Anna Maria Island Restaurants

If you’re on the hunt for a slice of paradise with a splash of excitement, look no further than Anna Maria Island. This Gulf Coast island has lots of unique hotspots for anyone who appreciates a good libation and a lively atmosphere. From beachfront tiki bars to quirky cocktail bars, let’s embark on a boozy adventure through some of the island’s best bars and nightlife!

The Kokonut Hut

Kick off your shoes, dig your toes into the sand, and soak up the tiki vibes at The Kokonut Hut. This beachfront tiki bar in Bradenton Beach is known for signature tropical cocktails and laid-back island vibes. Enjoy a frosty booze slushie or one of many beers on tap while you admire the sunset over the Gulf. The party gets started after dark with live music – dancing in the sand is highly encouraged!

The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar

For a low-key night out on the waterfront, head over to The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar, a beloved local spot where the good times roll all day long. Tucked at the end of historic Bridge Street, this easygoing watering hole has dive bar charm and open air seating with a view of the bay. Pair a round of beers with some classic American bar food and stick around for live music, bingo or trivia.

The Doctor’s Office

the doctors office - anna maria island

Your prescription for fun is waiting at The Doctor’s Office, a cocktail bar in Holmes Beach serving up playful themed concoctions in a former medical office. This hip bar is decked out with quirky medical decor, cozy seating and an inviting ambiance. With creative “house prescription” cocktails, shareable plates and elevated bar snacks, this local favorite has the cure for your evening.

The Freckled Fin

Calling all party animals! The Freckled Fin is where the fun never stops. This vibrant Irish pub and dance hall is known for its lively atmosphere, live music performances, and extensive selection of beers and spirits. Whether you’re belting out karaoke tunes or tearing up the dance floor, you’re going to have a great time at The Freckled Fin.

Slim’s Place

If your favorite team is playing while you’re visiting Anna Maria Island, catch the game at Slim’s Place. Tucked along Gulf Drive in Anna Maria, this laid-back sports bar serves beer and wine in a space lined with 12 TVs tuned to all the current games. With a full menu of hearty pub fare and a great weekday happy hour, this is the spot to cheer on your favorite team during your vacation.

Bamboo Island Bar

Bamboo Island BarCraving a taste of the tropics? Head to Bamboo Island Bar, a lively hotspot with island vibes. This Bridge Street staple is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere, fruity cocktails, and regular live music performances. Sip on a traditional caipirinha cocktail while swaying to the rhythms of a steel drum band – you’ll feel transported to the southern hemisphere without ever leaving Anna Maria Island.

Daiquiri Deck

Get the lay of the land with a drink in hand at Daiquiri Deck! This island hotspot has a wraparound rooftop deck with views from the Gulf to the bay, and the perfect vantage point for prime people-watching along Bridge Street. The namesake cocktails are the star of the show, with a range of frozen daiquiris with flavors from fruity to coffee-infused, and everything in between. Nightly live music performances and a full menu of seafood and American fare make this vibrant spot a great place to enjoy a night out on Anna Maria Island.

The Sandbar Restaurant

Seafood Platter - Sandbar Anna Maria Island Restaurant

Located right on the beach in Anna Maria, the Sandbar Restaurant is a great destination for sunset cocktails and stunning views over the Gulf. Pull up a chair on the outdoor deck, sink your toes in the sand, and savor a refreshing drink as the sun dips below the horizon. Southern-style shareable appetizers make this a great place for happy hour, or stick around to enjoy incredible seafood dinner options. With its laid-back vibe and unbeatable scenery, this spot is a must-visit.

 

Whether you’re looking for a lively party atmosphere or a laid-back spot to sip cocktails and watch the sunset, Anna Maria Island has something to quench every thirst. Book your Anna Maria Island vacation rental and say cheers to an unforgettable island getaway filled with great drinks and good vibes!

