Beaches: Of course the number one activity on Anna Maria Island is going to the beach, with 7 miles of sugar white beaches to explore that's not surprising. Enjoy the quiet beach and the warm Gulf waters just steps from Blue Turtle Cottage. If you want facilities such as showers, washrooms, restaurants and picnic tables head to the public beach at the end of Manatee Ave., it's easy to get there in a few minutes on the free Trolley.
Fishing: There are many options for enjoying all the sea life the ocean has to offer. The easiest is to hire/join a charter because the captains know the best spots to catch what you're interested in, no fishing license is needed when escorted by a licensed fishing guide. You also don't need a license to fish off of the piers on Anna Maria Island. If you would like to fish off of the beaches you can pick up a license (children under 16 exempted) at Walmart or Kmart.
Bike/Golf Cart/Kayaks and Stand-up Paddleboards/Beach Equipment/Baby equipment etc. Rental: Why not cruise the island in style? Anna Maria Island is all about the out of doors, what could be better than touring the island with the wind blowing in your hair and the sun shining down on you? There are several businesses that rent bikes and golf carts and so much more, and they deliver right to your rental! Two companies we like are Fun and More Rentalsfunandmorerentals.com and Beach Bums Island Attitude beachbumsami.com.
Wildlife/Nature: If you'd like to spend some time appreciating nature there are lots of options. Try kayaking or paddleboarding through the well marked canals of the Robinson Preserve (there are walking and biking trails too), walking the boardwalk and trails through mangrove tunnels of Coquina Baywalk (opposite Coquina Beach), or taking an educational cruise with Sarasota Bay Explorers guided by a marine biologist on a shaded pontoon boat (this is an amazing time, find them out front of Mote Aquarium).
Boating: Anna Maria Island is home to a thriving and vibrant boating community. If you're an experienced boater you can opt to rent a boat from one of the several marinas and enjoy your favourite boating activity your way. For the rest of us there are many, many options to enjoy including island hopping, dolphin tours and sunset cruises. A wonderful way to get out on the water and enjoy nature.
Golf: Florida is a golfer's paradise, you never have to go far to find a wonderful course. The island itself has a private course, Key Royale, and Manatee County a runs several courses only a short distance away, visit golfmanatee.com.
If miniature golf is more your speed, The Fish Hole is on Bridge St. in Bradenton Beach, as well as several cute shops and restaurants and the Bradenton Beach Pier.
Where to Eat
On the Island:
The Sandbar: The quintessential beach front restaurant with both patio and inside dining.The patio has a gorgeous view of the beach and the Gulf, and if you're lucky you'll see a Sandbar beach wedding! Very popular day and night, but especially for sunset. A varied menu that will please everyone, and a great drink menu. 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria (941) 778-0444 http://sandbar.groupersandwich.com/
Waterfront Restaurant: Near the Rod and Reel Pier bay side in Anna Maria with a gorgeous view of the bay and the Sunshine Skyway. Inside and outside dining with the patio enclosed in chillier weather. A little more upscale, and delicious with a great menu and an extensive bar menu. 111 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria 941.778.1515 http://thewaterfrontrestaurant.net/
Skinny's: If you want a great burger and a cold beer Skinny's is the place! Across from Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach. Some indoor and more outdoor seating - extremely casual! Very popular so there is a wait at times, but well worth it. Closed Mondays. 941-778-7769 3901 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach http://www.skinnysplace.com/
Oma's: Pizza and Italian at it's best in a casual family atmosphere. Beer and wine available. Indoor and patio seating with friendly staff. Delivery up until midnight. 201 Gulf Dr., Bradenton Beach 941-778-0771 or 941-778-0772 http://www.omaspizza.com/