It’s been a busy week for me at work, with lots of meetings and training sessions, so on Friday we made plans to get out and do something fun and active, to take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve been having.
Along with our friends Bill & Linda, we loaded the bikes on our Jeeps and headed out to Anna Maria Island for the day. Our tentative plan included some bike riding, a hike and walk on the beach, and an early dinner somewhere on the island.
After a quick pit stop, we headed out on the bike trail.
It was a beautiful day, and there were plenty of people walking and riding on the trail, as well as lots of people on the beach. The bike trail followed the beach for a couple of miles – a beautiful setting – but it could have been a little wider and in better shape. It was still a nice ride, but we had to dodge quite a few people.
The beach looked beautiful, and so inviting!!
I was starting to regret not just planning a beach day!
We reached the Jetty at the far southern end of Anna Maria Island, and stopped to soak in the beauty of the beach and the emerald green water.
The bright sunshine, the cloudless blue sky, and crystal clear water – what more could you ask for!?!
Having reached the end of Anna Maria Island, we decided to cross the bridge to Longboat Key and continue on. There was no more bike trail, but we did have a nice wide sidewalk that was in better shape than the bike trail!
We rode for several miles through the mostly residential area of the island. The business district of Longboat Key was still over 8 miles away, and we weren’t really up for that long of a ride (it would have put us at a total of almost 30 miles, round trip), so we opted to turn around, since there wasn’t much else to see in the residential area.
Back on Anna Maria Island, we reached Leffis Key, which was our hiking destination for the afternoon.
It’s a small hiking trail and boardwalks through the mangroves along the bay side of the island.
There were several observation decks along the water, where we saw birds, fishermen, and the surrounding islands and mainland.
We could even see the Cortez drawbridge that we crossed on our way to the island.
It was a nice little hike to break up our day.
From the highest point on our little hike, we had a nice view of the bay.
We finished our ride back along the bike trail, and then had a few snacks in the picnic area at the beach before walking along the water.
The water was a cool 68 degrees – similar to Lake Michigan in late June!
Beautiful, though . . .
We enjoyed a nice walk in the sand, and picked up a few shells . . . didn’t find any sand dollars, though.
There were some clouds moving in, but it was still a beautiful day . . .
After 11 miles of bike riding, a mile of hiking, and another mile on the beach . . . we were all getting a little hungry . . . actually, really hungry! We loaded the bikes back on the Jeeps, and hopped onto the trolley to ride to the other end of the island for dinner.
After talking to some locals on the trolley, we decided to give the Rod & Reel a try. It’s a small seafood restaurant on a small pier about a 1/2 mile away from the last trolley stop at the Anna Maria City Pier . . . more walking! OK, not too far . . .
We were ahead of the crowd, and got seated right away. Food was good and the prices were pretty decent, too . . . good choice!
We had hoped to make it back to the beach for sunset, but we just missed the trolley as we arrived back at the city pier, and had to wait about 30 minutes for the next one.
We made due with the sunset there.
Anna Maria Historic City Pier, with the Sunshine Skyway in the background.
A beautiful ending to a beautiful day!