A record 126.1 million people vacationed in Florida in 2018.
While most of these people were in the state for the theme parks, there's much more to explore in the glorious Sunshine State.
You don't need to go far to experience the gorgeous blue waters of a tropical resort. In fact, Anna Maria Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico, has both gorgeous beaches and 3 small cities. You don't need to be near the hustle and bustle of Miami or up in Orlando to enjoy a packed schedule of things to do.
Check out our list of things to do on Anna Maria Island. Whether you're here with your romantic partner, a solo trip or with your family, there's something for everyone here.
Read on to build your own checklist of things to do on this fabulous island.
1. Sandbar Restaurant
Have you ever wanted to eat seafood while sitting on the beach? Well, you'll be able to do that right at the Sandbar Restaurant. Located in the same place since 1911, this historic restaurant allows guests to dine on chairs in the sand so you can keep enjoying the gorgeous weather as you fill your belly.
But don't worry, there's also an indoor section for when the weather starts to get dicey and you'd rather enjoy your seafood indoors.
2. Hit the Beach
How could we make a list of things to do on Anna Maria Island and not include the beach? Coming all the way to the island and not enjoying at least a day in the white sand would be almost sacrilegious.
The beaches of Anna Maria Island are pristine, and they look like any beach you've probably dreamt up in your imagination. With clear waters and gorgeous sand, just sitting and watching it can be a perfect activity.
Plan at least one day to soak up the rays. Bring a towel, sunscreen and your bathing suit (if you want to swim). You can always bring a book or just relax near the water. When you're finished, there are plenty of restaurants nearby that can fill your belly.
Or, pack a picnic lunch from one of the local grocery stores, or get take out or a pizza from one of the restaurants along the way.
There are several beaches on Anna Maria Island, but some of the most well-loved by tourists include Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach.
3. Go Kayaking
You don't have to be an ocean lover to enjoy water activities on Anna Maria Island. In fact, you can go kayaking and paddleboarding on the nearby Robinson Preserve. There are also companies that will offer you a tour of the wetlands and natural habitats, and you'll take the tour from your boat.
4. Visit Cortez, One of the Last Fishing Villages
Once upon a time, many Floridian towns and villages made their income through fishing. There, most of the townspeople participated in fishing, where they sold their wares to other parts of the state, as well as opened up delicious seafood restaurants in the villages.
Cortez is one of the last fishing villages in Florida, and it happens to be right on Anna Maria Island. And like the fishing villages of yore, you can experience the culinary delights of freshly caught fish and local and inexpensive eateries.
5. Pine Avenue Shops
Do you want to shop somewhere that's a bit out of the ordinary, or unlike anything you'd be able to find at home? If so, the Pine Avenue shops are a perfect stop for you.
These whimsical shops are colorful and mostly independently owned, with friendly shop owners who are more than happy to tell you all about the history of their shops and the island itself.
You'll be guaranteed to grab a souvenir that you won't find anywhere else and enjoy it as a memento of your time on Anna Maria Island.
6. Beach Yoga
When you're on a vacation to get away from the hub-bub and stress, what else is better than doing yoga at the beach? While there are a few beach yoga classes offered on Anna Maria Island, Island Yoga Space offers a class each Saturday morning on Bradenton Beach at Tortuga Inn. If you're a yoga lover, this is a can't-miss opportunity.
7. Bike Around the Island
If you love to bike, or like physical activity, this is the perfect thing for you to do during your stay on the island. There are several bike rental companies that allow you to rent a bike for the day or for several hours. You can explore most of the island without having to worry about a parking spot or paying parking fees.
It's an easy and cheap way to see most everything you want to while on Anna Maria Island.
The Best Things to Do on Anna Maria Island
If our list of the best things to do on Anna Maria Island doesn't strike your fancy, don't worry.
We can help you find something that you or your family will love. We couldn't include everything on our list, therefore, there are still many gems on the island for you to explore. From observing sea life to fishing to even more unique restaurants, there truly is something for everyone on this island of American paradise.
Ready to book a vacation you'll never forget? Click here to make a reservation today, and you'll be sure to have a holiday to remember.