Walt Disney World Park Guide | Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney World Park Guide | Theme Parks in the Orlando, FL area!

So you’re in Florida. What are you going to do now? “I’m going to Disney World!” should be the clear response. Visiting Disney World is a great Orlando day trip option for visitors staying on Anna Maria Island.

Located in Lake Buena Vista, FL, Disney World has six theme parks to choose from each with a differing theme.

Walt Disney World Parks

  • Looking to bring your fairy tale dreams to life? Then we suggest the Magic Kingdom Park!  Magic Park is perfect for toddlers.
  • Interested in getting a taste of the world without having to spend a fortune in flights? Check out Epcot!  Epcot is the most sophisticated park and we suggest High School teenagers.
  • Bring the movie magic to life with the Hollywood Studios Park!  Toddlers will work at this park but there are rides toddlers are too small to ride.
  • Get in touch with nature while touring Animal Kingdom. A great zoo as well as Disney theme park.  Only a few rides toddlers cannot ride.
  • Make a splash at either the Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water parks!  Fabulous for the whole family.
  • Or visit Downtown Disney for shopping, entertainment, concerts and clubs!  Definitely adult related however lego land and two theme based restaurants can make this fun for the whole family.

There are many options to choose from if you wish to get the Disney experience. At the time of this posting ticket prices range from $53 to $95 for a single day ticket. There are also better offers for group purchases and multi-day or multi-park options.  Are you a Florida resident?  If so many passes provide discounts for Florida residents.

Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 934-7639

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island – Manatee County

There are many nature parks near Anna Maria Island. Most visitors to Anna Maria Island know about Robinson’s Preserve located just a few minutes to the East of Holmes Beach. It has fabulous nature trails, a sky high tower that overlooks the park as well as the Tampa Bay.  But, all are not aware there are lots of other Parks and Nature Preserves in Manatee county. Additionally, there is even Leffis Key right on south island! Sure some other parks are a few more than minutes to the East of Robinson Preserve but everyone likes choices, right?

Below is a list of Manatee County nature parks that the Manatee County Natural Resource department overseas.  A big plus is the County is renovating to new parks just off Anna Maria Island that we can all Walk or Bicycle to!  Opening in late 2012/2013 stay tuned for more information.  Happy Hiking, Roller Blading, Bicycling, or nature viewing!

If you visit one of these parks please provide your comments on what you love about the park! View the map below to get an idea of where Manatee Parks and Preserves are located.

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island

Robinson Preserve
1704 99th Street, NW
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

De Soto National Memorial – Near Robinson Preserve.
8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, Florida 34209
941-792-0458
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking lot closes at 5pm.

Riverview Pointe Preserve – Only 5 minutes beyond Robinson Preserve
8250 DeSoto Memorial Highway
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Jiggs Landing
6106 63rd Street East
Bradenton, FL 34203
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Emerson Point Preserve
5801 17th Street West
Palmetto, Fl 34221
(941) 721-6885
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Rye Preserve
905 Rye Wilderness Trail
Parrish, FL 34219
(941) 776-0900
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Duette Preserve and Headwaters at Duette
2649 Rawls Road
Duette, FL 34251
(941) 776-2295
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Leffis Key at Coquina Bay Walk – located at the south end of Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach.
2351 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Anna Maria Island, FL 34217

Neal Preserve
12301 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 742-5923
Open 7 days a week hours vary on season

Perico Preserve
11700 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 737-2254
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

G.T. Bray Public Pool and Splash Park minutes from Anna Maria

G.T. Bray Recreation Center is a fantastic place to cool off anytime of the year if you are staying on Anna Maria Island or in Western Bradenton, Fl.  The G.T. Bray Public pool and splash park is large with plenty of facilities for the fitness enthusiast.  GT Bray is just 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach.  Drive along State Route 64, Manatee Avenue.  See the link below for a map.

