Day Trip from Sarasota to Anna Maria Island
(approximately 45 minute drive from downtown Sarasota)
If you are visiting or new to Sarasota and are looking for another place to explore, we love taking a day trip up to Anna Maria Island. It is about a 45 minute drive from downtown Sarasota and about a 20 minute drive from downtown Bradenton.
While Sarasota is becoming more modernized and busy, Anna Maria is its quaint and charming counterpart. There are no high rises here, and you won’t see any McDonalds or Starbucks. The beaches are beautiful and there are some great places to eat. If you want to stay the night or spend the weekend, there are plenty of rentals available on the island.
Things to do on Anna Maria Island
- Visit Pine Avenue to take a photo in the Anna Maria Jail that was built in 1927 (no longer functioning). There are also lots of cute shops along this street.
- Explore Bridge Street and grab a drink (or two) at the Bridge Tender Inn.
- Anna Maria City Pier offers really great views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a cruise ship departing from Tampa.
- Relax on the beach. Holmes Beach, Manatee Beach, and Coquina Beach are the most popular ones in the area. Come early if you want to get parking.
- Head to the Rod & Reel Pier to get a taste of Old Florida. They serve delicious seafood and you can fish off the pier for a $2 fee.
One of our favorite things to do is going over to Bridge Street for dinner and then walking along the beach to watch the sunset. There is plenty of dining, drinking, and shopping to be done. Whether you are looking for fine dining or a quick grouper sandwich, you have so many options on this small island.
When you drive from Sarasota to Anna Maria Island, we recommend taking the Ringling Bridge and going through St. Armand’s Circle and Longboat Key. It’s a beautiful drive!
Check out our post on more things to do on Anna Maria Island.
Have you been to Anna Maria Island? What are your favorite things to do here? Let us know in a comment!
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