking for. One of the most common species you might find is the great blue heron, which can reach up to four feet in height! These birds are mostly covered in gray but can be easily identified by the white crown stripes that go from behind its beak all the way down its back. You might also spot the roseate spoonbill, which has a distinctive pink color that sometimes leads viewers to mistake it for a flamingo!

Some of the other birds you might see while you’re on Anna Maria Island include the snowy egret, the willet, Wilson’s Plover, black skimmer, least tern, white ibis, and others. While you can certainly see the species all year long, you’ll have the best time birdwatching on Anna Maria Island during bird nesting season, which runs from March through August. Just be sure to stay away from the birds and their habitats so as not to bother them and ensure that they continue to nest on Anna Maria Island for years to come.

What to Bring With You

To ensure that you have the best experience during your bird watching excursion, there are a few things that you’re going to want to bring with you. First, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed properly. Many bird watchers prefer to wear wide-brimmed hats, sometimes referred to as safari or bucket hats, to keep the sun out of their eyes without the need for sunglasses. You also want to make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes that will allow you to walk in various terrains for a long time, as you might wind up getting off the beaten path.

As far as non-apparel items, binoculars are absolutely key. If you don’t bring anything else on this list, make sure you grab a pair of binoculars! Since it’s important to keep your distance from the birds, having a good pair of binoculars will ensure you can get the best view from a distance. You might also consider bringing a notebook and pen to record your findings, a checklist of the birds you might see in the area, or even a field guide to help you identify the species you see.

Plan Your Next Stay

Ready to plan your dream getaway to Florida? Contact us today to learn more about our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals!

Where to Stay

Birdwatching in Anna Maria Island is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones, whether you are taking a nature excursion with your partner or bringing the kiddos to teach them about wildlife. Either way, at the end of a long day of birdwatching, you’ll want to have a comfortable place to return to so you can freshen up for dinner or simply relax and reminisce on the beautiful bird species you discovered. There’s no better place to do just that than in one of our Anna Maria Island rentals!

We are proud to offer Anna Maria Island vacation rentals that are both comfortable and luxurious without coming with a huge price tag. Anna Maria Beach Resort offers rooms for groups big and small, and if you’re not sure exactly which of our rooms would be right for you, our friendly and dedicated staff is always available to help you. The support doesn’t end after you book; we’re always here for you throughout your stay to answer any questions or concerns or just simply chat with you about all the best sights on the island!