Looking for the best things to do on Anna Maria Island, Florida? With such a beautiful setting with so many activities for kids, this beautiful spot is an epic beach vacation for families.
Just an hour south of Tampa, Anna Maria Island is a picturesque, seven mile island idyllic beach location perfect for families on a road trip or who are looking for an extended Florida vacation.
Its Coast water mirrors the Caribbean for its teal color and clarity, clear turquoise water, and its soft beige sand beaches are second to none in Florida. Most days the water is calm, like swimming-pool calm. And, you might even see a manatee or sea turtles swim by.
It is reminiscent of many of the dreamy beach quotes and beach captions that remind you of why you need to take a beach vacation! If you are looking for a low key family vacation or a sneak peek of Island life, this is one you would love.
Our family has rented a VRBO here for several years. And when someone asks for a family-friendly quieter beach vacation perfect for toddlers to teens, Anna Maria Island, Florida can't be beaten.
But just because it's quiet doesn't mean there aren't awesome things to do on Anna Maria Island. There are so many activities and it's one of the best places to visit on Florida's Gulf Coast. So, pack your flip-flops, bathing suits, and all your beach gear and get ready for the family beach vacation you will want to return to year after year.
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Where is Anna Maria Island?
Many people have never heard of Anna Maria Island, and boy are they missing out on one of Florida's best-hidden treasures. This gorgeous spot is a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico.
Located on the coast of Manatee County, Florida, Anna Maria Island is only seven miles long, just southwest of Tampa and directly south of St. Petersburg.
About 55 miles off the coast of Tampa (around an hour and 15 minutes drive), Anna Maria is a hidden gem on the west coast of the state on the Gulf of Mexico. Other close vacation areas or popular spots include Siesta Key, Manasota Key, Venice, Longboat Key, and Lido Key located on the very south end of Anna Maria Island.
And being in Florida, you can go there in the winter! In fact, it is one of the best warm places to visit in December in the USA. It's the best option for those escaping cold winters in other places. Whether you're visiting for the first time or not, you're sure to fall in love with this paradise.
About Anna Maria Island, Florida
There are three cities on Anna Maria Island – Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and Anna Maria. It’s a small beautiful beach town perfect for families with plenty of kid-friendly activities, restaurants, beautiful beaches, and family things to do.
There are a few hotels and inns, but vacation rentals make up the majority of places to stay on this beautiful island. Many of them have pools which are perfect for a lazy day around the house or relaxing after a busy day.
You won’t find any high-rises and very few popular chain restaurants on this small island.
This quiet, uncommercialized atmosphere comes from the fact that there are strict regulations governing the types of businesses and buildings allowed on Anna Maria Island.
The beaches are pristine with powder-soft white sand, and the teal-emerald green water is beautiful. Its beauty inspires many artists and you can find great art and unique finds for purchase at the island's several art galleries.
Why Vacation on Anna Maria Island With Kids
On top of the many outdoor activities it provides, there are so many reasons to vacation on this beautiful island. Here are my top reasons:
- The pristine beaches are far removed from more commercialized beach locations, which makes it feel like an “old-style Florida” beach vacation.
- You won’t find many chain restaurants and hotels here.
- There are various sunset cruises suitable for the entire family. There are several companies that offer tours like this.
- It is not a “party atmosphere.” but you'll be able to enjoy some live music here and there.
- There are so many great things to do on Anna Maria Island, but everything is at a slower pace, so you return from your vacation rested instead of frazzled.
- Have I mentioned the teal crystal clear water and soft white sand?
- It's one of the hidden gems families love — you'll find fewer crowds compared to places like Key West. It's a good place to unwind without the crowds.
You’ll love how you can step back in time to enjoy a family beach vacation like those years ago while still enjoying today’s amenities. It’s almost like a secret that you likely won’t see on a list of popular Florida beaches, and we prefer it that way.
Best Things To Do on Anna Maria Island With Kids
There are so many awesome things to do on Anna Maria Island with kids. Here are our favorite family activities!
1. Visit Anna Maria Island's Best Beaches
Since this is a fun, relaxing vacation, going to the beach is clearly one of the best things to do in Anna Maria Island for families. Set on the Gulf of Mexico, these teal-colored crystal clear waters and soft beige sand beaches are highlights of the trip!
