Stress-Free Anna Maria Things to Do with Toddlers

Planning a family vacation can be simultaneously exciting and stressful, especially if you’ll be traveling with toddlers or young kids. You want to ensure that you choose a vacation destination where both the children and adults will have plenty to explore, no matter the varying interests of your group. 

Anna Maria Island is the perfect destination for a family vacation, as this seven-mile stretch of land offers a little something for everyone. You can spend your days taking advantage of the various family-friendly activities, restaurants, and day trips in the area before returning to our luxurious Anna Maria Island accommodations.

If you’re thinking about a visit to Anna Maria Island, keep in mind some of these family-friendly activities.

Kids splashing the pool at Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Beaches

Of course, one of the best family-friendly activities during a Florida vacation is heading to the beach! You can simply pack up your beach umbrellas and towels and head to the shore to spend the day in the sunshine. Even though Anna Maria Island is just seven miles long, there is always an open spot for you and your family on the shoreline. 

One of the most popular family friendly beaches is Manatee Public Beach, located in Holmes Beach. This spot accommodates tons of visitors with the extensive parking lot and miles of shoreline, but you can also take advantage of amenities like changing cabanas, restrooms, picnic tables, and gift shop. The lifeguards will help keep your family safe, and you can let your kids run around at the playground or on the volleyball court.

Located in Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach is another popular option that is typically less crowded than Manatee Public Beach. You’ll see some incredible scenery for those classic beach family pictures, and you can take advantage of amenities like the concession stand, beach equipment rentals, picnic areas and pavilions, and water fountains. Take your family for a walk on the multi-use path, or rent a bike and stow it on the convenient bike racks.

Finally, in the City of Anna Maria, you’ll find Bayfront Park. You’ll have absolutely unmatched views of Egmont Key and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and there are multiple pavilions and grills for you to enjoy a delicious lunch with your family. While this destination does not have lifeguard services, you will find amenities like showers and restrooms, water fountains, and a playground.

Other Kid-Friendly Activities

Toddler walking on Anna Maria Island beach

Besides the beach, there are ample kid friendly activities that you can find near the hotels on Anna Maria Island’s beach. If you have a creative soul in your family, bring them to The Shiny Fish Emporium on Pine Avenue. The friendly and welcoming staff will get you and your kids set up with smocks, sand dollars, and any color of paint you might imagine. You can customize your sand dollar exactly the way you want it, and you can even add glitter! The staff will hang your sand dollar to dry and allow you to take it home as a special souvenir or a Christmas ornament. You can also browse the shop to find unique heirloom quality toys and hand curated clothing and gifts.

If you want to spend some time outside but don’t want to be right on the beach, head down to the Anna Maria Island City Pier. This is a great option for the family on a budget, as it’s a free way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. The views from the pier are absolutely unmatched, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some majestic dolphins! If you get hungry while you’re walking the pier, pop in to the City Pier Restaurant for a casual family dining experience.

Ready to get competitive? The Fish Hole Adventure Golf is a great activity to bond with your family. Conveniently located on Bridge Street, The Fish Hole offers a challenge for the whole group, so members young and old will have a great time. Even the littlest toddlers can get in on the action! You can enjoy the view of the course and Bridge Street, then when you’re done golfing, head out to grab a bite to eat or get your souvenir shopping done.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

One of the best parts about vacation is trying the local food, and there are several great family friendly restaurants near many motels on Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a beachside eatery with global seafood dishes, The Waterfront Restaurant is the place to be. You can sit inside in the dining room or enjoy your meal out on the patio. You’ll experience a large menu full of seafood and land entrees, sandwiches, and small plates, as well as a kids’ menu with classic pics like mac and cheese and steak bites. Don’t forget to grab a slice of key lime pie for dessert!

You simply can’t have an Anna Maria vacation without visiting Rod and Reel Pier. Families come from far and wide to experience this treasure on the far north end of the island and have been loving this restaurant since 1947. You can head to the upstairs dining room or the outside covered deck for a family-friendly, Old Florida experience. You’ll find classic appetizers like peel and eat shrimp and chicken fingers, as well as main courses like the seafood combo or crab cake dinner. Kids will love the hot dogs, grilled cheese, fish and chips, or fried shrimp, and the whole family will adore the key lime pie for dessert. 

Best of all, you can step right out of the restaurant and be on the shore!

For a special after-dinner treat, bring your family to The Donut Experiment to grab a customized, made-to-order donut. Every selection starts with a fresh-made cake donut which you can personalize to your liking, with icings like caramel or maple and toppings such as sprinkles, Oreo cookies, bacon, raspberry drizzle, and everything in between! They even have specialty donuts like the key lime, sriracha, and daily special varieties.

Day Trips to Sarasota

Little boy admiring the fish in the aquarium

Anna Maria Island is just minutes away from Sarasota, opening up even more fun activities for you all to get into. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is ideal for bringing your kids into nature, and they will love running around in the play area and tree house. For even more fun in nature, head to The Children’s Garden which combines playground structures and plenty of places to explore.

If your kids like animals, bring them to the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. This nonprofit marine research organization is dedicated to teaching visitors about wildlife and their habitats, and you can get up close and personal with some of the animals they are rehabilitating. You might also be interested in Sarasota Jungle Gardens, where you can explore the 10 acres of botanical plantings, watch the incredible bird and animal shows, then grab a bite to eat at the Flamingo Cafe.

Plan Your Visit

Best Resort Rooms for YouAnna Maria Beach Resort is proud to be your premier destination for AMI accommodations. Whether you have a family big or small, we have the room to suit you! We offer rentals of all sizes and prices, so you can truly personalize your vacation and get the ideal rental unit for you. You’ll experience upscale accommodations with Gulf views and stylish interiors, allowing you to truly enjoy your getaway and forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Ready to start planning? Contact us today to learn more!