Anna Maria Island is a 7 mile stretch along the Gulf of Mexico with lots of fun things to do! The island is just an hour south of Tampa on the other end of Tampa Bay.
Anna Maria Island is made up of 3 cities, Bradenton Beach (southern end), Holmes Beach (middle), and Anna Maria (northern end).
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The island is known for its incredible Gulf beaches, amazing food, waterfront patios, and laid-back people.
There’s also great shopping and entertainment, both on water and land.
From kayaking or paddle boarding alongside manatees, to exploring a mangrove forest, or seeing live music at one of the local spots, Anna Maria Island has you covered for activities!
Here are 15 of the best things to do in Anna Maria Island!
Unforgettable Things To Do
In Anna Maria Island
1. Relax At The Beaches
Anna Maria Island has several great beaches throughout the island.
Coquina Beach and Cortez Beach are popular beaches on the southern end of the island in Bradenton Beach.
Both of these beaches have plenty of amenities and Coquina Beach has a restaurant right at the beach.
Manatee Beach is in Holmes Beach, and is the main public beach in the center part of the island.
You can grab some food at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe and drinks at Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar.
Manatee Beach has lots of other amenities, including a gift shop.
They have live music here throughout the year, too.
Bayfront Park and Bean Point are in Anna Maria at the northern end of the island.
Bayfront Park is in between Anna Maria City Pier and Rod & Reel Pier, and a short distance from both.
There is a nice playground here with picnic tables, shelters, and a beach area, also.
2. Enjoy Dinner With A View At Amazing Restaurants
A trip to Anna Maria Island wouldn’t be complete without dining at the best restaurants in the area!
There are several waterfront restaurants on the island, that boast great seafood, burgers, drinks, and more.
The Kokonut Hut, Bridge Tender, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Sandbar, and Rod & Reel Pier are all excellent waterfront dining options.
Sharky’s Seagrill and The Feast both have some of the best seafood on the main land.
If you like a good BBQ joint, Mr Bones BBQ is well-known in Holmes Beach.
For pizza and subs, Omas Pizza is a pizza place and Italian restaurant in Bradenton Beach.
Anna Maria Island Restaurants
Want to see more dining options?
Take a look at the 17 Best Restaurants In Anna Maria Island!
3. Visit The Anna Maria City Pier
Located at the northern end of the island, the Anna Maria City Pier is an impressive landmark to visit.
Come here to walk the 700 foot pier, get some food and drinks, go fishing, or just check out the views.
We saw lots of stingrays while in the area, and even a couple dolphins.
The pier does have parking, or you can take the city trolley here.
Anna Maria City Pier
100 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, FL 34216
Anna Maria City Pier- Things To Do Nearby
From the pier, you’re just a few minute walk from Bayfront Park, which is a little further north.
The Waterfront Restaurant and Two Scoops Dessert Shop are right across the street.
4. Go Fishing (Or Eat Some Food) At Rod & Reel Pier
If you’re looking for a casual seafood restaurant with stunning views of the Gulf, Rod & Reel Pier is a perfect place to go!
Eat inside the restaurant or outside on the deck.
Rod & Reel Pier offers appetizers, sandwiches, as well as grouper, shrimp, and other seafood meals.
Stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
You can go fishing off the dock or walkways for a fee, too.
It’s $2 for a fishing ticket, $2 for a pole, and $2 every hour. Bait costs $3.50.
Rod & Reel Pier
875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216
Rod & Reel Pier- Things To Do Nearby
From Rod & Reel Pier, you can walk over to Bean Point which is at the northern tip of the island.
5. Rent Kayaks Or Paddleboards For The Day
Anna Maria Island has several places where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards.
Beach Bums and Kayak Jacks are just a couple places where you can rent water equipment.
There are also a few companies on the island that do kayak and paddle board tours.
We did a guided kayak tour with Happy Paddlers, which is just across the bridge in Longboat Key.
They do several kinds of kayak tours but they do kayak fishing charters, too!
6. See What The Vendors Are Selling At Pineapple Marketplace
With over 30 vendors, Pineapple Marketplace has clothing, jewelry, antiques, art, and more.