G.T. Bray Recreation Center –
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl 34209
(941) 742-5923

Splash Park
Outdoor Splash Park – GT Bray

SWIMMING – AQUATIC PARK
G.T. Bray has a 50 (6) lane Meter Pool, 18 X 18 yard dive pool equipped with a 1 and 3 meter diving board, 12 foot three flume water slide, a 2 foot wading-kiddie pool and a 4,000 square foot Splash water park.  So there is tons of water activities to do for the entire family.  Summer hours are extended as compared to other seasons and the Summer is considered Mid-June to Mid August.  The Pool park is open Monday through Saturday from around 11 AM to 5 PM.  Access to the recreation facility is not free but inexpensive.  As of Summer 2012 the fee ranges from $4.00 to $6.00 depending on age for a daily pass.  The pass provides access to all their facilities for the day.  Gymnasium, fitness center, teen/game room, racquetball and hard tennis courts.  GT Bray offers monthly rates and normally in the Summer offers a quarterly reduce rate.  The rate ranges from $35 to $80 for a month.

Bradenton, Florida Area information and things to do

Activities and Things to do in Bradenton

Bradenton, FL Area Information and Activities

Looking for something to do in the Bradenton area during your Anna Maria Island vacation? We have compiled a list of the Bradenton area attractions for your convenience!

Anna Maria Island Pavilion Rentals

The most Northern and generally quietest Pavilion area is located in Anna Maria City and named Anna Maria Bay Front Park. The Anna Maria Island Pavilion rentals 11 tables (seats approximately 88), 1 concrete counter, 3 small grills, and electricity.  Restroom facilities and playground are nearby. This is a perfect gathering place for a large reunion, inexpensive wedding reception, or a mom’s group gathering spot.

To rent the pavilions, you can go to this site.

Family Fun, Playgrounds and parks on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – There are several family fun activities across the island perfect for keeping the kids entertained. No matter which of the three cities you are visiting on Island, you wont have to travel far to find a play place.

Anna Maria Island has a phenomenal skate park in Holmes Beach for the child that skateboards or roller blades. The bigger kids and teenagers are the perfect age to tear it up at the skate park. Located directly next to the skate park is a nice little playground set for the little ones, and a shuffleboard court for the grown ups. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of Anna Maria Island’s beloved pirate ship parade float Skully wag, often parked just by the skate park.

The most Northern and generally quietest playground is located in Anna Maria City at 310 North Bay Boulevard and named Anna Maria Bay Front Park. This park is gorgeously located directly on the bay side beach, so you can enjoy swimming and playing on the play ground equipment. After visiting Bay Front Park, head over to nearby Rod N Reel pier for lunch!

If you are looking for a playground right on the Gulf of Mexico, look no more. There is a fabulous playground in Holmes Beach at the Manatee Public beach. Manatee public beach offers concessions, volley ball nets, picnic areas, bathroom/changing area and tourist information.

In Bradenton Beach head over to Herb Dolan park located on the corner of Avenue A and 25th Street directly on Anna Maria Sound. This park offers a playground, basketball courts and a large field for baseball. This park is tucked into a Bradenton Beach neighborhood, and is often not crowded.

On the very southern end of the Island find Coquina beach with tons of activities including a fun Pirate ship shaped play ground, paved walking/bike paths, concessions and bathrooms.

Highlands Hammock State Park – the "real" Florida

If you need a break from the beach take a ride to the “real” Florida. The Highlands Hammock State Park is centrally located in the middle of Florida, near Sebring. This park is one of Florida’s first state parks and known for its beautiful old-growth hammock and cypress swamps. A 3.1 mile loop drive gives a first impression. In addition there are nine different nature trails that take visitors through lush, jungle-like foliage. There are habitats like the pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp, marshes, scrub vegetation and lots of wildlife to discover. White-tailed deer, raccoons, bobcats, tortoises, herons, anhingas, ibis and of course alligators are among the animals living in the state park. The most popular hiking trail is the Cypress Swamp Trail that takes you on a 30 minute walk on an elevated boardwalk. The swamp borders a blackwater stream in the lowest elevation and numerous key points include the variety of plants, birds and other wildlife.
A large picnic area, 159 campsites, horse trails, playground, restaurant and the Civilian Conversation Corps Museum are other features of the park.  During my visit I took the tram ride that leaves daily at 1 pm if there are at least 5 passengers present. For $5 this is possibly the best value you can get in any state park. Our park ranger Nick provided us with a wealth of information while touring the remote areas on this 60 minute ride. I guess it is even more interesting as we were very lucky to see all kinds of wildlife including a wild boar. Take a look at the pictures!

