Last Updated on December 6, 2023

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If you’re looking for the best things to do in Anna Maria Island, Florida, then look no further!   Anna Maria Island is one of my all-time favorite places to visit in Florida and I’ve been here several times!

Anna Maria Island is a lot like stepping back into Old Florida, with relatively undisturbed beaches and without the traffic of cities like Orlando or Miami.

The island is made up of 3 cities, Bradenton Beach (southern end), Holmes Beach (middle), and Anna Maria (northern end).

This barrier island is a beautiful 7-mile stretch along the Gulf of Mexico with lots of opportunities for fun and relaxation.  It’s just an hour south of Tampa on the other end of Tampa Bay.

Table of Contents

Things To Do In Anna Maria Island

1. Relax At The Beaches

2. Enjoy Dinner With A View At Amazing Restaurants

3. Visit The Anna Maria City Pier

4. Go Fishing (Or Eat Some Food) At Rod & Reel Pier

5. Rent Kayaks Or Paddleboards For The Day

6. See What The Vendors Are Selling At Pineapple Marketplace

7. Learn About Anna Maria Island At The Historical Society Museum

8. Check Out Bridge Street Shops, Restaurants, And Pier

9. Indulge In The Donut Experiment

10. Explore Leffis Key Preserve

11. Go On A Dolphin Tour Or Sunset Cruise

12. Ride Around The Island On Bikes

13. Buy A Souvenir At The Island Shopping Center

14. Have A Drink At D’Coy Ducks

15. Take In The Views At The End Of The Island (Bean Point)

16. Explore Sarasota

17. Discover St. Armands Circle

18. Go Shopping In Bradenton

19. Visit The South Florida Museum

20. Take A Trip To Longboat Key

21. Explore The Robinson Preserve

22. Embark On A Fishing Adventure

23. Attend Events And Festivals

24. Explore The Fishing Village Of Cortez

25. Take A Day Trip To Tampa

26. Rent Jet Skis

27. Go Parasailing

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Anna Maria Island Known For?

How To Get Around On Anna Maria Island?

What Is Anna Maria Island Known For?

Where To Stay In Anna Maria Island?

What Are The Best Things To Do For Families On Anna Maria Island?

How Do You Spend A Day At Anna Maria Island?

What Is The Best Time Of The Year To Go To Anna Maria Island?

What Is The Best Part Of Anna Maria Island?

Final Thoughts: Unforgettable Things To Do In Anna Maria Island

 

 

Anna Maria Island is known for its beaches and nature

27 Unforgettable Things To Do

In Anna Maria Island 

 

If you’re looking for what to do in Anna Maria Island, there are several beautiful 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 central 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 Beach are in the city of Anna Maria at the northern end of the island.

Bayfront Park is 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.

In my opinion, the best beaches on Anna Maria Island are Manatee Beach and Bean Point, but all of the beaches here have their perks. 

The island’s beaches are the perfect way to spend the day!

Can You Swim At Anna Maria Island?

Yes, the waters here are generally calm and are great for swimming.  Many of the beaches here have lifeguards, as well.  (Bean Point does not).

Just check the flags before hitting the water to make sure the water is safe to swim in.

Photo Credit- floridadep.gov

These are the beach flags for safe swimming

 

 

Bradenton Beach has some of the best beaches in Anna Maria Island

Here’s a quick recap of Anna Maria Island’s Beaches:

📌 In Bradenton Beach

Coquina Beach

Cortez Beach

Beach Access (Across The Street From Tropic Isle Resort)- this is one of my favorite spots to hit the beach in Anna Maria Island!

📌 In Holmes Beach

Manatee Public Beach

📌 In Anna Maria 

Bayfront Park

Bean Point

Anna Maria Island Beaches

     Click the link for more information and everything you need to know about Anna Maria Island beaches, including hours, parking, locations, and amenities!

Looking for more beach adventures? Try Parasailing in Holmes Beach!

 

 

A trip to Anna Maria Island wouldn’t be complete without dining at the best restaurants in the area!

Once you’re done exploring the gorgeous beaches, there are several waterfront restaurants on the island, that boast great seafood, burgers, drinks, ice cream, and more.

The Kokonut Hut, Bridge Tender, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Sandbar, and Rod & Reel Pier are all excellent waterfront dining options with beautiful scenery.

Sharky’s Seagrill and The Feast both have some of the best seafood on the entire island.

For pizza and subs, Omas Pizza is a pizza place and Italian restaurant in Bradenton Beach.

My favorite restaurants in Anna Maria Island are The Kokonut Hut and Bridge Tender, both for their great food and awesome views!

The great thing about AMI is that you’re not going to see a lot of chain restaurants here.

 👉 Want to see more dining options?

     Take a look at the 17 Best Restaurants In Anna Maria Island!

 

 

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 and crystal-clear water.

This is also the perfect spot to see marine life.  We saw lots of stingrays while in the area, and even a couple of dolphins.

Also, keep your eyes open for manatees and sea turtles as you head north toward the beach.

The pier does have parking, or you can take the free trolley here.

Anna Maria City Pier

📍 100 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, FL 34216

☎️ Phone 941-254-4219

Anna Maria City Pier: Things To Do Nearby

 

From the pier, you’re just a few minutes walk from Bayfront Park, which is a little further north. 

