Anna Maria- Even though Anna Maria has extremely fun activities, it’s nice to find enjoyable things to do out of town. With so much surrounding the island you’ll have no problem finding something the whole family will enjoy. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do off the island.
Out of Town Activities
Sarasota is located about 40 minutes south of Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a fun mind game, visit Escape Countdown located off of Tamiami Trail. Here you get to pick a themed room such as Jail Break or Mad Hatter and find clues to escape it. The challenge, however, is the 60 minute time limit. You may have up to three clues for free and each added clue takes off two minutes of your time. It’s a lot of fun to do with family and friends and you can have a group of up to eight people. You can reserve a time online or just walk in. Sarasota Lanes is the perfect place to go for anyone who loves bowling, or visit Stardust for a pleasant afternoon rollerskating.
Ellenton is about 30 minutes away and is home to Ellenton Premium Outlets and Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. The Premium Outlets offers shops such as Aeropostale, Michael Kors, and Vans. With around 120 different shops, there’s definitely something for everyone. After shopping outside all day, cool off at the ice rink and enjoy one of their two hour long public skates. Wristbands are only $15 and includes rental skates.
If you love golfing, Top Golf is the perfect place for you! Located about an hour away from the island, Top Golf is one of the coolest places to go play golf. Imagine dart boards all over the ground, but instead of throwing darts you’re trying to hit the bulls-eye with a golf ball. Also in Tampa is the Adventure Island Water Park. Here you can find tons of cool water slides, a lazy river, and fun pools to play in.
Overall there’s so much to do on and around the island you’re sure to never get bored. Make sure to check these places out at have fun on your vacation!
Anna Maria Island Activities – As a teenager myself I know it can be hard to find fun activities for teens on Anna Maria Island without the parents that won’t worry them like crazy. However, here on the island there is such a variety of activities it will seem almost too easy to get away and make memories with your friends.
Anna Maria Island Activities for Teens
1. Bike around the island
A great way to experience the island is biking. With the island only being seven miles long the trip isn’t strenuous, and is a great way to find shops and explore the island. Also, it’s a great way to keep in shape and help the environment, which is something Anna Maria prides itself on. Some great places to rent bikes are Beach Bums, Just 4 Fun, and AMI Beach Fun. Check out the Anna Maria Island bike guide here!
2. Go paddle boarding
Paddle Boarding around the island is one of the most fun ways to explore new places and sea life. For beginners, it’s recommended to find a place with calm water to learn on. Some good places to launch off of are the pier on 63rd street, Bimini Bay, and Bayfront Park. Many places are accessible by Anna Maria’s free trolley that goes through Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Find the trolley schedule here.
3. Catch ’em all
With the newest app Pokémon Go being released on July 6th, 2016 Anna Maria has become the perfect place to find tons of poke stops and gyms during your stay. Not only is the game extremely fun, it gives you the chance to explore the island, and meet new people along the way. Collect pokeballs and powerups at the Florida Friendly Demonstration Garden while experiencing a place you might not have known about otherwise. Also, since you’re so close to the ocean you get to find water Pokémon such as Psyduck and Squirtle. This helps add to your collection AND find better Pokémon to battle with! Want a playlist to catch ’em all to? Click here to add some spunk to your adventure! Just remember if you’re driving to be safe and #DontCatchAndDrive.
I can proudly say eating different food is one of my favorite parts of vacationing, and Anna Maria doesn’t let down. Start your day off with Minnie’s Beach Cafe for breakfast on Holmes Beach, where they serve delicious pancakes and sandwiches! For lunch try Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe where they serve delicious sandwiches and platters. Dinner is served at Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier where there is yummy sea food and a pretty view. Also, if you’re craving a treat The Donut Experiment makes tasty made-to-order donuts, or Two Scoops is the home to 32 different flavors of ice cream.
5. Shop Shop Shop!
Who doesn’t love to shop while on vacation? The Island has the coolest shops, providing fun presents for the family and fun activities for teens on Anna Maria Island. Some of the best shops are:
Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and accommodations
Island Real Estate offers Anna Maria Island’s largest selection of vacation rental homes perfect for the entire family including teens! Visit IslandReal.com first when looking for the perfect family friendly vacation rental!
