anna maria florida

Want to discover the best things to do in Anna Maria Island?

Nestled on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island is a picturesque destination that epitomizes the charm and serenity of island life.

With its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and quaint small-town feel, this seven-mile stretch offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

Renowned for preserving its natural beauty and maintaining a slower pace, Anna Maria Island invites visitors to step back in time and enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere.

For those wondering what there is to do in this idyllic paradise, Anna Maria Island offers a wealth of activities suited for every type of traveler.

From leisurely beach days and water sports adventures to exploring local shops and savoring the freshest seafood, the island is a treasure trove of experiences.

Each corner of this Gulf gem has something unique to offer, whether you’re seeking relaxation on the sun-kissed beaches or engaging in exciting outdoor activities.

This guide will take you through the top 10 things to do in Anna Maria Island, ensuring that you make the most of your visit to this enchanting locale.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture seeker, or simply in need of a restorative getaway, Anna Maria Island promises a memorable array of attractions and activities that capture the essence of a true Florida vacation.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the 10 best things to do in Anna Maria Islands:

1. Explore Coquina Beach

beach in anna maria island

Coquina Beach, located on the southern tip of Anna Maria Island, is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the quintessential Florida beach scene.

This expansive stretch of sand is renowned for its soft, powdery texture and the striking contrast of its azure waters.

As one of the island’s largest beaches, Coquina offers ample space for everyone to enjoy a day under the sun without feeling crowded.

The amenities at Coquina Beach are well-suited to enhance your beach day experience.

Conveniently equipped with lifeguards, ample parking, restrooms, and picnic areas, the beach ensures a comfortable and safe environment for all ages.

For those who enjoy more active pursuits, there are volleyball courts and a paved trail that runs along the beach, perfect for biking or jogging with a scenic view.

Additionally, Coquina Beach hosts a weekly beach market where you can explore local crafts, arts, and taste some local snacks, adding a unique cultural touch to your visit.

Whether you’re settling in for a day of sunbathing, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, or searching for shells with the kids, Coquina Beach offers a picturesque setting with all the conveniences you need for a perfect day out.

This spot truly embodies the serene and unspoiled nature of Anna Maria Island, making it a top recommendation for things to do in Anna Maria Island.

2. Unwind at Bean Point

bean point

Bean Point, located at the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, offers a more secluded and tranquil beach experience compared to the island’s other popular spots.

This hidden gem is where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay, creating stunning panoramic views that are perfect for those seeking peace and quiet away from the more crowded beaches.

What sets Bean Point apart is its relatively undeveloped landscape.

Here, you won’t find the usual amenities like shops or restaurants; instead, the area remains largely untouched, offering a natural setting that invites visitors to connect with the serene environment.

The lack of commercial development enhances the feeling of being on a private escape, where the sounds of waves and the call of seabirds are your companions.

The beach at Bean Point is ideal for long, reflective walks or just sitting and watching the spectacular sunsets that the west coast of Florida is famous for.

The currents here can be strong, making swimming less ideal than at other beaches, but the opportunity to experience such pristine natural beauty more than compensates.

This spot is especially popular among photographers and nature lovers who are drawn to its scenic vistas and the chance to spot dolphins playing in the distance.

Visiting Bean Point is a top thing to do in Anna Maria Island for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in a peaceful, awe-inspiring environment.

It’s a place where you can truly unwind and savor the island’s natural charm.

3. Paddle Through Paradise

anna maria island kayaking

Kayaking and paddleboarding are among the most enchanting ways to explore the natural beauty of Anna Maria Island.

The calm, clear waters surrounding the island provide the perfect conditions for paddlers of all skill levels.

Whether you’re gliding through the mangrove tunnels or paddling along the coastline, the island offers an array of stunning locales to discover by water.

One of the most popular spots for kayaking and paddleboarding is the serene Bimini Bay.

Here, paddlers can navigate through calm waters and enjoy close encounters with marine life like manatees and dolphins, all while surrounded by lush mangroves.

Another great location is the Robinson Preserve, which features water trails that wind through natural habitats, offering a peaceful escape and the chance to observe a variety of birds and wildlife.