Golf course near Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for its pristine beaches, spectacular natural scenery and laid-back atmosphere. While the island offers a variety of attractions and activities, golfers will be delighted to discover that there are several exceptional golf courses nearby waiting to be explored. Whether you’re visiting the area on a golfing trip or just want to squeeze in a tee time on your vacation, you can hit the links at a number of public and semi-private golf courses near Anna Maria Island.

River Run Golf Links

Located in east Bradenton along the banks of the Braden River, this 18-hole municipal course has scenic landscaping and an excellent golfing experience. The course integrates into its natural surroundings, with native vegetation framing each hole and gentle river breezes. With affordable rates and plentiful tee times, this public course provides a welcoming atmosphere for golfers of all levels.

Manatee County Golf Course 

Located just a 15 minute drive from Anna Maria Island, Manatee County Golf Course beckons with its lush fairways and affordable fees. This public course boasts 27 holes set among towering palm trees and provides a challenging course for players of all skill levels. With its well-maintained greens and friendly staff, Manatee County Golf Course is a perfect course for those seeking a more relaxed round of golf.

Timber Creek Golf Course

Next door to Manatee County Golf Course, this 9-hole course is a laid-back par 3 with natural landscaping. The course is geared towards novice golfers and players who want to work on their short game. With some of the most affordable rates in the area, Timber Creek is great for a quick round or last-minute tee time.

Pinebrook Ironwood Golf Club

Only 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island, Pinebrook Ironwood Golf Club is one of the top semi-private golf courses in Bradenton. This 18-hole executive golf course winds its way through mature trees and tranquil water features, with narrow fairways and a compact layout. Beginners and seasoned golfers will find a challenge on the well-maintained greens and rates are very reasonable.

IMG Academy Golf Club

Located just 20 minutes south of Anna Maria Island, IMG Academy Golf Club in South Bradenton is a public course that offers a challenge to golfers of all levels. This scenic course features a demanding layout, with strategic hazards among wide fairways and well-maintained greens. The clubhouse restaurant has an upscale feel and beautiful views of Sarasota Bay, making it a perfect spot to linger after your round is done.

Waterlefe Golf and River Club

For those willing to venture half an hour from Anna Maria Island, Waterlefe Golf & River Club in Bradenton is well worth the journey. This semi-private course, crafted by course architect Ted McAnlis, showcases beautiful views of the Manatee River and well-maintained greens framed by native wetlands. With meandering fairways and numerous water hazards, Waterlefe offers golfers a memorable challenge among scenic natural surroundings.

The Links at Greenfield Plantation

Located a 30 minute drive from Anna Maria Island, this championship golf course in Bradenton offers moderately challenging conditions at affordable prices. The manicured fairways hug a number of water hazards that will keep you on your toes, and the practice range features an aqua range and putting green to up your game. This course has a laid-back atmosphere, with friendly staff and a casual clubhouse bar and grill.

Heritage Harbour Golf Club 

Located just a 25-minute drive from Anna Maria Island, Heritage Harbour is a semi-private club that offers a challenging and well-maintained 18-hole course. Designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills, the course features tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and rolling greens that will challenge golfers of all levels.

Rosedale Golf and Country Club

Rosedale Golf and Country Club, located 35 minutes from Anna Maria Island, is a semi-private course that welcomes non-members. Designed by Ted McAnlis, the course features manicured fairways, sparkling lakes and multiple sets of tees allowing for all skill levels. The club also offers a practice facility, pro shop, and clubhouse with excellent dining options.

Whether you’re seeking championship challenges or casual rounds through scenic landscapes, the golf courses near Anna Maria Island offer something for every golfer. So grab your golf clubs, book your vacation rental and prepare to tee off in this Gulf Coast paradise!

Kayaking on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island offers pristine beaches, stunning sunsets and plenty of outdoor activities. Among those, kayaking stands out as a favorite activity and an immersive way to explore the island’s surrounding waters. There are several great places to kayak (and paddleboard) off Anna Maria Island, and it’s a great way to see a different perspective of the island’s natural beauty! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, we’ve compiled some of the best places to kayak on Anna Maria Island, as well as where to rent gear or book a tour from.

