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4 Best Day Trips from Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is known for being one of the more laid-back areas of Florida, where you can experience the warm sunshine and gorgeous Gulf views without being bombarded by crowds. Anna Maria Island hotels and rentals tend to have more space and less commotion, letting you fully relax on your getaway.

If you’re in the area, there are several surrounding cities that offer just as much fun and excitement as the island, and they’re quick and easy to reach, perfect for a day trip. Here are a few of our favorite spots.

Lido Key

Lido Key is just half an hour from Anna Maria Island, the ideal distance for a fun day trip. Head to Lido Key Beach to stroll down the white sand, pick up seashells, and enjoy the Gulf breeze. Want to check out some wildlife? Visit Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, a great family destination that offers over 100 species of marine life to learn about.

Right near Lido Key is another can’t-miss destination: St. Armand’s Circle. Here, you’ll find the breathtaking Florida views you’ve come to expect, along with gorgeous mid-century modern architecture and an unbeatable shopping and dining experience. This area is the perfect combination of elegance and comfort, ideal for spending the day.


Sarasota is just over 30 minutes away from the island, and getting there might be easier than you think. If you don’t have a car, just hop on the free Anna Maria Trolley and ride it to the end of the line at Coquina Beach. There, switch onto the Long Boat Key Trolley for just .75 cents and ride all the way into Sarasota. You’ll have a great view of the quaint Anna Maria Island cottages and the Gulf of Mexico on your way through.

Once you arrive, there are tons of activities to get into, no matter what your taste. Visit Sarasota Paddleboard Company for some fun in the sun, or head indoors and explore The John and Mable Ringling Museum or any of the other art galleries. Head to the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary to get up close and personal with wildlife, or catch a show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. You certainly won’t run out of fun things to explore!

Siesta Key

Siesta Key is a bit more of a journey, almost an hour away from the island. But don’t let the distance deter you! There is plenty on the key that will make your trip well worth it. Of course, beautiful beaches like Siesta Key Beach or Crescent Beach offer some of the best surf and sun in the state, but you can also shop, dine, and find something fun for the whole family.

One unique event is the Siesta Key Drum Circle, bringing together people of all ages to enjoy the Sunday sunset with some wonderful music. Siesta Key Village is where you’ll find local vendors and fresh seafood, and you can’t miss an extra dose of relaxation at Hands of Light Massage Therapy. Siesta Key may be small, but it packs a big punch!


Head an hour north of Anna Maria Island to reach Tampa, one of the larger Florida cities. You’ll find tons to do with the family or your sweetheart. Want an adrenaline rush? Check our Busch Gardens and the fantastic roller coasters. Need something a bit slower? Ybor City has tons of vintage shops and a great local-centric museum.

To get up close to some incredible wildlife, visit the Florida Aquarium (complete with a splash pad!) or ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Stop into the iconic Tampa Theatre, or cool off with Bo’s Ice Cream. Tampa is a one-of-a-kind city, perfect for a little extra city life thrown into your vacation.

Ready to Visit Florida’s Gulf Coast?

Anna Maria Island makes for a lovely Florida vacation, and you can branch out with any of these fun day trips. Contact us today for more information and to book vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island. We have long been the industry leader in the area, and we look forward to helping you plan the getaway of your dreams.


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