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Thanks to Bradenton Gulf Islands for hosting our time on Anna Maria Island. As always, all opinions are my own.
Planning a vacation to Anna Maria Island, Florida? Here are the top things to do in Anna Maria Island! Whether you are having a family vacation, a girl’s getaway, or a romantic weekend for two, you’ll love all that Anna Maria Island has to offer.
I’ve found my paradise and it is called Anna Maria Island.
A few weeks ago I visited this little slice of heaven for the second time. The first time I stepped foot on the pristine white beaches of Anna Maria Island, it was February. The weather was cooler, but the beauty abounded.
This time we visited in August, which mean the classic, tropical weather that you expect when you visit Florida. Both times I visited AMI, I was in love…cool or hot!
I’ve shared with you before about my favorite beaches and restaurants and I’m happy to add to that list with some can’t miss Anna Maria Island activities.
Things to Do in Anna Maria Island
The first time we went to Anna Maria Island, we rented a house. This was the ideal situation for our extended family because it gave us the room we needed. The second time, The Tortuga Inn (voted #1 hotel for 2015 in Bradenton Beach on TripAdvisor!) was gracious enough to host me and some friends as we relaxed on a blogging retreat. This inn is gorgeous! It has luxury apartments and condos with everything that you need for your stay. Our condo had a huge kitchen, two bedrooms with two spacious bathrooms, and a screened in porch overlooking the bay. The resort has 3 heated pools, boat docks and a private beach just steps away.
The Sandbar Restaurant. If you love seafood, this is the restaurant for you! It’s a unique place with a rich history. And the best part? You get to eat with your toes in the sand. That screams vacation!
Cupcake Delights. When a group of girls get together, there has to be cupcakes! Cupcake Delights were gracious enough to let us sample many of their delicious flavors. My favorite? White Wedding Cake. Simple, but so perfect!
The Blue Marlin. If you’re looking for a restaurant with delicious food, gracious hosts and plentiful character, The Blue Marlin answers the call. They have a crab Trap Yard in the back of their 1920’s cottage where they offer live music on the weekend. You’ll feel like you are in the Caribbean. I feasted on their tater soup and hush puppies. And for dessert? Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. Just do it. Trust me.
The Donut Experiment. Fresh donuts, made daily, topped with your choice of glazes, sprinkles, candies….you name it. Enough said. My favorite? Maple frosting with mini chocolate chips. Because the warm donut melts the chocolate chips into a gooey chocolate glaze. I could eat 10 of them, no lie.
The City Pier. We stopped at this pier as there was a storm rolling in across the bay. The dark clouds contrasting with the sun setting across the island was simply breathtaking! There’s a restaurant at the end of this century-old pier that serves THE BEST fish ‘n chips. You’ll love snapping photos of the tropical birds that perch on the pier.
Pine Avenue Shops. The shops of Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island are bright, colorful and full of eclectic, island style. The shop owners are friendly and more than happy to share not only the history of the island, but their stories of how they ended up on the island. One of my favorite shops? The Shiny Fish Emporium. We got to paint sand dollars there, so of course it is my favorite!
Poppo’s Taqueria. If you love Mexican street food, you’ll fall for this fast, casual dining experience with all-natural food ingredients. Their sodas have no high fructose corn syrup and they even serve a locally brewed Kombucha tea. I had a “Baby Bowl” with shredded beef for a light lunch. It was just the right size!
Parasailing. I don’t have the best track record with water activities. I’ve had canoeing and jet ski adventures go very badly. Just don’t even ask. But heading to the beach with the girls? You can bet I wanted to give parasailing a try! I’m not exactly the craziest, most adventurous person, but I figured parasailing was fairly low-risk. And guess what?! I survived! I loved the experience. Getting to see the gulf coast from I’m-not-even-going-to-ask-how-many feet up in the air? Priceless. We saw dolphins jumping in the wake of the boat as we floated in the breeze. I HIGHLY recommend this! I also highly recommend taking motion sickness medicine if boating bothers you. 😛
Bean Point. Hands down, the best beach on the island. Just take a look for yourself. We even got to swim with the manatees here. For free, because they are just swimming where everyone else is. Amazing.
We’re already planning our next vacation to Anna Maria Island. Come the end of February? You’ll find me lounging on this white sand beach.
Q: Have you ever visited Anna Maria Island?
Q: What would be the activity you’d like to do most?
Great post and you captured some of the wonderful things to do on Anna Maria Island.. We own a rental home there ourselves and have been visiting the island for over 40 years since family retired there years ago. Bean Point is our absolute favorite spot on the island, in fact my niece and soon to be nephew just got engaged there last week during their vacation. The next time you’re there check out Beach Bistro, Eat Here, The Beachhouse and Gulf Drive Cafe (great for breakfast on the beach) for our top restaurant picks, Two Scoops for ice cream… Read more »
Cold beer and burgers at Skinny’s, fishing at Rod n’ Reel pier, mini golf at the Fish Hole and trolley rides up and down the island are at the top of our family’s list every year!
Coffee and shopping plus people watching at Ginny and Jane’s. Breakfast at Cafe on the beach. Walking the beach anywhere n the Island. city Pier plus Rod and Reel for lunch or dinner. What a fabulous Island!
Don’t miss having a cup of coffee and a crepe at the Craperie. Yum!!
WE LOVED SPENDING A MONTH ON THE ISLAND. WALKING THE BEACH EACH DAY AND RIDING OUR BIKES AROUND THE TOWN WAS A MUST. THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES TO VISIT WITHIN A SHORT DISTANCE. A MONTH WAS JUST NOT ENOUGH TIME ! WE ALSO LIKED THE SERENITY, SO WAIT, DONT TELL TOO MANY PEOPLE ABOUT THIS GREAT PLACE !
I’ve been going to AMI for nearly 30 years. I MUST get Oma’s pizza at every visit (Oma’s Special is the BEST)! Other things we love: putt-putt at the Fish Hole … breakfast at Peach’s … bbq at Mr. Bones … dinner at Mar Vista (just over the bridge to Longboat Key) … eco boat tours at the MOTE Marina (also on LBK) … shelling at the beach between City Pier & Rod-n-Reel. The main problem with AMI is that so many people are finding out about it, and the traffic has been TERRIBLE the past couple of spring breaks.… Read more »
… and how could I forget the boullibaisse at the Beach Bistro? DEFINITELY worth the splurge!
We love Anna Maria Island! Me and my family just adore the beautiful beaches and the delicious food down there. Also, the nice people! Everyone is so helpful and kind. For my kids, they LOVE The Donut Experiment! They love the large assortment of toppings, and the yummy icing. Thank you for the awesome tips on AMI! :))
We go to AMI every year for at least the last 15 years. I agree with many of the suggestions from folks in their commments, esp. the creperie, Mr. Bones and Beach Bistro, but want to add The French Table for dinner and The Doctor’s Office for cocktails! We also like the deck at Wicked Cantina for some tacos and drinks. If you’re there in mid-February, the Cortez Fish Festival is also great! If you venture into Sarasota, Key Culinary Tours is fun and if you like rum, Siesta Key rum does a free tour that is great! They have… Read more »
You can also take the bus to the pirates games . get on
the bus at publix ( northside) going eastbound to Bradenton
I am single and travel alone. I’ve never been to a mi and wonder if I will feel comfortable doing all these things by myself