Best Things to Do on Anna Maria Island

Looking for a beach-centric getaway? Consider Anna Maria Island lodging. Avoid tourist traps like Miami and Daytona Beach, and enjoy the soothing turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the comfort of "Old Florida."

anna maria city pier

Best Beaches on Anna Maria Island

Since Anna Maria Island is a barrier island, there are lots of beaches to check out: Coquina Beach, Manatee Beach, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Cortez Beach and Anna Maria Beach! Anna Maria Beach is a must-see, as it features views of St Petersburg. Manatee Beach is a bit more active, so if you feel like shopping or eating in addition to swimming, that's your best bet. Coquina Beach, however, is definitely one of the best beaches on Anna Maria Island for its scenic location on Sarasota Bay.

Fun on Land, Too

If you'll be in town for a while, you'll certainly want to fill your days with more than fun in the sun. And you'll have plenty to do! Tour the island on segway with Zegway by the Bay, unwind at one of the island's top spas (like Body and Sol Day Spa), or catch up with local history at the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum.

Don't Forget the Food

Forget the chain restaurants, Anna Maria Island is all about good, local eats. From Blue Marlin Grill to the Sandbar to the Beach Bistro, you'll have lots of mouth-watering, award-winning seafood for vacation fuel.

Boutiquing

Instead of outlet malls, explore a bounty of cute, little shops, like One Stop Shell Shop, Tropical Expressions, and Relish Vintage and Artisan Boutique. There's no shortage of casual beach wear and jewerly in Anna Maria.

Best Time to Go

Of course, what you do on your Anna Maria Island vacation really depends on when you go. Not every trip to the Gulf has to include a dive into the ocean. You can book a winter rental and enjoy views, as opposed to splashes in, the water. Benefits of visiting in the winter, or even the spring? The weather is still super comfortable (highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s), and there are great off-season deals. Any time of year, though, warrents some fun in the water, as water temperatures never get below 70. July and August are the hottest months, with highs reaching 90. Plan your beach trip for as early as fall, though, as that's when the weather starts to warm. The best time to go to Anna Maria Island is probably the fall - September, October, and November - when the water's warm enough for swimming, and the climate isn't too hot for comfort (think 80s).