Whether you’re a collector or just a casual shopper browsing for a deal, this is a great place to shop for unique finds.
Pineapple Marketplace has something for everyone!
425 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216
Pineapple Marketplace- Things To Do Nearby
From Pineapple Marketplace, head to the other Pine Avenue shops.
Here, there are candy stores, gift shops, clothing stores, and more.
7. Learn About Anna Maria Island At The Historical Society Museum
Anna Maria Island isn’t just about the beaches and waterfront restaurants.
Come to the museum to learn about the history of Anna Maria Island!
This museum has exhibits that show early island life and the first settlers in the area.
See the artifacts, newspapers, and maps that keep Anna Maria Island’s history alive.
While here, take a walk through the Anna Maria Historical Park and visit the historic Anna Maria City Jail that was built in the 1920’s!
Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum
402 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216
8. Check Out Bridge Street Shops, Restaurants, & Pier
Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is famous for its boutiques, bars, restaurants, and Bradenton Historic Street Pier. There are also several art shows and events throughout the year.
As you work your way up Bridge Street, you’ll pass by restaurants such as Island Time Bar & Grill, Daiquiri Deck, Bamboo Island Bar, Blue Marlin, and Bridge Tender Dockside Bar. These restaurants are a great place for some live music!
There is a fudge shop, as well as Sea Salt Boutique, and Bridge Street Jewelers as you make your way to the pier.
The pier has shops and offers fishing, parasailing, and the Anna Maria Oyster Bar is midway up the pier.
Bridge Street Shops & Stores
√ Adventure Away
√ Back Alley Treasures
√ Bridge Street Bazaar
√Bridge Street Interiors
√ Bridge Street Jewelers
√ Segs by the Sea
√ Serenity Eco Boutique
√ The Hive
√ The Uptown Lot
Bridge Street- Things To Do Nearby
Just a few blocks south of Bridge Street is Cortez Beach with a trail and picnic area.
The Fish Hole is a mini golf course to play while at Bridge Street!
9. Indulge At The Donut Experiment
The Donut Experiment is a terrific place to satisfy your sweet tooth when visiting Anna Maria Island.
Here, you get to create your own donuts with their donut bar!
They make the donuts and then you pick out the icing and toppings that you want on them.
Or you can try their mixed donut combinations or their special donuts.
Don’t forget to wash down the donuts with one of their cafe drinks!
The Donut Experiment reminds me a lot of the Donut King in Clermont, Florida.
The Donut Experiment
210C Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
10. Explore Leffis Key Preserve
Leffis Key Nature Preserve is a nice place to go for hiking and exploring.
While here, walk the boardwalk and nature trails through the mangrove forest.
Take a break and take in the views, while relaxing on the dock benches that overlook the water.
There is a 26-foot hill where you can get awesome views of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.
Many people come here to go fishing and view birds and other wildlife.
2351 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Leffis Key Preserve- Things To Do Nearby
Across the street from the preserve is Coquina Beach with a cafe right on the beach, walking paths, and more.
Just south of Leffis Key is the Longboat Pass Bridge with Longboat Key on the other side, with more places to explore.
11. Go on a Dolphin Tour or Sunset Cruise
Anna Maria Island has several companies throughout the island that offer boat tours.
We did our boat tour through Paradise Boat Tours, which is located at the Bradenton Beach Pier.
These 90-minute tours take you through the intercoastal waterways.
Dolphins, manatees, and stingrays are common sea life that you see on the tour.
Bring your own food and alcohol!
Paradise Boat Tours
Group rates are offered, as well
12. Ride Around The Island On Bikes
Anna Maria Island is only 7 miles long and 2 miles wide so riding a bike is a nice option for getting around the island!
Many of the main attractions on the island have bike racks, including most of the beaches.
A lot of the beaches have walking/biking trails, too.
As mentioned, finding a parking spot in a car can also be difficult at the busier places.
There are several companies on the island where you can rent bicycles.
