Feeling Adventurous? Try Snorkeling Tours on Anna Maria Island!

For some, vacation means sitting on a beach soaking up rays. For others, it means exploration and adventure. If you’re in the latter category, we recommend a snorkeling trip to see all the wildlife that calls Anna Maria Island home. 

For the perfect “surf and turf” day, join a snorkel tour in the morning and spend the afternoon exploring one of these five parks and preserves to see birds and other South Florida wildlife. Or, if you prefer to be floating on — not in — the gulf waters, take a kayak tour with one of the island’s many operators. The beauty of a trip to the Anna Maria Island Beach Resort is that there’s something for everyone.

Underwater adventurers, read on. We’ve put together a list of some of the best Anna Maria Island snorkeling tours. Are you ready? Dive in!

Egmont Key Adventures

Plan the perfect day, start with breakfast from a delicious Anna Maria Island breakfast spot, then pack your bag and head to Egmont Key Adventures! These private snorkel tours take you into the heart of Egmont Key State Park, a secluded wildlife refuge located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, just off the island’s northern tip.

Egmont Key is known for its incredible shelling, and since it’s only accessible by private charter, it is the perfect place to explore with a snorkeling trip. Collect shells, stroll along the white-sand beaches, and visit an 1858 lighthouse all in a day.

The park is also home to the 19th-century ruins of Fort Dade, built during the Spanish-American War. 

This cruise and snorkeling adventure in Egmont Key State Park is perfect for family trips and bachelorette parties. The Holmes Beach tour operator offers private charters of three or four hours and can accommodate up to 18 passengers.

Remember, this is a remote island, so bring food, sunscreen, and plenty of water for your trip. Or, grab something sweet from Anna Maria Island’s local bakeries and ice cream parlors on your way back to your Anna Maria Island Resort room!

Nature Coast Excursions

Dolphins, manatees, and rays — oh my! This local excursion gets you close and personal with all kinds of marine life.

The three-hour tour takes you to Egmont Key for a natural and cultural experience. Snorkel the shallow waters to swim among sub-tropical fish and other animals, explore the ruins of Spanish-American war-era forts, comb the beaches for shells, and stroll nature trails in search of a burrowing gopher tortoise, which provides shelter for hundreds of other species. Shallows around Egmont and Passage Keys are known for their shells and sand dollars, making them a destination for shelling.

An extended six-hour tour gives you more time to snorkel and swim, exploring further the keys surrounding Anna Maria Island.

Nature Coast also offers a relaxing two-hour sunset cruise with “adult beverages” and a dolphin tour that takes you through waterways, grass flats, and near sandbars where swirling waters meet.

women snorkeling with fish
Photo from Shutterstock

Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions

Take a trip down the Anna Maria Island coastline with Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions.

The Bradenton tour operator promises a day of fun as you cruise around Anna Maria Island waterways, head to the mouth of Tampa Bay to secluded Egmont Key, and explore the waters around Passage Key, a 60-acre wildlife refuge used by more than 50 species of birds, including American oystercatchers and laughing gulls. 

As always, on Anna Maria Island, keep an eye out for dolphins and manatees swimming in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters.

Snorkeling tours are three or four hours and can be offered privately for a fee. Two-hour trips sightseeing trips are also available. As well as being local experts, captains Kasay and Paul are licensed and trained in CPR and first aid to ensure both a fun and safe day on the water.

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Village of the Arts in Bradenton for galleries, eateries, gift shops, historic homes, and more.

Plan Your Visit!

Plan the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation with Anna Maria Beach Resort, our rooms put you close to all the best shops, restaurants, and activities, all while giving you the privacy you need during your getaway! Book your stay today!

YOLO Parasailing & Adventures

Life is short. Go snorkeling on Anna Maria Island while you’re on vacation.

As its name suggests, the Bradenton Beach operator offers a host of adventures, including parasailing, fishing charters, and boat and snorkel trips to uninhabited keys north of the island. 

Explore the ruins of partially submerged forts dating back more than 150 years, and hang out in the seagrass beds where many species like to hang out.

YOLO is staffed by a crew of native and longtime Floridians who can point out all the best spots to see wildlife and share the history of the Egmont Key in the Spanish-American War. The company offers tours from three to six hours, but snorkeling is only offered on longer trips.

If you prefer to spend a day on the water relaxing, hire a private YOLO boat charter for a fully-customized half-day tour. Scout for dolphins, birds, and other wildlife, or stop at beaches to search for shells. You can even stop to grab a bite to eat with your toes in the sand at an Anna Maria Island beachfront restaurant before you return to the boat to finish up the tour. What you do on this personalized tour is up to you!

Passage Key Dolphin Tours

Visit several nearby Gulf of Mexico spots for snorkeling near Anna Maria Island, including Egmont Key, Jewfish Key, and Palma Sola Bay.

Snorkelers of all levels will enjoy the shallow-water snorkeling offered near the island. Search for sand dollars and fighting conchs along the sandy ocean floor. Or, head to the sunken ruins of Fort Dade to see colorful corals, tubular tunicates, and porous sea sponges, among other underwater species.

The ruins of Fort Dade, including Burchstead and Page’s batteries, are not only culturally significant but attract structure-loving marine life. Cruise the gulf in a luxury bowrider with a shaded lounge and bathroom. Tours are limited to six people, so leave the crowds behind when you book with Passage Key.

The company also offers “build-your-own” tours for groups or those who prefer something private, as well as dolphin and sunset cruises.

Kid on snorkeling tour
Photo from Shutterstock

Your Anna Maria Island Accommodations

After a long day of Anna Maria Island snorkeling, you’ll need a comfortable place to sit back and put your feet up with a cold drink. Look no further than Anna Maria Beach Resort. No matter where you stay at our stunning resort, you’ll have your own private outdoor space for reading, dining, and simply watching the explosion of colors that fill the island’s skies as the sun goes down. The lagoon-style outdoor pool is a great place to cool off or for the kids to play. 

Our queen and king rooms each sleep four and have everything you need for a relaxing getaway, like, kitchenettes, internet access, TVs and streaming services, and access to resort amenities like lawn games and the lagoon-style pool. Choose one of our beautiful luxury suites for more spacious accommodations with a full-sized fridge. These open-concept suites sleep four guests, boasting a king bed and a queen sleeper sofa.

If you’re seeking a vacation that offers days full of outdoor adventure, afternoons by the pool, and relaxing evenings under the glow of a sunset, look no further. Book your Anna Maria Island accommodations with us today!