Leffis Key Preserve and Sarasota Bay

Escape the crowds and head to the quiet southern end of Anna Maria Island to experience the tranquil waters of Sarasota Bay. Kayaks can launch from the Coquina Beach South Boat Ramp located across the road from Coquina Beach, where ample parking is available. From here, you can paddle along the edges of Leffis Key Preserve to the north, where you are likely to spot crabs, fish and starfish in the shallow waters among the mangroves. Sarasota Bay opens up to the southeast with several smaller islands to explore, while cruising under the Longboat Pass Bridge gives you a great view of the sunset over the ocean at the edge of Coquina Beach.

Neal Preserve

Situated along Manatee Avenue just outside of Anna Maria Island, Neal Preserve is made up of 120 acres of pristine mangrove forests andKayak tour at night on Anna Maria Island tidal marshes. This area is known for great bird watching and dolphin sightings. There is also a short trail with educational signage and an observation tower in the preserve if you want to take a break from paddling to learn about the wetland habitat and the indigenous peoples who originally inhabited it. AMI Paddleboard offers kayak rentals and guided tours here, with a convenient location just on the other side of Manatee Avenue.

Robinson Preserve

Just a short drive from Anna Maria Island, Robinson Preserve is a kayaker’s paradise. This 600+ acre coastal preserve features mangrove tunnels, salt marshes, and tidal ponds, providing an ideal environment for exploration. Paddle along serene waterways, keeping an eye out for native wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and various bird species including herons and ospreys. The winding waterways of this nature preserve are a great way to experience the coastal environment of Florida as it looked pre-development. Check out Kayak Jack’s for guided and self-guided tours of Robinson Preserve, where tour guides will provide equipment and useful knowledge about wildlife and paddling in tidal areas.

Perico Preserve

Located just off the Palma Sola Causeway on Perico Island, this nature preserve is a hidden gem. After this area was acquired as farmland, there was a conscious effort to restore it to the natural mix of habitats originally found here, from coastal wetlands to scrub hills. Perico Preserve has been designated as a bird sanctuary, so you are likely to spot a number of species, from herons and egrets wading by the shore to eagles soaring overhead. The kayak launch has a small parking lot and is found off Manatee Avenue opposite 107th Ct. NW. From there, head north under the bridge to reach the preserve. Overall, this is one of the most peaceful preserves in the area, with easy access to the larger Robinson Preserve if you want a longer paddling journey. 

Palma Sola Bay

Palma Sola Causeway Park is a great place to launch kayaks to explore Palma Sola Bay. Along Manatee Avenue between Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, there are numerous places to park right off the road, making this an easy stop on your way to or from the island. After launching at the park, it’s a short paddle northwest of the fishing pier to find the kayak path that will take you deep into Robinson Preserve. Or you can head out to explore Palma Sola Bay, where neighborhoods and mangroves cluster around the edges, and dolphins like to play. Kayak rentals can be booked ahead of time and picked up directly at the park from Surferbus.

Kayak Rentals and Tours

  • Beach Bums AMI offers a variety of kayak rentals which can be delivered to your vacation rental or launched directly from BayfrontKayak and paddleboard rentals on Anna Maria Island Park in Anna Maria. They also lead a guided kayak tour exploring the waters around Anna Maria Island and out into Tampa Bay, with a stop for swimming at a sandbar where you are likely to spot manatees and dolphins.
  • AMI Paddleboard rents out kayaks and paddleboards for 1 to 7 days at a time and will deliver to a spot of your choosing on Anna Maria Island. This company also offers a popular daily eco-tour of Neal Preserve, where your guide will take you through mangrove tunnels and point out local wildlife like dolphins, crabs and seabirds.
  • AMI Clear Kayak Tours provides a unique experience open to all skill levels. Paddlers will launch clear tandem kayaks from Holmes Beach and explore the seagrass beds and mangrove habitats around Anna Maria Island. The clear kayaks provide a window into the underwater world, with the chance to spot marine animals, fish and crustaceans. Tours run in the afternoon, at sunset, and after dark, where kayaks are lit from below!