The light waves make it perfect for floating with a noodle, enjoy swimming, and surfing waves on a boogie board! My kids love doing this so we always bring or buy one of the best boogie boards for kids to ensure they last the duration of the trip. Besides participating in water sports, kids will love building sand castles on these great beaches.
One thing you should know, however, is that if you're traveling with your furry friends, there are no pets allowed on the beaches of Ana Maria.
There are several main beaches to visit based on where you’re staying.
The best beaches on Anna Maria Island are:
Bean Point Beach
- This is the best beach on Anna Maria in our opinion (and our favorite beach.)
- Located at the northern tip of the island.
- There are no restrooms.
- Has epic sunsets.
- Great for families.
- No public parking (limited street parking) but there is beach access from the side streets.
- No lifeguards.
- Close to Pine Avenue (some areas are within walking distance.)
Anna Maria Bayfront Park
- Located on the North East shore of the island, just south of the Rod & Reel Pier.
- Closer to the Northern tip of the island.
- Great for day visitors with a playground, picnic pavilion, grills, and limited parking.
- Near many restaurants and has views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
- Very close to Pine Avenue where there is shopping and dining.
- A great spot for families and faces Tampa Bay.
- Has outdoor showers, restrooms, and water fountains.
- No lifeguards but it is a public beach.
- This beautiful place is located on the southern end of the island in Bradenton Beach at Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.
- This is one of the popular beaches great for a family beach day.
- Coquina Beach has changing cabanas, concessions, pavilions, walking paths, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, water fountains, a gift shop, free parking spot, and other amenities.
- Lifeguards on duty and it is a public beach. So you can feel safe about kids going in the water.
- Coquina Beach is the best shelling beach to find unique seashells.
- Has a cafe that serves delicious Belgian waffles
- Coquina Beach offers a bit more things than other beaches.
- No pets allowed on the Coquina Baywalk.
- Coquina Beach has well maintained facilities.
- Located in Holmes Beach (and many families' favorite beach).
- Manatee Public Beach is great for a family beach day. Every member of the family will have a great time.
- Has changing cabanas, concessions, pavilions, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, water fountains, a play area, volleyball nets, and a playground at Manatee Public Beach.
- Lifeguards on duty.
- Manatee Public Beach is a public beach with limited parking and easy beach access.
- Located on the Southwest side of the island in Bradenton Beach
- Considered an “old Florida” beach.
- Great for nature lovers and bird watching.
- There are no public amenities, but it is a quiet beach.
- There is a parking lot.
- Lifeguards recently added.
- Southern part of the island 200 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.
- Great snorkeling between Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach near the piers.
- Can find great surfing at this beach.
- No lifeguards.
- Mostly used by those staying there.
- In the middle of Anna Maria Island.
- Known for its “old Florida” feel and great beaches.
- Can find great surfing (the beach at White Street is popular for surfing.)
- Limited street parking (unless you go to one of the main beaches like Manatee Beach.)
- More condos and small resorts than in the city of Anna Maria (Northern part of the island.)
2. Visit Anna Maria City Pier
Located on the bay side of the island, the originally constructed 100-year-old Anna Maria City Pier was closed for a while due to damage from Hurricane Irma but it has been rebuilt in recent years!
Located on the North end of the island (on N Bay Blvd), it is a good spot to try fishing in Tampa Bay or just have a lookout on the ocean and see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
You can also look for manatees, dolphins, and other marine life while enjoying the views from the Anna Maria City Beach Pier. Another great option is to grab a snack at the nearby cafe since it stays open daily. The Anna Maria City Pier is a fun area that both kids and adults alike will enjoy.
This location is close to Pine Avenue.
3. Enjoy a Day at the Pool
Many of the Anna Maria rentals have a private pool. We have often used our home rental's pool for a break from the beach. It is one of our favorite things to do in Anna Maria Island with our kids.
4. Rent Bicycles
A fun thing to do when visiting Anna Maria Island is to tour the island with a bike! There are several spots to rent bikes for the day or duration of your trip and various bike racks.
One of our favorite things to do with kids on Anna Maria Island, there are bike lanes and sidewalks where you can ride your bike. But do take caution when on Gulf Drive, as it is a busy road.
