Anna Maria Island Events: The Ultimate Bucket List for 2024

Your Ultimate Guide to Anna Maria Island Events – Plan Your Getaway



Anna Maria Island is a super special place. It’s got soft, warm beaches, yummy seafood, and friendly people. But did you know it also has tons of exciting events happening all the time? These events make visiting the island even more fun! Let’s dive in and discover what’s happening on Anna Maria Island and the best Activities in the Island.


A Bit About the Island’s History

A long time ago, Native American people lived on Anna Maria Island. Then, way later, explorers came and built houses. Over time, more and more people wanted to visit this beautiful place, and it became a favorite spot for vacations! Anna Maria Island still has a cozy, old-timey feeling, and they celebrate their history with cool events.


The Best Yearly Events

The Anna Maria Island Artwalk: Imagine walking through a colorful outdoor art gallery! That’s the Artwalk. You’ll see amazing paintings, sculptures, and maybe even someone making a sandcastle that looks like a real castle!

SandBlast Festival: This competition is all about building the coolest things out of sand. You might see a giant octopus, a mermaid, or even a whole underwater city!

Paws in Motion: Love dogs? This event is for you! Watch pups race, do tricks, and maybe even try to surf! It’s a barking good time.


Events for Every Season

 Springtime Fun: Easter egg hunts with colorful surprises and spring festivals full of yummy food and games.

Summertime Celebrations: Fireworks on the beach for July 4th and parties where you can dance in the sand!

 Fall Festivals: Celebrate the harvest with pumpkins, hayrides, and maybe even a costume contest.

Cozy Winter Events: Twinkling lights at the Christmas parade and fun New Year’s Eve parties to ring in the new year.


Family Time on the Island

Kids love Anna Maria Island events! There are special activities just for them, like building sandcastles, learning about sea creatures, or making new friends at a playground party.

Anna Maria Island events
Anna Maria Island events

More Awesome Events

Sports Fans: Fishing tournaments to catch the biggest fish and golf, where you might see dolphins splashing nearby!

 Music and Culture:

  • Listen to music right on the beach.
  • Celebrate different cultures with food and dance.
  • Head to a local bar for a night of tunes.

Foodies Unite Festivals with every kind of food you can imagine, places to taste yummy wine, and markets with fresh fruits and veggies.


Must-See Events This Year!

Some must-see Anna Maria Island events:

Bayfest: The Island’s Biggest Bash. Get ready for the party of the year! Bayfest is a buzzing street festival with live music on multiple stages, delicious food from all your favorite island restaurants, and tons of cool vendors to check out. It’s a full day of music, food, and that laid-back Anna Maria Island vibe.

Creativity Unleashed at ArtsHOP: If you love art, ArtsHOP will make your heart sing. Discover galleries overflowing with paintings, sculptures, and amazing crafts. Meet local artists, watch live demonstrations, and take a piece of island creativity home with you!

SandBlast Spectacular Festival: Prepare to be amazed as artists turn ordinary sand into extraordinary masterpieces! The SandBlast Festival is a world-class sand sculpting competition where you’ll see creations beyond your wildest dreams. There are even classes if you want to try your hand at building your sandcastle kingdom.

Symphony on the Sand:  Imagine a picnic basket, a breathtaking sunset, and a full orchestra playing beautiful melodies with the waves as their backdrop. That’s Symphony on the Sand, a magical evening you’ll never forget.

Paws in Motion: Furry Friend Frenzy Calling all dog lovers! Paws in Motion is an adorable celebration of our furry companions. Watch talented pups show off their skills, meet local animal rescue groups, and enjoy a day dedicated to man’s best friend.



Anna Maria Island Event Tips

Planning is your friend when it comes to enjoying those awesome Anna Maria Island events! Here are some tips to make it a breeze:

Book Early: Popular events on Anna Maria Island fill up fast! Decide what you want to experience, then book your accommodations in advance. This is especially important during busy seasons like spring and around holidays.

Check the Calendar: Always double-check dates and times on official event websites ( is a good one!). Event details can sometimes change, so you’ll be up-to-date and ready to go.

Beat the Traffic: Since Anna Maria Island is a long, narrow island, traffic can sometimes slow down around big events. Leave a little extra time to get where you’re going, especially during peak hours.

Pack for Fun: Think sunscreen, comfy walking shoes, a water bottle to stay hydrated, and some cash for vendors and treats. If it’s an evening event, a light sweater might be nice in case of the sea breeze.

Respect the Island: Anna Maria Island is a special place. Help keep it beautiful by packing out any trash, being mindful of others, and leaving the beach just as perfect as you found it.

Bonus Tip: Many events offer special programs or activities for kids. Check beforehand if you’re traveling with the family to make the most of it!


