Things To Do In Anna Maria Island

Things To Do In Anna Maria Island

Located off the coast of western Florida, Anna Maria Island is a slice of paradise in the Gulf of Mexico. This barrier island, part of the Bradenton Area, offers a laid-back, old-Florida charm that instantly transports visitors to a slower pace of life. With its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and an abundance of natural beauty, Things to Do in Anna Maria Island is the perfect destination for those seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating escape.

Spanning seven miles in length, the island is divided into three distinct cities: Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Each area boasts its unique personality and attractions, yet they all share a commitment to preserving the island’s small-town ambiance and preserving its natural resources.

Anna Maria Island’s history dates back to the early 1900s when it was first settled by homesteaders and fishermen. Over the years, it has evolved into a beloved vacation spot, attracting visitors from all over the world who are drawn to its sandy shores, vibrant sunsets, and friendly community.

The island’s vibe is one of tranquility and unhurried living. Days are spent lounging on the beach, exploring the island’s eclectic shops and restaurants, or simply soaking up the warm Florida sunshine. With a strict ban on high-rise buildings and a commitment to preserving the natural environment, Anna Maria Island offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Top Attractions on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Beaches:

Anna Maria Island is renowned for its pristine, sugar-white beaches that stretch for miles along the Gulf of Mexico. From the tranquil Bean Point Beach to the lively Manatee Public Beach, there’s a perfect spot for everyone to soak up the sun, swim, or simply relax with a good book. Don’t miss the iconic Anna Maria Island Beach Pier, a popular spot for fishing, dolphin watching, and catching breathtaking sunsets.

Coquina Beach:

This picturesque beach is a true gem, offering a serene escape from the crowds. Coquina Beach is known for its unique sand composition, made up of tiny shell fragments that create a soft, powdery texture underfoot. Explore the tidal pools, go shelling, or simply bask in the natural beauty of this coastal paradise.

Robinson Preserve:

Nature lovers will delight in this 682-acre coastal upland preserve, featuring a diverse array of ecosystems, including salt marshes, mangrove forests, and tidal flats. Embark on the network of hiking trails, go bird-watching, or simply immerse yourself in the tranquility of this unspoiled natural haven.

Anna Maria Island Historical Museum:

Step back in time and discover the rich history of Anna Maria Island at this charming museum. Explore exhibits showcasing the island’s past, from its early settlers to the thriving fishing industry that once dominated the area. Don’t miss the replica of an early 20th-century cottage, offering a glimpse into daily life on the island in bygone days.

Family-Friendly Activities:

Anna Maria Island offers a wealth of activities for families with children. Visit the Anna Maria Island Community Center for various recreational programs, or spend a day at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum and Playground, where kids can learn about the island’s past while enjoying a state-of-the-art playground. Don’t forget to catch a show at the Island Players Community Theater, offering family-friendly performances throughout the year.

Dining Scene on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a paradise for food lovers, offering an array of local seafood restaurants, beachside eateries, and unique dining experiences. One of the highlights is the abundance of fresh, locally caught seafood. From casual fish shacks to upscale waterfront restaurants, you’ll find an impressive selection of dishes featuring grouper, snapper, shrimp, and other Gulf delicacies.

For a quintessential Anna Maria Island experience, head to one of the laidback beachside eateries. These casual spots often feature outdoor seating, live music, and a relaxed, island vibe. Savor a fresh fish sandwich or a basket of crispy fried shrimp while taking in the stunning Gulf views and gentle sea breezes.

The island is also home to several unique dining experiences that are not to be missed. One such establishment is a restaurant housed in a historic cottage, offering a charming and intimate setting for a romantic dinner. Another option is a funky, art-filled cafe serving creative, locally-inspired cuisine alongside an impressive selection of craft beers and cocktails.

Anna Maria Island’s dining scene is sure to delight no matter your culinary preferences. From traditional Florida fare to innovative fusion cuisine, the island’s restaurants showcase the best of local flavors and ingredients, creating a truly memorable dining experience.

Shopping and Souvenirs on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a shopper’s paradise, offering a delightful blend of local boutiques, art galleries, and gift shops. Strolling along the charming streets, you’ll discover a treasure trove of unique finds and locally crafted items that capture the essence of this coastal paradise.

Start your shopping adventure on Pine Avenue, the heart of Anna Maria’s shopping district. Here, you’ll find an eclectic mix of boutiques showcasing everything from beachwear and resort-style clothing to handcrafted jewelry and accessories. Keep an eye out for locally designed and printed t-shirts, perfect for commemorating your island getaway.

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the array of galleries dotting the island. From vibrant paintings capturing the island’s breathtaking sunsets to intricate sculptures inspired by the local marine life, these galleries offer a glimpse into the creative spirit of Anna Maria’s artistic community. Engage with the friendly gallery owners and learn about the artists’ inspirations and techniques.

For those seeking one-of-a-kind souvenirs, the island’s gift shops are a must-visit. Browse through an array of locally made products, including handcrafted pottery, candles, and home decor items. Pick up a few island-inspired accessories or a piece of artwork to remind you of your time on Anna Maria Island long after you’ve returned home.