There is no place better to be a tourist than on Anna Maria Island, especially in the summer time. The weather is hot, the water blue and the sand powder soft; everything you would expect from a tropical island vacation. You are sure to enjoy being an Anna Maria Island summer tourist with this Top Ten list!
1. Be a Tacky Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist
Smear zinc on your cheeks, wear socks under your flips flops, slip on that Hawaiian shirt, and grab one of those frozen drinks with the little umbrella in it. You have got to channel your inner tacky tourist, or you aren’t fully experiencing an Anna Maria Island vacation. Don’t be embarrassed. Undoubtedly you’ll find locals decked out in the same look, because many of them first came here as a tacky Anna Maria Island summer tourist.
2. Join a Turtle Talk
Anna Maria Island Turtle nesting season goes from May to October, and Tourists can learn all about these amazing critters. Every Tuesday in June and July the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch holds a Turtle Talk. Volunteers of the AMITW provide a 30 minute program with videos, pictures and fun stories from volunteers. A donation gets you AMITW branded stickers, T-shirts and fun Turtle swag. Tuesday Turtles Talks are held at CrossPoint Fellowship Church at 8605 Gulf Drive Holmes Beach at 10am.
3. Go Shelling
A trip to the island is not complete without an early morning shell hunt. Shells are a fantastic tourist souvenir, and the hunt is a relaxing experience. When shelling you need to make sure to never take living organisms. It is illegal in Florida to collect living shells including Sand Dollars, Starfish, Urchins, Conchs, or anything that wiggles. Beyond legal reasons it is ethically unsound to collect living things on the beach. Every critter plays and important role in the beach ecosystem, and are sensitive to human impact. Do not collect large amounts of dead shells, and limit yourself to less than a pint size bag.
4. Get Professional Beach Pictures
Anna Maria Island is one of the most picturesque vacation destinations you’ll find on the west coast of Florida. Assemble the family during sunset for a group photo, and hire a professional to capture your beach memories. The end result is sure to please you. There are many options for local photographers on Anna Maria Island to help you feel like the quintessential Anna Maria Island summer tourist.
5. Do The Stingray Shuffle
Stingrays and humans alike head to the shoreline during summer months, as a result, the number of ray stings increases at this time. Rays are extremely docile critters, and are typically looking to avoid humans. When you enter the water it is easy to avoid being stung by shuffling your feet along the sandy sea floor. Do the stingray shuffle, and you won’t end your trip doing the stingray hop!
6. Ride the Free Trolley
The Anna Maria Island free trolley is an amazing service! There are stops from Pine Avenue all the way down to Coquina Beach passing almost everything in between. The trolley runs from 6am to 10:30pm daily, and passes by approximately every 20 minutes. The free trolley is the best way for a stress free trip. You’ll never have to worry about parking, or designating a responsible driver when enjoying island bars and pubs. The free trolley is also a great way to sight see.
Anna Maria Island has many restaurants that are located directly on beaches or waterfront. Lunch on the beach is a must during an Anna Maria Island summer vacation, and is the perfect time to be a tourist with umbrella drink in hand. An Anna Maria Island summer tourist will find great food, fast service and beautiful views at Island waterfront restaurants.
9. Bike to Local Shops
Any Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist must rent a bike and explore the shops, so why not do them at the same time? Bicycling on Anna Maria Island is a great way to get around because everything is nearby. Bike ride from shop to shop, and you’ll find great independently owned boutiques and art galleries. In addition, the added benefit of shopping by bike will make you feel less guilty about all the money you’ve spent on souvenirs! Anna Maria Island summer tourists must have the perfect souvenir!
