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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
Enjoy NFL action live and in person at the next home Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game, just less than an hour from the beaches of Anna Maria Island! Sunday November 25th at 1pm in Raymond James Stadium the Bucs take on the Atlanta Falcons in a classic NFC South Divisional matchup. Catch Josh Freeman, future Hall of Famer Ronde Barber and the November 4th Offensive Player of the Week RB Doug Martin in action. Tickets available from just $35 at www.buccaneers.com.
Discover the old Florida charm of Anna Maria Island with a plethora of activities in a gorgeous natural setting. Plan a day trip to go Parasailing, boating, paddle boarding, or take a guided SEGWAY tour of the island. You can rent just about anything on Anna Maria Island from bikes to beach toys.
Anna Maria Island has plenty of retail recreation as well; jump on the free Anna Maria Island Trolley for your perfect day of shopping, dining, looking for seashells or a quite walk on the beautiful sugar sand beaches.
On the north end of Anna Maria Island, is the famous Anna Maria City Pier built in 1911 to accommodate steamers bringing the crème de la crème from Tampa and St. Petersburg to Anna Maria Island shops and restaurants before the first bridge was built to the island.
If you decide to venture off the Island, check out the activities and events in Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa, or even a day trip to the theme parks in Orlando. Whatever you decide to do, slow down and savor it. You’re on island time.
Just a short drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge brings you to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. It is the permanent home of the world’s most comprehensive collection of the renowned Spanish artist’s work. With over 2000 pieces compiled by the private collector A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor Morse over a 45-year period, it is celebrated for its 96 oil paintings. In addition to the 96 oil paintings, the collection includes over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d’art, and an extensive archival library. Periodic rotations of the collection and special exhibitions allow museum goers to view new work on repeat visits.
Magnificent are the 6 oversized masterpieces. Free tours explain the artist’s renderings. The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1969-1970) is one of those paintings that Dalí conceived while in an art supply store in 1968. Another well know painting is the The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory(1952-1954).In this work of 1954, Dalí reinterprets his popular 1931 painting entitled The Persistence of Memory in order.
The priceless collection of Dalí’s work, which is the largest outside his home country of Spain, desperately needs protection from the elements and adequate room for display. The new Dalí will overlook Tampa Bay in the beautiful Florida West Coast city of St. Petersburg, just 20 minutes from Tampa International Airport. With a two-year construction timetable, the new museum should be completed in fall of 2010. Grand Opening celebrations will occur in the winter months of 2011. The new Dalí is designed by internationally acclaimed architect Yann Weymouth of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK). He worked alongside architect I.M. Pei on the renovation of the Louvre in Paris. The museum will be a work of art reflective of Dalí’s unique juxtaposition of classical and fantastic elements. A huge glass structure will flow forth from a “treasure box” housing the artwork, and a giant boulder from Dalí’s homeland will appear to support a corner of the building.
In the meantime the Dali exhibition is still displayed in the current museum.
Salvador Dalí Museum
1000 Third Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4901
Admission: General Admission – $17.00
Senior citizens 65+ – $14.50
Teachers with ID/US Police/Military & Fire – $14.50
Students* ages 10+ (18+ with ID) – $12.00
Children ages 5 to 9 – $4.00
Children ages 4 and under – FREE* Thursdays are $5 (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
For more things to do visit our Anna Maria Island blog.
Information as of 03/10. Please call and verify prices.
There is fantastic shopping to be had on Anna Maria Island however some
shop-a-holics need more. Sure Anna Maria Island has lots of shopping opportunities but if you are looking for 100’s of sneakers to choose from, 100’s of different pants, shirts, blouses or Jeans then visiting anyone of our malls within an hour drive of Anna Maria Island will fill that shopping need you have.
The Westfield Mall in Brandon is a great choice. Realize this is not to be confused with the Westfield Mall in Sarasota which is good however the Brandon location is MUCH bigger.
The Brandon Westfield Mall has several electronic stores. The biggest being FYI which is a huge music and electronics store. If you are looking for some great video games then hit the game stop or maybe even the APPLE store. That’s right, there is an Apple store for all those hard to find items you may need. The store is outfitted with lots of computers and gadgets for you to try first hand.
The major Department stores for Westfield at the time of this writing is Dick’s which is a sporting goods store, Dillards, JcPenney’s, Macy’s and Sears. If you are looking for some more clothing and Jewelry stores then the mall will not
disappoint. Coldwater Creek, Coach bags, The Disney Store, Fossil, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Guess, Lucky Jeans, and many many more stores. I have been told some other stores not to miss out are SEPHORA, Ann Taylor Loft and MAC cosmetics.
If you are looking for a bite to eat then there is plenty to choose from as well. Starbucks, Cheesecake factory, Five guys a great burger joint, California Pizza kitchen and about 10 other choices.
So, with the above description I have barely dented the stores at the Brandon Mall but hopefully I have peaked your interest if you are adventures and want to leave the serenity of Anna Maria Island for a big shopping day. If you are visiting the Brandon Mall for a specific store then be sure to visit the Mall’s information page to be sure it is there.
One last thing, another person explained going to the Brandon-Westfield mall…”you failed to describe the Euro-phobic feeling when one steps inside this palace of commerce. The sights of shiny new things all waiting to be purchased – it gives me goosebumps!!”
The city Pier Anna Maria is a great site to see when visiting Anna Maria Island, Florida. Grabbing an ice cream at Two Scoops and walking the pier is a must! Another great past time, swing over to Two Sides of Nature and do some shopping. Stop in at the Waterfront. restaurant, across the street, for a great bite to eat.