Don’t forget to explore the island’s flea markets and outdoor markets, where you can find unique treasures and bargains galore. From vintage finds to locally grown produce, these markets offer a true taste of the island’s vibrant community.

Whether you’re in search of a special keepsake, a piece of local art, or simply a way to immerse yourself in the island’s laid-back vibe, Anna Maria Island’s shopping scene promises an unforgettable experience.

Outdoor Adventures on Anna Maria Island

For those seeking an active and adventurous escape, Anna Maria Island offers a plethora of outdoor pursuits that take advantage of its stunning natural surroundings. The warm Gulf waters and pristine beaches provide the perfect playground for water sports enthusiasts.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding:

Glide through the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico or explore the serene mangrove tunnels and estuaries that line the island’s shores. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and embark on a self-guided tour or join a guided eco-tour to learn about the area’s rich marine life and ecosystem.


Anna Maria Island is a paradise for anglers, offering ample opportunities for both inshore and offshore fishing. Cast a line from the island’s piers or book a charter and venture into the deep waters of the Gulf for a chance to reel in prized catches like grouper, snapper, and even sharks. For a more laid-back experience, try your hand at surf fishing along the island’s beaches.

Water Sports:

Adrenaline junkies can indulge in a range of exhilarating water sports, such as parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides. Soar high above the turquoise waters for breathtaking views of the island, or race across the waves on a thrilling jet ski adventure. For a more leisurely experience, consider renting a pontoon boat or taking a scenic cruise to explore the island’s coastline from a different perspective.

With its idyllic setting and diverse outdoor offerings, Anna Maria Island promises an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

Family-Friendly Fun on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a paradise for families seeking a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. The island boasts an array of kid-friendly beaches, parks, and attractions that cater to children of all ages.

Kid-Friendly Beaches:

The pristine beaches of Anna Maria Island are perfect for families. Coquina Beach, located on the southern end of the island, is a favorite among families due to its shallow waters, soft sand, and ample amenities, including restrooms, showers, and a playground. Manatee Public Beach, situated in the heart of the island, is another excellent option with its wide shoreline, lifeguards on duty, and a variety of beach rentals available.

Parks and Playgrounds:

Anna Maria Island boasts several parks and playgrounds that offer a welcome respite from the beach. The Anna Maria Island Community Center Park features a playground, picnic areas, and a skate park, making it a popular spot for families. The Bayfront Park, located in the city of Anna Maria, offers a playground, a fishing pier, and stunning views of Tampa Bay.


The island offers a variety of attractions that will delight both children and adults alike. The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum provides an interactive and educational experience, allowing families to learn about the island’s rich history and culture. The Anna Maria Island Butterfly Park is a serene oasis where visitors can observe a variety of butterfly species in their natural habitat.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the Anna Maria Island Beach Hut offers a range of water sports activities, including kayak and paddleboard rentals, as well as guided tours. The Anna Maria Island Mini Golf is a fun-filled attraction that combines miniature golf with whimsical themes and challenging obstacles.

With its family-friendly beaches, parks, and attractions, Anna Maria Island promises a memorable and enjoyable vacation for families seeking quality time together in a beautiful and relaxing setting.

Accommodation Options on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every preference and budget, from luxurious beachfront resorts to cozy vacation rentals and charming boutique hotels.

For those seeking a lavish and indulgent stay, the island boasts several upscale beachfront resorts. These properties offer direct access to the pristine white-sand beaches, along with an array of amenities such as outdoor pools, spa services, and fine dining restaurants. Many of these resorts feature spacious suites or villas with breathtaking ocean views, perfect for romantic getaways or family vacations.

Vacation rentals are another popular choice on Anna Maria Island, providing a home-away-from-home experience. From cozy cottages to sprawling beach houses, these rentals offer the convenience of fully-equipped kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and private pools or hot tubs. Many rental companies offer properties just steps from the beach, allowing guests to truly immerse themselves in the island lifestyle.

For a more intimate and personalized experience, Anna Maria Island is home to several boutique hotels. These charming properties often boast unique architectural styles, such as the iconic Florida Keys-inspired designs, and offer a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Boutique hotels on the island typically feature fewer rooms, ensuring a more exclusive and personalized stay, with attentive service and thoughtful amenities.

No matter your preference, Anna Maria Island’s accommodation options cater to a wide range of tastes and budgets, ensuring that every visitor can find the perfect home base to create lasting memories in this tropical paradise.

Events and Festivals on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island hosts a variety of annual events and festivals that celebrate the island’s rich culture, art, and laid-back lifestyle. One of the most anticipated events is the Anna Maria Island Art League’s ArtHarvest, held every November. This juried fine art show features the works of local and regional artists, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and more. Visitors can admire and purchase unique pieces while enjoying live music and refreshments.

Another popular event is the Anna Maria Island Privateer Days, a family-friendly celebration that pays homage to the island’s pirate history. Held in January, this festival features pirate-themed parades, live entertainment, and a variety of activities for children, such as treasure hunts and costume contests.

