Things To Do With The Family On Anna Maria Island

Ah, family vacations. They are great opportunities for you to bond with your kids and significant other. But what happens when the kids get bored? Some vacation spots don’t have a lot of kid-friendly sites, but there are plenty of things to do on AMI.

From kayaking to shelling, there are a ton of activities going on every day. There are also a vast number of shops scattered across the island that are fun for kids to browse. Get the kids out of your Anna Maria Island rentals and away from their tech gadgets with fun outings on the beach and to AMI’s numerous natural and historic sites.

Dolphins swimming in the water

Take a Dolphin Tour

Anna Maria Island is famous for its dolphin tours. Dolphins swim along the coastline, and you can see them when you take a boat tour. You might also glimpse an aggregation (a fancy word for ‘group’) of manatees, which typically contains six or fewer members. Seeing them is something of a rare treat, but it does happen around the coast.

Quite a few boat rental shops offer guided dolphin tours. You and your kids or grandkids can learn about the local wildlife populations and why this particular ecosystem is the perfect habitat for them.

The tours tend to have flexible hours and give discounts on group or family tours. You can book your tours in advance by calling one of the local rental shops, but you can also stop in during business hours.

Fun Shops for Kids

Bring your children to one of Anna Maria Island’s many souvenir shops and you will quickly find that these places offer so much more than just mementos. You can find awesome crafts, beach attire, and interactive toys that are fun for the whole family.

Shiny Fish Emporium on Pine Avenue offers sand dollar painting, and Island Bazaar on East Bay Drive is loaded with beachwear. Beach Bums Recreational Rentals & Gift Shop, located on Pine Avenue, has everything from golf carts to kayak tours where you can enter mangrove forests and find prime spots for manatees.

Shells on the beach


Shells are the most naturally beautiful souvenir you can take home, and, of course, Anna Maria Island’s beaches are loaded with them. Getting everyone out for a few hours of shelling can turn into an exciting adventure.

Look for shells along Manatee Public Beach, Palmetto Avenue Beach, Bayfront Park, Bean Point, or Coquina Public Beach. You can even find shark teeth buried in the sand if you are lucky!

Go shelling when it is low tide. This allows you access further out and reveals shells that would otherwise be hidden under the water. Shark teeth do more tumbling about in waves while shells will roll to and fro where the sand and water collide.

TreeUmph Adventure Course

Leave your AMI vacation rentals behind for a day of unparalleled thrills above the ground. TreeUmph Adventure Course is a 45-minute drive inland from AMI and features a 14-acre self-guided ziplining adventure.

You and your kids will not be rushed through the course, so take it easy and go at your own speed. The course culminates in a 650-foot zip line that flies you through the trees. You will be given a waiver to sign and will be trained on how to use safety harnesses before you get started.

Embark on a Fishing Expedition

Take the family out for a relaxing offshore fishing tour or hang out on one of the docks and cast your lure. Either way, you’re bound to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. The coastline is home to diverse schools of fish and other marine life, so there is a good chance you will hook a nice catch. Just imagine your child’s face when they reel in a mackerel!

Just make sure you have the proper fishing permits and meet all other regulations. The island has numerous beach fishing spots, and you can get all the gear you need from places like Fun and More Rentals. Some of the best spots are the Rod and Reel Pier and Longboat Pass.

If you want to head out onto the water to find bigger fish, charter a boat skippered by one of AMI’s experienced captains. Captain Logan is always in demand, as is Captain Tom with Dolphin Dreams Charters.

You will find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to fun family outings on Anna Maria Island. There is also a good deal more located just a few minutes inland. Your kids won’t be saying “I’m bored” while staying on such a family-friendly island paradise.