Florida’s Cultural Coast

The Florida Coastal Region along the western coast of Florida stretching from Sarasota south to Bradenton, is often referred to as the Florida Cultural Coast. The rich arts and cultural resources of the area prompted the title although these are not the only attractions for visitors to the area. A wide variety of attractions, festivals and events offer something to fit the taste of every traveler.

One of the most impressive collections of classic American and European masters is displayed in the galleries of the Ringling Estate. More than 20 galleries include thousands of works as well as the Ringling School of Art and Design. Both the school and museum are associated with Florida State University.

Sunset Along Florida's Culture Coast, Sarasota FloridaThe performances arts flourish in a number of venues on the Florida Cultural Coast. For those who like their dramas old school the Asolo Theatre fits the bill. The theater was moved piece-by-piece from Italy. Originally constructed in the 1700s, the theater features a stage surrounded by the audience for a true up close and personal experience. The facility also offers seminars and classes in acting. It is located on the grounds of the Ringling Estate. While the Ringling Estate offers the greatest concentration of arts and culture opportunities, a number of other galleries, studios and schools can be found in the various neighborhoods of Sarasota.

The Sarasota area likes to show off its cultural assets with big events. The Sarasota Music Festival is three weeks in June of great performances including music of many genres. Other festivals include the film festival in the spring and the blues festival each fall. Dates and attractions vary each year so check the Internet for details. In most cases, visitors can combine a visit to the festival with tours of some of the other attractions in the area.


Catching some rays on a great beach may not be a cultural activity but it sure feels great. Sarasota offers several beaches with great sand and sun. Siesta key is one of the great walking beaches while Lido Key includes trails through the surrounding woods and picnic areas. Ana Marie Island overlooks the Gulf of Mexico offering great ocean views particularly at sunset.



Anna Marie Island, Florida

Ana Marie Island, Florida is an idyllic barrier island, and it is situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the mouth of Tampa Bay along Florida's west coast. If you are looking for old Florida charm where you can walk barefoot along white sandy beaches boarded by the turquoise waters of the gulf, then Anna Marie Island is the place for you. White sand beaches all are scattered across the seven-mile-long Ana Marie Island, basking in temperate weather that is capable of giving every skin tone a perfect tan. Annually, the average temperature here is 74.8 degrees during the day and 70 degrees during the night.

City Pier and Gulf of Mexico, Anna Marie Island, FloridaThus, every day is a terrific day to go fishing or swimming with sea turtles at either the Coquina Beach, Manatee Beach, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Cortez Beach or the Anna Marie Beach. What is more, every moment is terrific for dining at the fancy restaurants here. They all, for the most part, have a diverse menu of mouth-watering entrees from French to German, British, Italian, Oriental, Spanish and Southern Florida seafood.

For centuries, Ana Marie Island has lured in hundreds of tourists, not just because of its beaches and dining scene but because of its illustrious landmarks and long history:

Originally, Ana Marie Island could only be reached by boat, and it was the land where a number of Indian tribes resided and hunted, namely the Timucuan tribe. In the early 1500's, Ponce De Leon came upon this land and attempted to colonize it, but he was kept from doing so by the Indians, who shot and killed him in 1521.

Moving from Connecticut, George Emerson Bean made this island his home, becoming the first permanent resident in May 1894. Mr. Bean settled on the northern end of the island, which is now called Bean Point, and began to build sidewalks, houses, streets and a water system. Most of his handy work makes up the city of Anna Marie, which has a populace of approximately 1,814. This city also has a wide variety of wildlife and fair-priced homes and vacation rentals.

Industrial wise, Charles Martin Roser was one of the pioneers who developed this island. His competence, combined with his high-profile status, was enough to turn this island into what it is today: A historic paradise that has a treasure trove of wonderful sites–Ana Marie Island Historical Museum, Bean Point, the Rose Memorial Community Church and many more.