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Always something new in Orlando!

If you are relaxing on Anna Maria Island and need a change of scenery there is always something new and exciting going on in the Orlando parks. Just about 2 hours away from the beaches it is a perfect day trip destination. Beware – you will only see a glimpse of what the city has to offer if you don’t plan on staying overnight.

When Walt Disney started the “Florida Project” he could have not foreseen the enormous impact that his vision created.  Magic Kingdom started it all in 1971. Today, there are more parks than you can count with your fingers. Walt Disney World of course is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an average annual attendance of over 52 million.

To keep up with the insatiable entertainment appetite of the flocking tourists and competition among the various parks there is always the next big thing to admire. The 3 main contenders are:

Disney World OrlandoDisney World

The Disney emporium with Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT will keep you busy for days. In addition, there are 2 water parks, 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort and the outdoor shopping center Disney Springs. The latest addition is Toy Story Land in the Hollywood Studios where every visitor is shrunken down to toy size as they explore Andy’s backyard. The “Slinky Dog Dash” roller coaster and the “Alien Swirling Saucers” rides will thrill the little ones.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment

The Mako ride was just recently added and is the fastest, longest and tallest coaster in Orlando. If you survive the ride you might like a free Mako Red Ale to go along with the experience.  SeaWorld offers two complimentary 7-ounce beers per visit from May 18, through September 2, 2018. The park will rotate beer offerings throughout the summer at the Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio.

Seaworld Orlando

The water park Aquatica also added a new attraction.  “Ray Rush” is a three-in-one thrill. The water adventure launches your raft from zero to awesome in just seconds. Twisting turns as you spin inside a colossal water sphere follow. Lastly, you dive into giant manta wings, swooping up and down giving a different path each time.

Their partner parks Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are located in Tampa, which is only about 1 h away from Anna Maria Island.

 

Universal Studios OrlandoUniversal Parks and Resorts

This park complex is the second largest after Disney. It offers 3 amazing theme parks and the Universal Citywalk with Dining like the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando and the Blue Man Group Show. This entertainment area is just steps away from the entrance of the 2 original Universal parks. The complex also includes 6 Loews Hotels.

Vulcano Bay is the newest of the three and opened in May 2017. This water park features 4 areas that are inspired by Polynesian islands. The centerpiece of the park is the 200 ft tall vulcano “Krakatau” that displays waterfalls during the day and lava flows at night.

The progress at the other 2 theme parks has not stopped after the addition of the huge Harry Potter’s world. Still impressive is the Hogwarts Epress that connects both areas and can only be used if you are holding day tickets to both parks.  On the Universal Studios side a 3D motion-simulator attraction “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” opened April 2017. The “Fast and Furious” Supercharged ride invited their first guests in April 2018.  

Island of Adventures opened in 1999 and has seen various additions and changes. The original concept was based on six  islands with their rides and attractions based on DC Comics, Dr. Seuss, and Warner Bros.  Island number 8 opened in July 2016 with Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Plans for a Harry Potter roller coster are in the works and the new ride is scheduled to open in 2019.

Whether you are staying on Anna Maria Island and just plan a quick visit to Orlando or looking to relax after a few days at the parks the Duncan Vacation team can help finding you the perfect accommodation. Give us a call at 941 779 0304 or send us a a quick message here.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Anna Maria!

Happiest Town contest 2018A national online contest by the Coastal Living Magazine helped to determine how happy Anna Maria in comparison to 9 other seaside towns in the USA is. The ten finalists were from 9 different states with Anna Maria and Vero Beach being the 2 seaside destinations in the Sunshine State. Others nominees were Cape Charles, VA, Bluffton, SC, Cannon Beach, OR, Cambria, CA, Bellport, NY and Hampton, NH, Ocean City, NJ and Traverse City, MI.

The yearly contest had picked the top 10 communities via social media nomination and by judging several criteria. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of locals, geographic diversity and coastal vibe were taken into consideration.

The Vote

The voting started in January 2018 with the final result being announced in June 2018. There was discussion among the Anna Maria City commissioners what level of participation to take in this tremendous opportunity of free advertising. As with other topics on the island concerns of overexposure need to be weighed against the positive economic impact created by visitors. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce were promoting the online contest at their Facebook pages and other digital media platforms.

