If Florida is known for anything besides its brilliant beaches, it’s the theme parks. Some of the most iconic theme parks can be found in the direct heart of Florida, with some massive parks also along each of the state’s coasts – and many within a reasonable driving distance of Anna Maria Island.
There are many family vacationers who want to get the best of both worlds on their vacation away. They stay on the quiet tropics of Anna Maria Island while taking big day trips into the nearby cities for a day of theme park adventuring.
Stay in our vacation rentals by owner on the gulf and head to the nearby cities for some adrenaline pumping excitement. How do you plan a day trip to the theme parks for a productive and sensational day of magic, adventure, and smiles for the kids and the adults?
The World Revolves Around Disney World
For some, Disney world is the center of the universe- and you can get a piece of it. Take a family-friendly adventure to the home of all the Disney classics.
Disney World is divided into five major parks, and each one offers a life-changing experience, from the majestic wonder of Magic Kingdom to the animal-themed romps of Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios is pack-filled with film characters and rides. Disney World is the one place everyone has to check out at least once in their life.
It is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Anna Maria Island, right off of I-4. Plan to leave in the late morning to avoid traffic. Try to book special attractions ahead of time, such as show events or dinner engagements, if they are available. Your time will fly by, so expect a massive day into the evening.
Universal Orlando is a brilliant complement to Disney World. It is also found about 2 hours from Anna Maria Island. Universal Orlando has two sides. These are Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure is more known for the big roller coasters, while Universal Studios has more 3D rides, many shops, Jurassic Park, and more.
Many guests try to make it to both parks in one day, using the in-between transit of the Hogwarts Express. Universal Orlando is also home to the World of Harry Potter (on both sides of the park), The Revenge of the Mummy ride, Transformers 3D, Spiderman, the Kong: Skull Island ride, and many film-related adventures for all ages.
Though Universal Orlando and Disney World earn most of the acclaim for big and bold Florida theme parks, you can find some rewarding options closer to Anna Maria Island.
Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens in nearby Tampa is a fantastic family-friendly getaway. You can tackle the twists and turns of its big roller coasters, such as Sheikra, Kumba, and more. Animal lovers can find a whole lot to adore with the many animal attractions at the Busch Gardens Zoo section of the park.
Busch Gardens is located about an hour north of our barrier island getaway. It’s a closer and overall more affordable alternative to Disney World. Get ready for the rushing roller coasters and enjoy a full day of family excitement with plenty of time to head back to your Anna Maria Island vacation rental.
Adventure Island in Tampa
Adventure Island is a pure water park about an hour north of Anna Maria Island, and one of the absolute best of its kind. The park is filled with fast paced tube rides, corkscrew slides, twisted and curved downhill slides, and a whole lot more.
Loungers can spend their time enjoying the wave pool, and the kids in your group can find more relaxed water rides that are a little more their speed.
Adventure Island is one of the most accessible theme parks in Florida for anyone seeking a water adventure. Prepare with a bathing suit, a change of clothes, sunscreen, and other sunny day essentials.
Clear the Day
No matter what big theme park you go to, you should clear the schedule and dedicate the day’s “to do” list to the park. Trust us, each park has more than enough to fill up a day’s activities. Plan to eat lunch and dinner in or near the park to enjoy all it has to offer.
You don’t have to stay in the thick of the action for your Florida escape. You can unwind on the beaches of Anna Maria Island for the majority of your family getaway, and take a big day adventure to Tampa or Orlando for the exhausting fun.
Find out more information about Anna Maria Island in the articles below:
Sea Turtle Nesting Season on Anna Maria Island
Where To Eat On Anna Maria Island
Three Beaches You Must Visit On Anna Maria Island