Last Updated on February 18, 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 made up of 3 cities, Bradenton Beach (southern end), Holmes Beach (middle), and Anna Maria (northern end).  This 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.



Anna Maria Island is known for its beaches and nature
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.
So what is so great about Anna Maria Island?  From kayaking or paddle boarding alongside manatees, exploring a mangrove forest, and seeing live music at one of the local spots, to the best Gulf beaches, Anna Maria Island has you covered for activities! 

15 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.
In my opinion, the best beaches in Anna Maria Island are Manatee Beach and Bean Point, but all of the beaches here have their own perks.

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.

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 


Photo Credit-

These are the beach flags for safe swimming

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!



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 mainland.
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!

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

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. 



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

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. 



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!

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding Anna Maria Island- More Info


Rentals/Delivers/Tours- Beach Bums

Rentals/Deliveries/Tours- Kayak Jacks 

Tours/Rentals/Lessons- Happy Paddlers



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

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.  




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


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.



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 mid-way up the pier.

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!



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

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.

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.

Leffis Key

2351 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

Phone 941-742-5923


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!


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!



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.

Renting Bikes In Anna Maria Island- More Info


 Lazy Turtle– Anna Maria

 Fun and More Rentals– Holmes Beach

AMI Beach Fun Rentals– Holmes Beach

Manatee County Electric Bike Rentals



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 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!



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

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.


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

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.  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

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

How Do You Spend A Day At Anna Maria Island?


√ Relax On The Beaches

√ Visit Historic Bridge Street

√ Explore Leffis Key

√  Go Kayaking On The Anna Maria Sound

√ Take A Stroll Along The Anna Maria Pier 

√ Finish The Day Watching Sunset At Bean Point


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

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

The best time to avoid crowds and get cheaper rates on hotels is by visiting from October- April.  You’ll also avoid the heat and humidity of the summer months!
I’ve been to the island several times in April and the weather has been mild and it’s been relatively quiet.



What Is The Best Part Of Anna Maria Island?

While all cities on the island are amazing and all offer something unique, I prefer Bradenton Beach.
Some may have a different opinion, but there’s so much to do here on the southern end from kayaking near Longboat Key, swimming at Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach, exploring Leffis Key, and visiting the Bridge Street shops and pier, to arguably the best waterfront restaurants on the island.
If you’re looking for a quieter spot on the island, visit Anna Maria on the north end.

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!