10. Walk a Nature Trail or Charter a Boat Tour
Leffis Key is a stunningly beautiful nature trail an Anna Maria Island Summer Tourist should experience. Offering mangrove tunnel boardwalks, salt flats, marsh and views of Sarasota Bay, you’ll never experience anything like Leffis Key. Leffis Key is located on the south end of Anna Maria Island, and is just across the street from Coquina Beach. In addition to Leffis Key, Coquina Beach offers a gorgeous walking path along beautiful sand dunes and under old growth Australian Pines. The Coquina Beach path is great for walking, and is also friendly to bikes or segweys.
Anna Maria Island has more fishing charters, dolphin tours, sunset trips and boats for rent than you’ll likely find anywhere else in Florida. Boat tours are a great way to explore the island’s natural beauty, and get all the family involved in an Anna Maria Island summer tourist activity. Find a tour that is right for you, and get out on the water!
Read the guide, make the reservation, and be an Anna Maria Island summer tourist this year!
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental and Accommodations
Island Real Estate has the island’s largest selection of Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes perfect for any summer tourists. Plan your summer stay today, and get the vacation you’ve been looking for!
Traveling to the southern portion of Anna Maria Island brings you into the quiet bustling city of Bradenton Beach. This area of the island offers miles of public beaches with parking, Historic Bridge Street for sightseeing and shopping, and great dining opportunities with both family fun and a nightlife. Read on to learn six things you might not know about Bradenton Beach.
6 Things to know about Bradenton Beach
While all of Anna Maria Island has a special charm, Bradenton Beach has a unique culture and history all of it’s own.
Originally called Cortez Beach for its proximity to the fishing village of Cortez, the area became Bradenton Beach during the 1920’s land boom. It’s believed that inland developers gave it the name Bradenton Beach, so potential buyers would think the Beach and the city of Bradenton were next to each other rather than seperated by Cortez Fishing Village and Palma Sola. The city was incorporated in 1953.
Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier is the site of the original, and first bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The first Bridge was wooden, and built in 1922. By the 1940’s the Bridge became rickety with wind and waves making the structure sway. It’s said that when cars went over the old bridge the wooden boards would bounce making a banging noise like a shot gun (Norwood 181). A new bridge was built in 1957 making access to the island much safer and easier.
The Historic Bridge Street Pier, now a days, offers excellent fishing, sightseeing over Sarasota Bay, a delicious restaurant with a view, shops and public day docks.
2. Sightseeing and Activities
There are also many beautiful places to sight see on Bradenton Beach including the Bradenton Beach City Pier, quaint Bridge Street, Coquina Beach bike path and Leffis Key. Rent a segway from Bridge Street rental company Segs by the Sea, and cruise around the city with ease.
When visiting the island, especially during high season, you may want to consider using the free trolley to get around. Parking is limited in busy areas of the island, and battling traffic does not lend to a relaxing paradise getaway. The free trolley runs usually every 20 minutes taking you along almost the entire island.
Bradenton Beach offers approximately a three mile strip of public beach with parking along the Gulf of Mexico. Public parking makes it a popular place for enjoying the shore on Anna Maria Island. To the far south is Coquina Beach with restrooms, concessions, showers, parking, picnic tables, walking path, playground, and life guards. Heading north through Bradenton Beach along the gulf brings you to Cortez Beach. Cortez Beach does not offer the same amenities, but does have plenty of parking, and an old Florida beach feel. There are three erosion groins located in an area locals call “Three Piers” this area separates Coquina and Cortez Beach, and is said to be a great surfing spot.
In addition to the fabulous Seasonal Markets there are great little shops in Bradenton beach offering swim wear, beach gear, home items, art, jewelry, gifts and more. Find out about Shopping on Anna Maria Island here.
On the south end of Anna Maria Island you’ll find some really fabulous Restaurants. While visiting you’ll have many types of dining experiences for all meals of the day. From casual to fine dining, and restaurants with a beach or bay view. You’ll even find a few places open late on Bridge Street if you are looking for night life. Click on the links below for suggestions.
Shopping Anna Maria Island is a unique experience with fabulous boutiques, art galleries and gorgeous little shops great for finding that perfect memento to remember your trip to Anna Maria Island. The Island does not offer many chain stores or big box retailers giving the shopping experience a one of a kind feel.
