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Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

North Yorkshire...
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Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

Previoulsy visisted Sanibel, Captiva, Useppa and our fAVOURITE to date Boca Grande. Now considering Anna Maria for our next trip. Does anybody out there have experience of how Anna Maria compares with Boca Grande as we know very little about AM and to date not met anyone who been to both.

We love laid back beach days but also like decent bars/restaurants of a evening cos not really into eating in.

Like the peace and quiet but being English do like a decent bar with people and a bit of a local atmosphere.

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1. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

I go to both regularly but not to stay- I go as a day trip or for the morning/afternoon etc as I have a house very near to Boca Grande (which is the name of the town- it is really Gasparilla Island).

I like both. BG/G is more manicured, and more upmarket (mainly as the home ,wners incl Billionaires ). AMi is more Vibrant, more to see and do, It looks and feels 'old Florida' as opposed to jsut made to look like Old Florida. more beach front eateries- and you have the free trolley if you want to go out to dinner w/o your car. BG has retnal golf trollies that everyone leiks to use, but you should be just as sober to drive them as a car really. And only one beach front eatery, the South Beach Grill. Love the place, hate the owner (hote is a strong word- maybe very much dislike?). There are other popular eteries in the main town, away frm the beaches.

Both are good/great, but AMI will have more to see and do and is closer to main cities like sarasota and Bradenton if shopping, museums and the like are important to you. Also think AMI has better sand (pure white like Siesta Key) but BG has sharks teeth which I like to stroll and find.

North Yorkshire...
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2. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

thank you for your comments as very helpful in allowing us to decide.

would be lost without such forums which allow people to do their homework before they book/travel.

UK
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3. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

TBH, your choice is a win-win kinda problem ;-)

Bradenton, Florida
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4. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

I am partial to AMI, but I live to close to there. we went to Boca Grande last year for a week, and it was great. We did go in September, so a lot of things were closed.

The sand on AMI is better. Where we stayed on Boca Grande had quite a drop off to the beach. At high tide it was difficult to walk the beach, but at lower tides it was fine. There are more interesting shells on BG. Lot of good food there, but as mentioned above only one waterfront place, whereas AMI has many. The free trolley on AMI is also a big draw. Ride the trolley to dinner, and don't worry about driving. I would say AMI has a lot more restaurants and shops, and it is only 5 miles to the mainland, with no toll charge. No "gotcha" pricing on the island, either, with a normal Publix market right there. Lots to do in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the other keys as well.

Aberdeen, United...
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5. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

For us Anna Maria Island is our favourite to date. We have not stayed on Gasparilla but visited it this year. We are planning a trip to Sanibel Island soon. Like Amanx says it has a good laid back feel about it but is close to a few places. There are a few similarities and I am sure it will be fine either way but if you don't go you won't know.

At AMI we like to sit at the end of the pier and watch the fishermen, watch the sun go down at Sandbar, rent bikes and we just like the feel of the place.

Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

If you want uncrowded choose Boca Grande. AMI is too crowded nowadays, both the beach and road traffic.

Aberdeen, United...
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7. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

Forgot to say we have visited Sanibel.

North Yorkshire...
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8. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

Lassie of Scotland,

Regards your intended visit to Sanibel to stay over rather than just visit for the day we have stayed on Sanibel twice and also stayed on Captiva twice. Out of the 2 we would choose Captiva over Sanibel if we went back.

Sanibel is extremely stretched out and there is no "heart" to Sanibel whereas in Captiva there is the "very small" downtown at top of Andy Rosse Lane.

On Sanibel we stayed on the beach front once then second time we chose to stay on the road where the bars/restaraunts are to try get a different evening experience.

It is crucial on Sanibel to consider what your preferences are when choosing where to stay.

On Captiva it is not so crucial as anything happening seems to centre around the top of Andy Rosse Lane especially at the Captiva Island Inn which is the bar meeting point on Captiva.

A MUST DO on either Sanibel or Captiva is visit the Lazy Flamingo pub (there are 2) for a decent cold beer whilst sat at the bar with a grouper sandwich. There beers are kept in a HUGE above ground square contraption filled to the top with ice and the barman just reaches through/under the ice to find the bottle of your choice..

Aberdeen, United...
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9. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

@GCarnley - Thanks for your helpful advice. It is great to get this type of detail. I will look into it. It will be next year some time. We haven't got our plans made yet. We just know we liked what we saw and think it would make for a good trip.

We did not make it as far as Captiva. Is it busier or less busy? any other differences?

Thanks again. Hope you make it to AMI and enjoy it as much as we do.

North Yorkshire...
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10. Re: Boca Grande or Anna Maria? Travelling from UK

As said we gave both islands 2 trips of between 3 and 5 nights each time. Captiva is lovely with the only busy bit being the road through Sanibel to Captiva depending on when u visit. Avoid US bank holidays like the plague. We always been in May and had no problem whatsoever.

Both places expensive for hotels though but worth it especially if you stay for 3/4/5 nights.

We stayed at South Sea Resort and a cottage owned by Captiva Island Inn both in Captiva.

In Sanibel we stayed Holiday Inn (had a cracking beach bar atmosphere) and Ancorage Inn (nearly straight opposite Lazy Flamingo for obvious reasons)

We always twin a island with a week in Naples (in fact we only just got back) as we like to do the city bit (albeit that Naples is the quietest city I ever been to although we obviously like it by the fact we been about 6 times) and then an island or 2 to relax the last week.

Our next door neighbours go regularly as well and they always stay at the same place on Captiva which is the Tween Waters Inn and it does look good.

For Captiva if you just think Andy Rosse Lane for position you can't go wrong. We got bikes and it was brilliant.

For Sanibel look at a map and think

1. beachfront is all hotels and u need to travel to any bars that are not hotel bars as NONE on beachfront.

2. The main road is called Periwinkle Way and that is where the bars/restaurants are that are not hotel owned and that is where we stayed 2nd time.

We chose to walk or drive to the beach in the day and be able to walk to the bars/restaurants of a evening for the obvious reasons of not mixing drink with driving..

I hope you get to either/both but just make sure u do your homework if u choose to stay on Sanibel depending on your preferences.

Booking for AMI this morning as doing Naples again for first week and then AMI for the second week.

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