After the final count Ocean City, NJ came in as the winner. Anna Maria is the 6th happiest and Vero Beach made it to the number 4 spot.  Anna Maria was described as old-Florida dream of an island town, with a sweet little main street, community gardens, and streets lined with candy-colored cottages.

It’s pretty hard to be unhappy when you live on a barrier island with a seven-mile strip of white beach!

 

 

 

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4th of July on Anna Maria Island!

The week of the 4th of July is always a fun and busy time on Anna Maria Island.  It is a time to celebrate America, be with family and friends and enjoy the glorious beaches of Anna Maria IslandDuncan Real Estate is just about fully booked for the week of the 4th.

Parade on Anna Maria Island

If you are staying with us during the week of the 4th of July, you might enjoy some of the exciting activities that are going on all day/night.  Start your day off with the Anna Maria Island Privateers 4th of July Parade.  The parade begins at 10 AM on the south end of Anna Maria Island at Coquina Beach and covers the entire Island all the way to Bay Front Park.  It typically last two hours and is a really fun time – for both kids and adults.  Make sure to wear your red, white and blue and sunscreen too!

Picnic on Anna Maria Island 

Immediately following the parade, Picnic in the Park starts at Bayfront Park on the north end of Anna Maria Island.  This picnic is free and will serve hot dogs, chip and drinks – it is free to all so make sure to come out!  The kids can play on the playground while you enjoy taking a swim in the water.  Bayfront Park offers plenty of shade and tables to enjoy a family picnic.  Duncan Real Estate is right up the street from Bayfront Park – stop by and say hello to us.

Beach on Anna Maria Island

After your belly is full from the picnic, it may be time for you to sit and relax on the beach.  Isn’t that why you are here on vacation!  The white sands, crystal clear gulf water and a breeze that is hard to beat is all the more reason to take your family out to the beach and just enjoy all of it.

Fireworks on Anna Maria Island 

Once the sun goes down and hopefully you have enjoyed the one of a kind Anna Maria Island sunset, stay at the beach as you will see the sky light up from the fireworks!   The Sandbar Restaurant host the annual fireworks and puts on a wonderful show.  You really can be sitting anywhere on the beach to enjoy them.  The Sandbar does offer a VIP ticket with dinner, drinks, and first class seats for the fireworks, just call them at 941-778-0444 to reserve yours.

As you can see, Anna Maria Island offers so much for the 4th of July!  Make sure to call Duncan Real Estate and a member of Team Duncan would love to help you book your next vacation.  941-779-0304

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Beach Views from Gulf Watch 204

Duncan Real Estate’s newest addition to the rental program is the condo unit 204 at the Gulf Watch complex that offers fantastic beach views. This 2 BD/2 BA rental features plenty of seating in the living room where you can hang out after a day at the beach. Enjoy your favorite show or sports game on the brand new flat screen TV. For other entertainment log on to the free internet.

The kitchen is fully equipped and has a breakfast nook with a small dining table and seating for 4. There is an additional dining area to gather and end the day with a home cooked dinner. The screened balcony is a great place to have your morning coffee. Plan your day while checking out the daily water conditions of the Gulf of Mexico across the street.

There are two bedrooms sleeping 4 in total. Both feature king beds and TVs which makes Gulf Watch 204 an ideal vacation rental to share with another couple. You just need to decide who gets the master that features the ensuite bathroom with a shower tub. This bedroom has also another sliding door that leads to the screened balcony. The guest bathroom comes with a tub/shower combination.

Gulf Watch has a heated pool

Heated Pool at Gulf Watch

Other Condo complex amenities include a heated pool and covered parking.  The location provides close proximity to island shopping along Bridge Street. There are also great restaurants in walking distance. Best of it all  are the fabulous white sand beaches just across the street! This is a great spot to spend a week or longer and enjoy everything Anna Maria Island has to offer.

Gulf view from Gulf Watch 204

View from Gulf Watch 204

 

If you like more information about this vacation rental or other Duncan Real Estate properties feel free to call our office at 941 779 0304. Any of our rental specialists are happy to help you plan your next vacation. If you prefer send us a quick message here.

