Even though you might be having an amazing time on the island, sometimes you want to try something new! The best part about staying on Anna Maria Island is there is SO much to do on the island, such as eating seafood at yummy restaurants, grabbing a cup of coffee at the cafe, surfing at one of the nearby beaches, shopping at numerous boutiques, and exploring all of the green spaces. But, on the off chance you want to try something else, check out one of these perfect half-day or full-day attractions near Anna Maria Island!
Florida Railroad Museum
If you are on vacation with children and you want a family-friendly activity that isn’t going to break the bank, the Florida Railroad Museum is one of the best destinations at any time of the year. These weekend train rides in Parrish, FL, offer numerous choices for you to select from, such as the Willow Express, Party Caboose, and Locomotive Cab Ride.
The Willow Express is a 1.5-hour trip that offers a scenic viewpoint of the historic railroad equipment. The Party Caboose can fit up to 16 people, for you to have a great time and chill out! Plus, the Locomotive Cab Ride is a 1.5-hour train ride that lets you sit in the very front of the train. You can also check out the annual or weekly events that offer even more specialty to this day trip.
Pop Stroke is a great family bonding experience that offers a full-service restaurant, bar flowing with tasty drinks, two 18-hole courses with synthetic turf, fairways, bunkers, and customizable drink and food packages to make your party truly unforgettable. You can earn ‘pop bucks’ by using the app to purchase golf packages, food, drinks, and merchandise.
The PopStroke app makes it easy for you to customize your experience so that you can view your scores, use the virtual scorecard, view the food and drink menu, and register for upcoming events!
Myakka River State Park
The Myakka River State Park offers pristine views of the nearby wetlands, green prairies, and gorgeous trees and pinelands that feature an abundance of flora and fauna unique to the Sunshine State. This breathtaking natural area is great for spending quality time with your family and friends.
Entry to this park is just $6 per vehicle, so you can spend an entire day here, barely spending a dime! Head here any day of the year after 8 am until sunset to enjoy the sounds of the birds, wildflowers blooming in the foreground, and hiking paths.
Manatee Viewing Center
Are you curious about marine life and want to see manatees up close and personal? Then head to this incredible viewing center! The Manatee Viewing Center is on the list of the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards for free attractions in the entire country.
Head here in the winter months to see the cute manatees take refuge in the warm waters and learn how they are taken care of, seeing the professionals feed the unique animals, take care of their habitats, and feed them in front of the crowds!
Busch Gardens is arguably one of THE most famous and exciting waterparks and amusement venues in the entire United States! This amusement park has been voted one of the top 5 best theme parks in the country, the best new roller coaster for the Iron Gwazi, and the top 10 best theme parks in 2023 according to the Reader’s Choice Awards!
You can also head here during unique weekends and seasons to check out special attractions near Anna Maria Island, such as the Howl O Scream for Halloween weekend on select scary nights, the Passport to Summer for warm-weather specials, and personalized group events!
Make sure when you spend time at this exciting adventure park in Tampa Bay that you try the all-new Serengeti flier — the world’s tallest and fastest ride! If you are in the mood for something more laidback, the Cheetah Hunt is great for kids, whereas the Cobra’s Curse is the state’s first spin roller coaster ride for families. We also love the SheiKra, a 90-degree nearly vertical roller coaster!
If you are hungry during your day in Busch Gardens, you can choose from one of the many pubs, cafes, restaurants, snack shops, and much more.
We love going to the Springs Taproom to get an ice-cold IPA in the afternoon. The Zambia Smokehouse is great for chewing on tasty barbecue ribs. If you are in the mood for cheesy pizza, Oasis Pizza provides high-end margaritas and fresh salads! Other yummy cafes are the Coaster Coffee Company with espresso-laden drinks, Pantopia Drinks and Snacks for American food, and Moroccan Delights for delectable desserts.
As you can see, there are so many things to do near Anna Maria Island both on and off of the island! This is why we think that AMI is the ideal place for a family-friendly, wholesome, and exciting vacation.