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28 Feb 2021
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Things to Do

Who says that a beach vacation to Anna Maria Island has to be all sun, sand, and relaxation? If you want to add some adventure to your trip you’ll find that some of the best theme parks in the world are just a short day trip from our 7-mile barrier reef island. From thrilling coasters to beloved childhood characters coming to life, make the most of your Florida vacation with a trip to one of these theme parks:

bush gardens roller coaster

Busch Gardens

If you are a thrill-seeker then look no further than Bush Gardens in Tampa Bay. This theme park plus zoo is home to over 200 different species of animals and Florida’s tallest roller coaster. An easy one-hour drive north from Anna Maria Island you’ll find yourself transported to the African Serengeti with rides like the Cheetah Hunt an exhilarating triple-launch roller coaster, the Congo River Rapids a whitewater rafting adventure, and Sheikra an extreme coaster that will have you going 90° straight down!

Adventure Island

Just across the street from Bush Gardens you will find its equally exhilarating water park that boasts exciting water slides and rides. At Adventure Island there is a wide variety of things to do that range from gripping to bask in the sun relaxing. Step out onto the Vanish Point, a free-fall 70-foot drop slide that will pull the floor from beneath your feet or let the Rambling Bayou, a half-mile lazy river, take you along lush landscaping, tropical waterfalls and through a gorgeous rain forest.

Castle Disney

Walt Disney World

Add another hour to the drive and you have arrived at Walt Disney World. The most magical place in the world for both kids of all ages and those who are young at heart. Choose from four different park options or purchase a hopper ticket to experience them all! Take photos in front of Cinderella’s castle, do a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse or take a trip around the globe with It’s a Small World at Magic Kingdom. Experience different cultures or go Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot. Bring all your favorite animated and movie characters to life or ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror if you dare at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the home of The Tree of Life

Universal Studios

Also located in Orlando but just a little further northeast you’ll find Universal Studios the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sip on a refreshing butterbeer while you peruse Diagon Alley, join the superheroes of the Marvel Universe with The Incredible Hulk Coaster or help Jimmy Fallon Race Through New York. There are two theme-parks to explore for endless fun which are connected by the Hogwarts Express, head in each direction at least once for a completely different experience.