For those who do not own their equipment, several local businesses on Anna Maria Island offer rentals and guided tours.

Beach Bums Island Attitude and AMI Paddleboard Rentals are well-known for their quality service and provide everything from hourly rentals to full-day excursions.

These businesses also offer introductory lessons for beginners, ensuring everyone can safely enjoy the experience.

Whether you’re looking for a tranquil solo journey or a guided adventure, kayaking and paddleboarding are essential things to do in Anna Maria Island.

They not only provide a unique vantage point to appreciate the island’s stunning landscapes but also offer a fun and healthy way to explore the great outdoors.

4. Cast a Line in Anna Maria

anna maria island fishing

Fishing is a beloved pastime on Anna Maria Island, with its rich marine life and variety of fishing spots that cater to both novice anglers and seasoned pros.

The island’s unique position on the Gulf of Mexico provides access to a diverse range of fishing environments, from deep sea excursions to quiet backwater fishing in the bays.

One of the prime spots for fishing on the island is the Rod and Reel Pier, known for its abundant catches and picturesque setting.

This historic pier is a favorite among locals for catching grouper, snapper, and mackerel.

It’s an ideal place for those who want a casual fishing experience with the convenience of a bait shop and the added bonus of a restaurant nearby to enjoy a meal after your session.

For those looking for a more adventurous fishing experience, deep-sea fishing charters are available and depart from various points around the island.

These charters can take you out into the Gulf where you can target larger species such as tuna, mahi-mahi, and even shark.

Anna Maria Island Charters and Captain Mike’s Fishing Charters are highly recommended for their experienced guides and well-equipped boats, ensuring a thrilling and fruitful day on the water.

In addition to these options, the calm waters of Sarasota Bay offer excellent opportunities for flats fishing. Here, anglers can enjoy stalking redfish, trout, and tarpon.

Many local guides, like Captain Josh Fishing Charters, specialize in this type of fishing and provide insightful tips and techniques specific to the local habitats.

Whether you’re casting off from a pier, wading into the surf, or heading out on a full-day offshore adventure, fishing is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Anna Maria Island.

It not only offers the excitement of the catch but also connects you with the serene and pristine natural beauty of the Gulf Coast waters.

5. Savor Seafood at The Waterfront Restaurant

anna maria island seafood

The Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island is a culinary landmark, famed not just for its exceptional food but also for its stunning views of Tampa Bay.

This dining spot is a must-visit for food enthusiasts looking to indulge in the freshest seafood caught directly from local waters.

Signature dishes at The Waterfront Restaurant are thoughtfully prepared to showcase the natural flavors of the sea.

The Grouper tacos, made with locally caught grouper, are a crowd favorite, offering a perfect blend of freshness and zest.

Another must-try is the Lobster Pot Pie, which combines the classic comfort of a pot pie with the luxurious taste of lobster, enveloped in a creamy sauce with a flaky pastry topping.

The ambiance of The Waterfront Restaurant adds to the dining experience, with its cozy, nautical-themed interior and scenic outdoor seating that offers breathtaking sunset views.

It’s an ideal place for a romantic dinner or a relaxed meal with family and friends.

The attentive staff and the warm atmosphere make diners feel right at home, yet in an environment that speaks to the exclusivity of island life.

Additionally, the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability is evident in their menu choices and business practices, aligning with the overall eco-friendly ethos of Anna Maria Island.

Dining at The Waterfront Restaurant not only allows you to enjoy some of the best culinary offerings on the island but also gives you a taste of the local culture and hospitality that makes Anna Maria Island special.

This makes it a top pick for anyone looking for things to do in Anna Maria Island, especially if they appreciate good food and great views.

6. Taste Anna Maria at Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café

Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café

Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café is a charming and eclectic spot that embodies the spirit of Anna Maria Island.

This café is not just a place to eat; it’s a local hangout that combines a bakery, café, and gift shop into one delightful experience.

Located in the heart of the island, this quirky spot is a must-visit for anyone wanting to soak in the local vibe while enjoying some great food.

The café is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere and funky décor, featuring walls adorned with local art and shelves filled with vintage finds and artisan gifts.