Shopping Anna Maria Island
You’ll find access to just about everything you’ll need during your stay including groceries, pharmacies, clothes, swimsuits and beach gear, souvenirs and local art.
Groceries and more
For those from the Southeast you’ll be glad to know there is a Publix supermarket in Holmes Beach along with a CVS and Walgreens drugstore. If you must visit a big box store there is a Kmart on Manatee Avenue just a short trip over the bridge, but most of the things you’ll need can be purchased on island.
Independently owned shops pepper the island. Find hots spots located to the North along Pine Avenue, Centrally in Holmes Beach, and Bridge Street to the South. Another great way to explore shopping opportunities stress free is to take advantage of the free trolley. Don’t worry about finding a parking spot or dealing with traffic. The free trolley runs from Pine Avenue down to Coquina Beach with stops all along the way. There are several trolleys making their way around the island. So, typically you won’t have to wait more than 20 minutes for one to pass by. During high season parking can be difficult, so the trolley is worth the wait especially during a laid back island style vacation.
If you are planning on shopping while on Anna Maria Island peruse our vendor listings and blogs. linked below, you;ll find out about all the fabulous places to check out during your stay.
Occupying the northern end of Anna Maria Island is the city of Anna Maria. A coveted portion of the island, it offers an old Florida coastal village feel with vibrant history, charming locals and beautiful sightseeing.
7 Things To Know About The City of Anna Maria
Before purchasing a home in the city of Anna Maria there are likely a few things you didn’t know about this gorgeous little walkable town.
Anna Maria has a proud and interesting history as the “Town Fig Newtons Built“. Charles Roser and his wife started the Anna Maria Beach Company to develop the land on Anna Maria Island in the late 1800’s. Charles Roser invented the machine that fills Fig Newtons. He used the money from the sale of his patented machine to begin Anna Maria Beach Company. One of the first steps to building a community on the island was to build the city pier which celebrated it’s 100th Birthday in 2011. When visiting the Island be sure to stop by the Anna Maria Historical Society on Pine Avenue to learn all about the unique history of this town.
All along the small commercial streets of Anna Maria there are several locally run boutiques with everything from hand made to high end wares and souvenirs. There are no big box, or chain store retailers in Anna Maria making for a shopping experience full of great finds. All of the shops listed below are within walking distance of one another as is just about everything in the small city of Anna Maria. While in town check out the following shops:
Anna Maria offers gorgeous beaches all around the northern tip of the island. These beaches do not offer an abundance of parking making them more secluded and reachable by foot or bike. Enjoy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Bean Point and Tampa Bay beaches at Bay Front Park when you visit Anna Maria.
Sightseeing and Equipment Rentals
Sightseeing on the northern end is truly stunning with gorgeous beaches and marine wildlife. You’ll also find great views from Rod & Reel Pier and the Anna Maria City Pier. While you stay on Anna Maria you may want to rent a bicycle or other fun outdoor equipment from Beach Bums or Lux Carts.
The city of Anna Maria hosts several events throughout the year happening on Pine Avenue. Anna Maria events are family friendly and also offer great food, vendors and live music.
Anna Maria Island – While visiting the island the most obvious choice for fun activities and relaxation is the beach. With over seven miles of powder sand beaches, crisp blue water, endless sunshine and spectacular shelling, the beach will always be the first choice activity. Anna Maria Island has so much more to offer than just the amazing beaches, so Island Real Estate has compiled a list of our top ten activities and things to do during your stay.
If you’ve ever visited Florida, especially in the summer months, you know rain is to be expected. With this in mind there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained while waiting for clearer skies.
The Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum is a must for visitor to the island. Tour the exhibits in the recently updated Museum building, learn about the old Belle Haven Cottage originally located on the pier, and see the old city jail house. The museum is fun for all ages, and gives visitors a taste of Anna Maria Island from days past. The Museum is located at 402 Pine Avenue.
