Unwind and Relax on Anna Maria Island, Florida

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Advisor - Laura Vaughn
Curated By

Laura Vaughn

  • Beaches

  • Couples Travel

  • Anna Maria Island

  • Florida

  • Beach Town

  • Relaxation

  • Outdoors

birds at sunset
Curator’s statement

This charming barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico offers a perfect blend of breathtaking beaches, outdoor activities and delicious dining options. With its old-fashioned charm, no high-rise buildings or chain restaurants. The local community takes pride in preserving the island's small-town atmosphere, and you'll find boutique shops, art galleries and family-owned restaurants throughout the island. Its surrounded by natural beauty and is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Anna Maria Island offers a plethora of water-based activities.

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Where to stay in Anna Maria Island, Florida

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Things to do in Anna Maria Island, Florida

People relaxing on the Anna Maria Island Beach

We did a family vacation on Anna Maria Island. It was a great experience that catered to everyone's interests. From the beaches, charming streets and welcoming locals the island offered a perfect setting. We enjoyed blissful days exploring, leisurely bike rides, boat activities and savoring the local foods. Anna Maria Island isn't just a destination; it's a blend of relaxation, adventure, and togetherness, making it an ideal getaway for all travelers.

Beaches Anna Maria Island boasts some of Florida's most beautiful beaches. Don't miss out on the pristine sands and turquoise waters at Bean Point, Coquina Beach and Manatee Public Beach. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing and beach-combing as you take in the stunning views.

Golf Carts One of the best ways to explore the island is by renting a golf cart. It's a popular mode of transportation here and allows you to easily get around and discover hidden gems. Several rental companies offer golf carts for daily or weekly use.

Anna Maria Historical Society Museum Immerse yourself in the island's history at this quaint museum, featuring artifacts, photos, and exhibits showcasing Anna Maria's past.

Art Galleries and Boutiques Browse through local art galleries, boutiques, and shops that offer unique crafts, souvenirs, and treasures.

Robinson Preserve Explore this lush nature preserve with walking trails, kayaking through mangroves, and birdwatching, immersing yourself in the island's natural beauty.

Water Activities

Dolphin Watching Set sail on dolphin-watching excursions, where you'll have the chance to observe these playful creatures in their natural habitat. It's a thrilling and family-friendly activity that's sure to create lasting memories.

Fishing Charters Anna Maria Island offers diverse fishing charters, catering to both beginners and experienced anglers. Join guided trips to catch local fish species like snook, redfish, and grouper, while enjoying the serenity of the Gulf.

Sunset Cruises Unwind with a sunset cruise, sailing along the Gulf of Mexico as the sky transforms into a palette of colors. It's a perfect way to capture the island's stunning sunsets from a unique vantage point.

Eco Tours Immerse yourself in the island's ecosystem with eco tours. These educational trips allow you to learn about local wildlife, marine habitats, and conservation efforts while enjoying the scenic beauty of Anna Maria Island.

Kayak and Paddleboard Adventures Rent kayaks or paddle boards and explore Anna Maria Island's waterways at your own pace. Glide through calm mangroves, spot birds, and immerse yourself in the island's natural beauty.

Parasailing For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, try parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy the thrill of soaring high above the water while taking in panoramic views of the island and its coastline.

Day trips

Head to nearby Tampa Bay for a day of fun and entertainment. Visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for thrilling rides and encounters with animals. Explore the historic Ybor City neighborhood, known for its Cuban influence and vibrant nightlife.

Take a short drive to nearby attractions like Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the Ringling Museum of Art, or the vibrant city of Sarasota.

Places to eat & drink in Anna Maria Island, Florida


Rod and Reel Pier

Enjoy a delightful dining experience with panoramic views of Tampa Bay at Rod and Reel Pier. Indulge in fresh seafood, including their famous fish and chips, while watching dolphins and seabirds.

The Ugly Grouper

This laid-back spot is perfect for a casual meal with friends or family. Try their mouthwatering grouper sandwiches and a variety of tasty appetizers.

Beach Bistro

Stands as a culinary gem that offers an unforgettable dining experience. Renowned for its exceptional cuisine, breathtaking views, and warm hospitality, Beach Bistro is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts and those seeking a romantic evening.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide, The Best of Negril, Jamaica.

Advisor - Laura Vaughn

Travel Advisor

Laura Vaughn

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florida.