Top 10 Family-Friendly Activities in Anna Maria Island and Bradenton

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!