The setting feels like stepping into a beloved friend’s cozy home, where every corner has a story to tell.

When it comes to food, Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café offers a menu that’s as unique as its environment.

The café is famous for its cinnamon rolls, which are large enough to share (though you might not want to!). They also serve a variety of breakfast and lunch options that feature fresh, local ingredients.

Favorites include the Island French Toast made with thick slices of bread soaked in a rich custard and the Crab Cake Benedict, a local twist on the classic, featuring perfectly seasoned crab cakes.

Beyond the food, the café serves as a community hub, hosting local musicians and events that bring together both residents and visitors.

It’s a place where you can find a mix of people, from local artists displaying their work to families enjoying a leisurely brunch.

Visiting Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café offers more than just a meal; it provides a taste of Anna Maria Island life and is undoubtedly a key experience for those exploring things to do in Anna Maria Island.

Whether you’re starting your day with a hearty breakfast or browsing through local crafts, the café promises a memorable and authentic local experience.

7. Discover Pine Avenue’s Boutiques

Pine Avenue

Pine Avenue, often referred to as the “Greenest Little Main Street in America,” is a vibrant shopping corridor on Anna Maria Island that offers a delightful mix of boutique shopping, local art, and unique gifts.

This charming street is a must-visit for those looking to take a piece of the island home with them, boasting shops that range from high-end fashion to local crafts.

As you stroll down Pine Avenue, you’ll encounter a variety of boutiques each with its own character and specialty.

The Olive Oil Outpost is one such gem, offering artisan olive oils and vinegars that are perfect for adding a dash of flavor to any meal.

Here, you can sample exotic varieties and learn about the benefits of different oils from knowledgeable staff.

Another standout is the Island Cabana, where you can find stylish beachwear and accessories that reflect the laid-back luxury of Anna Maria Island.

This boutique features everything from sun hats and flip-flops to designer swimwear, making it the perfect stop to gear up for a day by the sea.

For those interested in local art and handcrafted goods, the Shiny Fish Emporium offers an enchanting shopping experience.

This family-friendly store not only sells whimsical island-inspired art and decor but also invites visitors to paint their own sand dollar as a keepsake.

It’s a fun activity for kids and adults alike, adding a personal touch to your island souvenirs.

Pine Avenue is also home to the Anna Maria General Store, a convenient spot to grab gourmet snacks, local produce, and organic goods.

It’s ideal for picking up provisions for a beach picnic or a casual meal at your rental.

Shopping on Pine Avenue isn’t just about acquiring items; it’s about experiencing the essence of Anna Maria Island.

Each store along the avenue contributes to the island’s charm and offers visitors a chance to engage with the community.

Whether you’re browsing for fashion, food, or fun, Pine Avenue is a highlight for anyone looking for things to do in Anna Maria Island.

8. Artistic Encounters at Island Gallery West

Island Gallery West

Island Gallery West is a celebrated art destination on Anna Maria Island, showcasing the vibrant creativity of local artists.

This cooperative gallery features a diverse range of artworks, from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and pottery, all created by artists from the island and surrounding areas.

Visiting the gallery offers a unique opportunity to delve into the local art scene and experience the cultural richness of the island.

As you step into Island Gallery West, you’re greeted by an array of colorful artworks that capture the essence of coastal life and the natural beauty that surrounds Anna Maria Island.

The gallery is well-known for its friendly atmosphere, where visitors can often meet the artists behind the creations.

This personal interaction adds depth to the viewing experience, as you learn about the inspiration and techniques behind each piece.

The gallery not only displays art but also hosts live demonstrations and workshops throughout the year. These interactive experiences are perfect for visitors looking to engage more deeply with art.

Whether you’re a budding artist eager to learn new skills or a curious visitor looking to try your hand at something creative, the workshops offer a fun and educational way to spend your day.

Additionally, Island Gallery West participates in the local art walks, which occur several times a year and involve multiple venues across the island.

These events are a fantastic way to explore Anna Maria’s art scene in a festive atmosphere, with live music, refreshments, and special exhibits at various galleries and businesses.

For art lovers and those curious about local culture, a visit to Island Gallery West is a must-do when exploring things to do in Anna Maria Island.