The Waterfront Restaurant and Two Scoops Dessert Shop are right across the street. 

 

 

If you’re looking for a casual seafood restaurant with stunning views of the Gulf, Rod & Reel Pier is the 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

☎️ Phone 941-778-1885

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. 

 

 

Anna Maria Island has several places where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards.

Beach Bums and Kayak Jacks are just a couple of the rental companies where you can rent water equipment.

There are also a few companies on the island that do kayak and paddleboard 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!

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding Anna Maria Island- More Info

 

Rentals/Delivers/Tours- Beach Bums

Rentals/Deliveries/Tours- Kayak Jacks 

Tours/Rentals/Lessons- Happy Paddlers

 

 

With over 30 vendors, Pineapple Marketplace is a local favorite for 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

📍 425 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216

☎️ Phone 941-216-4226

 

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.  Grab a treat at The Flip Flop Candy Shop or a souvenir at The Island Cabana.  

 

 

 

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

 

Anna Maria Island Museum – Things To Do Nearby

 

While at the museum, take the Historic Anna Maria City Tour to learn more about the island’s history.

 

 

Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is famous for its boutiques, bars, restaurants, and Bradenton Beach City 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 Anna Maria Oyster Bar is mid-way up the pier.  You can do a guided tour such as fishing and parasailing.

Bridge Street Shops & Stores

√ Back Alley Treasures

√ Beach Blossom Studio

√ Bridge Street Bazaar

√ Bridge Street Jewelers

√ Sea-renity Beach Spa & Bou-tiki

Overlooking the water from the Bridge Street Pier

The Bridge Street Pier is right on the water and has beautiful views

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!

 

 

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

☎️ Phone 941-896-3172

 

The Donut Experiment- Things To Do Nearby

 

For more sweets nearby, Hometown Desserts is just up Pine Avenue in Anna Maria.

Harry’s Grill is also close by on Gulf Drive with burgers and craft beers.

One of my favorite things to do on the island, 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 in their natural habitat.

Leffis Key

📍 2351 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

☎️ Phone 941-742-5923

 

Leffis Key Preserve- Things To Do Nearby

 

Just a short drive from the preserve is Coquina Beach with a cafe right on the beach, walking and bike 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. 

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!

 

Anna Maria Island is the perfect place to get out on the water and take a boat tour

Dolphin Tour and Sunset Cruise- More Info

 

For More On The Best Dolphin Tours In Anna Maria Island & Sarasota, Check Out This Post!

 

 

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 in the busier places.

There are several companies on the island where you can rent bicycles.

For More Bike Tours And Rentals In Anna Maria Island & Sarasota, Check Out This Post!

 

 

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 Irish Pub and Hurricane Hanks Restaurant 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!

 

 

Right at The Island Shopping Center, D’ Coy Ducks call 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

☎️ Phone 941-778-5888

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.

 

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 quickly.

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 

 

 

 

scenic view of Sarasota Bay with yachts and tall buildings in the background

Photo credit – Ellenton Premium Outlets

People strolling with shopping bags in Ellenton Premium Outlets in Bradenton
A boat at the pier in Florida Keys
Fishing boat sandbar at the Florida Keys

23. Attend Events And Festivals


Keep an eye on the local event calendars, as the area around Anna Maria Island hosts various festivals and events throughout the year.  

There’s always something happening nearby, from art festivals and live music concerts to food and wine events. 


24. Explore the Fishing Village of Cortez


Situated just across the bridge from Anna Maria Island, the historic Cortez Fishing Village is a charming area with a rich maritime heritage.  

Visit the Florida Maritime Museum, dine at local seafood restaurants, and observe the working waterfront. 


Tampa Florida skyline and skyscrapers

 

 

 

 

a girl in a parasailing cruise

 

 

The Monkey Bus is a great way for getting around on 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.

Another option is taking one of the free trolleys around the island or the Monkey Bus!

Most of these shuttle services on the island work for tips.

There are many great places to stay in Anna Maria Island
I’ve stayed at Tropic Isle a couple of times that I’ve stayed on the island and it’s a great option.  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 fun place for the whole family and is a relatively small hotel.  It also 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.
 
There are plenty of vacation rental options on the island, too.

 

 

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

Haley’s At Anna Maria Island Inn– Holmes Beach, Beachfront, 2 stars

 

 

 

Although all the activities in this post are family-friendly, here are my top picks for the 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

 

 

Anna Maria Island is a perfect place to see a Gulf Sunset in Florida

 

 

Booking a last-minute trip to Anna Maria Island?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended tours and hotels!

Top Tours in Anna Maria Island

Boat Excursion To Capri Island – (Small Group Boat Tour From Sorrento)

Parasailing Adventure – (Above Bradenton Beach & Anna Maria Island)

Private Fishing Trip With Sight Seeing – (Half Day Tour Around Anna Maria Island)

Top Hotels & Accommodations in Anna Maria Island

Playa Esmeralda Boutique Inn – (Top Rated Accommodation In Bradenton Beach)

Bungalow Beach Resort – (Beachfront Property In Bradenton Beach)

Captain’s Quarters At Anna Maria Island – (High Rated Villa With Private Pool)

Anna Maria Island Inn – (Aparthotel Nearby Beach)

Looking To Get Around In Anna Maria Island

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