Ready to embark on your kayaking adventure? Book your vacation rental on Anna Maria Island and experience the beauty of Florida’s Gulf Coast firsthand. Start planning your paddling getaway to explore this amazing island!

Dolphins jumping off coast of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a charming Gulf Coast barrier island that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and diverse activities for visitors of all ages. From pristine beaches to unique wildlife encounters and delicious dining options, Anna Maria Island offers a little slice of paradise. Let’s dive into the Top 10 Anna Maria attractions and activities that make this island so appealing.

A Day at the Beach

The beaches of Anna Maria Island are unparalleled, with soft, powdery white sand and warm, clear water. There are a number of beaches along the island’s coast, with each offering something special. From building sand castles and playing in the waves at lively Manatee and Coquina Beach, to a relaxing sunset at serene Bean Point Beach, there is a beach for everyone to enjoy.

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

Kayaking on Anna Maria Island

Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the mangrove tunnels and serene bays along Anna Maria Island. This is an activity perfect for nature lovers, providing a chance to observe local wildlife up close, including manatees, dolphins and shore birds. Several companies offer daily and weekly water sports rentals, as well as guided tours.

Dolphin-Watching Tours

Experience a thrilling up-close encounter with dolphins in their natural habitat by going on a dolphin watching tour off Anna Maria Island. Dolphin-watching tours provide the opportunity to spot dolphins frolicking in the wild, which truly is one of the most wonderful sights to see! Several charter companies offer comfortable boats and take you to local places of interest for both wildlife viewing and collecting seashells.

World-Class Fishing

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, fishing excursions are a great way to spend your time on Anna Maria Island. Charter a fishing boat for deep-sea adventures, or cast a line from Anna Maria Island Pier or Longboat Pass for a relaxed and rewarding activity. 

Horseback Riding

There are a few unique horseback experiences you can find in and around Anna Maria Island. Ride on trails and into the bay for a magical horseback swimming experience. Or book a Sand & Surf Sunset Ride to take in the natural beauty of the area while you interact with these calm creatures.

Miniature Golf

This classic family favorite is a fun activity for all ages on Anna Maria Island. The compact course at The Fish Hole is located a block away from the historic Bridge Street shopping district and provides a challenge for all ages. This course is especially fun after dark, as string lights lend a cozy and festive atmosphere.

Explore the Island by Bike

Palmetto Riverwalk walking path on Anna Maria IslandAnna Maria Island is a bicycle-friendly town, with flat terrain and dedicated bike lanes making it an easy way to get around and a fun way to sight see. Seeing the island on two wheels is a great way to stay active, avoid sitting in traffic and soak in the island’s beauty at your own pace. There are a variety of bikes and trailers available to rent across the island, as well as e-bikes and scooters at some locations.

Art Galleries and Workshops

Anna Maria Island has a thriving arts scene. Visit a local art gallery and sign up for an art workshop if you’re feeling creative. Painting, pottery, and other artistic experiences are a great activity for visitors looking to express themselves or try something new. Most galleries and studios can be found along Pine Avenue on the north side of the island.

Restaurants and Shopping

Anna Maria Island has two main entertainment districts, which both provide unique local art, souvenirs and dining experiences. Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach offers a compact walkable area, with several restaurants like the family-friendly Daiquiri Deck, and small boutiques focused on unique gifts. Pine Avenue on the north end of the island is a bit more spread out, with local galleries and quirky souvenir shops stretching the width of the island down to Anna Maria Island Pier on the east end. The local favorite Sandbar Seafood and Spirits is a beachfront gem with classic dishes and fresh-caught seafood.

