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15 Jul 2020
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Things to Do

To Beach or Not to Beach, That is the Question...

Things to while visiting Anna Maria Island besides the beach

When you think of Anna Maria Island, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting back on a beautiful white sandy beach and swimming in the crystal clear Gulf waters. However, beaches are not the only thing that our amazing area has to offer! Here are five things that you can experience while visiting Anna Maria Island besides the beach:

attractions near anna maria island Ringling museum

Arts and Culture

The The Ringling Museum is located in Sarasota and well worth the trip! Not only are the grounds themselves a true piece of art but inside you will find collections from all around the world at The State Art Museum of Florida.

If you love the arts then you will fall in love with the many art galleries and museums on and surrounding our 7-mile island. On the island, you can view the works of local artists at Island Gallery West and the Artists Guild Gallery.

On the mainland just a short drive away, you will find The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature and Nature nestled in the heart of downtown Bradenton. Considered the largest natural and cultural history museum on the Gulf coast, this wonderful museum hosts engaging exhibits, galleries, a planetarium, and a manatee rehabilitation center!

shopping on anna maria island pine ave holmes beach bradenton beach


No matter whether your vacation rental is located near The Historic Bridge Street on Bradenton Beach or situated close to the “greenest little main street in America” on the north end of Anna Maria Island you will find lots of opportunities to shop until you drop. Take home a piece of the beach with you when you visit one of the many local boutiques around the island such as Pink & Navy Boutique or The Island Cabana. For even more shopping take a trip inland to The Ellenton Premium Outlets located in Ellenton for designer stores like Michael Kors, Coach, Banana Republic, and Adidas.

theme parks close to anna maria island florida busch gardens

Theme Parks

If you are looking for a little adventure in your life, plan an easy day trip to Tampa or Orlando where roller coasters and theme parks await. Busch Gardens is less than an hour away and features Florida’s tallest launch coaster, Tigris. Other attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are just under a two-hour drive and provide fun and nostalgic memories for the whole family.


If you are a foodie, you will love eating your way around the island. From long-time favorite casual spots like Skinny’s Place or Slim's for lunch to more sophisticated eateries like Beach Bistro for dinner and everything in between, the food scene here offers it all. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert with ice cream at Two Scoops or Dips Ice Cream a slice of Key Lime Coconut cake at Hometown Desserts, or a specialty cupcake from Cupcake Delights AMI

nature hikes walking trails preserves near anna maria island

Nature Trails

Anna Maria Island offers some fantastic nature trails with lots of great opportunities to see local wildlife. Leffis Key Preserve is located in Bradenton Beach and features numerous boardwalks through mangrove tunnels that lead out to lookout points with views of Sarasota Bay. Just over the Anna Maria Island Bridge on State Route 64, you will find Neal Preserve. This 120-acre preserve offers numerous trails and a 20-foot observation tower with lovely views of the Island. Just a few more miles inland is the Robinson Preserve, a 600-acre salt marsh that has a boat ramp, kayak launch station, hiking and biking trails, picnic tables, and even a 53-foot observation tower with views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Whether you are looking to spend a few hours or a full day, Anna Maria Island is in close proximity to many great attactions ready to be explored.

Ask us about things to do near Anna Maria that are beyond the beach. Give us a call 941.779.0733

Looking for a vacation rental? Anna Maria Island Accommodations can help. Check out all of our great AMI rental homes or our popular searches.

Follow the Flip-Flops for a fantastic and fun adventure on Anna Maria Island. Contact us anytime for rental assistance or travel tips.