One of the best ways to spend an afternoon (or several) is kayaking on the waters around AMI. There are several spots to go around the island as well as Bradenton and Sarasota. Kayaking is a very relaxing activity not to mention a great way to get some exercise. Here are some of our favorite spots to drop a kayak in the water.
There are several spots throughout Tampa Bay where you can set out on your adventure. One of the easiest is just off the Manatee Bridge on the mainland. The area is wide and takes you right out in the bay. You can explore the areas around the Bridge or venture back into preserves.
Robinson Preserve is located in Bradenton just a couple of miles inland. While you can launch from the main entrance at 1704 99th Street, NW, another excellent place to start (not to mention where you can rent a kayak (LINK)) is on Palma Sola Bay on the north side. From there, you paddle and maneuver through a mangrove alcove into the waterways that guide you through Robinson. If you are a nature buff, this is a must-do so that you can what makes this area so glorious. Birds, fish, and other wildlife are abundant throughout the area.
Just the name Bimini Bay sounds so tropical that you know you want to venture out and see what’s out there. Bimini Bay is the main waterway into which the canals flow. It is also the inlet where boats of all sizes can go out into Tampa Bay with no bridges. This is the best place to kayak if you want smooth water and want to see dolphin and maybe even a manatee or two. There are a couple of spots that make launching easy: at the north end of the island and in Holmes Beach just off 63rd Street at the public boat ramp (behind the tennis courts). If you are thinking about buying property here, a fantastic way to see the island is by kayaking around Bimini Bay.
Gulf of Mexico
If you spend any time on the beaches of Anna Maria Island, you know that the water is typically smooth. Even “rough” days are not too rough on the water. Kayaking out in the Gulf is the best way to witness the wonders of sea life in the waters from dolphin to large fish and maybe even a shark or two (don’t worry – not Jaws). For experienced kayakers, if you go out on a day with a stronger current, you are, without a doubt, going to get a good workout. Beginners can enjoy a smoother day on the water and even have kayak rental companies drop off kayaks at the beach where they want to start.
Emerson Point, Palmetto
This is another fantastic place to visit while on vacation on Anna Maria Island. It’s about 30 minutes away in Palmetto and sits out on the point where the Manatee River and Tampa Bay meet. If you set out on a kayak there, you can venture up the Manatee River or hook around the tip and into Terra Ceia Bay which in and of itself is beautiful. On a side note, take some time and hike or bike around the trails. The views are spectacular and there’s a lot to see. If you visit in December and like to run, you can run the 5-mile Manatee River Run.
On the south end of the island at Coquina is Leffis Key. This is an excellent spot to set out to explore Sarasota Bay. Located directly across Gulf Drive from Coquina Beach, it is a great place to spend time as there are pathways for walking and running as well as places to fish.
Kayaking Around Anna Maria Island
Much of life here on the island revolves around the water. Kayaking around Anna Maria Island is the perfect way to explore the island from a different perspective. Wherever you choose to go, you can bet you’ll have a perfectly wonderful time on the water.