8 Unusual Attractions Near Anna Maria Island

Looking for unusual attractions near Anna Maria Island? Check out this list of ideas! For an authentic Florida vacation you must see something unique or weird! This list is not just your usual collection of roadside stops, but a collection of artistically inspired places to visit.

8 Unusual Attractions Near Anna Maria Island

While some of these places are local, all the attractions on our list are under two hours away.

Mr. Bones BBQ in Holmes Beach.

Mr. Bones offers the areas best Barbecue in a unique atmosphere. This is a must stop for those looking for a different experience. When you enter you’ll find a coffin full of ice cold beers along with the restaurants mascot skeleton. Serve yourself a beer from their large selection and you’ll be seated in the dining room. The walls are covered with interesting masks with decor as eclectic as the menu too! Not only do they have the best barbecue, but you’ll find vegan and Indian dishes as well.

Unusual Attractions Near Anna Maria Island
The dining room at Mr. Bones BBQ

A word of advice for those visiting this funky family owned eatery, do not ask for salt, pepper or ketchup! The foods so good you won’t need it and they don’t serve it.

Mr. Bones BBQ Holmes Beach
Don’t even ask!

The Sea Hagg in Cortez Fishing Village.

You never know what you’ll find in Cortez Fishing Village, but there are three things you can always count on. Fresh off the boat seafood, the “Real” old Florida atmosphere, and The Sea Hagg. This Gift shop is one of the most interesting places to find anything nautical. The front yard of The Sea Hagg is referred to as the Salvage Garden. Here you’ll find old boats, sculptures and an array of interesting items. Once inside you’ll find floor to ceiling Nautical curiosities, antiques and gifts.

The Sea Hagg in Cortez
The Sea Hagg is a unique stop for nautical gifts, antiques and more.

Arte Coyoacano in Downtown Bradenton’s Village of the Arts.

In the southern portion of downtown Bradenton there is a residential-commercial neighborhood full of arts, galleries, specialty shops and restaurants. Known as the Village of the Arts, it’s full of early 20th century bungalows adding an interesting touch to this quaint community. While the area is peppered with interesting finds, Arte Coyoacano gallery has some of the most unusual.

Village of the Arts
Visit the Village of the Arts and Arte Coyoacano for a unique look at a work play live neighborhood. Alfredo Garcia Sculptures.

Artist Alfredo Garcia’s sculptures and paintings are truly authentic Mexican Folk Art. His works are both technically brilliant and whimsical too. He implements bright colors and traditional Mexican Folk art themes in one of the areas most unique gallery/studios.

Village of the Arts
Alfredo Garcia Acrylic on canvas “La virgen”

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy in Sarasota.

The Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy is a lovely place to visit with the entire family. You’ll find a large variety of interesting works to see from fine art to kitsch. There is no entrance fee, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person to this wonderful non-profit. The Marietta Museum not only offers a traditional museum setting, but a beautiful sculpture garden too. The museum is open November through May.

 

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy
Flaming in the sculpture garden at Marietta Museum.

Founder and Curator Marietta Lee is passionate about sharing the works in her Museum. She wanted to create an interesting space for people to relax and enjoy art. She wanted art to be inclusive to all. A unique feature of this museum is half the artists are women, half men, and almost all are still living.

Marietta Museum
A wax figure dutifully sits at the Marietta Museum.

Solomon’s Castle in Ona.

Solomon’s Castle is like nothing you’ll ever see. Tucked into a wooded area of Ona, Florida this attraction has all the makings of an artists dream. Howard Solomon is a metal artist who began creating his castle in 1972. The large metallic structure houses his works. This not so average roadside attraction has gained international attention.

Solomon's Castle
Solomon’s Castle in Ona, Florida is a one of a kind attraction.

The Salvadore Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

The Salvadore Dali Museum celebrates the works of the artists entire life from 1904 to 1989. This collection includes over 2000 pieces in addition to rotating featured exhibits from other artists. Salvadore Dali was an influential artist know for his interesting style across several mediums. If you are looking for a unique attraction this is a sure bet.

The Dali
The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

Whimzeyland in Safety Harbor.

Whimzeyland, also known as the Bowling Ball House, is an interesting attraction, and the creation of two artists. In 1985 Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda bought a house in Safety Harbor. They began decorating their yard and house with an artistic touch. After coming upon 10 free bowling balls at a Flea Market, the two really started to push the house into a new realm of creativity. They decorated the balls and began accepting artists bowling balls from all over.  Since 1985 the couple has purchased adjacent properties in their neighborhood employing the same fun themes. The grounds are free to wander, but are not open all year.

Whimzeyland The Bowling Ball House
Whimzeyland in Safety Harbor

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co in Tampa’s Ybor City.