At the end of the pier you can grab dinner and lunch, or pick up some hand made jewelry. If you like fishing then stop in to gab with the fishermen on the pier and see what is biting.
City Pier Anna Maria is a historical site
The sign at the entrance of the City Pier Anna Maria says it all. “The Anna Maria Development Company built this pier and wharf in 1911-1912 to provide dockage for ships from St. Petersburg and Tampa. It has since withstood hurricanes and lesser storms too numerous to mention. Although parts were damaged in storms in 1918, 1935, 1974 and 1988, it has each time been restored to its approximate original form. It is 678 feet long. The wharf extends another 58 feet into Tampa bay. Over the years it has nurtured the hopes of fisherman and the dreams of lovers. Provided roosts for pelicans and other sea birds, and has also been a friend to residents and visitors alike.
Over the center of the tin roof, from the third shore bench to the south of this marker, on clear nights can be seen the North star. Guardian of the mariners since the first sailor looked up for guidance of the night sea.
Come walk these planks. Beneath the Roof of this City Pier is the Place to sit with Shrimp and Beer. While Lightening in the distance plays and thunder rumbles across the bays. “Summer Storm”…CMV ”
Anna Maria Beach Rentals
There are plenty of gorgeous Anna Maria beach rentals available through Island Real Estate! Check out the selection of homes, and book your Anna Maria beach rental today!
Recently more airport transportation businesses have decided to service Anna Maria Island. Between local vendors and Uber, there are tons of airport transportation options to AMI.
While services below focus on transport from the Tampa International, other Florida airports are also serviced. Sarasota/Bradenton airport is so close to Anna Maria Island most visitors grab a taxi. However, many options are now available.
Review the vendors below and call Island Real Estate with any questions.
Paradise Car Service is another great source. Rates starting as low as $35 to the Sarasota airport with a very diverse array of transportation options. Find rides to Orlando and Fort Meyers too. (941) 356-3578
This services offers a fleet of Cadillac Sedan, Lincoln Navigator SUV, or Stretch Limousines to meet any transportation needs. This local Driver was born and raised on AMI. Driver is familiar with state roads and venues well! For more rates including hourly, call now (941) 900-8240. Airport Service to Tampa starts at $105 and $60 to Sarasota. These rates include gratuity. Coastal Elite Limousine is great for weddings.
This company offers Town car service with advertised rates starting at $35 to the Sarasota Airport, or $85 to Tampa. Member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. Call for rates and additional locations at (941) 730-8803.
This vendor has been a Member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2008. They offer clean non smoking Lincoln’s and Cadillacs too. Car and booster seats are provided at no extra cost for children. Also no charge for those picking up keys for a vacation rental. Rates to Tampa/St. Pete start at $85 up to 4 people. Seven person SUV now available with Tampa/St.Pete starting at $125. Call them at (941) 527-5602.
Shuttle Services of AMI focus their business on island. While you visit the area we suggest this service for any unique transport needs. Additionally, this company has a large service area. Rates start at $64 to Sarasota and $125 to Tampa and will include automatic gratuity. This service offers a fleet of sedans and larger vehicles upon request. Rides to Orlando and Ft. Myers also available. Call (941) 580-5777 for Anna Maria Island Shuttle.
This information has been gathered as a convenience for our guests.We cannot guarantee the rates. Please call individual vendor for details.
Yup, perfect late night entertainment can be found at the Ruskin Drive in movie Theater. They pride themselves on being family oriented as the manager was quick to inform all at the drive in that shenanigans would not be tolerated. The movie started at dusk which was around 8:30 PM for the middle of the summer. They have the old style hang in your window speakers however you can listen in on your car radio also. We sat outside in front of our vehicle in lawn chairs which was perfect as the night was a comfortable temperature.
Be sure to bring bug spray for mosquitoes as well as tics, etc. We stopped at a store for some snacks and drinks
prior to arriving. The drive from Anna Maria Island was about 40 minutes so I would not take the trip lightly but it can provide for inexpensive entertainment for hours. Of course the drive in has a two movie feature and for less than $15 our family was entertained from 8:30 – 1 AM. There was a 10 minute intermission between films and they show high quality films. The films we saw, just came out and one was within the first week of being released. As usual, they had a snack bar that was open for the majority of the night and they served inexpensive 12″ pizza’s, nachos, hot dogs, snacks, drinks, huge pickles, etc. It was like walking back in time even as compared to Anna Maria Island’s historical environment. The snack shack is not much to look at but it does the job. Below are directions from Anna Maria Island…Be careful, bring cash as they take no credit cards or checks. They allow no RV’s or motorcycles and ask extra large vehicles to sit in the back. I would estimate they can accommodate about 100 vehicles and we visited on a weeknight and had a great spot without much difficulty.
From the South (Bradenton/Sarasota): Travel 64 EAST to North on I-75; at the Sun City Center/Ruskin exit, Turn left WEST on CR 674 ,go to US 41 right turn heading north; Pass 19th Ave. Drive-In is on the right side of the road.
You will find flying into Tampa International Airport (TIA) a breeze. Their state of the art luggage return as well as tram service that gets you to and from the terminals is easy and makes your travel day just a little easier. TIA is a short 1.25 hours from Anna Maria Island by way of 275 and the Sky Way Bridge.
PO BOX 22287
Tampa, Florida, 33662