The Island Players Theater offers several different shows each season running from October to May. Tickets are $20 each or purchase a season ticket for $92.50 at the box office or by phone. The Island Players Theater is located at the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. A fun place to catch a play, the Players Theater is a gorgeous and historical landmark of Anna Maria.
Anna Maria Island may only be seven miles long and one mile wide, but it does offer fabulous nature viewing opportunities. One of the areas most unique nature features can be found on the south end of Anna Maria Island at gorgeous Leffis Key. Open from sunrise to sundown, Leffis Key offers amazing Mangrove tunnel lined boardwalk trails, salt marsh lagoons and the Island’s best bird watching. Also, use this handy guide to spot both White and Brown Pelicans around Anna Maria Island’s Leffis Key!
There are tons of great places to shop for unique items on Anna Maria Island. Whether you are looking for island themed gifts and souvenirs, local art or just gorgeous little things, you’ll be sure to find it in one of the great shops on the island.
Across Anna Maria Island there are several great parks with kid friendly activities. Find play ground equipment, a skatepark, concessions, and all the outdoor fun your kids could hope for. If you are looking to head off island for nature viewing check out our list of parks and preserves in Manatee county.
With so many equipment rental shops on Anna Maria Island there are lots of options for entertaining activities. Rent just about any type of equipment you need on the island including kayak/canoes, bikes, jet skis, beach accessories, golf carts, fly boarding, baby rentals and much more! Check out the Anna Maria Island Bicycle Guide for route suggestions and more.
Anna Maria Island has a fabulous art scene with many local creatives offering their wares in galleries across the island. While visiting Anna Maria Island be sure to stop in one of the galleries listed, and take a piece of paradise home with you. If you visit the Island in November, be sure to visit annual event ArtsHop!
Sunset is one of the most magical times on Anna Maria Island. Always the best way to end the day or get the evening started, sunset is the time of day to reflect on the incredible beauty of the Anna Maria Island experience. You can’t leave the island without catching at least one sunset!
After perusing our list of Anna Maria Island activities we are sure you’ll have to come back a second time to experience everything the island has to offer! Enjoy your time in paradise, and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen liberally!
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals and Accommodations
When planning a trip or an extended stay to Anna Maria Island, Island Real Estate has the largest inventory of vacation rental homes to choose from with almost 300 properties. You’ll find the perfect accommodation along with great customer service when you use Island Real Estate!
Sarasota – When visiting it won’t take long to realize that dragging yourself away from the sugar-sand beaches of Anna Maria Island for shopping is nearly impossible! However, during times it may get a little rainy, take the day and head over to the BRAND NEW MALL in Sarasota!
The Mall at University Town Center (Mall UTC) just had it’s opening day on October 16, 2014. The architecture of this mall is unique and attractive. The glass brick roof keeps the mall light and bright letting the Florida sun shine through – it really compliments the fresh new mall. For us locals, it was very anticipated for the area! This multi-level, 880,000 square foot mall changed shopping for us here in Southwest Florida.
The mall which includes over 100 stores to shop, 12 places to get some food (including casual dining, fine dining and quick eats) as well as a list of upcoming events such as styling from Aveda Salon, Eye Wear Trunk Show, Designer appearance and fashion show at Dillard’s, and more!
Mall UTC is located at 140 University Town Center Drive in Sarasota, FL 34243, which is only 30-35 minutes from AMI. Time for some serious shopping fun!
Here is the Mall Directory:
American Eagle Outfitters
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
Bath & Body Works
Bose Boston Proper
Brio Tuscan Grille
Brooks Brothers Women
Brow Art 23
Calypso St. Barth
Cold Stone Creamery
Crate & Barrel Sale
Edward Beiner Purveyor of Fine Eyewear
Everything But Water
Fast Fix Jewelry Repair
J.S. Trunk & Co.
Jackie Z Style Co.
Janie & Jack
Johnston & Murphy
Kate Spade New York
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Mayors / Rolex
Oil & Vinegar
Organic Nail Bar
Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza
Saks Fifth Avenue
Sophie’s (inside Saks Fifth Avenue)
The Art of Shaving
The Capital Grille
The Cheesecake Factory
The Walking Company
Venus Med Spa
White House | Black Market
Yankee Candle Co.