5. Shop on Pine Avenue
You’ll find tons of fun things to do on Pine Ave Anna Maria. There is fantastic shopping and dining, several gift shops as well as historical activities any history buff will appreciate. Even just taking a stroll down Pine Ave is a great thing to do in Anna Maria.
It's an overall fun experience for kids and adults alike. Pine Avenue ends and Anna Maria City pier.
6. Make A Donut At the Donut Experiment
One of the fun Anna Maria Island activities is to create your own donut. Stop at the Donut Experiment on Pine Ave to custom make a crazy, deliciously flavored donut.
Create any donuts you want from the huge selection of toppings and frosting at The Donut Experiment on the island. Or choose their specialty donut creations, Sriracha and Key Lime. Kids will enjoy the amazing experience of choosing their own toppings.
This shop sometimes has a long wait, so go early if you can! Afterward, head down Pine Avenue to the Anna Maria City Pier to enjoy it and overlook the water!
7. Get Your Picture Taken At The Old Anna Maria Jail
Or get your picture taken at the old Anna Maria Jail.
Built in 1927, this open-air jail housed people arrested for minor crimes where they were swarmed by the mosquitos on the island. The punishment worked because no one wanted to spend the night there again!
If you want to learn more about the island's history and its first settlers, stop by Anna Maria Island Historical Museum (or Historical Society Museum as known by some) and Park next door.
8. Wildlife Spotting
There is so much wildlife on Anna Maria Island. In fact, from May to October, Loggerhead turtles nest on the beach.
At night, residents and vacationers must turn off their lights so turtles don't become confused and can safely make their way back to the ocean. In addition to nature preserves in the area, you can also watch turtle nesting spots or reach out to Turtle Talk to learn more about them, get more info and book a tour.
All of the beaches from Holmes Beach to Manatee City Beach to Bean Point have fantastic wildlife for observing. You can also find some great wildlife on the Tampa Bay side at one of the piers, like the Bridge Street Pier.
9. Tour Anna Maria Island in a Golf Cart or Trolley
The island is small enough that you can rent a golf cart to travel around on. One of the best places to rent a gold cart is AMI Adventure Rentals or Beach Bums.
There is also a free trolley that goes all over the island. Its one of the best things to do to get an overview of the island or just get around.
10. Visit Historic Bridge Street
One of the famous Anna Maria Island attractions not to miss is Bridge street. We love to make a quick stop at Bridge Street on Bradenton Beach for shopping and dining. There is a great souvenir store, as well as some specialty shops.
And there is excellent waterfront dining here as well! You can also enjoy the views from the pier at 1-15 Laverne Dr, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217.
11. The Fish Hole Mini-Golf
Located in Bradenton Beach on Bridge Street, this unique mini-golf course looks like a beautiful botanical garden and is reminiscent of the “old Florida” style. There are plenty of misting stations and fans if you get hot.
Afterward, grab a meal or a coffee and do some souvenir shopping at one of the shops in this fun district. It is one of the best things to do with kids on Anna Maria Island.
12. The Real Beach Horses
Take a scenic trail ride on horses through the gorgeous Deer Prairie Creek Preserve. It is a unique way to see a variety of animals and nature on this fun thing to do with kids in Anna Maria ages 8 and up. But they offer much more than this. You can take air or water tours too at the Real Beach Horses.
13. Shop at the Coquina Beach Market
If you’re looking for unique gifts and souvenirs, then you want to visit the Coquina Beach Market. Here you’ll find local arts, crafts, jewelry, baked goods, fresh produce, photography, local produce, and many other unique items. It's one of the best spots to pick up a souvenir.
The market runs twice a week in the summer but the schedule changes in the winter. Be sure to check the timing before you head to the Coquina Beach Market.
Also, get there early, as the parking lot fills up fast.
14. Take a Dolphin or Manatee Watching Tour
Dolphins and manatees are local residents of Anna Maria's waters. In fact, it is not uncommon to see one or the other swim by while you are in the ocean or dining at one of the beachfront restaurants or any other restaurants.
Sometimes you see them right in Tampa Bay!
But, to guarantee you see some dolphins or manatees on your trip, a dolphin tour with Paradise Boat Tours and The Real Beach Horses is a great thing to do in Anna Maria Island with kids!