Cruise Out on the Water

Boat cruises are a great way to explore the waterways of Anna Maria Island. Adventurous visitors may enjoy a snorkeling tour to Egmont Key, a wildlife refuge that is only accessible by boat, with incredible underwater views and pristine beaches. Or a more laid-back sunset cruise may be the key to soak in the stunning scenery and spectacular Florida sunset.

Anna Maria Island offers a variety of activities and attractions that are sure to appeal to individual travelers and families alike. From amazing beaches and spectacular natural surroundings to enjoying all of the coastal Florida charm, Anna Maria Island is a must-visit destination for an unforgettable vacation adventure. Our vacation rental accommodations offer all of the comfort, space and convenience you need for a seamless stay. Book your Anna Maria Island vacation rental and get started planning your Gulf Coast getaway today!

Woman on beach in the rain

When you’re on vacation, it can be disappointing to wake up to raindrops on your window. But don’t worry – Anna Maria Island and Bradenton offer plenty of activities to make the most of a rainy day. Plus, staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel offers advantages on the occasional rainy day, giving you the space to spread out, cook your own meals, and relax with your loved ones. Here are some of the top activities if you happen to get a rainy day while visiting Anna Maria Island or Bradenton.

Outdoor Activities

If it’s a light rain, don’t let that stop your fun! Grab your rain coat and an umbrella and check out these outdoor activities that have something for everyone.

Manatee Village Historical Park is an outdoor collection of historical buildings hosting exhibits about early Florida pioneer life. There are seven buildings to explore and it’s a short walk between them. Admission is free and donations are welcome.

Visit the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum for a glimpse into the history of the island and the first settlers. This free museum offers three historical buildings to explore, with scavenger hunts and docent-led tours available.

Fishing charters and boat tours will still be available on rainy days, and with most people staying inside, you might have them to yourself! Get up close with bottlenose dolphins with a dolphin watching tour from the expert guides at AMI Dolphin Tours, or book a fishing charter for in-shore and deep sea fishing.

Indoor Activities

Rainy days are the best time to plan some indoor fun in Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. Whether you are cozying up with board games or a movie in your vacation rental or heading out for a cultural experience, there are plenty of options for the whole family. 

Located a half hour drive from Anna Maria Island, the Ringling Museum includes an impressive collection of art, as well as a circus museum and the historic 1920s mansion owned by the Ringling family. This museum is an excellent place to spend a rainy afternoon exploring the variety of exhibits. Admission starts at $25 for adults and kids under 6 are free.

In Bradenton, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is another indoor gem. This museum features captivating exhibits on paleontology, Native American history, and the natural history of Florida. It also houses a planetarium with regular shows, and a manatee rehabilitation habitat, where visitors can see manatees up close and learn more about these iconic Florida animals.

Travel down Anna Maria Island to Longboat Key, where you will find the Mote Aquarium at the south end of the island. This aquarium and marine rehabilitation center offers the chance to see aquatic Florida animals from sea turtles to sharks, all within a facility protected from the elements. Admission is $26 for those 13 years or older, with discounts for younger children, and tickets should be purchased online in advance to ensure availability.

The Florida Maritime Museum is located between Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. This free museum offers artifacts and exhibits about local maritime history, as well as hands-on activities for kids. This small museum is worth a stop if you are traveling into Bradenton on a rainy day.

For shopping fans, a rainy day is the time to explore local shopping options. On Anna Maria Island, the Bridge Street Bazaar in Bradenton Beach and Pine Avenue on the north end of the island both offer unique souvenir shops and local artisan crafts. For those looking for a wide variety of stores and some great bargains, Ellenton Premium Outlets north of Bradenton has something for all tastes.

And of course, spending a rainy day relaxing at your vacation rental is always a great option. The flexibility, space, privacy and homey comfort of a vacation rental provides a distinct advantage over a hotel room on days when the weather is not cooperative. Rainy days are the perfect opportunity to prepare a home-cooked meal in your own kitchen and spread out for a cozy game or movie night with your loved ones. The freedom and comfort of an Anna Maria Island vacation rental truly make it feel like a home away from home.