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Be “Sunkissed” at Duncan Real Estate Newest Rental

The name of Duncan Real Estate’s newest vacation rental “Sunkissed” does not overpromise and underdeliver. If one thing is certain it is the sunshine in Florida and the great amenities at this home for a perfect vacation.

Tropical pool at Sunkissed

This beautiful elevated home is located in the heart of Holmes Beach. Enjoy an easy walk to the beach or explore the rest of the Island with the conveniently located Trolley Stop just a short walk away. This popular Island service is free of charge. It runs from the North end of the Island to the South from early mornings until the late evenings.

This 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom home features a fully equipped kitchen with granite counters and a breakfast bar. For extra seating options, there is also a dining area located directly off of the kitchen. “Sunkissed” offers a private heated pool with a covered pool-side lanai which provides the ideal resting place after a day at the beach. The patio off the living room overlooks the pool and the backyard. What a fantastic spot to start the day with your morning coffee! Enjoy other views from the balcony off of the Master bedroom.

Soak up the sun on the beach or in the tropical backyard. There is also an outdoor shower for a quick refreshment. After a great day outdoors relax surrounded by beautiful furnishings inside and gather the family around in the open living area. Cozy up in one of the three comfortable bedrooms and have sunkissed dreams! Sounds like a great holiday!

Spacious living room at Sunkissed

If you like more information about this vacation rental or other Duncan Real Estate properties feel free to call our office at 941 779 0304. Any of our rental specialists are happy to help you plan your next vacation. If you prefer send us a quick message here.

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Summer hits Anna Maria Island!

With 90 plus degree weather the summer is in full swing on Anna Maria Island with locals and vacationers hitting the beach. Here are some beach tips so everybody stays safe and has a blast.

Beach flag warning system

Before swimming check out the beach flags on the county beaches on the island to learn about the water conditions. Florida has a uniform beach flag system that uses 4 colors to inform beachgoers. Life guards are monitoring the conditions throughout the day and will communicate with the firefighters in the two Manatee County firefighters that also display the flags.
Red – Swim with extreme caution due to strong currents or rough surf
Yellow – Swim with caution due to strong currents or rough surf
Green – Swimming allowed, calm conditions
Purple – Presence of marine pests such as jellyfish, sharks, stingrays or red tide

The Double Red flag indicates that the water closed to the public.

Also, don’t forget the “stingray shuffle” to avoid the unpleasant experience of getting stung by the sharp tail of a stingray. They tend to hide in the shallow water close to the waterline. If you shuffle the sand while entering they will quickly disappear.

 

Florida Sun

Don’t underestimate the UV rays even on a cloudier day. Florida’s sun is extremely strong and sunscreen is a must. Applying high SPF about 20 minutes before you go to the beach is best and don’t forget to reapply. Consider cover ups like hats and other UV protective gear and bring umbrellas or a sun tent. All our Duncan vacation rental guests enjoy a 10% discount at BeachBums, a local beach rental shop. Sun burns are extremely painful and can ruin the rest of the vacation. Also, stay hydrated when enjoying the beach. The heat is intense and can cause a heat stroke. It can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F or higher for example by prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures.

Lightning

The Tampa Bay area is referred to as the “Lightning Capital of the World”. If measured by the average number of days with thunderstorm activity it should be more accurately called the “Lightning Capital of North America”. The safest and most obvious place to be in a thunderstorm is indoors. Also, a car is good place to be because the lightning will travel around the surface of the vehicle and then go to ground. This occurs because the vehicle acts like a Faraday cage. The summer weather pattern pushes clouds from the East to the West and daily afternoon thunderstorms along the Gulf of Mexico coast are the norm. Be prepared and check the radar if you are planning any outdoor activities.

 

Beach Fishing

Did you know? Fishing directly off the beaches on Anna Maria Island requires a saltwater fishing license.  Try the app Fish/Hunt Florida to take care of your license application. The fee is $17 per year. If you like to safe the money and skip the license consider fishing off the piers on the island that are covered by a blanket license. Also, anyone under 16 or people eligible for food stamps, temporary cash assistance or medicaid are exempt. Florida residents over 65 don’t need a license either.  Another fun experience is coming up with Florida Lobster season by the end of July. Some of the critters make their way all the way up to this area but the Keys are the best known for their rock lobsters. There is a separate license for lobstering.

