Cocktail Hopping on Anna Maria Island: Where to Go

The beach and cocktails go hand in hand, and on Anna Maria Island there’s no shortage of places to stop and drink a tropical concoction while taking in the ocean views and relishing in the gentle sea breeze. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite stops below for the perfect beach day spent soaking up the sun and cocktail hopping.

Note: All of these suggestions are restaurants, but all have bar areas if you’re just stopping in for a drink. Although if you’re hungry, I gladly recommend any of these stops for food as well. Read more about food options on Anna Maria Island here.

Pro tip: Park your car in any of the public parking areas, then ride the trolley to all of these stops. I recommend parking near the Cortez bridge, as that’s where the Kokonut Hut is.

Stop 1: The Kokonut Hut

This was one of the first places I discovered on the island – the large palapa and beachfront tiki tables were practically screaming my name. Now it’s one of my favorite spots to grab a drink (pictured in the above image) and watch the world go by. If you want the ultimate beach experience, definitely stop in for a drink at the very least, and stay for lunch if they aren’t too busy. Service can be spotty but I’ve never had bad food, and the vibe is awesome! Tip: Definitely check in inside with a hostess and get seated if you’d like full service or aren’t just sitting at the bar.

Vibe: Quintessential tiki bar
Drink to try: Key Lime Colada, or the Island Mule
Happy hour: Monday – Thursday from 3-6pm in the bar area only. $3 domestic drafts, $4 margaritas, well cocktails, and house wine.

Cocktail Hopping on Anna Maria Island: Where to Go
Frozen Mango Margarita at Wicked Cantina

Stop 2: Wicked Cantina

You all already known how much I love Wicked Cantina (I just can’t shut up about it — go visit them). While they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner I always end up here around lunch time. After an early afternoon drink at Kokonut Hut, all you have to do is walk across the street to this cozy tex-mex spot. If it’s a nice day, definitely sit outside to enjoy lunch and drinks. The mango margaritas are out of this world – not too sweet, price point is right (under $8), and they’re just boozy enough.

Vibe: Tacos & chill
Drink to try: Frozen Mango Margarita
Happy hour: 12-6pm daily. They also have a great bar snacks menu!

Cocktail Hopping on Anna Maria Island: Where to Go
Mango mojito at Sandbar

Stop 3: Sandbar Restaurant

There are several places to dine directly on the beach on the island, but Sandbar Restaurant is my favorite so far. Out back, you can snag a table in the sand and kick your shoes off while watching the sunset and enjoying your meal. And when it comes to drinks, each is well-crafted and delicious. I especially love the mojitos.

Vibe: Toes in the sand
Drink to try: Mango Mojito or Dark n’ Stormy (made as it should be with Gosling’s)
Happy hour: n/a

Cocktail Hopping on Anna Maria Island: Where to Go
The Waterfront Restaurant

Stop 4: Waterfront Restaurant

Upon first glance, the Waterfront Restaurant may look a bit fancy. But don’t be fooled. While the setting is noticeably more upscale than your typical waterfront eatery, it’s far from snooty. If you’re hungry, the food is great and there’s plenty of outdoor seating. The much coveted front deck fills up quickly! This stop is conveniently located near the City Pier, so you can walk off some of the calories afterwards. Now – on to drinks. This is one of the few places on the island where I’ve seen an actual craft cocktail menu. Sure, most have a tropical twist, but still…it’s a nice change up if you’ve been drinking sweet and fruity concoctions all day. They also have a great craft beer selection featuring some local breweries.

Vibe: Unstuffy upscale
Drink to try: 1944 Mai Tai
Happy hour: n/a, but you can check out the drink menu here.

Cocktail Hopping on Anna Maria Island: Where to Go
Homemade grapefruit mojito

Stop 5: Make your own!

Beach cocktails don’t come cheap, and while I’m willing to pay the price, there’s nothing wrong with a little pre-gaming (or post) at your own place. On my most recent visit, my grandma, sister, and I went to work in the kitchen and made our own mojitos. After a little sleuthing online for a good recipe and a few test runs, we ended up with some pretty perfect grapefruit mojitos, which paired wonderfully with watching the sunset. Here’s a link to a good recipe, but if you’d like to make it know that we chose to double the juices and used simple syrup instead of sugar.

