Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach are some of the most picturesque and popular beaches for those who want the ‘Old World Florida’ charm without the crowds and prices you would find in Orlando and Disney World. We believe these coastal towns are untouched gems and are the perfect spots for tourists to visit any time of the year. But there are also lesser-known facts about Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach that can make your visit to these interesting cities even more exciting!
The First Bridge Was Built in 1921
Bradenton and Anna Maria Island are no stranger to bridges! After all, you need to be able to access these islands somehow. The first bridge was built in 1921, connecting AMI to the mainland of Florida. However, the project immediately saw a roadblock when huge gusts of wind destroyed part of the bridge mid-construction. Despite the hindrance, this did not deter the determined businessmen. The bridge finished construction in 1922, even despite the setback. Today, the bridge crosses the aptly named Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and Cortez.
George Bean Was the First Resident
George Emerson Bean is officially known as the first resident of Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria Island after settling on the land at the very end of the 19th century. He became a ‘homesteader’ and lived on the island, growing crops and gathering supplies. After his death in 1898, the ownership of his previously claimed land was transferred to his next of kin. Luckily, he was smart enough to become business partners with Mr. Roser, a wealthy developer from nearby St. Petersburg who wanted to grow the area.
There Are Different Types of Fauna Here
One of the main reasons why people love surfing, swimming, and fishing in Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach is due to the versatility of the flora and fauna here. The island is a sanctuary for many land and sea animals, such as sea turtles who flock here during the nesting season in spring. You can also view different types of pelicans, crows, bald eagles, roseate birds, spoonbills, storks, herons, and parrots. If you are interested in going dolphin or whale watching, then head out to the Intracoastal Waterway or Bimini Bay to snap some good photos!