15. Go Snorkeling
Anna Maria's waters are crystal clear, making it perfect for observing the underwater world /sea life by snorkel. You can just go in the calm waters off the beach or book a tour.
There are several tour companies on Anna Maria Island that will take you out snorkeling in the pristine Florida waters. Nature Coast Excursions, AMI Escapes Boat Tours, Passage Key Dolphin Tours, and Egmont Key Adventures, are a few of the places that have snorkeling tours.
16. Fishing on the Anna Maria Island Piers
There may be many places to fish but the piers are the perfect places to fish on the island all year round (or even to just watch people fish). Whether you visit the Anna Maria City Pier, the Bradenton Beach Pier, the Rod and Reel Pier, or the Bridge Street Pier, there are several locations to fish on Anna Maria Island. While normal fishing is fun, fishing from a fishing pier will be more memorable to the entire family.
Our favorite is the Anna Maria City Pier for fishing in Tampa Bay. For one thing, it is quiet over there in the morning. You can also enjoy breakfast at the cafe on the Anna Maria City Pier. And, it is a great spot for fishing and watching boats go by.
The Rod and Reel Pier is on the Tampa Bay side.
You can also fish at the quiet Bean Point on the Northern tip or from some of the other beach locations. Get fishing supplies on Cortez Beach at Annie’s Bait and Tackle or Boca Bait, located in Bradenton. If your kids love fishing, this is one of the fun things to do on Anna Maria Island.
Note that you may need a fishing license before fishing, so be sure to check the fishing license requirements.
17. Surf Camp for Kids
Every year the West Coast Surf Shop hosts a week-long youth surf camp in July. Veteran instructors teach the kids to surf. So any kid interested in learning to surf would have an amazing time at this camp!
Eternal Summer Surf Camp also has surf camp sessions throughout July and early August. These lessons take place in Holmes Beach on the beach at White Avenue – known for being one of the greatest beaches for surfing on Anna Maria Island.
18. Have Breakfast and Shop at Ginny & Jane E's Cafe and Store
One of our absolute favorite spots and things to do on Anna Maria Island with our kids every trip is to visit and have breakfast at this whimsical local favorite. Not only do they have delicious breakfasts. But it has a wonderful shop perfect for souvenirs kids will love.
It is decorated with fun, whimsy colors and retro decor, making it a special place to visit for the whole family! We go back several times each vacation.
19. Catch A Glorious Anna Maria Sunset
One of our favorite things to do on Anna Maria Island with our kids is to watch the sunset. While you can catch the sun setting from several of the beautiful beaches, the ones nearest to Bean Point have the best views of the sun going down over the horizon. Don't worry if you can't get to this location, there are many more places that bring out the island charm at sunset.
20. Seashell Hunting
Anna Maria Island has fantastic seashells for those who like to collect. My kids love to go seashell hunting during the day and they always end up having so much fun. You might even be one of the lucky ones to find a sand dollar!
There are many gorgeous seashells to find on Anna Maria Island and they make great keepsakes of your family vacation.
Where to Eat on Anna Maria Island with Kids
21. Visit and Dine At The Rod and Reel
The Rod and Reel is one of the best places to eat on the island that is loved by both tourists and locals alike. Enjoy some amazing food, local favorites, traditional meals, and famous seafood specials while overlooking the ocean.
If you dine outside, you might even spot a dolphin swim by (we did!) The Rod and Reel Pier is also a great place to go fishing.
22. Get An Epic Meal At Poppo's Taqueria
While this restaurant is a quick service taqueria (think Chipotle), it offers one of the best meals on Anna Maria Island. When you get your taco fix at Poppo’s Taqueria, located on Pine Avenue, you will discover some of the freshest, most delicious tacos you have ever had.
Make your own tacos, burritos, and quesadilla with fillings and toppings made from local ingredients. It's one spot we go back to each year.
23. Enjoy The Views And Seafood At The Sandbar Restaurant
One of the best things to do in Anna Maria is to dine beachfront at this restaurant. Not only will you dine on delicious food made from local and sustainable ingredients with your toes in the white sand. But, you can do so while watching one of Anna Maria's gorgeous sunsets.