Vibe: Save dat money (link goes to my favorite music video, but fyi – it’s NSFW)
Drink to try: Whatever you can dream up with the ingredients you’ve got on hand
Happy hour: Whenever you want!

Other places to consider:
• The Beach House – Located close to the Kokonut Hut. They’re doing some major deck renovations, but the food and drinks are great!
• Freckled Fin – I haven’t been yet, but it’s on my list. I hear they have a decent beer selection.
• Bridge Tender Inn – This spot is tucked away on Bridge St. and service can be slow if they’re busy, but they have a great outdoor bar right by the water.
• City Pier – For a cheap beer while people-watching and dolphin spotting.

6 Awesome Day Trips You Can Take from Orlando

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: day trips are my JAM! I love getting in the car early in the morning (preferably with a bag of caramel creams…gotta have snacks) and arriving to a new destination a few hours later.

This year, I’m really committed to traveling more on a local scale, especially since there is so much to be seen in Florida. This is why I love day trips – they give you that novel feeling of being somewhere new, but you can sleep in your own bed at night and will spend a significantly less amount of money than you would say, jet-setting to Bora Bora. (Still on my list though.)

Below is a list of six day trips easily accessible from Orlando. Whether you’re a beach lover, foodie, adventurer, or history buff there’s definitely something for everyone on this list. Continue reading “6 Awesome Day Trips You Can Take from Orlando”

Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL

Since moving to Central Florida in 2012, day trips have sort of become my jam. Living in a state where people regularly come for their yearly vacations means an endless supply of things to do, and I’m making a commitment to explore more this year and in the future. Day trip guides feature locations accessible in 2.5 hours or less that are small enough to be enjoyed in just one day.

dunedin-fl-day-trip-guide

The Basics

If you’re looking for a great spot to explore on foot, enjoy the arts, prefer local eats over chain restaurants, and like cities that are full of character and big on community, Dunedin may be just the place for you.

Dunedin, FL is a small city in the Tampa Bay area with Scottish roots (Dunedin comes from the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland). It’s home to Florida’s oldest craft brewery, a popular Mardi Gras celebration, Honeymoon Island State Park, and a vibrant arts community. Coming from Orlando, plan for a 2 hour drive each way. Continue reading “Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL”

There’s Something About Dunedin

The more I explore the sunshine state, the more I realize I really, really love small towns. I actively seek out places that feel inviting, are small enough to explore on foot, and – ok – have at least one really great spot for an ice cream cone.

Funny then, that in my multiple past visits to Dunedin, I never ventured past the Dunedin Brewery and nearby 7venth Sun Brewing Company. (Turns out afternoons are easily lost when eating delicious food and sampling 3 too many craft brews.)

Dunedin, FL: A colorful, artsy city in the gulf coast of Florida that makes the perfect day trip

While the brewery scene is lively and worth experiencing, I knew this town had more to offer, so it was time for another visit. Continue reading “There’s Something About Dunedin”

Micanopy: Inviting, Photogenic and Totally Day-Tripable

When I first moved to Florida in 2012, I knew of little else in the state besides beautiful beaches and jam-packed theme parks. I didn’t think about open fields, quaint towns, or an abundance of state parks. And I certainly didn’t think of places like Micanopy.

If one word comes to mind after my half day spent in Micanopy, (pronounced Mick-ah-NO-pee – I’m not proud of how many times I botched the name) it’s inviting. The town is tiny with a population of less than 600 people and the main road is lined with old buildings, antique shops, and large trees covered in Spanish moss. It’s like a bite sized version of St. Augustine and Savannah, GA rolled into one. In other words, right up my alley for an afternoon of exploring.

The quaint downtown of Micanopy, FL

I owe the discovery of Micanopy to my mom. Always up for a day trip, she sent me an article a few months ago with a list of picturesque small towns in Florida and we decided to check out a few – Micanopy being one of the choices. Continue reading “Micanopy: Inviting, Photogenic and Totally Day-Tripable”