Visit These Anna Maria Island Haunts on Your Vacation!

On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island is well known for its magnificent beaches, inviting atmosphere, a variety of activities, and vibrant culture. Despite being primarily known as a peaceful haven, this lovely island has a secret side that appeals to those who enjoy the eerie and mysterious.

Explore some hauntingly fun things to do in Anna Maria Island during your next vacation. If you enjoy ghost stories, paranormal activity, or simply love the unknown, then these spooky spots are just the thing for you. 

To help you get the most out of your spooky AMI adventure, we’ll take you through haunted Bridge Street, tell you the eerie history of Coquina Beach, and explore nearby creepy Bradenton locations so you’ll know all the best places to stop by during your stay!

Bridge Street

Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is a beautiful area where history and the supernatural intersect. The bridge was completed in 1922, connecting the island to Cortez on the mainland. Today, part of the old bridge remains a pier, a popular spot for dining, fishing, and scenic views. Visitors can also catch glimpses of spirits known to roam the area, such as a man and two headless lovers.

At the island end of the new bridge, the Bridge Tender Inn Dockside Bar & Grille, formerly known as the Bayside Inn, holds some intriguing secrets. After the old inn was purchased and the new owners began renovations, an old chest was discovered on the second floor, filled with what they believed to be human bones. Perhaps not by coincidence, famous gangster Al Capone was known to frequent a bar and dancehall near the old Bayside Inn.

While exploring Bridge Street, you might be lucky to meet George Bean, the island’s first permanent resident. Known for his love for Bridge Street, George has been said to join visitors on their adventures and compliment the women he sees along the way.  

The Island Time Inn, where town meetings used to be held, seems to have a male spirit who tricks the staff. The Oar House, located on the north corner of Bridge Street and Gulf Drive, had a rough reputation and met its fiery end in 1978. 

Today, the Island Time Bar and Grill and the Bridge Street Bistro are located there, and employees have reported strange occurrences like items disappearing into thin air, eerie shadows, and even the sound of a couple arguing.

Coquina Beach

On the southern tip of Anna Maria Island, Coquina Beach is well known for its fine, white sands and crystal-clear waters. Tourists visit this location to unwind and enjoy the sunshine. But beneath the surface of this tranquil paradise, there is a tale that can make you shudder.

The “Phantom Surfer,” a ghostly figure, is said to reside in Coquina Beach. This enigmatic being is rumored to ride the waves on an invisible surfboard on moonlit nights. Witnesses have reported seeing a dark silhouette gliding across the water with ease while the air was filled with the sound of distant surf.

Coquina Beach at night is made more intriguing by the Phantom Surfer’s presence despite the fact that he continues to be a mystery. Look out for any indications of the spectral surfer if you visit this lovely beach. Who knows, you might be one of the fortunate few to see this unusual phenomenon.

Plan Your Anna Maria Island Vacation

There’s no end to the spooky and fun things to do in Anna Maria Island! View all of our rooms and plan a fantastic Halloween getaway with us today!

Spooky Bradenton Locations

The 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds is a must-visit destination for history buffs and those interested in spooky Anna Maria Island activities. This historic cemetery is one of the oldest organized burial grounds on Florida’s west coast, offering an atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. 

Overgrown trees provide broken shade to the tombstones and burial vaults, creating an atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. Many weathered headstones bear the names and inscriptions of individuals who found their eternal rest here, with most dating back over a century or more.

Within the fenced boundaries of the Manatee Burying Grounds, you’ll find 94 marked graves, each with its own story to tell. However, there’s more to this burial ground than meets the eye. Many additional unmarked graves lie beneath the surface, lost to the passage of time. Some headstones have cracked and tilted, adding an eerie touch to the surroundings. 

To access this historical gem for a self-guided tour, stop by the Wiggins Store in the Manatee Village Historical Park to obtain a key.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is more than just a roadway; it’s a place where history and tragedy have left their marks. The modern Sunshine Skyway Bridge replaced the original bridges, one of which suffered a devastating collapse on the foggy morning of May 9, 1980. 

The southbound segment of the original structure buckled when the freighter Summit Venture collided with a main supporting column, causing a 1,200-foot span of the bridge to plunge into the bay. 

This tragic event resulted in the loss of 35 lives as six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus plummeted nearly 150 feet into the deep waters below.

The new Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which opened on April 20, 1987, was meticulously designed to prevent such a disaster from happening again. Freighters and cruise ships still pass beneath the bridge to reach Port Tampa Bay and Port Manatee, but safety measures have been significantly improved. 

Interestingly, the Summit Venture, the freighter involved in the accident, later changed ownership and names, ultimately meeting its end as the Jian Mao 9 off the coast of Vietnam in 2010.

Braden Castle is a fascinating destination for those seeking to uncover the stories of Florida’s past. This two-story homestead, built in 1850 by Dr. Joseph Addison Braden and his brother Hector Braden, is a testament to determination and resilience. 

Constructed with walls that are 20 inches thick, the two-story structure featured rooms separated by a long hall, complete with a grand wooden stairway to the second floor. The roof was adorned with cedar shingles, giving it a unique charm.

The Camping Tourists of America purchased the site in 1924, setting up tents and cottages around the remains of Braden Castle. Today, these ruins are part of Braden Castle Park, a Florida Historic District. Visitors are welcome to explore the historic park and the remnants of Braden Castle, connecting with a piece of Florida’s history.

Pumpkins on the sand
Photo from Shutterstock

Your Anna Maria Island Resort

When you’ve had your fill of exploring the historic streets and intriguing mysteries of Anna Maria Island, it’s time to unwind and relax in style. Look no further than our Anna Maria Island Beach Resort, your beachfront oasis where the sand meets luxury.

We are located right on the beach, allowing you to step out of your room and onto the sand in seconds. Picture-perfect sunsets and tranquil walks along the shoreline are part of the daily routine. 

The resort also features tons of luxurious amenities for your Anna Maria Island vacation, like an oversized resort pool, perfect for cooling off and soaking up the Florida sun. Private poolside cabanas provide shade and privacy, making them the ideal place to relax with a good book or a refreshing drink.

When you book a room at our Anna Maria Island hotel, you’re ensuring an unforgettable beachfront experience. We have everything you need to turn your vacation dreams into a reality, whether you’re searching for a solo getaway, a family adventure, or a romantic getaway. 

Therefore, unwind and let our Anna Maria Island Resort serve as your home away from home while visiting this magical island. Paradise is waiting; book your stay today!