15 Phenomenal Things To Do in Anna Maria Island (2024)

Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island is an unassuming beach destination with plenty to offer for those who seek it out.

Just across the bay from Sarasota, Florida, the island is a charming alternative to the city, drawing regulars and first timers from across the country. Historic communities, idyllic beaches and small businesses are just some of the reasons to not only visit Anna Maria, but keep coming back. Just a few minutes off the mainland, Anna Maria Island feels worlds away, making it the perfect respite.

Ready to learn more about this Florida getaway? Here are 15 things to do in Anna Maria Island that we know you and your crew are going to love!

Families Fly Free is a program that has introduced hundreds of families to the joys of flying free using travel rewards – including our family! Want to learn how to save thousands of dollars making your travel dreams come true? Click here to grab 7 Secret Hacks that the owner personally uses to fly her family for 4 for free all over the world!


Touring the island on two wheels is an easy way to get around without missing anything along the way; the island is home to a number of businesses that offer bike rentals. A network of bike paths, pedestrian walkways and quiet roads is open for cyclist use, and you can easily pedal across the narrow island.

Starting in Holmes Beach, ride slightly south to BayFront Park before heading west to Gulf Front Park for a midday picnic.

If you’re venturing all the way to Bradenton Beach on the island’s southern tip, get on the Coquina Bike Path and follow the coast all the way to Gulf Drive. From there, you’ll have an easy ride to the heart of town before circling back. Pedaling from Holmes Beach to Bradenton Beach should take about 20-30 minutes, meaning you’ll get your daily workout in without tiring yourself out.

Biking is the perfect family friendly activity, and it’s one of the best things to do in Anna Maria Island!


Heading south on Gulf Drive will take you right to Coquina Beach, a local favorite known for its pristine white sands. Other than enjoying the beautiful beach itself, you can grab a bite at the nearby cafe, set up a homemade picnic, try your luck at the adjacent Longboat Key Fishing Beach or grab a one-of-a-kind souvenir at the local market.

Whether you’re arriving by car or bike, Coquina Beach is the ultimate weekend destination for swimming, lounging, and more. If you have the chance to stop by at sunset, be sure to bring your camera. Combine your beach day with a visit to the Leffis Key Preserve and enjoy the views from both sides of Anna Maria Island.


The Coquina Baywalk is a network of paths that runs through Leffis Key, making it easy to navigate the mangroves with the whole family. Totaling less than 1 mile, the Baywalk can be a short jaunt into nature while enjoying nearby Coquina Beach or lunch on the waterfront.

Wooden boardwalks lead to observation platforms overlooking the bay, while shady paths weave through native flora. Easy and enjoyable, the Baywalk is a great way to wind down while admiring Florida’s coastal habitats. This restored habitat is now home to a diverse body of wildlife, and includes signage and benches for you to rest on while waiting for a glimpse of an egret or pelican.


If strolling Leffis Key awoke the explorer in you, get even more hands-on with a kayak tour through the area’s mangrove tunnels and waterways. This eco-focused kayaking tour departs from nearby Sarasota and totals about two hours, making it a memorable way to spend an entire afternoon.

Family and beginner friendly, each tour takes participants on an adventure to see Little Sarasota Bay’s manatees, dolphins, seabirds and other native creatures. Led by an expert guide, kayak tours keep you active while you gain firsthand insight into Western Florida’s unique marine ecosystem.

Exploring Florida’s diverse coastal waters at your own pace is the best way to connect with the environment around you, while learning how to maneuver a vessel as well. If you’re driving from the Holmes Beach area, the Sarasota departure point for tours is about 40 minutes away.

Tripshock is a great place to book your Guided Kayak Mangrove Tunnel Tour!


Home to a small network of walkable boardwalks, Leffis Key Preserve is your go-to for the best local views of Sarasota Bay. The preserve’s 26-foot hilltop is a perfect vantage point, and the panorama extends all from the bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

Abundant wildlife, rich plant life, and fishing opportunities make Leffis Key ideal for a morning jaunt amid the mangroves before hitting the beach or the city.