Anna Maria Island and Bradenton provide an array of fun-filled activities for visitors to enjoy on rainy days. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventure or indoor entertainment, your vacation is sure to be memorable, rain or shine!

Anna Maria Island monthly rental

Anna Maria Island is a Florida gem that has captured the hearts of many snowbirds from northern states and Canada. With sugar-white sand beaches, emerald waters, and breathtaking sunsets, it’s no wonder that this idyllic island has become a popular destination for those looking to escape the cold winters up north.

Anna Maria Island Winter Activities

The pristine beaches of Anna Maria Island make it perfect for snowbirds

One of the most appealing aspects of Anna Maria Island at this time of year is the variety of winter activities available. Whether you’re an avid fisherman, a beach bum, or an art enthusiast, there’s something for everyone.

Anglers will enjoy the variety of fish that can be caught in the Gulf of Mexico, including red snapper, grouper, and tarpon. If fishing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other water activities to enjoy, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or taking a dolphin-watching tour. There are several nature areas around Anna Maria Island where walking trails wind through the coastal environment and provide the perfect setting to observe local wildlife. Robinson’s Preserve is 600+-acre coastal preserve, and the interior of the preserve features hiking paths, kayak and canoe waterways, picnic spots, mangrove forests and a 53-foot-tall tower with a wide-open view of the Tampa Bay area. Birdwatching is also especially popular during the winter months as migratory birds move south on their own snowbird journey. 

Spending time on the beaches of Anna Maria Island is a must at any time of year, but fewer crowds and mild weather during winter mean you will want to be on the sand every day. Water temperatures are cooler, but rarely dip below 60°F. The island has several public beaches, from vibrant Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach on the south end to peaceful Bean Point Beach at the northern end of the island, offering endless opportunities to play in the waves, soak up the sun and enjoy amazing sunsets. 

Anna Maria Island is home to several art galleries, charming boutiques and great restaurants. For a classic Anna Maria Island experience, hop on a beach cruiser and ride to the shopping districts at Pine Avenue or Bridge Street Bazaar, where you can find local art, souvenirs and beach gear. Stop for some delicious local seafood or happy hour at one of the Bridge Street restaurants like Bridge Tender Inn or the Daiquiri Deck. Winter is also the perfect time to tee off at Key Royale Club on Anna Maria Island or one of the golf courses in Bradenton.

The month of December is filled with festive cheer and holiday activities like the annual Christmas Float Parade and the Winterfest Arts and Crafts Festival. January brings New Year’s celebrations followed by a calmer atmosphere and lighter crowds leading into February. For sports enthusiasts, the nearby Bradenton area is home to several spring training camps for Major League Baseball teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, with games starting in February.

Anna Maria Island Winter Weather 

Beautiful ocean views on Anna Maria Island in the winter

Winter temperatures on Anna Maria Island are mild and comfortable, with average highs ranging from the mid-60s to the low 70s. The island has a relatively low humidity level during the winter months, making it an ideal destination for snowbirds looking to escape the cold without sacrificing comfort.

However, it’s important to note that the island can experience occasional cold fronts that bring cooler temperatures, so packing long sleeves and pants is recommended.

Anna Maria Island Snowbird Accommodations

Private pool and hot tub at an Anna Maria Island monthly rental

With fewer crowds and lots of things to do, spending the winter months as a snowbird on Anna Maria Island is the perfect way to escape the cold and relax into the laid-back Florida coast lifestyle. With a monthly vacation rental, you will have plenty of time to soak up all that Anna Maria Island has to offer. Our fully furnished monthly vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island and Bradenton offer pools, fully equipped kitchens and other amenities to make you feel at home for a longer stay.

From beachfront condos with balconies to enjoy stunning sunsets to private waterfront oasis homes, our Anna Maria Island snowbird rentals have all the comforts of home – with no snow shoveling required. 

