Avoid June through September due to possible hurricane season activity.
About This Day
Anna Maria Island is a little piece of western Florida that's without a doubt paradise. It is less popular and crowded than other Florida islands, but with its calm blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and white sand beaches, it exudes tranquility. You can easily vacation here for a whole week without having to drive anywhere. Chances are, you will probably want to walk everywhere because the scenery here is second to none. My family and I have been on this island twice and both times we frequented the same beloved spots on this itinerary. Start your day at Ginny's and Jane E's, a zany café and souvenir shop. It has delicious breakfast options for kids and adults and a super-funky interior setup. Once you are ready to hit the beach, grab your paddleboard from Beach Bums. Then, head over to the best Anna Maria Island beach, just off of The Sandbar restaurant. You can easily spend hours here swimming, boarding or napping (just don't forget about your kid). For lunch, walk over to Poppo's Taqueria for some much-needed post-beach protein. The tacos and burritos here are exceptional. When you are ready to proceed, take the free trolley to Bayfront Park to a playground on the beach. I don't know which our group of nugget loved most, the playground or the trolley ride there. If at this point you are ready for something sweet, check out The Donut Experiment, which is basically a gallery of colorfully unique and incredibly delectable donuts made to order. Bacon is one of the available toppings. Enough said. After a full-day of activities in the sun and salty water, head back over to the beach to watch the sunset. You won't want to miss this beautiful experience on your Florida family vacation.
On your way to the beach, stop off at Ginny’s and Jane E’s Bakery for some breakfast treats. Then, walk over to the beautiful white sand and Gulf of Mexico water. This spot, just off The Sandbar restaurant, is our favorite Anna Maria Island beach. It’s long and the sand is very soft and white. The water is usually very calm and perfect for paddleboarding or other beach activities. Rent a paddleboard from Beach Bums for $75 a day. It will be conveniently dropped off on your doorstep in the morning. During our last paddleboarding experience, my sister was lucky enough to find herself surrounded by dolphins. It was an encounter she will never forget. For the final step on this itinerary, come back to witness the sunset from this beach. Locals and tourists gather every evening for this event and peacefully wait for the sun to set while observing the sky turning from pink to yellow to orange and red.
Once you’ve had enough of the beach for the day, pop over to Poppo’s Taqueria for a well-needed late lunch. Then, grab the free trolley to Bayfront Park. This park is located right on the beach. It has a great playground for kids of all ages, picnic tables and bathrooms.
DIRECTIONS The Anna Maria Island Trolley goes up and down the island, during the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Check out the schedule of stops online at www.ridemcat.org/bus-routes/.