It not only provides a window into the artistic soul of the community but also offers a chance to take home a unique piece of the island’s artistic heritage.

9. Connect with Nature on Wildlife Tours

anna maria island dolphins

Anna Maria Island offers exceptional opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to observe local flora and fauna in their natural habitats.

The island’s commitment to conservation makes it a haven for many species, particularly sea turtles and a variety of bird species.

Engaging in turtle and bird watching tours is not only a delightful experience but also an educational one, emphasizing the importance of wildlife conservation.

For turtle watching, the best time of year is from May through October, when sea turtles come ashore to nest.

The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring organizes guided walks where volunteers share insights about the turtles’ nesting processes and the efforts made to protect these gentle creatures.

These tours offer a chance to witness the remarkable journey of hatchlings making their way to the sea, a must-see for nature lovers.

Bird watching on Anna Maria Island can be enjoyed year-round, but it is particularly rewarding during the migratory seasons in the spring and fall.

The island serves as a vital stopover for numerous migratory bird species.

Hotspots like Leffis Key and the Anna Maria City Pier are excellent for spotting a diverse array of birds, from the majestic osprey and pelicans to more elusive species like roseate spoonbills and red knots.

Binoculars and a good bird guide are essential for making the most of these birding adventures.

Additionally, the Robinson Preserve, just a short drive from Anna Maria Island, offers extensive trails and an observation tower that provides panoramic views of the preserve’s diverse ecosystems.

This area is another fantastic location for bird watching, where you can also enjoy kayaking through natural mangrove tunnels as part of a guided eco-tour.

Participating in these wildlife tours not only enhances your appreciation of Anna Maria Island’s natural beauty but also supports local conservation efforts.

These experiences are among the most fulfilling and inspiring things to do in Anna Maria Island, offering both relaxation and the thrill of discovery in the great outdoors.

10. Experience Island Evenings

anna maria susnet

Anna Maria Island transforms as the sun sets, offering magical evenings filled with breathtaking views and vibrant music scenes.

Whether you’re sailing on a sunset cruise or tapping your toes to live music at a local venue, the island evenings are sure to provide unforgettable memories.

Sunset Cruises Sunset cruises are a quintessential Anna Maria Island experience, providing stunning vistas of the sky as it explodes in colors over the Gulf of Mexico.

Various local companies, such as Anna Maria Island Sailing, offer sunset cruises that cater to different preferences, whether you’re looking for a romantic outing or a fun group adventure.

These cruises often include complimentary drinks and sometimes dinner, making for a perfect evening on the water.

As you glide along the coast, keep an eye out for dolphins that frequently accompany the boats, adding an extra touch of magic to the experience.

Live Music Venues After the sun dips below the horizon, the island’s live music scene comes alive.

Many restaurants and bars on Anna Maria Island host live music nights, featuring everything from local bands playing tropical tunes to solo artists covering popular hits.

The Freckled Fin Irish Pub is a hotspot for live music enthusiasts, offering performances most nights of the week in a lively, friendly atmosphere.

Another popular venue is The Ugly Grouper, where you can enjoy not only great music but also some of the best outdoor dining experiences on the island.

For those who enjoy a blend of good food, refreshing drinks, and live entertainment, the Bridge Street area in Bradenton Beach offers several venues within walking distance of each other, creating a vibrant night scene perfect for bar hopping and music enjoyment.

Experiencing island evenings through sunset cruises and live music are essential things to do in Anna Maria Island, perfect for winding down your day with style and relaxation.

These activities not only showcase the natural beauty and artistic flair of the island but also provide fantastic opportunities to make lasting memories with friends and family.


Anna Maria Island, with its pristine beaches, vibrant local culture, and myriad activities, offers a rich tapestry of experiences that cater to every type of traveler.

From the serene beaches of Coquina and Bean Point to the lively scenes of Pine Avenue and local eateries like The Waterfront Restaurant and Ginny’s & Jane E’s Café, there’s something uniquely enchanting about each spot on this charming island.

Recapping our journey through the top things to do in Anna Maria Island, we explored the natural beauty of the landscape via kayaking and paddleboarding, delved into the local art scene at Island Gallery West, and connected with the island’s wildlife through turtle and bird watching tours.