 

Kids surfing on Anna Maria Island

Bradenton and Anna Maria Island offer a wide variety of activities for families to enjoy together. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, there’s something for all ages. Check out these top 10 family-friendly activities and get a start on planning your vacation to Bradenton and Anna Maria Island! 

Spend a day at the beach

Anna Maria Island is known for its beautiful beaches, where clear turquoise waters and soft white sand make them among the best beaches in Florida. Coquina Beach offers lots of amenities for families, including parking, concessions and a playground. Manatee Public Beach is great for collecting seashells and playing in the waves. This is also the perfect spot for beginners to learn how to surf. On the northwestern side of the island, Bean Point Beach is a serene spot that is perfect for seeing wildlife and watching the sunset.

Play miniature golf

There are several mini golf courses in the Anna Maria and Bradenton area. This classic family activity is a favorite for all ages! On Anna Maria Island, The Fish Hole has a lush, tropical garden feel, complete with misting stations to beat the heat. In Bradenton, you will find excitement at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf, a pirate-themed course with live alligators.

Visit a museum

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in downtown Bradenton is a great place for families to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. It features exhibits on Florida’s wildlife, prehistoric creatures, and Native American history. Families can also see live manatees and watch educational shows in the planetarium.

Go shopping

There is no shortage of shopping options in Bradenton, where you can find chain stores and local boutiques for everything you need. On Anna Maria Island, the Bridge Street Bazaar offers a huge selection of souvenirs and Pine Avenue is a great place to take a stroll and stop into the many gift shops. Be sure to stop into The Donut Experiment where kids can build their own sweet creation.

Explore downtown Bradenton

This district is the center of culture in Bradenton, where you can find art galleries, museums and parks. The Village of the Arts is a unique neighborhood of art studios, boutiques and restaurants with an eclectic vibe. The Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile long park along the waterfront, with a playground and splash pad for energetic kids. Families may also enjoy the Manatee Village Historical Park, an outdoor museum dedicated to the area’s heritage, with interactive exhibits set among restored historic buildings.

Explore a nature preserve

Families will enjoy the opportunity to get out on the trails and experience the local environment up close. Northwest of Bradenton, the Robinson Preserve is a 600-acre nature area that offers hiking, biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding, as well as the chance to spot wildlife like birds, turtles, and alligators. Next to the Anna Maria Island Bridge, Neal Preserve is a great spot for bird watching and taking in beautiful views of Anna Maria Island from a 20-foot observation tower. 

Go fishing

Bradenton and Anna Maria Island are known for their excellent fishing opportunities. Families can charter a fishing boat for a day of deep sea fishing or fish off one of the area’s piers. The Anna Maria City Pier is an excellent place for the anglers in the family to enjoy, with great fishing spots, beautiful views of the ocean and Sunshine Skyway Bridge, as well as a restaurant and gift shop.

Explore the island on two wheels

Riding a bike on Anna Maria Island is a quintessential family experience. Families can ride along the beach, explore local shops and restaurants, and take in the laid-back vibe and natural beauty of the area. There are several rental companies in the area that offer bikes for kids and adults, tricycles, tandem bikes and trailers.

Visit the aquarium

The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is a research facility and aquarium that offers exhibits on marine life and conservation. Families can see sea turtles, sharks, manatees, and other marine creatures up close. This is the perfect activity for curious kids on a rainy day.

Take a cruise

Getting out on the Gulf of Mexico is always a great time, and there are lots of options on Anna Maria Island. Among the most popular for families are dolphin watching tours, where visitors can see wild dolphins playing in the ocean, and will likely spot other wildlife like manatees and stingrays as well. Sunset cruises are also a fun way to enjoy the stunning colors over the ocean in the evening. 

With a wide range of family-friendly activities, it’s no wonder that families flock to Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. Book your vacation rental and start making some memories that will last a lifetime!