How You Should Explore the Waters of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a quaint island with that “Old Florida” charm, but there’s no lack of things to do with your family. Many of the best Anna Maria Island things to do revolve around the water. Sure, you can spend your days swimming in the Gulf or casting your line for a fish, but there are plenty of other ways to get in the water as well!

With all the fun Anna Maria Island watersports and boat tours, you can find a new hobby for every day of your vacation!


What to Do

Watersports in Anna Maria Island are simply unmatched, and there are plenty of them. Even if you’re new to the world of watersports, you’ll find something you enjoy, and you can learn from a knowledgeable guide at one of the area’s shops. Some of the most popular water sports on AMI include kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skis, and surfing.


Kayaking is a great way for the whole family to see the waters surrounding AMI, even if you’ve never been in a kayak before! Kayak tours through the mangroves are incredibly popular and are the perfect opportunity to see the area’s nature and wildlife up close. You’ll have a guide with you teaching you how to kayak, then they’ll take you through the waters and teach you all about the history and nature of the island. Most tours last 1-2 hours and are easy to fit into your schedule.

Paddle Boarding

While kayaking is a bit slower-paced and more laid back, paddle boarding is an opportunity to get your adrenaline pumping. It’s also great exercise! Paddle boarding requires quite a bit of balance, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be paddling through the water like a champ. Similar to kayak tours, you can also take paddle board tours through the mangroves. Some local establishments even offer paddle board yoga! Of course, you don’t have to take a tour; you can rent a paddle board for yourself and take things at your own pace.

Jet Skis

If you’re really looking for a thrill on the water, there’s no better way to do it than with a Jet Ski! Jet Skis are incredibly popular in Anna Maria Island, and for good reason. Grab your friends and zoom through the water for an absolutely unforgettable experience. You can rent your own Jet Ski or head out on a Jet Ski tour to see the local waters in a totally new way. This experience is sure to be one you won’t soon forget!


When you think about surfing, you probably picture California, but there’s actually some great surfing to be had on AMI! Granted, you’re not likely to see the giant waves you might be thinking of, but Anna Maria Island is the ideal place to start if you’re new to the sport. There are plenty of places nearby where you can rent a surfboard or take some lessons. Surfing is something that everyone should try at least once, and Anna Maria Island is the ideal place to get started.

Where to Rent

For your kayak rentals and tours, visit Anna Maria Island Adventure Rentals. Salty Buddha specializes in paddleboard rentals and lessons (and they also host those paddleboard yoga sessions we mentioned). Fun and More is your source for paddleboards, kayaks, surfboards, and beach supplies of all kinds. If you’re looking for a Jet Ski, AMI Watersports is your destination. This is just a handful of the rental locations across the island, so you’re sure to find one around almost any corner!


Boat Tours

What to Do

For an experience that’s a bit more relaxed but still lets you make the most of your time on the water, consider a boat tour! Boat tours on Anna Maria Island are perfect for the whole family, since they’re more laid back and let you simply enjoy the water. Most boat tours are offered multiple times throughout the day, so they’re easy to fit into any itinerary. You can embark on a dolphin tour or sunset cruise, or you could even rent a boat for yourself!

Dolphin Tour

Dolphin tours are the quintessential way to see Anna Maria Island waters. There are tons of tour companies in the area, so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs. Many tours even have a guarantee where if you don’t see dolphins, you don’t pay! You’re also likely to spot marine life like manatees and sea turtles, as well as local bird species flying above. Your whole family will love learning from your captain and spotting the majestic dolphins in the water.

Sunset Cruise

What could be more relaxing and romantic than a sunset cruise? Anna Maria Island has some of the most stunning sunsets in Florida, and a sunset cruise is an ultimate way to close out your evening. You’ll be taken on a calming trip through the waters, and you’re still likely to see the wildlife you’d see on a dolphin tour. But you also get the added bonus of watching the sun dip down under the horizon. There’s truly no better way to end a fun day of exploring with the ones you love most.

Boat Rentals

If you’re comfortable being the captain of your own boat or you just want a little more privacy for your excursion, you can rent a boat! There are plenty of options in the area with boats big and small, perfect for all your needs. You can select a boat that’s great for just sailing around the waters, or you might want a specific vessel that’s meant for an all-day fishing trip. You’re easily able to customize your selection to make the most of your time in the Gulf.

Where to Rent

In addition to their watersports rentals, AMI Watersports also offers boat rentals with multiple sizes of pontoons and hurricanes. Anna Maria Island Boat Rentals is a family-owned business that has affordable pontoon boats for you to select from. Bradenton Beach Marina offers rentals for half day morning, half day afternoon, or full day. H2O Watersportz and Cortez Watersports are two more awesome local options.

Where to Stay

Once you’ve spent your day on the water, you’re sure to be exhausted. You’ll want a comfortable place to relax with your loved ones and gear up for another fun day ahead. Anna Maria Beach Resort is proud to be the premier provider of AMI accommodations. No matter how many people are in your group or how much you’re looking to spend, we’ve got you covered!

Plan Your Vacation

We treat every guest like family and provide everything you need for a relaxing getaway. No request is too big or too small! Our rentals give you the perfect combination of luxury and comfort, letting you live like royalty on your vacation. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to start booking your Anna Maria Island getaway!