Evenings on the island are just as splendid, with options for memorable sunset cruises and vibrant live music venues that ensure every day ends on a high note.

To make the most of your visit to Anna Maria Island, consider the timing of your trip.

The island is a year-round destination, but visiting during the off-peak seasons (late spring and early fall) can offer a more relaxed experience with fewer crowds.

Accommodations on the island range from quaint beachside cottages to luxurious condos, providing options for every preference and budget.

Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially if you plan to visit during peak tourist seasons.

anna maria island

FAQ’s About Anna Maria Island:

What is special about Anna Maria Island?

Anna Maria Island is special for its laid-back charm, beautiful beaches, and the absence of high-rise buildings, which preserves its old Florida atmosphere.

The island is renowned for its stunning sunsets, friendly locals, and an array of activities ranging from relaxing on sandy beaches to enjoying local arts and dining.

Is Anna Maria Island expensive?

While Anna Maria Island can be considered moderately expensive, particularly in terms of accommodation and dining, the overall cost can vary widely depending on the season and personal spending habits.

There are budget-friendly options available, especially if you plan your visit during the off-peak season or opt for vacation rentals and casual dining.

Is Anna Maria Island worth going to?

Absolutely, Anna Maria Island is worth visiting for anyone looking for a peaceful beach getaway that offers both natural beauty and quaint, small-town charm.

Its range of activities, from beach lounging and water sports to exploring local shops and restaurants, makes it a great destination for both families and couples.

What is the best time of year to go to Anna Maria Island?

The best time to visit Anna Maria Island is during the shoulder seasons, particularly from March to May and from October to November.

During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the island is less crowded compared to the peak summer months.

Can you swim in the ocean at Anna Maria Island?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean at Anna Maria Island.

The waters are generally calm and clear, making them ideal for swimming.

However, it’s always a good idea to check local conditions and heed any warnings regarding currents or jellyfish.

Is Anna Maria Island for old people?

Anna Maria Island is a great destination for visitors of all ages, not just older adults.

While it is popular among retirees, many families and younger visitors also enjoy the island for its beaches, activities, and relaxed vibe.

Do you need a car on Anna Maria Island?

Having a car on Anna Maria Island can be convenient, especially for exploring nearby attractions or shopping areas.

However, it is not strictly necessary.

The island features a free trolley service that runs the length of the island, making it easy to get around without a vehicle.

Can you walk around Anna Maria Island?

Yes, you can walk around parts of Anna Maria Island, especially the smaller commercial areas and beaches.

However, the island spans about 7 miles, so walking from one end to the other might be impractical for some.

Bicycles and the free trolley service are good alternatives for exploring the island.

How do you spend a day at Anna Maria Island?

A day at Anna Maria Island can be spent enjoying its beautiful beaches, dining at local seafood restaurants, and exploring boutique shops.

Start with a morning stroll on the beach, perhaps a swim, followed by lunch at a local café.

In the afternoon, explore the local shops or take a kayak out on the water. Finish the day with a sunset cruise or dinner at a waterfront restaurant.

Do you have to take a boat to Anna Maria Island?

No, you do not have to take a boat to Anna Maria Island.

The island is accessible by car via bridges that connect it to the mainland, making it easy to reach from nearby cities like Bradenton.

Is the water warm in Anna Maria Island?

Yes, the water around Anna Maria Island is generally warm, particularly from late spring through early fall.

During these months, the water temperatures are ideal for swimming and water sports.

Can you swim with manatees on Anna Maria Island?

While it’s possible to see manatees around Anna Maria Island, especially in the calmer waters of the bays and canals, actively swimming with them is not encouraged and is regulated.

Manatees are protected under federal law, and it’s important to observe them from a distance without disturbing their natural behavior.

anna maria island florida

(Island Expert)

Christian is a dynamic serial entrepreneur and a licensed real estate agent with a relentless passion for unlocking the potential of island real estate. Christian's expertise extends beyond entrepreneurship and property transactions. He possesses a profound expertise in crafting captivating content and persuasive copywriting tailored exclusively to the enchanting realm of island real estate.

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