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co is a collaborative gallery of true art oddities. You won’t soon find a more unusual collection of works. From the adorable to the deplorable, and everything in between, this Tampa art shop is a must visit.

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co
Dysfunctional Grace Art Co in Ybor City

Enjoy these unusual attractions near Anna Maria Island and enjoy a true Florida experience!

Top 11 Bradenton Activities – Visit the Mainland from Anna Maria Island

There are tons of great Bradenton Activities to explore while visiting Anna Maria Island. Just a short drive over the Manatee Bridge, Bradenton is on the mainland of Manatee County. This area has a quaint downtown with both family friendly things to do along with a great night life.

Top 11 Bradenton Activities

When you visit Anna Maria Island it’s totally worth driving inland for Bradenton activities!

Downtown Bradenton Old Main Street

If you want to shop, dine, and unwind then Old Main Street is the perfect spot. This is truly the heart of Bradenton. Here you’ll find boutiques, tons of bars and  restaurants too. Old Main Street offers quaint old architecture reminiscent of a small southern town, and fewer modern structures. It’s really a pleasant place to relax while taking in the scenes and window shopping.

Wander down the street to the Riverfront and you’ll find the Pier and Twin Dolphin Marina. The pier not only offers great views of the Manatee River, but also has a very nice restaurant called Pier 22.

If you are looking for a night spot this is the best place for a bar crawl. You’ll find many different bars, pubs and lounges all along Old Main Street. Each bar is unique and draws a different crowd. Just be sure to drink responsibly!

Riverwalk – Free outdoors entertainment.

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a great place to stroll along the Manatee River and enjoy Florida’s year round perfect weather. This strip of public space offers a splash park, playground, day docks, picnic areas, skate park and butterfly garden. Enjoy sights of the river while relaxing too.

Mixon Fruit Farms

Mixon Fruit Farm is a short drive east of downtown. Here you’ll find many fun family attractions including farm tours, wildlife refuge, and a large gift shop too. Be sure to try a free sample of fresh squeezed orange juice and grab a piece of fudge from the gift shop.

Bradenton, Florida things to do
Mixon Fruit Farms offers many family fun things to do in Bradenton

 

Mckechnie Field

While visiting Anna Maria Island in the Spring, you can catch the Pittsburg Pirates Spring training games at Mckechnie Field. Check out their schedule to see all the different activities happening at this amazing facility.

Village of the Arts

The Village of the Arts is a commercial-residential community on the southern side of the downtown area. Here you’ll find art galleries, specialty shops and restaurants. The first Friday of each month the Village holds an artwalk, however, some of the shops are open Tuesday-Saturday weekly.

Bradenton Activities
Village of the Arts is a fun and vibrant neighborhood filled with art and local culture too.

Manatee Performing Arts Center

The Manatee Performing Arts Center has a long history of producing plays and entertaining Bradentonians since the late 1940’s. First started by the Bradenton Junior Women’s Club, the troupe became known as the Manatee Players. Now with a new large facility and location the thespian tradition continues. Check their calendar to see what is happening!

Red Barn Flea Market

The Red Barn Flea Market is a Bradenton tradition. Here you’ll find the areas best Flea Market with produce, restaurants, and a unique assortment of vendors. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum offers a great look at prehistoric Florida. From Dinosaurs to early native inhabitants, this museum is an impressive facility. You’ll find Paleontology and Archaeology featured in addition to local history too. See Manatees in their aquarium and also learn about outer space in their planetarium.

Bradenton Activities near Anna Maria Island, Florida
Visit South Florida Museum

Ghost Tours

The Bradenton Ghost Tours are a newer feature to the downtown area. Learn about encounters and documented stories from locals. While taking you through areas with unusual encounters you’ll also learn about Bradenton History. Not only are the tours offered in Bradenton, but you can catch a tour on Anna Maria Island’s Bradenton Beach too.

Manatee Village Historic Park

Learn about Bradenton’s past when you visit Manatee Village Historic Park. Here you’ll find relics from the past including Fogarty Boat Works, The Baldwin Steam Locomotive and the old school house.

Breweries

Visit Bradenton Breweries for a nice local cold one. Motorworks and Darwin’s Brewers are both on the south side of Downtown on 9th Street West. While the local handcrafted beer movement takes off, Bradenton has hopped on the trend.

Things to do near Anna Maria Island
There is always something fun happening at Motorworks Brewery.

During your next visit to Anna Maria Island be sure to head into the Mainland and try these Bradenton Activities!

Bradenton Real Estate

Island Real Estate can help you find your next home on Anna Maria Island or in Bradenton! Give us a call at 877-778-6066 or visit IslandReal.com to see our listings.

 

Bradenton vacation rentals
Aerial View of the Perico Bay Club Vacation Rentals in Bradenton