For food lovers, the Anna Maria Island Bayfest, held in March, is a must-attend event. This waterfront festival showcases local restaurants and food vendors, offering a diverse array of culinary delights, from fresh seafood to traditional island fare. Live music, arts and crafts vendors, and activities for kids make this event a true celebration of the island’s vibrant community.

Throughout the year, Anna Maria Island also hosts various art walks, outdoor concerts, and farmer’s markets, providing visitors with ample opportunities to immerse themselves in the island’s creative and cultural scene. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a foodie, or simply seeking a fun-filled family outing, Anna Maria Island’s events and festivals offer something for everyone.

Getting Around Anna Maria Island

Getting around Anna Maria Island is a breeze, thanks to its compact size and various transportation options. While many visitors choose to drive and park, the island also offers convenient alternatives that allow you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.

Driving and Parking

If you plan to drive to Anna Maria Island, you’ll find ample public parking available, although fees may apply in some areas. Be prepared for limited parking during peak seasons and popular events. It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot or consider using alternative modes of transportation.

Island Trolley

One of the most popular and eco-friendly ways to explore Anna Maria Island is the free Island Trolley. This convenient service runs daily, connecting the island’s various neighborhoods, beaches, and attractions. The trolley operates on a continuous loop, making it easy to hop on and off at your desired stops. It’s a great option for those who want to avoid the hassle of finding parking or navigating the island’s streets.

Biking and Walking

Anna Maria Island is incredibly pedestrian and bike-friendly, with dedicated paths and trails winding through the island’s scenic neighborhoods and along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico coastline. Rent a bicycle or bring your own and explore the island at your own pace, stopping to admire the stunning views, visit local shops, or grab a bite to eat.

Golf Carts and Scooters

For a unique and fun way to get around, consider renting a golf cart or scooter. These quirky modes of transportation are popular on the island and allow you to cruise along the streets in true island style. Just remember to follow all traffic rules and regulations.

No matter how you choose to navigate Anna Maria Island, you’ll find it easy to embrace the relaxed island lifestyle and enjoy all the attractions, dining, and natural beauty this Gulf Coast gem has to offer.

Best Time to Visit Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island enjoys a subtropical climate, making it a year-round destination. However, certain times of the year offer more favorable conditions for different types of travelers.


The island experiences warm, sunny weather for most of the year. The summer months, from May to September, are hot and humid, with average highs in the upper 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit. This period also brings the highest chance of afternoon thunderstorms and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane.

The winter months, from December to February, are the coolest, with average highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. This is generally considered the most pleasant time to visit, with low humidity and comfortable temperatures.

Peak Seasons

The peak tourist season on Anna Maria Island is during the winter and early spring months, from January to April. During this time, visitors flock to the island to escape the colder climates of the northern states and enjoy the beautiful beaches and outdoor activities.

Summer is also a popular time for families with school-aged children, as well as college students on spring break. However, the hot and humid weather can be challenging for some visitors.

Crowd Levels

As with most popular beach destinations, Anna Maria Island can get quite crowded during the peak seasons. Hotels, restaurants, and beaches tend to be busier, and prices for accommodations and activities may be higher.

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere and lower prices, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of early fall (September to November) or late spring (April to May). These periods offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making it easier to enjoy the island’s attractions and amenities.

Insider Tips for Enjoying Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a beloved destination for locals and frequent visitors who have uncovered its hidden gems and insider secrets. Here are some tips to help you experience the island like a true local:

Explore the Residential Areas:

While the main streets are bustling with activity, venture into the quieter residential neighborhoods to discover charming beach cottages, lush tropical gardens, and a more laid-back island vibe. Take a stroll or rent a bike and pedal through these hidden pockets of paradise.

Visit the Historic Pier:

The iconic Anna Maria City Pier, dating back to 1911, is a must-visit for its stunning views, fishing opportunities, and the chance to spot manatees and dolphins. Arrive early to catch the breathtaking sunrise or stay late for the equally mesmerizing sunset.

Seek Out Local Eateries:

While Anna Maria Island has its fair share of well-known restaurants, locals often flock to lesser-known gems like the Beach Bistro, a casual eatery with a beachy vibe and delicious seafood, or the Sandbar Restaurant, known for its lively atmosphere and live music.

Attend Community Events:

Immerse yourself in the island’s vibrant community by attending local events like the weekly Farmer’s Market, art walks, or the annual Shrimp and Stone Crab Festival. These events offer a chance to mingle with locals, sample local cuisine, and experience the island’s unique culture.

Explore the Nature Preserves:

Maria Island is home to several nature preserves, such as the Coquina Baywalk and the Robinson Preserve, offering opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and immersing yourself in the island’s natural beauty. Pack a picnic and spend a day exploring these tranquil oases.

Visit During the Off-Season:

While the island is bustling during peak season, visiting during the off-season (late spring or early fall) can offer a more relaxed and authentic experience. You’ll enjoy smaller crowds, lower prices, and the opportunity to truly unwind like a local.

By following these insider tips, you’ll uncover the hidden gems that make Anna Maria Island a truly special and unforgettable destination, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *