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Family Vacation Guide to Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a fantastic destination for families seeking sun, sand, and endless adventures. There is fun to be had for all the family wether you are traveling with toddlers or teenagers. In this guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect family vacation while staying with us at AMIBeachClub. 

1. Family-Friendly Activities

From building sandcastles on the beach to exploring the island's unique attractions, there's no shortage of family-friendly activities on Anna Maria Island. Some highlights include:

  • Beach Days: Spend your days on the island's gorgeous beaches. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and collecting sand dollars with the kids. From the AMIBeachClub rentals, it’s a short 2.5 blocks/approximately 600m/6 min walk to the beach. The houses are equipped with beach gear including carts/wagons, Tommy Bahama beach chairs,  umbrellas, coolers and beach toys so you’ll be ready for a day of fun at the beach. Planning a special occasion? Beach Suites offer luxury cabana set-ups at your chosen location including giant games for the kids so everyone can have a perfect beach day.

  • Boating and Water Sports: Take a family-boat trip to explore the beautiful waters of the Gulf or visit Egmont Key with AMI Escapes - their boats come fully-equipped with paddleboards, snorkelling equipment and fishing poles so there's something for everyone. And the icing of the cake? They take family photos so everyone gets to be in the photo. Alternatively if you want to take things at your own pace, rent a kayak to discover the inland waterways of Bimini Bay (this is a great place to spot manatees in the wild). Local rental companies for paddleboards, kayaks, boats, jet-skis and parasailing include: Bradenton Beach Marina, Fun & More Rentals, H2O Watersportz.

  • Anna Maria City Pier: Take a stroll along the pier to see what the local fisherman are catching that day. It's a great place to see pelicans up close and spot dolphins out in Tampa Bay. Mote Marine have an outreach center at the end of the pier where you can learn about local marine life and there is a touch pool for children.

  • Anna Maria Island Historical Museum: Discover the island's history and its interesting exhibits.

  • Mini Golf: Visit the Fish Hole Miniature Golf for a fun, family-friendly game.

2. Dining on the Island

Anna Maria Island offers a diverse culinary scene with restaurants catering to families. Don't miss family-friendly spots like:

  • The Sandbar Restaurant: Beachfront dining with a dedicated kids' menu and stunning sunset views. Enjoy a cocktail while the kids play on the beach.

  • Harry's Grill: A casual eatery with a wide variety of choices for both kids and adults.

  • Ginny and Jane E's Cafe & Coastal Store: A quirky cafe and store. Kids will love the homemade pastries and sandwiches, while parents can enjoy their coffee and unique gifts in the coastal store.

See the Places to eat page for further restaurant recommendations.

3. Exploring Nearby Areas

While Anna Maria Island is a paradise in itself, consider exploring nearby attractions:

  • Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: Located in Sarasota, it's a short drive away and offers marine life exhibits that the kids will love. 

  • The Ringling Museum: Also located in nearby Sarasota (approximating 35 min drive), The Ringling offers a delightful blend of art, history, and stunning gardens. It's a great place for a family day trip. Kids will particularly enjoy the Circus Museum, which houses the world’s largest miniature circus model. 

  • Day Trip to Tampa: Enjoy attractions like Busch Gardens or the Florida Aquarium, both within a 1.5 hour drive.

  • Day Trip to Orlando: Florida is world-renowned for its theme parks. Walt Disney World is approximately a 2 hour drive from Anna Maria Island while Universal Studios, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is a little over 2 hours. A long-day out but you’ll be glad to be back on island time after a busy day at the park.

4. Practical Information:

  • Baby equipment: We understand what it’s like traveling with young children so we have baby equipment on site to help you travel a little lighter. Equipment includes: a travel cot/pack-n-play with linens and mattress, high chair, children's kitchenware (plates, cups, bowls, cutlery) and children’s books/toys. We also have a full-sized standalone crib with mattress and a rollaway bed available on request. There is also a local rental company, ABC Rentals, which provides a wide range of baby supplies. 

  • Babysitting: Planning a date night on Anna Maria Island? Island Girls Child Care offer in-home babysitting services so Mom and Dad can enjoy a meal for two.

  • Sun Protection: Don't forget sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to keep the family safe from the Florida sun. But if you do forget, stop by one of the stores on East Bay Drive (including Publix, CVS, Walgreens and the Island Bazar).

  • Transportation: To make the most of your vacation you will most likely want to have a car so you can fully explore the island and its whereabouts. To dot around the island at a leisurely place, consider renting a golf cart or bikes. AMIBeachClub has 6 bicycles available to rent, please contact us for further details. There is also a free island trolley service which runs daily around the island (approximately every 20 min). There is a trolley stop just outside both properties to easily hop-on and off.

  • Reservations: Make restaurant and activity reservations in advance, especially during peak vacation seasons (January-March) and the holidays (Spring break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas).|Call us on 941.209.8769 (7 days a week 8AM-8PM EST)