13. Buy A Souvenir At The Island Shopping Center or Nearby Shops
Anna Maria Island has several areas for shopping on the island.
The Island Shopping Center is in Holmes Beach and is a strip mall with gift shops, restaurants, and bars.
Across the street from The Island Shopping Center on Gulf Drive are more shops and restaurants.
Island Shopping Center
5414 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
Island Shopping Center- Things To Do Nearby
The Freckled Fin and Hurricane Hanks are all within easy walking distance of The Island Shopping Center.
Anna Maria Island Shops and Alvin’s Island are both shopping centers in Holmes Beach that are about a mile away.
Once you’re done shopping, Manatee Beach is nearby!
14. Have A Drink At D’ Coy Ducks
Right at The Island Shopping Center, D’ Coy Ducks calls itself Anna Maria Island’s favorite hangout.
This bar is a good place to go to watch sports and see some live music on weekends.
They have different entertainment throughout the week including poker, trivia, and karaoke nights.
D’ Coy Ducks
5410 Holmes Beach, FL 34217
D’ Coy Ducks – Things To Do Nearby
There are some fantastic food options near the bar including The Feast, which is right next door to D’ Coy Ducks.
Ugly Grouper is just around the corner from the bar to the north.
15. Take In The Views At The End Of The Island (Bean Point)
Bean Point is a peaceful spot tucked away at the northern tip of the island, where Tampa Bay and the Gulf intersect.
More of a secluded, wide beach with amazing views, Bean Point is a must-do when you’re on the island.
Getting to Bean Point does take a little work.
There are some parking spots on the nearby streets, but those can fill up quick.
Many people take the trolley to Anna Maria City Pier and then walk to Bean Point, which is about a mile away.
There are no amenities at Bean Point, but the scenery definitely makes it worth the walk!
Bean Point is also a beautiful place to see a sunset.
Bean Point- Things To Do Nearby
Just a short walk from Bean Point is Rod & Reel Pier
Bayfront Park is a little over a half-mile away past Rod & Reel
Frequently Asked Questions-
Anna Maria Island
You can drive your vehicle and there are paved roads throughout the island.
Traffic does get congested during the busier times of the year, however.
Parking at the beaches is free, but these spots do fill up quickly.
It can also be a little difficult to park at the beaches, especially in the summer and on the northern end of the island.
(I was here in April and there were no issues with driving my car or parking. Street parking by Bean Point was the most difficult at this time, since there are not many spots.)
Lots of people travel around the island in golf carts and you can rent these at most of the places that also have kayak/paddleboard rentals.
Most of these shuttle services on the island work for tips.
I’ve stayed at Tropic Isle a couple of times that I’ve stayed on the island. It’s a 4-star hotel and although the accommodations on the island can be expensive, Tropic Isle is pretty reasonable.
I like staying here and recommend it because it’s a relatively small place, has a nice pool, and is just across the street from the beach!
It’s at the northern end of Bradenton Beach so centrally located on Anna Maria Island.
Tropic Isle is within walking distance of several restaurants, Kokonut Hut, Wicked Cantina, and Sharky’s.
Here are a few other places to stay on Anna Maria Island:
Sunrise Garden Resort– Anna Maria, 11-minute walk to Bean Point, 3 stars
Anna Maria Island Inn– Bradenton Beach, Beachfront, 2.5 stars
Tortuga Inn– Bradenton Beach, close to Bridge Street, 3 stars
Best Family Things To Do In Anna Maria Island
Although all the activities in this post are family-friendly, here are my top picks for best things to do with the family in Anna Maria Island!
√ Visit The Beaches (Bean Point, Coquina Beach, Manatee Public Beach, Bayfront Park)
√ Bridge Street Shops & Dining
√ The Donut Experiment
√ Rent Bikes
√ Kayaking Tours
Final Thoughts: Unforgettable Things To Do
In Anna Maria Island
With plenty of entertainment and things to do, Anna Maria Island is one of the best places on Florida’s Gulf Coast!
If you like the restaurants in Anna Maria Island, take a look at these Waterfront Restaurants In St. Pete and Nearby!