One note is that this restaurant does not take reservations so do get there early to get your name on the list. And be sure to try their incredible key lime pie!
24. Grab A Giant Cinnamon Roll At Ginny & Jane E's at the IGA
As I mentioned above, one of my favorite thing to do on Anna Maria is to get breakfast – at least once, if not twice – at Ginny & Jane E's. But not just any breakfast. One that includes a homemade giant cinnamon roll!
It goes great with their fresh smoothies, delicious coffee, and it's fun to enjoy while taking in the whimsical decor.
25. Order In From Pizza Social
Order in pizza from Pizza Social and enjoy a game night or head to the beach afterward. This is our favorite local family pizzeria and the perfect place to get a slice of pie on vacation.
You can either pick it up from their Pine Avenue shore or have it delivered to your vacation rental! Or, grab a pizza and enjoy it on the nearby Anna Maria City Pier!
26. Dine At Anna Maria Oyster Bar
You guessed it; this family-friendly restaurant specializes in oysters and other local seafood fares. Though they have several locations, Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier is in Bradenton Beach and is an idyllic waterfront restaurant. It is a great beachfront dining experience with wonderful seafood. It is our favorite place for seafood options.
27. Enjoy A Meal Overlooking The Beach At Gulf Drive Cafe
Another one of our favorite spots on Anna Maria Island is grabbing a meal at the Gulf Drive Cafe in Bradenton Beach, a waterfront restaurant. It is right near the Historic Bridge Street, where you can also enjoy mini golf and do some shopping.
Their large, delicious menu has a variety of traditional and seafood favorites, delicious desserts, and an onsite gelato bar! This is definitely one of our favorite places (and most highly recommend) to eat with kids in Anna Maria Island. Because of its location in Bradenton Beach, right near Bridge Street, it is at an ideal location to enjoy mini golf or some Bridge Street shopping at the Bridge Street Bazaar!
28. Dinner and Games at the Ugly Grouper
For a fun family restaurant, the Ugly Grouper is one of our favorites. Outdoor dining, games while kids wait (including wiki sticks you can use to decorate the wooden poles at your table), live music, and signature dishes make this a great place to eat with kids on Anna Maria Island.
It is so popular, you can even shop at the souvenir shop! Get here early as it is very popular and fills up quickly. A visit to the Ugly Grouper in Holmes Beach is definitely a great thing to do in Anna Maria Island.
29. gRub Tropical Barbecue
A new addition to where to eat on Anna Maria Island, this unique twist on barbecue is a great place to eat on Anna Maria Island with kids. Located on Pine Street, this fast-casual restaurant offers a great menu and drinks for family dining.
It was started by Anna Maria Island native and celebrated chef Ben Sato, who has worked at Ritz Carlton among others as an experienced chef. His unique twist on barbecue and tropical flavors brings a delicious pairing in a fun, family-friendly environment.
30. Grab A Cone From Dips Ice Cream
Noted as the best ice cream on Anna Maria Island, this is a must-stop on your trip to Anna Maria to get one of their delicious ice creams with a large variety of flavors. A stop for ice cream is a must-do on your visit to Anna Maria Island if you have a sweet tooth.
A few other ice cream shops to try:
- Joe's Eats and Sweets in Bradenton Beach (Unfortunately, it's now permanently closed)
- Holy Cow Ice Cream in Holmes Beach — be sure to try their absolutely delicious Banana Splits.
- Two Scoops Ice Cream in Anna Maria
- Anna Maria Island Creamery and Bakery in Anna Maria — they'll also have other sweet treats with fun names that your kids will love to try.
Other Things to do in On Anna Maria Island For Families
- Explore Bradenton Beach City Pier on the Northern end of Sarasota Bay. Part of the old wooden bridge was converted into a fishing pier (which is now Bradenton Beach City Pier) so you can even fish from there.
- Beyond the beaches Anna maria island has, you can learn about the island's history at Anna Maria Historic Green Village
- Go kayaking. You can either take your own kayak or sign up for one of the available Kayak tours. Some even offer kayak fishing charters. For a more fun experience, go kayaking in the Robinson preserve to have the experience of going through Mangrove tunnels.
- Indulge in fresh seafood at Star fish Co
- Go on a sunset cruise. There are a few companies that offer sunset cruises on the island.