If you need any other information while on the island don’t hesitate to contact the Duncan Real Estate Rental team. Please call at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick message here.

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Plan your Summer AMI Vacation on Bradenton Beach!

The kids are done with school and it is time for you to plan some fun summer trips!  Why not put Anna Maria Island on your list on places to visit and have a AMI Vacation!?  With 7 miles of beaches and endless things to do, AMI is the perfect spot for your summer vacation.

Here at Duncan Real Estate we offer 100 vacation rentals for you to choose the perfect AMI VacationIsland Blessings is a brand new vacation rental with Duncan Real Estate and offers up to six people a perfect AMI Vacation!

This three bedroom / two bathroom private home is located in Bradenton Beach, one of the cities in Anna Maria Island.   Bradenton Beach is on the south end of Anna Maria Island and besides the beach, there is much for you to choose from.  You and your family could play a game of miniature golf at the Fish Hole and then enjoy some delicious ice cream at Joe’s East and Sweets!  If you are super hungry after miniature golf and need some lunch, head down to the end of Bridge Street to AMOB Pier.  Kids eat for a penny an inch which a fabulous deal and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Pier!

Enjoy many of meals while enjoying the water views and dolphin sightings while on your AMI Vacation!  Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach also offers shopping, dining, live music, and tours of the island by Segs by the Sea!  Your options are endless.

After a day on Bridge Street, head back to Island Blessings and enjoy a dip in the heated pool or relax in the jacuzzi while sipping on a glass of wine.  The kids would enjoy casting a fishing line from the private boat slip that Island Blessings offers to you while on your AMI Vacation!  If you are super tired and just ready to settle down and cool off inside, Island Blessings has two family rooms with lots of seating and TVs to enjoy a movie or to catch up on the news.

A full day on Anna Maria Island calls for a great night sleep!  You have a choice of three bedrooms at Island Blessings.  The master bedroom has a queen size bed with a flat screen TV.  The first guest bedroom has a full size bed and twin bunk beds. The second guest bedroom has a twin bed.  Wake up and enjoy your morning coffee and breakfast in the newly updated kitchen or outside by the pool.  Can you think of a better way to enjoy your AMI Vacation then views of the water first thing in the morning!

Our team at Duncan Real Estate would be happy to answer any questions about Island Blessings you may have and to book your AMI Vacation!   Just give us a call at 941-779-0304 and anyone on our rental team is ready to work with you!  You can also check out other activities on Anna Maria Island on our website – www.teamduncan.com  We have a section on our site that tells you the many things to do while on your AMI Vacation!

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Beach Weddings on Anna Maria Island

Beach wedding toesIf you are not attending the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this Saturday, May 18th you might run into another wedding party here on Anna Maria Island. Dubbed as  the “Wedding Capital of Florida” the island has become very popular for destination weddings.  Over 1000 couples per year exchange their vows on the beach. The tropical backdrop of sugar-white sand, turquoise-emerald water and spectacular sunset horizons almost guarantee a memorable dream wedding. The celebrations can range from elegant table settings to dancing barefoot in the sand. There are many great venues to choose from in this area but only a few offer the combination of having your ceremony and reception directly on the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Here are the best beach wedding spots:

Harrington House B&B
This charming Inn accommodates smaller wedding parties up to 24 guests. Say “I do” in the romantic gazebo or on the white sandy beach in front of the Harrington House.

BeachHouse Restaurant
Experience an exceptional tropical beach front location for a perfect combination of an all-weather deck with private pavilion, your very own bridal suite, award-winning culinary choices and a multitude of beach, deck and indoor dining options. The bridal magazine “The Knot” honored the BeachHouse with multiple picks for “Best of Weddings”.

Sandbar Restaurant
The covered pavillion is right on the beach allowing you to have your wedding or event with your toes in the sand. Over 750,000 newlyweds were surveyed by this wedding planning network.  Celebrate your wedding with your toes in the sand!

The Sunset by Gulf Drive Cafe
Picture Gulf waves and sunsets as your wedding backdrop in this waterfront venue. Located at the South end of the island, a team of experts will help planning the big day. The local newspaper Bradenton Herald honored The Sunset with several People’s Best Choice wedding awards.

