Best Anna Maria Island Things to Do with Kids

Anna Maria Island is a family-friendly vacation destination that offers more than stunning beaches.

There are plenty of fun things to see and do with the kids during your stay at our Anna Maria Island hotel, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy them.

We’re going to share some of the best family-friendly activities, attractions and places to eat on Anna Maria Island.

woman carrying a child

Activities

Relax on the Beach

Who doesn’t love a good beach day? Spend an afternoon with your toes in the sand while the little ones play in the water. Build a sandcastle together and go for walks on the sand. Anna Maria Island has wonderful sand bars that create little shallow areas for kids to safely play in. 

A beach day is a great way for kids to get out some of their energy, and for parents to relax. Many of the motels on Anna Maria Island are either beachfront or just a short walk from the sand.

Hunt for Seashells

While you’re on the beach, go hunting for seashells and take home some meaningful souvenirs. Seashell hunting is fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. All you need is a good eye and a sturdy bucket.

Anna Maria City Beach has a wide range of shells. This beach is a little more secluded and gets less foot traffic, which means that you can find more unbroken shells compared to busier beaches.

seashells on the beach

If you’re looking for big conch shells, head over to Bean Point Beach. Coquina Beach is another great spot for shelling, and you may also find some shark teeth.

Some Anna Maria Island hotels on the beach offer shell-hunting opportunities right outside of your doorstep.

The best time to search for shells is during low tide or just after a storm. Try looking in flats, sandbars, near piers, and in tidal pools. Shells tend to get stuck in these spots, making them easy to spot and pick up.

Go Fishing

Bring your rod and reel to City Pier or Rod & Reel for an afternoon of fishing. Both piers are located on the northern end of the island and offer great opportunities to catch some big fish. You can bring your own bait, or buy some while you’re there.

Attractions

Play Mini Golf

Mini golf is fun for kids of all ages, even toddlers who are barely walking. The Fish Hole Adventure Golf on Bridge Street has 18 different holes, and each hole is named after a fish. 

The Fish Hole has misters to keep everyone cool and a big koi pond filled with colorful fish. The kids can feed the fish and even view more than 50 native plants.

Play at Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park is a great place for kids to run around and get out some of that pent-up energy. While they play and laugh, you can enjoy stunning views of the bay. 

Bayfront Park is free, and there’s even a short trail that gives you access to a small beach along the shore. It’s not a large park, but there’s still plenty of room for the little ones to run around and burn off some energy.

Visit Bridge Street

Historic Bridge Street is home to several small shops, restaurants, and bars. Walk around and check out the shops, or stop for a bite to eat. A stroll through the area is a nice way to break up your day and keep the kids busy.

While you’re there, you can book a boat tour or parasailing adventure. 

Check Out The City Pier

The City Pier is a great way to enjoy views of the water and even fish if you like. Just be forewarned that the pier does not have any railings, so you may want to put your little ones in a stroller for this walk.

See if the kids can spot fish or even dolphins. Relax to the sound of the ocean waves, or just take in the view. The pier is a great way to break up the day. There’s even a restaurant at the end of the pier if you want to grab a bite to eat.

De Soto National Memorial Park entrance

Visit De Soto National Memorial Park

De Soto National Memorial Park offers beautiful views and a history lesson for the whole family. This is a pet-friendly park (leashed dogs), so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along for the ride.

The park has a few trails to explore, and at certain times of the year, there are living history demonstrations. Be sure to visit the hut and listen to the ranger’s talk to learn more about the history of the area. The Visitor’s Center has even more information, with artifacts on display and an educational video.

The kids will love seeing the full suit of armor on display in the Visitor’s Center.

Best Places to Eat

The Sandbar Restaurant

Sandbar

Want to eat with your toes in the sand? Head over to the Sandbar. Located on the northern end of the island, Sandbar has an expansive outdoor patio with tables on the sand. The restaurant offers sustainable menu items as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

The Sandbar also has a kid’s menu with favorites like chicken fingers, hamburgers, pizza, grilled cheese, spaghetti and more. Stop by for lunch or dinner any day of the week. 

  • Sunday: 10 AM-9 PM
  • Mon-Thu: 11:30 AM-9 PM
  • Fri: 11:30 AM-10 PM
  • Sat: 11 AM-10 PM

The Sandbar is located on 100 Spring Avenue.

The Donut Experiment

The Donut Experiment offers made-to-order donuts that the kids will love. You choose from their huge selection of toppings and icings for a truly unique donut experience. 

Icing options include chocolate, maple, vanilla, glaze, special, or caramel. Decadent topping choices include bacon, Fruity Pebbles, rainbow sprinkles, peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, coconut, Oreos, graham crackers, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, candy bar, sea salt, peanut butter drizzle, raspberry drizzle, powdered sugar, and cinnamon sugar. 

The Donut Experiment also serves hot coffee, cappuccino, espresso lattes and cold-brewed coffee for adults.

You can find The Donut Experiment on Pine Avenue. They’re open every day of the week from 7 AM-3 PM.

cupcakes

Cupcake Delights Bakery

Another sweet place to eat that the kids will love. Cupcake Delights is a family-owned bakery offering the freshest cupcakes in town. Their cream cheese and buttercream frostings are made from scratch. Try to stop in early in the day before they run out of the most popular cupcakes.

They offer a variety of cupcakes, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Classic Buttercream, Red Velvet and Classic Cream Cheese. They also have rotating flavors, like Andes Mint, Almond Joy, Boston Cream, Cappuccino Delight, Chocolate Nutella, Churro, French Toast, Maple Bacon and more.

Cupcake Delights is located on 3324 E Bay Drive and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 AM-5 PM.

Be Our Guest

Anna Maria Island is an idyllic family vacation destination, and our Anna Maria Beach Resort is the perfect accommodation for your family. Our boutique motel is situated right next to some of the most secluded Gulf beaches, so you can enjoy a peaceful family vacation. Our oversized pool is a great way for the kids to burn off some energy and enjoy some time in the water.

Plan Your Beach Visit

We have everything you and your loved ones need to enjoy a stress-free, unforgettable vacation on Anna Maria Island. Check out our rentals today!