Contact Information:
Highlands Hammock State Park
5931 Hammock Road
Sebring, Fl 33872
http://www.stateparks.com/highlands_hammock.html

For other great activities or suggestions for your leisure time please visit our Island Real Estate blog.

G. T. Bray Park is a large park in Bradenton, Fl

G.T. Bray Park located in Bradenton, Fl has something for everyone.  You can walk tree rimmed paths, swing on the swing in one of the three playgrounds, swim and play in the water fountains or take your dog to the very safe enclosed dog park.

If you are looking to have a larger event while visiting Bradenton or Anna Maria Island then G.T. Bray Park could be your perfect ticket.  The Bradenton park has seven pavilions (Picnic Shelters.)  Of course sizes vary.  If you refer to the map below the numbers here correlate to those on the GT Bray park map.  (1)Cedar Hammock (2) Oak Knoll (3) Hickory Hollow (4) Meadow View (5) Woodland Grove (6) Whispering Pine (7) Bright Outlook – located adjacent to the Activity Center.

The dog park is called happy tails and is a perfect treat for pet visitors to Anna Maria Island.  Happy Tails Canine Park is a fenced in, 3-acre off leash dog park located at the North East corner of G.T. Bray Bradenton park.  Happy Tails is just off 51st Street West. Amenities at the dog park includes one drinking fountain and free waste bags and a enclosed separate area exclusively for small, fragile, or elderly dogs.

This Bradenton park is a great place to relax or play soccer, softball or football in one of their many open fields.  Tennis and racquetball  courts are available year round.  There is a weight room available for a fee.  Skate and hockey court is also just one of the great amenities the Bradenton park has to offer.  The skate park is located at G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl, 34209.

Depending on the time of year you are visiting the beaches of Anna Maria Island, you can find many family friendly events for children all  year long.  The Christmas party is a must see, Santa Claus flies in on a helicopter with Batman to give the children their opportunity to tell him what they want for Christmas and have their photos taken.  The holiday celebration is perfect for families of all ages, face painting, bounce houses, games, crafts, etc.

G.T. Bray Park
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West
Bradenton, Florida
(941) 742-5923

Holmes Beach Skate Park Under renovations starting 11-2019!

Join our excitement to see the ALL NEW Holmes Beach Skate Park under construction as of 11-2019!

Built in 2003, the Holmes Beach skatepark has been well loved and enjoyed by locals yet after 15 years became in need of repairs. With help from one of the designers of Bradenton’s Riverwalk skatepark, the city looks to ride the momentum of what is considered by skateboard enthusiasts as not only a sport, but a lifestyle.

The Holmes Beach park, located at 5901 Marina Dr., closed in 2017 for repairs. The city took the opportunity to look at ways to enhance and expand the park. It remained closed throughout 2018 as early conceptual designs for a new park mimicked a lot of what is already there and residents rejected what was being offered.

The city went back to the proverbial drawing board and in December, Tito Porrata of Pivot Custom Skateparks, working with city engineer Lynn Burnett, presented an updated design that was widely accepted by the community and elected officials.

The city commission agreed to move forward and pledged $150,000 toward the redesign. A drop-in bowl is still being considered for the new park.

The toddler park that was next to the skatepark is being moved close to the pavilion at City Park to the north of City Hall. Titsworth said it’s to make room for the new skatepark, but also gives a better separation of the smaller children from those using the skatepark.

Other improvements coming to the city is a proposal to add a kayak launch and nature trail at Grassy Point and the city is making improvements at its dog park. The baseball field is being redesigned as a multipurpose field, which will leave room to relocate the existing large dog park and make improvements, while the small dog park will remain at its current location.

Holmes Beach Skate Park

5801 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 708-5800