Added by Michael Gabbert
A three mile stretch of fine, delicate sand makes for the perfect beach walk along the Gulf of Mexico.
With a 3 miles stretch of fine, delicate sand along the Gulf of Mexico, Holmes Beach is an ideal setting for a shore hike. As you hike, frequent visits from bottlenose dolphins and manatees 20-30 yards offshore along with Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets lining the shoreline is commonplace. While the beach can get crowded during the day, the amount of people is much less than many of the surrounding beaches within just a few short miles.
With such a long stretch of beach, there are a myriad of options on where to start. The first, and likely easiest from a driving perspective, starts once you get onto Anna Maria Island. As you reach the end of Manatee Ave (Hwy 64), you’ll continue to go straight at the intersection of Gulf Drive and into the Anna Maria Beach Cafe. Park your car here and the beach is a mere 10 ft away. Proceed hiking north and you’ll be on your way. The second, and in my opinion the best, has you driving to the north part of the island setting your destination to Rod & Reel Pier. Park here and start hiking to the north. This starting point while a bit longer to get to initially, is generally less crowded and provides a good pit stop either before or after the hike for a coffee or breakfast.
If possible, start early to take in a Sunrise @ Rod & Reel Pier. It’s a perfect setting for a sunrise and a perfect place to kick off a day. Plus, the beach is basically empty and the wildlife activity is at its peak.
- Fishing Pole
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