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!


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.


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.


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 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:

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


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.

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!


Disney’s Blizzard Beach in Orlando Florida

Disney's Blizzard Beach

Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Disney’s Blizzard Beach is themed after a one time ski resort that has all but melted away making it an awesome water park! Slides, water pools, rapids, and a chairlift are all found within.  A perfect one or two day excursion from vacationing on Anna Maria Island.  A must visit for a hot Summer day.


If you’re daring enough you can take a 120 foot drop on Summit Plummet and find out how fast you were traveling when you reach the bottom. The near vertical drop is enough to get your adrenaline pumping for another climb to the top of Mount Gushmore to ride again!

There are 12 attractions total, and 7 dining options within Blizzard Beach. You can ride with a friend on a double tube down the Runoff Rapids or race against them to be the first one down the Downhill Double Dipper. If that doesn’t suit your style, you can always relax in the one acre wave pool.

The summer 2013 park hours are 9:00AM to 8:00PM.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 934-7639

Need more information on Orlando?  Visit our Orlando information page.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Visiting Disney World from Anna Maria Island is a perfect one or two day trip that is sure to provide another level of entertainment.  Bring the Hollywood magic to life at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. If there is one thing Walt Disney World does amazingly well, it is bringing the movie experience to life within Hollywood Studios. As you walk around the park you will feel as if you’re the main character on set of the next big movie release. The iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel as well as Mickey’s magical hat from Fantasia can be found within!


If that doesn’t satisfy you join Phineas and Ferb as they make the movie of all movies detailing their summer vacation! There’s no better way to celebrate the summer season than with the ultimate summer break stars.

If you’re seeking a thrill you can ride the Rock’n Roller Coaster which will have you grooving to Aerosmith tracks or catch the Lights, Motors, Action! extreme stunt show.

There is plenty to see at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park so be sure to bring along a comfortable pair of walking shoes. You’ll be doing a lot!

Park hours for summer 2013 are 9:00AM to 10:00PM with differing hours on holidays.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 934-7639

Need more ideas when visiting Disney from Anna Maria Island.  No worries, visit our Orlando, Florida information page.

Walt Disney World Park Guide | Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney World Park Guide

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 (of course after choosing Island Real Estate for your accommodations!). 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