5406 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Bradenton to Anna Maria Island Ferry & Water Taxi Opens December 8!

Nestled on the serene shores of Anna Maria Island, The Feast Restaurant has always been a hub of culinary excellence. Today, we’re excited to share some remarkable news that’s making waves across our beloved island community. After years of anticipation, the new Gulf Islands Ferry and water taxi with service from the Bradenton Riverwalk to Anna Maria Island is finally set to begin!

The Maiden Voyage and Fleet Blessings Are Complete

On a bright and sunny afternoon on Monday, November 20, 2023, city and county officials along with other VIPs boarded the boats for the maiden voyages of the Gulf Islands Ferry. The launch occurred from the future stop on the Bradenton Riverwalk, just east of the iconic Green Bridge. With the sun glistening on the tranquil waters, they boarded the water taxis, ready for a 35-minute journey filled with adventure and discovery.

ferry water taxi ami bradenton launch

This is Real Florida

Elliott Falcione, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, aptly summed up the experience: “It’s so much more than taking a ride on the water.” As the ferry glided through the pristine waters, passengers were treated to an unexpected surprise—a playful pod of dolphins at the Anna Maria City Pier. It’s moments like these that remind us of the unique and unspoiled beauty of our cherished island.

Anna Maria Island Ferry Public Access and Schedule

Mark your calendars because starting from December 8th, pending final certification of the vessels, the public will have the opportunity to embark on this exciting journey. The ferry service will operate on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., offering islanders and visitors alike a convenient and scenic mode of transportation.

Anna Maria Island Water Taxi Pricing

We know affordability matters, and the Gulf Islands Ferry service has kept that in mind. One-way ticket prices are remarkably accessible, with adults paying just $8 for a voyage filled with breathtaking views. Seniors aged 55 and older can enjoy a discounted rate of $6, while families with children aged 4-11 will find tickets priced at $5. And for our youngest travelers, aged 3 and younger, the ride is free when accompanied by their families.

Future Water Taxi Expansion

The arrival of the Miss Anna Maria and the Downtown Duchess is just the beginning of an exciting journey. Plans are already in motion to introduce a fast, enclosed vessel that could connect the mainland and the island even more swiftly. This expansion will allow the two existing catamarans to focus on transporting passengers up and down the coast of Anna Maria Island and along Longboat Key, offering an even broader range of travel options.

Local Leaders Share Their Enthusiasm

Kevin Van Ostenbridge, chairman of the Manatee County Commission, voiced what many have been thinking for years: “We have all wanted multi-modal transportation.” The ferry service fulfills a long-held dream of connecting Anna Maria Island with downtown Bradenton and Palmetto, providing an essential link for both residents and tourists.

For Mayor Dan Murphy of the City of Anna Maria, the water taxi service represents a dream come true. While he hopes for additional initiatives to assist island service workers with transportation, he sees the ferry as a significant step in the right direction.

A Fabulous Upgrade to Island Life

As we look ahead to the full launch of the Gulf Islands Ferry service, the Anna Maria Island community is buzzing with anticipation. The Feast Restaurant is no exception, and we can’t wait to welcome even more guests as they embark on their island adventures. Stay tuned for updates, and get ready to set sail into a new era of transportation that promises to bring the magic of Anna Maria Island even closer.

Bon voyage!

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Last updated February 06, 2023

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