The Top 5 Outdoor Activities on Anna Maria Island

When you visit Anna Maria Island, you’ll never run out of amazing things to do. No matter which activities you enjoy, you’re sure to find something fun to experience. If you’re looking for an adventure, hit the town for some shopping or dining. When you stay in an Anna Maria Island rental, why not appreciate the island by spending time outside? There are so many outdoor activities Anna Maria Island has to offer!

Whether you want to explore nature or just relax in a park, these preserves and parks are the perfect places to have memorable experiences on AMI! 

florida bird in some water
Photo from Shutterstock

Neal Preserve 

Neal Preserve is an incredible choice for outdoor fun just moments from your property. When traveling from our Anna Maria Island resort, head southeast on Gulf Drive toward 58th Street. Next, make a slight left to stay on Gulf Drive. You’ll then turn left on to FL-64 East/Manatee Drive. Finally, turn right to arrive at Neal Preserve. The Neal Preserve is open 365 days a year! You can stop by daily from sunrise to sunset to enjoy the beautiful nature preserve. The park is free to enter, so you can come in and enjoy the park at your leisure. 

If you’re looking for an easy hike while out in the Florida weather, there is a 0.3-mile nature hike loop. You can hike to the observation tower to get a full look at the park and the surrounding area as well. There are plenty of areas for bird watching and observing how our unique Florida birds live, nest, and enjoy their habitats. Since this park acts as a nature preserve and bird sanctuary, there are no bikes allowed on the trails. There are also no pets allowed. Visitors are encouraged to walk the half-mile trail on foot and enjoy the shell and boardwalk trails. 

Leffis Key Preserve

For another option to spend time outdoors on your Anna Maria Island vacation, consider journeying to Leffis Key Preserve. From our Anna Maria Island resort, you will head southeast on Gulf Drive toward 58th Street. You’ll continue on Gulf Drive to Bradenton Beach and arrive at Leffis Key in just a matter of minutes. The preserve is open every day throughout the year from 8 a.m. until sunset. Plus, the park is free to enter! You can come in and walk the footpaths along the hill, sit on the benches along the trails and enjoy the meandering boardwalks. The only cost would be a fishing license if you want to go fishing.

In the center of the preserve, there is a hill where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Sarasota Bay. You can explore the many hiking and nature trails that let you get close to all of the Florida wildlife. There are park rangers that offer environmental education about the preserve and the wildlife that call it home. There are also managed fishing areas available along the boardwalks.

Perico Preserve 

If you’re searching for a preserve that’s a bit more relaxed and secluded, try Perico Preserve. From the Anna Maria Beach Resort, you will head southeast on Gulf Drive to 58th Street. From there, you will make a slight left to make sure you stay on Gulf Drive. You will then turn left onto FL-64 East/Manatee Avenue to reach the preserve. The park is open daily throughout the year from sunrise to sunset. You’ll be able to walk in whenever you want to enjoy the beautifully restored park. 

After the preserve was reconceptualized as a bird sanctuary, it became a popular place for visitors who just want to walk the trails and admire the beautiful birds in our area. Park rangers and plaques along the trails help visitors learn about the birds and their environment. If you want to bike, there are designated trails that allow you to do so.

Robinson Preserve

One of the most popular preserves in the area is Robinson Preserve. There are two entrances to get into the park. To enter on the 17th Ave NW Entrance, head southeast on Gulf Drive towards 58th Street. You will then drive along FL-64 East/Manatee Avenue. Continue for about eight miles to arrive at your destination. This entrance has the Valentine House and its incredible exhibits.

For the 9th Avenue NW South Entrance, you will head southeast on Gulf Drive toward 58th Street, then make a slight left to stay on Gulf Drive. Turn left onto FL-64 East/Manatee Drive. You’ll then turn left onto 75th Street West. Then turn left on to 9th Avenue NW. At this entrance is The Expansion with the NEST and Canopy Zone. The Robinson Preserve is open daily throughout the year. You can come in anytime from sunrise to sunset. The Valentine House is open at select times throughout the year, which can change depending on the season. There is no cost to enter the park, so come in and have fun! 

There is so much to do when you come to Robinson Preserve! There are plenty of hiking trails and nature trails for those who want to explore on foot. You can also go kayaking or canoeing from the boat launch and follow the canoeing trails. You can follow the non-motorized bike trails and even go rollerblading here. There are picnic areas and pavilions for eating outside, and there are many wildlife viewing areas and observation towers to watch the wildlife. 

sea birds
Photo from Unsplash

Highland Hammock State Park

Finally, you might consider taking a trip down to Highland Hammock State Park. Just like the other journeys, you’re going to head southeast on Gulf Drive towards 58th Street. Then you will take the FL-64 East and Steve Roberts Special to North Hammock Road in Highlands County. You will then arrive at the Highlands Hammock State Park! The park is open 365 days a year starting at 8 a.m. and staying open until sunset. If you plan on visiting the park, there are different fees depending on your vehicle. The standard cost per vehicle that holds up to eight people is $6. For any single-occupant vehicle, it costs $4. All pedestrians and bicyclists pay $2. For tram tours of the park, it is $12 per adult and youth ages thirteen and older. For children between ages six to twelve, it is $7. 

You can take your bike out on a 3-mile paved loop through Hammock or explore the 6-mile off-road trail. There are plenty of nature trails and boardwalks for you to walk through and observe all of the beautiful nature that Florida has to offer. You can learn about the endangered species that call Florida their home while also seeing the delicate environments they live in. The Highlands Hammock is perfectly located in the East Section of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. You can observe birds in their natural communities across 9,000 acres of land! 

Plan Your Visit

During your stay in one of our Anna Maria Island rentals, be sure to check out at least one of these incredible destinations. Ready to plan your trip? Contact Anna Maria Beach Resort today to book your rental!