Located on the island’s northern tip, Anna Maria Island Historical Museum is a treasure trove of local legends set in an icehouse dating back to the 1920’s. After going through a number of iterations since then, the building now houses artifacts and displays chronicling the island’s history and the lives of its residents.

Visitors can take a photo by the city’s tiny jailhouse, and learn about everyday life on Anna Maria at the restored Belle Haven historical cottage. Enjoyable for the whole family, this small museum has done a great job preserving the community’s history and making it accessible to visitors from across the country.


If you venture to Pine Avenue, Anna Maria Island’s main street, you’ll undoubtedly come across the Historic “Green Village,” a stretch of historic homes and small businesses located near the City Pier. You can find unique jewelry, clothing, gift items, food products and even outdoor gear rentals among the shop offerings.

The village is a certified Net Zero Energy development kick-started by a couple who dreamt of creating an eco-friendly complex in one of Anna Maria Island’s most picturesque districts. Art galleries and live music make this entertainment and shopping destination the perfect pit-stop in one of the most walkable parts of the island.


When the heat gets sweltering and even cooling off in the ocean isn’t enough, head to Small Town Creamery to pick up a scoop (or three!) of renowned local goodness.

The recipient of multiple blue ribbon awards, this Holmes Beach business is a joy to behold, featuring not only frozen flavors, but also a photo booth and a larger-than-life Mr. Sprinkles sculpture to delight the youngest customers.

Fudge, candy, coffee and cool beads round out the ice cream menu, making this dessert destination a must-stop before heading back to the beach.


If you follow Anna Maria Island’s North Bay Boulevard to Bean Point, you’re likely to catch one of the best sunset views on Florida’s Gulf Coast .This hidden gem offers street parking, a waterfront seafood restaurant and plenty of space to spread your blanket out.

Rivaling both Coquina and Cortez Beach, Bean Point is a must, especially if you’re looking for the perfect evening panorama. Renting a bike and wondering where to pedal? Take a leisurely ride to Bean Point Beach before circling the tip of the island and heading back south.


Located towards the southern half of the island, Cortez Beach represents Florida’s bygone oceanfront communities. Still operating as a fishing village, Cortez is filled with boats, fresh seafood and families who can trace their roots back to when the village was first established.

The local Maritime Museum preserves this history carefully, inviting visitors to drop by a former schoolhouse on the Cortez Nature Preserve. Touring the village on foot is the best way to make sure you don’t miss a hidden shop or restaurant.


Extending eastwards from Anna Maria Island, Bradenton Beach City Pier is one of Anna Maria Island’s most popular attractions. Formerly part of the original bridge connecting Anna Maria to the mainland, the pier was revamped as a local gathering spot and fishing destination.

The pier also includes the Historic Pier Restaurant, a bait shop and a shaded pavilion area, making it the ideal finish line on any afternoon stroll around Bradenton Beach.


Are you ready to fly?! Parasail high above the coast and get an exciting bird’s eye view of the beautiful landscape that will leave you breathless – and with plenty of memories to take back home!

Under the leadership of a professional crew, your journey will begin with the captain giving you a safety speech and an overview of parasailing procedures while headed out. Once you reach the parasailing grounds, get ready to fly high! This parasailing adventure includes flights that dip your toes into the water, tandem and triple flights, 8-10 minutes of air time, and more.

For ages 5+.

Book your Parasailing Adventure here!


Back on the north side of the island, Anna Maria City Pier is conveniently located within walking distance of some of the area’s best nightlife destinations. After enjoying a golden sunset on the pier and packing up the picnic tables, head across the island until you almost hit the beach. The walk west on Pine Avenue shouldn’t take you any more than 15 minutes, and will lead you right to Sandbar Seafood and Spirits, a favorite local haunt for fresh food and refreshing nightcaps.

If you’re driving back south and would rather stop along the way, check out The Doctor’s Office, located just north of Holmes Beach. Housed in a former medical office, this bar now serves a different kind of remedy, offering a creative co*cktail and light food menu.


Anna Maria Island is famous for its coastal wildlife, including a sizable bottlenose dolphin population. There’s no better way to get to know your marine neighbors than a boat cruise into the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bays.

