Top Activities Off Anna Maria Island

Enjoy our list of off Anna Maria Island activities. While lazing on the beach with a cold drink is an amazing way to vacation, visit off island too.

Off Anna Maria Island

Beyond the powder sand and crisp blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico find things to do. There’s a ton of activities to experience on Anna Maria Island. However, if feeling adventurous, here’s a list of 40 activities less than a two hour drive from the island.

Off Anna Maria Island
Relax on Anna Maria Island beaches!


The city of Bradenton is located inland from Anna Maria Island when heading over the Manatee Bridge. Known as the friendly city, Bradenton offers great entertainment in the Downtown Old Main Street area. Find Bishop Planetarium, South Florida Museum, The Players Theater and McKechnie Baseball Field where the Marauders play. Additionally, find things to do at G.T. Bray park,  Manatee County Parks and Mixon Fruit Farm.


The city of Cortez is located just over the Cortez Bridge when leaving Anna Maria Island. One of the countries oldest fishing villages, Cortez is a place to explore old Florida charm, shops, and seafood. Be sure to visit Starfish Company restaurant for dockside views, and the best Florida seafood you’ll taste. If you visit in February be sure to check out the annual Cotez Fishing Festival. Find some of the areas most delicious sweets at Tylers Ice Cream. Learn all about the history of Cortez Fishing Village at the Maritime Museum.


A truly beautiful city, Sarasota is about 30 minutes south of Anna Maria Island. You’ll find a large selection of activities in Sarasota. Theaters include Van WezelMcCurdys Improve comedy house and the Sarasota Players. Also enjoy fine art at The Ringling or beautiful Florida Flora and Fauna at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. The internationally known Sarasota Film Festival offers many events annual in April. Also, Siesta key and St. Armands Circle have fabulous shopping, or explore Florida’s aquatic life at Mote Marine Aquarium.

Lakewood Ranch

Heading 45 minutes East into Manatee county brings you to Lakewood Ranch. This area offers an outdoors shopping area along Main Street with a few other activities surrounding. Visit the Lakewood Ranch cinema followed by a great meal at Polo Grill and Bar. Play a round of Golf at the prestigious Legacy Golf Club.

 University Town Center is a great indoor mall with fabulous shopping opportunities not found on Anna Maria Island.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a 45 minute drive north over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Here find a growing art scene with ton’s of galleries, studios, boutiques and entertainment. Check out the Sundial shopping district along with the great waterfront restaurants. Enjoy fine works by artist Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum.


Myakka State Park has many activities including boat tours, nature watching and bike trails. The city of Myakka is just a little over an hour drive from Anna Maria Island. It also offers one of the nicest State parks in Florida. While in Myakka support your local farmers with a tour of Dakin Dairy.


Tampa offers many fun attractions perfect for a day trip from Anna Maria Island. Just about an hour drive brings you to the famous Florida attraction Busch Gardens. The Car Museum of Tampa is a fun stop for old car enthusiasts.


Orlando is a two hour drive from Anna Maria Island, but offers tons of family friendly activities. Check out our list of fun things to do in Orlando below:

Downtown Disney

Blizzard Beach

Typhoon Lagoon

Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Hollywood Studio

Disney’s Epcot

Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World 

Universal Studios

Islands of Adventure


Westfield Mall has all the big name retailers you are looking for. Brandon is also only an hour drive east of Anna Maria Island toward the Tampa area.


Ruskin is a quiet small Florida town with a fabulous old Drive in Theater. Just under an hour drive from the Island, Ruskin Drive also provides hours of inexpensive entertainment.

Plant City

If you visit the Island during spring months, you may be lucky to catch the Florida Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Festival has been celebrated since the 1930’s. This 10 day event provides tons of fun too!


Bishop Planetarium just off Anna Maria Island, Film

Bishop PlanetariumThe Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton holds Film Friday every week featuring great movies to enjoy. Ticket prices for non members are $5 and $3 for members. All shows start at 6:00pm and it is recommended to reserve your spot as seating is limited. Upcoming films include:

May 31st: The Blob (1988) Rated R

June 7th: Contact (2005) Rated PG

June 14th: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Rated PG

June 21st: District 9 (2009) Rated R

June 28th: Attack the Block (2011) Rated R


For a list of previous Film Friday film’s click here.  For up to date information we suggest you visit the Bishop Planetarium website.

Bishop Planetarium
201 10th Street W.
Bradenton, 34205
(941) 746-4131

Bradenton – South Florida Museum’s Think + Drink (Science)

south florida museum's think + The South Florida Museum’s “Think + Drink (science)” transforms the Bishop Planetarium’s lobby into a cafe. Think + Drink offers a place where people can go to lounge on a couch, grab a beer or a glass of wine (or a soft drink) and learn about science in a relaxed informal setting. Each month a presenter discusses the topic of the month, and then holds an open discussion afterwards.

Drinks and bar snacks are available for purchase and you are welcome to bring your own food. South Florida Museum’s Think + Drink (science) begins at 7:00pm and ends at 9:00pm.

South Florida Museum
201 10th Street West
Bradenton, 34205

Bradenton’s Bishop Planetarium Film Friday

Join Bishop Planetarium for their weekly Film Friday, playing the “best movies you’ve never seen”.  All movies begin at 6:00pm and prior to all showings beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. Kick back and relax with the Bishop Planetarium while watching the classics!


Tickets are $5 for General Admission and $3 for Museum Members.



Upcoming Movies Include:

Jan 11th “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” (1948)

Jan 18th “Rope” (1948)

Jan 25th “Hamlet” (1948)

Feb 1st “The Red Shoes” (1948)

Feb 8th “I Remember Mama” (1948)

Feb 15th “A Foreign Affair” (1948)

Feb 22nd “Force of Evil” (1948)

For more information including future movies visit the Bishop Planetarium website.

Bishop Planetarium
201 10th Street W.
Bradenton, 34205
(941) 746-4131