Things to do
If it’s your first visit, take a few hours to explore our peaceful little island. Get your toes wet (literally) on a boat tour around Anna Maria Island, or take to the skies for a parasail ride. Rent a bike, scooter, boat, or jet ski to explore for yourself, or hop aboard the free island trolley for a chauffeured tour.
Of course, you could just enjoy a lazy day on the Gulf, aboard Captain Kathe’s Cortez Charter. As we like to stay, on Anna Maria Island you’re free to do everything or nothing at all.
Florida is home to 1,200 miles of golden coastline, with powder-soft white sands that rake in the superlatives. And yet, even among such fine company, Anna Maria Island still reigns supreme.
Named by TripAdvisor as America’s #1 Beach Vacation Destination, our pristine sands are considered some of the best in the nation. And for good reason: tall, wispy sea oats frame protected shoreline, where foamy waves roll onto iridescent sands. The warm Gulf breeze and ubiquitous salty scent is the the sweet, sweet icing on our island cake.
Read more about Anna Maria Island beaches. And don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite beaches and sandy corners.
Without a doubt, after sunbathing and swimming and beachcombing, sport fishing is the most popular pastime on Anna Maria Island. It’s part allure – will you catch “the limit”? – and part simple pleasures – fresh Florida seafood is a definite delicacy – but whatever the secret sauce, Anna Maria Island fishing is a perennial favorite among our guests.
If you ask us, one of the best ways to while away an afternoon is on an island pier. Three fishing piers – Bradenton Beach City, the Rod & Reel Fishing Pier, and the historical Anna Maria Island City Pier – offer a relaxing environment and some serious catches. Be aware that if you fish off the beach, a fishing license if required; if you fish off a licensed pier, you’re covered. (Always check current regulations, as requirement change per state and federal law.)
Of course, fishing on Anna Maria Island doesn’t have to be laid-back. Hire a fishing charter and head out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay and the Backwaters, and explore the wilds of Florida waters. Tours are tailored to you, whether you’re a serious angler, a family with kids, or leisurely fishing for your next meal.
One thing is sure: there’s always something special about spending time on the water. Remember what anglers say – days spent on the water don’t count against your days on earth.
Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite fishing spots and charters.
Attractions & Recreation
Anna Maria Island’s recreational options are almost as numerous as grains of sand on the beach. From boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing, to sail boating, scuba diving and snorkeling (check out the sunken ship 200 yards from your condo’s front door!); from kayak rentals, bicycle rides and scooter adventures, to air boat tours, wind surfing, and dolphin tours; from mini-golf, shark-teeth treasure hunts, and fishing, to alligator tours, greyhound races and manatee watching, Anna Maria is determined to thrill.
Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite attractions, activities and tours.
On Anna Maria Island, our restaurants enjoy some of the best real estate anywhere: beachfront, Gulf-front, Bay-front and Waterway-front. But if there’s anything that could even hope to outshine the view, it’s the food: just-caught seafood, fresh produce, and all other matter of home-cooked delicacies, served under an umbrella with a side of sea breeze.
The Anna Maria Island dining scene offers an incredible variety of restaurants from Cuban to American, from German to Italian, from French to Chinese. Trust us when we say, you haven’t truly experienced the island until you’ve witnessed the spectacular sunset from your favorite restaurant, café, or bar & grille.
Read more about Anna Maria Island restaurants. Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite restaurants, on and off island!
Anna Maria Island and its neighboring cities offer a full schedule of live entertainment, mind-bending fun, and intellectual stimulation. Close to home you’ll find the Island Players live theater, South Florida Museum and Aquarium, Ringling Museum of Art, Selby Gardens, Jungle Gardens, DeSoto National Park or the Manatee Players, and the Asolo Center for the Performing Arts and many other venues.
Of course, if you can drag yourself off the island – and really, it’s debatable; once we’re here, we never want to leave! – you could visit the G-wiz science museum, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota West Coast Symphony, Tampa’s Florida Aquarium and the renowned Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg.
Then there’s Adventure Island and Mote Marine Laboratories, where you’ll come face-to-face with live sharks in a 135,000-gallon shark tank. Learn about marine life and stroll along a boardwalk, in picturesque waterfront areas filled with lush vegetation.
Our neighboring cities also play host to year-round excitement with training and seasonal games for teams like baseball’s legendary Pirates, the Red Sox and the Tampa Devil Rays, as well as Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Stanley Cup winners, the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Golf is also another favorite pastime, and with more than two dozen public and private courses from which to choose – not to mention at least 200 more within a short drive – Manatee County and its neighboring communities are a virtual golfing paradise.
Our Florida beach rental condo is located within 10 minutes of the internationally famous David Leadbetter IMG Golf Academy and Nick Boliterie Tennis Academy both located in Bradenton Florida.
Tampa is 35 miles north, where you can go wild at find Busch Gardens. The most famous Mouse in the world, as well as Disney World and all the Orlando attractions, are only a two-hour drive to the northeast.
Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite entertainment offerings!
Beach shops. Elegant boutiques. Gift shops. Jewelry stores. Art galleries. Treasure troves. Souvenir markets. Craft shops. Mom-and-Pops.
Anna Maria Island is something of a shopping paradise. From elegant evening wear to one-of-a-kind souvenirs, from casual beach gear to artisan coffee, there’s something to please absolutely everyone here. So whether you’re looking for something with local flavor, or just a replacement
for the beach towel you forgot on the lounge chair, you’ll find it.
And for bigger shopping trips, the nearby cities of Bradenton and Sarasota offer four full-service shopping malls, hundreds of specialty shops, quaint shopping villages, upscale boutiques and flea markets. Driving south along Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll discover Sarasota and the world-famous St. Armand’s Circle shopping district, renowned for its upscale shopping and fine dining.
For the shop-till-you-drop type, the Prime Outlets Mall in Ellenton is just the place. It’s the largest manufacturer’s outlet on Florida’s West coast. A beautiful Caribbean environment is the setting for over 135 designer and brand name outlets that will save you 25%-75% off retail prices.
Don’t miss our Insider’s Guide, exclusive to Absolute Anna Maria guests, where we detail our favorite shopping stops!