 

Beach weddings on Anna Maria Island

 

Even if the Royal couple’s festivities are far away, Anna Maria Island has “majestic” options for your special day. If you are thinking about a beach wedding contact our Duncan vacation rental team for the perfect accommodation for yourself or your guests! Please call at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick message here .

 

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Turtle Season starts!

The official start of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Season was May 1st.  Loggerhead nests were already found on Captiva Island and Longboat Key. This indicates that Anna Maria Island will soon see its first nest as well. For over 30 years the volunteers of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch have made tremendous efforts to help our sea turtles. They are monitoring 12 miles of Manatee County shoreline. Each morning the beaches are walked and new nests are getting staked and observed for the next two months. After about 60 days the little hatchlings are making their way to the water during night time. Once the nest has hatched, it is getting inspected and shells are counted. Sometimes straggling hatchlings are left behind and get saved. So far, the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch has protected 4454 nests, counted 301 694 turtle eggs and helped about 271,680 hatchlings.

You can show your support for the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch by adopting a sea turtle nest laid on Anna Maria Island. A plaque of your choice will be placed for a $100 tax-deductible donation. There are also Turtle Talks organized which take place every Tuesday at 10 am at the CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Stop by and experience a 35 min presentation which informs via video and photo displays, Q&A session and other interactivities.

There are a few simple rules all of us enjoying this island can follow to make it another successful turtle season this year. The mother turtles and the hatchlings are easily distracted by artificial lights that appear visible on the beach.  Unfortunately, disorientations happen every year.  If you encounter a nesting mother do not take flash pictures or disturb in any way. Loggerheads don’t have a “reverse gear”. For that reason, beach chairs or other items left behind on the beach can become deathly traps for the turtles. Also, sand digging is fun but fill in any holes after your beach day.

The turtle season runs until Oct. 31. and the 2018 hatchlings will return to this region once they reach maturity in about 20 years.

 

If you like more information about the Turtle Watch volunteers stop by at our office 310 Pine Avenue. Our team has some past and current members.

Are you looking for a beach front rental to be close to the natural display of nightly nesting activity? Call our rental team at 941 779 0304 to secure the best spot on our beautiful white beaches or send us a quick message here.

 

 

 

 

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Bodacious Oasis – Anna Maria Paradise Found!

Welcome to Bodacious Oasis! You found Anna Maria Paradise in this beautiful 4 bedroom home. The house with its quiet location on Magnolia Avenue invites to take in all of the Florida lifestyle.  It features an open floor plan and can accommodate 8 family members very comfortable.  There are plenty of places to hang out as a family. Let’s start with the kitchen. Enjoy family meals, cocktail hour, and preparing your favorite meal in the fully appointed kitchen.  With generous space for all of your groceries, updated appliances, granite counter tops, it sounds like a fun time to use all the comforts of home to prepare your family feasts! If grilling is your choice of cooking have a steak dinner or the fresh catch using the provided gas grill.

There are also two large porches with plenty of seating to enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon cocktails on those warm summer evenings.

Enjoy your private swimming pool with outdoor seating surrounded in lush tropical landscaping. There is a wading end on one side of the pool if you just like to keep your toes in the water. Mix it up with going to the beach. The bay side beaches are only a short stroll away. If you prefer the stunning Gulf beaches talk a pleasant walk along Magnolia Avenue to one of the many public beach paths. Bodacious Oasis provides a beach cart, beach chairs and toys.

Feeling tired after a long day in the island salt air? Splendid interiors, supremely cozy beds, and flat screen TVs in every bedroom make falling into bed that much more enjoyable!

There is a lot to do close by on popular Pine Avenue. Small eateries, boutiques and the Historical Museum are just some of the fun activities.

If you have a larger party consider renting Sea Mist next door as well. This well appointed 3 bedrooms sleeps 6 guests in total.

Please contact our vacation team at Duncan Real Estate if you are ready for a fantastic stay at Bodacious Oasis. The house accepts 14 nights stays and has openings for the winter season 2019. You can reach us at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick inquiry here.

 

Contact us or call Duncan Real Estate today at 941-779-0304 to speak with our knowledgeable real estate specialists.