5 Most Popular Attractions Near Anna Maria Island

People love clear water and stunning beaches in Anna Maria Island. But when you look for attractions and exciting activities you usually look beyond the island for entertainment. Here’s how to plan a trip to Anna Maria Island.

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Busch Gardens

When you get restless and had your fill of the Anna Maria Island beaches, beautiful and scenic as they are, it’s time to head out of the island and go find the biggest and boldest attractions of Anna Maria Island. Only one hour from Anna Maria Island, Busch Gardens, in Tampa, Florida, promises fun, adventure, and all the thrills that a theme park can offer.

African animals, exciting rides, and live entertainment are just a few of the activities that will keep you busy all day there. And children will have their fun too with the water rides and games.

Roller Coasters are quite popular among visitors here. There are four thrill rides to choose from: Cheetah Hunt, Montu, SheiKra, and Falcons Fury. They all live up to their outlandish names, so leave your worries behind and get on the ride. It’s time to let the little child inside have fun again.

Salvador Dali Museum

This classic museum is one of the best attractions for families near Anna Maria Island. Salvador Dali Museum, in St. Petersburg, has about 2000 pieces by the famous flamboyant artist. A private collector spent his entire life collecting these pieces which he donated to the museum.

If you’re staying at Anna Maria Island, then all you need to do is cross the bridge into St. Petersburg, Florida. People from all over the country come to St. Petersburg specifically for this must-see museum with its unique collection of the surrealist painter.

salvador dali museum exhibit
Photo from Pixabay

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

For performing arts lovers who prefer a more comprehensive approach to art and entertainment, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art offers a lot of fun, entertainment, and plenty of art history. Located in Sarasota, Florida, only thirty minutes away from Anna Maria Island, the museum takes a liberal approach to art, from carnival train cars to costumes.

Here you can see how the history of Ringling has unfolded, featuring circus performers displaying their skills as they walk on a tight wire, stuff a clown’s car with all kinds of packages, and perform with well-trained tigers. The museum also has the archives of John Ringling which contain his Circus Papers. This is a place for education and entertainment that will be fun for the whole family.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

This one is a favorite for children of all ages. So if you’re staying in one of our Anna Maria Island rentals with your family, just make the short trip to Sarasota and treat the kids to some underwater fun. First opened in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium now has over 100 marine species. One of these species is the dreaded yet alluring shark. A shark habitat will give you a close glimpse of the life and habits of the magnificent shark. Children will also be able to get close to starfish and feed stingrays. This is one of the best nearby attractions for families visiting Anna Maria Island.

Plan Your Vacation

Finding the perfect place to rest and relax after a long day enjoying the area is key. Check out our selection of Anna Maria Island vacation rentals today!

Fort Desoto Beach

Southwest of St. Petersburg, lies Fort Desoto Park, operated by Pinellas County. The park is on the five offshore keys which are connected by either a bridge or causeway. For the history buff, Fort Desoto Beach is something you wouldn’t want to miss during your vacation.

History and natural beauty come together to produce a sublime landscape. The historical area is the proud location of a historical fort, exotic wildlife, and a fishing pier that anglers love to use to enjoy their hobby. The beaches here have their own distinct character as well. While Anna Maria Island has its own beaches, you can also take a fun day trip here to see even more.

Looking for more of what to do in Anna Maria? These nearby attractions and many more will keep you entertained throughout your entire stay.