A private tour lasts about two hours and gives you a firsthand glimpse of the region’s unique waterfront habitats. Along with dolphins, you may also see sea turtles, manatees and a number of majestic seabirds.

Anna Maria’s diverse ecosystem gives you the chance to experience its flora and fauna simultaneously, under the guidance of a local expert. Dolphin tours are an unforgettable way to tour the island from an entirely new perspective. Don’t forget your camera!


Tired of searching for the perfect sweet snack? At the Donut Experiment, you’re the one who gets to choose what your donut looks and tastes like. While the bakery does the heavy lifting by actually preparing the donuts, customers can choose the icing, toppings and drizzle they prefer. The result is a truly custom dessert! Don’t miss out on the Experiment’s Special Donuts, which include the Key lime, Sriracha and Daily Special.

The Donut Experiment is located just off Gulf Drive near Anna Maria Island Beach, meaning you can enjoy a full-on beach day and pick up a treat without skipping a beat.

Located on Lido Key, Meaney’s Mini Donuts is well worth the drive south across the islands. As the name suggests, Meaney’s serves a variety of bite-sized pockets of goodness in innovative flavors. Fresh baked and decadent, these go best with a beach morning and an iced coffee to beat the heat.


Once lunch comes around, head straight to Poppo’s Taqueria for the best burritos and tacos near Anna Maria Island Beach.

Steps from the water, this counter-serve spot promises great service, fresh ingredients and Mexican flavors that complement both the sun and the sea.


  • SARASOTA: 40+ Memorable Things To Do In Sarasota For A Weekend Of Fun
  • FORT MYERS: 19 Things To Do In Fort Myers For Fun In The Sun
  • CAPE CORAL: 21 Things To Do In Cape Coral, Florida
  • VENICE: 13 Things To Do In Venice FL For Fun In The Sun


15 Phenomenal Things To Do in Anna Maria Island (2)
15 Phenomenal Things To Do in Anna Maria Island (3)
15 Phenomenal Things To Do in Anna Maria Island (4)

Follow us here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | MSN | TripAdvisor | Flipboard

All articles belong to 365 Atlanta Family LLC, and all photos belong to us as well, unless otherwise noted. It’s all copyrighted. Please don’t repost anything elsewhere without asking me first. All rights reserved. This site uses cookies to enhanceyour experience.

We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.

Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circ*mstances. Don’t even ask.

United States Copyright, 365 Atlanta Family, LLC

View our Privacy Policy | Subscribe to our Newsletter | Contact Site Owner | | About Us

  • About
  • Latest Posts

Anita Maksimiuk, Staff Writer

Latest posts by Anita Maksimiuk, Staff Writer (see all)

  • 13+ Things To Do in Jackson TN You’re Gonna Love - 10/19/2023
  • 25 Best Things To Do in New Hampshire You’ll Love - 08/14/2023
  • 27+ Things To Do in Delaware Everyone Will Love - 06/14/2023
  • About
  • Latest Posts

Anita Maksimiuk, Staff Writer

Latest posts by Anita Maksimiuk, Staff Writer (see all)

  • 13+ Things To Do in Jackson TN You’re Gonna Love - 10/19/2023
  • 25 Best Things To Do in New Hampshire You’ll Love - 08/14/2023
  • 27+ Things To Do in Delaware Everyone Will Love - 06/14/2023
15 Phenomenal Things To Do in Anna Maria Island (2024)


How do you spend a day at Anna Maria Island? ›

  • Anna Maria City Pier. View Details.
  • Anna Maria Island Historical Society. View Details.
  • Historic Green Village. View Details.
  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. View Details.
  • Mixon Fruit Farms. View Details.
  • Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. View Details.
  • Myakka River State Park. View Details.
  • Sarasota Children's Garden. View Details.

What's special about Anna Maria Island? ›

Boasting arguably the whitest and most pristine seven miles of beach in the US, Anna Maria Island on the west coast of Florida just south of Tampa is a coveted destination for Floridians and global travelers alike.