- Enjoy Live Music at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe
- One of the top things to do on a trip to Anna Maria is to go on a paddling adventure. The Sarasota Bay area is a great place for this. You can hire equipment from the well known several companies available.
- Take a day trip to Egmont Key State Park — a nature preserve and wildlife refuge haven near Anna Maria Island.
- One of the fun Anna Maria Island activities is to visit an art gallery. There are various well known great options to choose from.
- Have a meal (or cocktails for adults) at Daiquiri Deck.
- Explore the Leffis Key Preserve. You can easily spend a few hours here of the entire day as it offers a lot of outdoor activities. It's a nice place to get some fresh air for sure.
- Indulge in fresh seafood at Blue Marlin restaurant but if you prefer burgers or quick bites, then head to Hurricane Hanks.
- Sign up for the “Sunset to Full Moon Flow” class. However, this is only possible when there is a full moon.
- Relax at Longboat Key Beach. It's a bit unknown to many but you can find it at 2825 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228.
- If your kids are old enough, you can go on jet skis for a fun afternoon.
Where to Stay on Anna Maria Island
My family and I have a couple of favorite places to stay when we go on an Anna Maria Island vacation. Our preference is in the city of Anna Maria as it is quieter than Holmes Beach or Bradenton Beach.
It is also more family vacation rentals than hotels or resorts, making it less crowded. It's the perfect place to get away from the crowds. We have rented a home for two weeks, two summers in a row, and it was a wonderful way to vacation. Often the homes are big enough for a multigenerational family vacation.
We did recently stay at Waterline Villas and Marina in Holmes Beach for two nights. The rooms had kitchens, and there is a restaurant and pool on the property as well. The only downside is you have to cross two roads to get to Holmes Beach.
But here are some options for where to stay:
Airbnb or VRBO Home Rentals
If you can, rent a home on the island through VRBO or Airbnb. It’s so nice to have a house and pool (if you can find a house with one). Also, vacation rentals are becoming more popular because of COVID-19 and social distancing.
We also love that they have kitchens, so we can save money by making our own meals and bringing some of our own food. And, there is a Publix nearby where you can either shop or get Instacart delivery right to our vacation rental.
At the end of a long day, you can come back and jump in the pool after supper or just spend a day relaxing and reading by it. Or the kids can hang it playing with one of the road trip activities they brought along. It feels just like spending a relaxing Saturday at home, just in a much better location.
So, check out the Anna Maria Island rentals to find the perfect house for you and your family.
Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, and Inns
There are a few hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and inns on the island. As you get closer to Bradenton Beach, there are more hotels in this area. Here you are closer to Bridge Street and some are even within walking distance. This area has a bit more of a traditional beach vacation feel. Check out what might be available on Booking.com.
Getting to Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes south of Tampa via I-75 or I-275 S if you’re traveling by car on a family road trip. Just beware there might be a toll road depending on the route you take. If you are in the USA, flying into Tampa is the easiest airport and you can rent a car from there. You do drive over the large bridge over Tampa Bay to get onto the island.
If you’re coming from out of the country, the most convenient place to fly into is the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, so visit that website for more information on international travel.
Getting Around The Island
You don’t need a car to get around the island but getting a car rental is easy. There are several places you can rent one, so it’s easy to get a beach rental. If you’re flying to Anna Maria Island, then you can rent a car at the Tampa or Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
There is also a FREE Trolly that goes around the island with several bus stops. It makes it easy to get around and it's also a great way to check out the island for activities kids would love.
Golf Carts are also very popular! Many people rent one from AMI Golf Cart Rentals, Gulf Coast Carts, Beach Bums Recreational Rentals & Gift Shop, and several other places.
Renting bikes and biking around the island is another mode of transportation. It is easy to rent bikes on the island, so no need to worry about that.
Much of it is walkable to nearby shops and restaurants, as well. But it is hot in Florida, so this may not work in every situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Anna Maria Island known for?
Anna Maria Island is known for gorgeous beaches, wonderful restaurants, and excellent shopping. Its calm (usually) clear teal blue waters and soft beige sand is some of the best outside of tropical islands.
