Did you know that there are endless day trip opportunities just minutes away from Sarasota? If you’ve been pining for a little staycation that will make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed, you have to head to Anna Maria Island.
This spot, which is just 45 minutes from central Sarasota, feels like its own private oasis. And with only 10,000 residents, it’s truly South Florida’s best-kept secret. If you only have a day to spend on sunny Anna Maria Island, here’s your guide to everything you won’t want to miss.
Morning: Hit the Beach!
You’ll want to wake up early to head over to Anna Maria Island—it’s the best time to walk on the beach and relax in the sun. Here, you’ll find miles of coastline, but we’re partial to Holmes and Bradenton Beaches. The sugar-fine sand and calming waves are just a few of the unbeatable features of this intimate barrier island, and it’s the best way to kick off your visit.
Hungry for breakfast? If you didn’t grab a bite before your trip, there are tons of spots to discover nearby. If you want to dine on fluffy pancakes while enjoying the waterfront views, locals swear by Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe—it’s the only place where you can savor your coffee with your toes in the sand!
Afternoon: Strolling and Shopping
Once you’ve fueled up and dried off, it’s time to explore the magic of Pine Avenue. This is the central hub for the island’s shops, restaurants, and so much more. Not sure where to start? Egret’s Nest is a local-favorite for women’s and children’s clothing, and it’s the perfect spot to find a new outfit. Continue down the street to find gems like The Island Cabana, Flip Flop Candy Shop, and so much more.
Have you worked up an appetite? Luckily, you won’t have to leave Pine Avenue to find some of the tastiest bites. Poppo’s Taqueria is a family-owned spot that’s serving up some of the best Mexican food in the area. When you’re ready for a sweet treat, The Donut Experiment is right next door. Don’t miss the key lime donut!
As the afternoon winds down, it’s the perfect time to learn a bit more about Anna Maria’s history. Head down to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society to discover exhibits on the area’s history. It even features the town’s original jail and icehouse!
Evening: Dinner and a Show
All great days have to come to a close, but there’s still time to enjoy the best of Anna Maria Island. You’ll have plenty of options when it comes to dinner, but one spot stands out among the rest. The Sandbar is a long-standing favorite, so you might want to make a reservation ahead of time. Here, you’ll find some of the island’s best seafood served in surprising ways. Be sure to try the grouper reuben—it’s absolutely sensational.
Have a little extra time? Spend the rest of your evening with the Island Players, Anna Maria’s only theater company. They’re always putting on fantastic shows, and past productions include “Steel Magnolias,” “Almost Maine,” and “I Hate Hamlet.”
Want to Experience the Magic of Anna Maria Island?
Your trip to Anna Maria Island doesn’t have to end after a day. If you’ve fallen in love with this picturesque resort town, it might be time to consider a move. Anna Maria’s real estate market is booming, and I have the resources you need to find your dream home! Ready to take your next steps? Just reach out to the Kotaska Team for more info.