Anna Maria Island, Florida – Interesting Facts
Anna Maria Island, on the west coast of Florida near the mouth of Tampa Bay, has been a popular beach vacation destination for more than 100 years. More than 100,000 visitors annually enjoy the island’s beaches and relish its old Florida corporate free attitude. If you are planning a trip to AMI, or have already been there, you may want to learn a few things that make the island unique.
Here are five little-known facts about Anna Maria Island:
- The island has quartz beaches: Many first-time visitors are amazed by the powdery white sand that covers the beaches of Anna Maria Island. There are two very different ways that white sand can form. The first is through crushed seashells that accumulate and wash ashore over hundreds of thousands of years. The second is a rare phenomenon in which quartz rock is eroded by streams in high mountain ranges and washed out to sea. AMI’s sand comes from a combination of erosion in the Appalachian Mountains reaching the Gulf of Mexico and seashells. In addition to the soft white sand, quartz is also a poor conductor of heat, which means that the beaches of Anna Maria Island do not get as hot as other beaches.
- The beaches stretch 8 miles: Although AMI is about 7 miles long; the beach stretches around the northern and southern edges of the island to create more than 8 miles of uninterrupted beach. Northwest beaches face Tampa Bay, while Southwest beaches face Sarasota Bay.
- AMI is 3000 years old: It is impossible to predict exactly how old Anna Maria Island is. However, carbon dating and soil samples taken by the University of Florida suggest that the formation of the land mass dates back approximately 3,000 years. AMI is a barrier island formed by sediments carried to the coast of the mainland. The northern portions of Anna Maria Island are the oldest and the island continues to expand to the south. Some parts of the south of the island are less than 200 years old.
- Bean Point named by colonist: The first travelers to the beach of Anna Maria Island arrived in the late 19th century. George Bean settled at the northernmost point of the island. He and his associates used steamboats to transport tourists from St. Petersburg to enjoy the then secluded island. Bean Point still offers a nearly 270 degree view of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.
- Sea turtle nesting area: Millions of green and loggerhead sea turtles made their great journey by the sea on the beaches of Anna Maria Island. In any given year, up to 200 turtles will build nests on AMI’s beaches. A typical nest contains 60 to 100 eggs.
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