It also has a wonderful family-oriented feel, with so many beach houses available for rent. You do not find a party feel that you might see more in Siesta Key or popular Spring Break destinations like Miami or Daytona Beach. The food and beachside restaurants are outstanding, and there is a lot of great shopping on Anna Maria Island.
Where do locals go on Anna Maria Island?
They say the best place to visit in any destination is to go where the locals go. So where do the locals go on Anna Maria Island? Many of them frequent the very restaurants recommended on this post!
Locals like the hidden gem of Rod and Reel Pier restaurant, the Sand Bar, the Ugly Grouper, and the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe to enjoy delicious food right on the beach.
Is Siesta Key better than Anna Maria Island? What beach is better, Anna Maria Island or Siesta Key?
In my opinion, no, not for families. While many people hear about Siesta Key and Sarasota, and Siesta Key Beach is rated the best beach in the United States, Anna Maria is (in my humble opinion) even better! And, it is also located on the Gulf Coast with the same crystal clear teal water.
Siesta Key has a lot to offer families, with a bit more of an active and vibrant vibe. It might be good if you have teenagers that need to keep busy.
Anna Maria Island on the other hand – while it can get busy – is generally less crowded. It shares the same gorgeous teal water as Siesta Key, but without all of the heavy hotel and resort traffic. It is ideal for a wonderful family vacation or a multigenerational family vacation.
Which is better Anna Maria Island or Longboat Key?
While they share the same coastline being about 15 minutes apart, Anna Maria Island is better for families with more to do than Longboat Key. Longboat Key is a bit quieter, so it may be better for couples and anyone wanting a quieter vacation.
Is Anna Maria Good For Families?
As you can tell from the post, I think it is great for families. And in fact, families are the majority of the visitors in the summer.
With great places to stay, plenty of things to do on and near Anna Maria Island with kids, gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches, and great restaurants, Anna Maria is good for families of all ages and sizes and a fantastic island vacation.
Our favorite beaches for families on Anna Maria Island are Homes Beach, Manatee Beach, Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach, and Bean Point.
How far is Disney from Anna Maria Island?
If you are visiting Universal Studios and wanting to know how far Orlando is from Anna Maria Island, it is a bit further around 118 miles. Depending on the route, it could take you two and a half to three hours.
So, they aren't near Anna Maria Island to visit it on a day trip but you could extend your vacation to include this wonderful beach location.
When is the best time to visit Anna Maria Island? What is the best month to visit Anna Maria Island?
Visiting Anna Maria Island is possible during all four seasons, as it has lovely weather all year.
It is Florida, so it is going to be hot in the summer months (but you can jump in the ocean!) From January through March and October, it is a bit cooler and quieter.
But we have gone in late June and July the last two years, and though it was hot, it was perfect beach weather.
Is Bradenton Beach Family Friendly?
Yes, it is. Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach is listed as one of the best beaches for families. It has changing cabanas, concessions, pavilions, grills, restrooms, a walking trail, a beach cafe, water fountains, a gift shop, parking, and lifeguards on duty.
What are the best beaches on Anna Maria Island?
Some of the most popular beaches on Florida’s Anna Maria Island are Coquina, Holmes, Bradenton, Bean Point, and Manatee Public Beach.
Does Anna Maria Island have clear water?
Yes, Anna Maria Island has gorgeous beaches with clear water that has emerald green hues. It is so clear, it is like a swimming pool usually (unless the surf is churned up from a storm.) But you can literally see your toes.
Are there alligators on Anna Maria Island?
Yes, the amazing ecosystem here has crocodiles and alligators along with manatees, black bears, and other local wildlife. You don't typically see alligators on the beach, but you could see them in lakes or in one of the wildlife preserves, or in a nature park.
Final Thoughts on Your Anna Maria Island Beach Vacation
Anna Maria Island is definitely the perfect place to bring your family for a vacation. We have gone there many years, and it is an idyllic beach experience with so many fun things to do with kids.
There are diverse activities that will appeal to any member of your family, excellent restaurants, and great family memories. It is one of our favorite family vacations to take with our kids.
So whether you're already there or just planning your future trips, this article has insider tips that will help you enjoy all the main attractions of Anna Maria Island and all the popular sports to eat at.
Have you been to this slice of heaven? What was your favorite thing about this place? I love hearing your thoughts, so be sure to leave them in the comments below.