What celebrities go to Anna Maria Island? ›

Celebrities Tim McGraw, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Chris Martin also visited AMI. Some other famous names in the entertainment industry are selling or renting out their homes for vacation. The median home sales price on Anna Maria Island was around $1.2M-$2.5M in May 2023. Real estate data changes daily.

Is the trolley on Anna Maria Island free? ›

Anna Maria Island has a free Trolley Service that travels daily up and down the island between Anna Maria Island and Coquina Beach, from 6AM- 10:30PM, about every 20 minutes. It is a cool ride on a hot day. About every 2-4 blocks there is a Trolley Stop, most have covered seating while you wait.

What month is best to go to Anna Maria Island? ›

The best time to visit Anna Maria Island is all year round depending on why you are visiting. Our tourism score for weather is very high January, February, March, April, October, November and December. May and September are shoulder tourism scores with June, July and August half of May and September.

Is Anna Maria Island expensive? ›

With lodging costing an average $294 per night for its most affordable double room, Anna Maria Island was Florida's most expensive spring destination and fifth overall in the United States, according to a survey by cheaphotels.org.

What is the vibe on Anna Maria Island? ›

A Caribbean vibe prevails with balconies overlooking pristine blue waters and a sprawling, zero-entry pool flanked by palm trees. Reserve a poolside or beachfront cabana for privacy and easy dips in the ocean. Remember the name Anna Maria. Just don't tell the locals you heard about it from us.

Is Anna Maria Island for old people? ›

Anna Maria Island is ideal for seniors looking for a relaxing and enjoyable trip. The pristine beaches and nice weather make it a great place to stay.

What MLB pitcher is selling his home in Anna Maria Island? ›

Former MLB All-Star Mark Melancon is selling his Anna Maria Island, Florida waterfront home for $10.95 million.

What is the average age in Anna Maria Island? ›

In 2021, Anna Maria, FL had a population of 944 people with a median age of 65.3 and a median household income of $85,729.

What is the least crowded beach on Anna Maria Island? ›

For the quiet getaway

For that there is the hidden gem of Bean Point – a beautiful white sand beach found at the very tip of Anna Maria Island. Once you find its “secret” entrance you'll know you're in for a treat. This beach is always quiet, secluded and sparsely populated.

What is the safest beach on Anna Maria Island? ›

Manatee Public Beach is one of the most popular of the Anna Maria Island beaches. It's perfect for families, and chock full of amenities, if you need a break from the sun. Its white sands and gentle waves make for a safe place for kids to play and swim. The beach is also staffed year-round by lifeguards.

Can you drink the tap water in Anna Maria Island? ›

Typically, the island depends on wells that extract water from the Floridan Aquifer. This extensive underground limestone formation underlies a significant portion of Florida and stands as a primary drinking water source for the state. The Floridan Aquifer's distinction lies in its water of high quality.

Where can I see sea turtles on Anna Maria Island? ›

Anna Maria Beachfront Resort

The Manatee Public Beach is not only a great place to view turtles but also to barbecue and bike ride around the area. There are also many amenities on the beach that you can use to change and freshen up after your ventures.

How walkable is Anna Maria Island? ›

Anna Maria Island is an extremely walkable island. You can go out for leisurely strolls, walk to dinner, and enjoy a healthy jog or bike ride as the sun comes up or goes down. Find an Anna Maria Island vacation rental that has a parking space, and leave the car in it. You're on vacation.

Can you walk all the way around Anna Maria Island? ›

After all, the island is only seven miles long, so it's not that tough to get from place to place on foot. But if you don't want to take that route, our partners at Anna Maria Island Adventure Rentals (AMIAR) have some convenient transportation options for you.

How long does the trolley run on Anna Maria Island? ›

The trolley on Anna Maria Island begins operating at 6 a.m. every day and ends at 10:30 p.m. It stops every 20 minutes up until 9 p.m.; during the final 90 minutes, it stops every half hour.

How much is the trolley on Anna Maria Island? ›

Anna Maria Island Trolley operates daily at no cost to riders . The trolley runs from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. and visits each stop approximately every 20 minutes. The service to Sarasota runs from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. with pickup every half hour.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5487

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.