4D Gelateria, Arhaus Furniture, Banana Moon Swimwear, Burger & Beer Joint, Charlotte Russe, Fit2Run, Footgear, Forever Flawless, Forever Nails & Spa, Francesca’s Collections, Free People, Great American Cookies, H&M, Invicta, Kiehl’s, Lucky Brand Jeans, Motherhood Maternity, Naracamicie, Natural Comfort Footwear, Talbots, Tricho Salon, Camuto and YO! Sushi.
Mark Saturday, November 30th on your calendar ~ we have a great way to get in the holiday spirit!
That evening from 5pm through 10pm, we are all welcome to enjoy the first official holiday Lighting of Bridge Street. Bring your friends, family (both human and furry) to Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. The night will come alive with live holiday music by “Ted Stevens and the Doo Shots”. There will be shopping, crafts, food and a full bar available. The exact location is 107 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach….but leave the car at home! You can let loose, have a good time and shake your tail feathers by taking the free Anna Maria Island Trolley!!
What a fun way to follow up an island Thanksgiving!
This is the first of many merry holiday events on Anna Maria Island, beginning in the city of Bradenton Beach.
For more information on the host, Bridge Street Merchants, click here.
Hey dudes and dude-ettes!! You’re back with The Island Kid right here on Kids Corner, the best place to get the best news on Anna Maria Island. I’m here today to tell you guys about the absolute best places on the island to get your ice cream fix. Now, here on Anna Maria Island, there are plenty of places you can go if you want a frozen treat to eat. But if you’re unsure of which places are best and which places to rule out. Read on for good info!
Best Places for Ice Cream on Anna Maria Island
1: Two Scoops: This ice cream shop is a small shop nestled between Two Sides of Nature and across from the Anna Maria City Pier. With 32 rotating flavors, some as weird as blueberry pie and as normal as your classic vanilla, your pallet will always be pleased. They also have pastries, assorted lunch foods, and candy bars.
2: Dips: An ice cream shop near Three Island Monkeys and The Loft #5 in Anna Maria, this itty-bitty place packs the punch when it comes to ice cream. With thousands of flavors and topping variations, your experience will never be a bore. Plus the classic candies and toys on the wall are great for a trip down memory lane.
3: Stir it Up: Recently opened on Pine Avenue, this is a frozen yogurt shop with some colorful walls. . . and toppings, too! Pick a flavor or two, or all of them, then add the topping(s) of your choice. This place charges by the ounce, so take as much as you desire. With many revolving flavors and 36 different garnishes, the possibilities are endless! 🙂
4: Joe’s Eats and Sweets: This place is the bomb.com. It’s got everything from chocolate to cotton candy & nerds and more! They also have pie on a stick-yes, on a stick- and various types of milkshakes and malts. This place is big colorful building right near Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, so climb the steps, and check it out!
5: Holy Cow: No, I’m not shocked, they just have really good ice cream! This place has many different combos of flavors and toppings, plus much more. They include a little mini gift shop inside the shop, plus indoor and outdoor seating. So feel free to enjoy your ice cream while browsing the trinkets.
(Bonus Insider Tip: One more for good measure- Tyler’s Ice Cream is just over the bridge in Cortez Village. Well worth the jaunt to enjoy some delicious gourmet flavors-literally hundreds over the years! They have locally themed, as well as delicious classic flavors…and finding out what their latest is, is always part of the fun. Their ice cream sandwiches are delish! But creating your own flavor of shake just can’t be beat!
Bonus Bonus tip – about 15 minutes off Anna Maria Island is a fantastic custard shop called Sweet Berries. They mix all kinds of goodies in their custard ice cream and call it a concrete. yum!
Whether you’re looking for just one spot or want try them all, these places are the best on the island. So next time you’re visiting, go check ’em out! Let us know what you thought, and check back with us here on Kid’s Corner.
contact us today
How To Find Island Real Estate
Office LocationsIsland Real Estate 6101 Marina Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217