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!

Bradenton

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.

Cortez

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.

Sarasota

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

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

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

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

Brandon

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

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!

 

Universal Studios Orlando

A great day trip from Anna Maria Island is a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando! Universal features two parks catering to thrill seekers, movie enthusiasts, and families looking for a fun group activity.
Islands of Adventure Hulk Entrance
Islands of Adventure features multiple roller coasters, including The Incredible Hulk Coaster® which propels riders from 0 to 40 miles per hour in 2.0 seconds! The ride features multiple inversions and is a must ride for any coaster enthusiast! Also check out The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey® ride, Dragon Challenge™ roller coaster, and The Cat in the Hat™ ride!
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The Incredible Hulk Coaster®

One of the big attractions at Universal Studios Orlando is The Incredible Hulk Coaster® found inside Islands of Adventure!
Islands of Adventure Hulk Coaster
Upon entering the queue for the roller coaster you are surrounded by the lab equipment of Bruce Banner. As a volunteer for his experiment you await your turn to help him solve how to reverse the effects that caused him to become the Hulk. You can take in the story of the Hulk on the many conveniently placed monitors, as well as the generator, gamma core, and towers of power while listening to or watching through the windows as the roller coaster rips past.
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MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™

Men in Black™ Alien Attack™ is an interactive motion ride inside the Universal Studios Orlando park in Orlando, Florida.

The queue winds through a MIB training facility featuring many characters from the movies. The cars seat 3 per row with two rows in each car for a total of 6 riders per car. Each rider controls their own ray gun to shoot the aliens throughout the ride with. So how about some tips to help you get the best score and impress everyone with your alien eliminating abilities?
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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey®

After you heard about Hogwarts I’m sure the first thing you did was went back through all your junk mail in the hopes that maybe you missed your letter. Well you may still be a muggle, but now you can take in the wonders of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal Studios Orlando!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
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Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside the Islands of Adventure Park at Universal Studios Orlando features many rides that bring the world to life to us simple muggles!
Olivander's Wand Shop
You can visit Olivander’s Wand Shop to get your very own wand! However, you may have some difficulty getting the spells down. I’m still yet to figure out how to get the broom to magically sweep on its own or the dishes to wash themselves.
Honeydukes Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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Islands of Adventure Park

Island of Adventure Theme Park in Orlando, FL

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
The Islands of Adventure Park at Universal Studios Orlando features numerous rides for all personalities. From thrill seekers to those that get queasy at the thought of being upside down there is a ride suited just for you. The park features a total of 16 attractions.

Attractions

The park is themed with more thrill rides than its counterpart Universal Studios park. You can ride on any of the 4 roller coasters, 3 water rides, or catch some of the daily shows.

You can find more of the rides and attractions at the Universal Studios parks here!

Universal Studios Orlando
6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 363-8000