It’s official, welcome to a Florida summer. It’s all about sunshine, soft sand, warm gulf waters, and simple, sweet pleasures. After building sand castles and soaking up some rays, take time to cool off at one of Anna Maria Island’s delicious ice-cream shops.

Coquina beach is rated as one of the top 5 beaches by Trip Advisor. If you’ve spent your afternoon with your toes in the sand there, be sure to stop in at Joe’s Eats and Sweets on Bradenton Beach. Joe’s has been a local favorite for over 20 years with over 50 homemade flavors of ice-cream. They’re also known for their delectable chocolate covered treats like bananas and key lime pie on a stick.

If you’ve walked the quaint shops of Bridge Street, head a few blocks over to the Big Oleaf Creamery. It’s conveniently located near the trolley stop so you can enjoy your sweet treat while you head off to your next island destination.

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Biking riding is a favorite past time in Holmes Beach and just a few doors down from AMI Beach Fun Rentals is Holy Cow Ice-cream. They’ve got a tiki lounge, homemade chocolates, slushies and over 30 flavors of ice-cream. The Island Sun Newspaper has voted Dips as #1 ice-cream for years on the island. If you’re in the City of Anna Maria stop in for their amazing selection of candy, Italian ice, and ice-cream. The Anna Maria Island City Pier is the most visited destination in Manatee County, and just across the street is 2 Scoops. They’ve got great sandwiches, along with ice-cream and milkshakes.

Headed off the island? There are some not to miss ice-cream stops along the way. In the historic Cortez Fishing Village, you’ll find Tyler’s Ice-cream. Tyler’s has been a local favorite for over 25 years. Since they opened in 1984 they’ve created over 300 flavors of ice-cream! You won’t be disappointed by their old fashion gourmet selection. Just a few miles off Anna Maria Island, along Manatee Avenue you’ll find Sweet Berries Frozen Custard and Eatery. Along with soup and sandwiches, their frozen custard is worth the trip. Be sure to ask about the flavor of the month.

So come enjoy the beaches of Bradenton and the Gulf Islands and at the end of your day with salty hair and sticky fingers, relish the sweet taste of summer and smile. It’s the simple pleasures that create the sweetest memories on your vacation.