How to Reach Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is easily accessible, with options to suit different travel styles:

Flying In

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). This is the closest airport, about a 30-minute drive from the island. You can rent a car, take a taxi or rideshare, or use the Island Trolley.

  •  Tampa International Airport (TPA) is A larger airport about an hour away, offering more flight options. Similar transportation choices apply.
  •  St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) Another option about 1 hour away.


Driving Adventures

  • From the North, Follow I-75 South to Bradenton and take the exits for SR-64 (Manatee Ave) or SR-789 (Cortez Road), which will lead you directly onto the island.
  • From the South, Head North on I-75 and take the exits for SR-64 (Manatee Ave) or SR-789 (Cortez Road), which connect to Anna Maria Island.

Scenic Route: Take a detour through Longboat Key on SR-789 (Gulf of Mexico Drive) for beautiful coastal views before crossing over to the island.

Relax and Let Someone Else Drive

Airport Shuttles: Several companies offer airport shuttle services directly to your Anna Maria Island accommodation.

Island Trolley: Once on the island, hop on the free Anna Maria Island Trolley to go up and down the island with ease.


Helpful Tips

Check Traffic Especially during holidays and weekends, plan your travel time accordingly to avoid delays.

Parking Some events have designated parking areas; others might require street parking. Check ahead for the most convenient options.

Island Exploration Renting bikes or using the trolley are fantastic ways to get around Anna Maria Island and avoid parking hassles.



Anna Maria Island offers a variety of places to stay, catering to every taste and budget:

Charming Beachfront Resorts: Wake up to ocean views and step right onto the sand from these beautiful resorts. Many offer pools, on-site dining, and activities for the whole family.

Anna Maria Beach Resort:

Cozy Vacation Rentals: Perfect for families or groups of friends, choose from a wide selection of condos, houses, and villas with kitchens, living spaces, and often private pools or hot tubs.

Check out:

VRBO Anna Maria Island

Historic Inns and B&Bs: For a touch of old Florida charm, opt for a quaint inn or bed & breakfast, often with delicious homemade breakfasts and a laid-back atmosphere.

Camping and RV Parks: Embrace the outdoors at a campground or RV park. Enjoy the island’s natural beauty while still close to amenities and the beach.

Finding Your Perfect Place

Budget: Anna Maria Island has options for everyone, from budget-friendly to luxury.

Vacation Rentals:

Smaller Units: Look for studio apartments, one-bedroom condos, or smaller houses offered on platforms like VRBO and Airbnb. These often have lower rates than larger properties.

Location Considerations: Opt for rentals slightly further from the beachfront for better deals. The free Anna Maria Island Trolley lets you easily hop to the beach and other attractions.

Travel Off-Season: Visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring/fall) or weekdays leads to better prices for vacation rentals.

Resorts and Inns
Resorts and Inns

Resorts/Hotels with Value:

Smaller Resorts and Inns: Several smaller, family-run resorts and inns offer comfortable rooms, often with pools and beach access, at more affordable rates than the larger beachfront properties.

Package Deals: Watch out for special packages offered by some hotels and resorts that include breakfast or activities, saving you money in the long run.



KOA Campground: Located on the mainland with easy access to the island, KOA campgrounds offer tent sites, RV spots, and even cabin rentals at very budget-friendly prices.

Additional Tips:


Cooking In: Utilize the kitchen in your rental or prepare some meals at your campsite to save on dining out costs.

Flexibility: Being flexible with your travel dates can open up better deals. Consider weekdays or off-peak times for the best budget finds.

Local Resources: Websites like AMI Locals ( often list special promotions or smaller properties with great value.

Location: Decide if you want to be in the heart of the action (near shops and restaurants) or prefer a quieter area with a more secluded feel.

Amenities: Consider your ‘must-haves’ like pools, beach access, balconies, or full kitchens.

Booking Tips

Popular Choice: Anna Maria Island is a beloved destination, so book early, especially for peak seasons.

Search Resources: Websites like VRBO, Airbnb, and local rental agencies offer vacation rentals. Check out the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce website for a list of resorts and hotels.

Reviews Matter: Read online reviews to get a sense of the place and other visitors’ experiences.

local Food
local Food

Local Cuisine to Try During Events

Anna Maria Island’s dining scene is as relaxed and charming as the island itself. From fresh-off-the-boat seafood to cozy cafes, here’s what to savor during your event adventures:


Seafood Specialties:

Feast on the freshest grouper, snapper, shrimp, and oysters prepared in every way imaginable. Popular spots include:


The Sandbar Restaurant: Beachfront dining with stunning views.

The Waterfront Restaurant: Easygoing vibes and classic seafood dishes.

Rod and Reel Pier: A laid-back pier with fishing and fantastic seafood baskets.

Local Delicacies: Don’t miss these island favorites.


Grouper Sandwich: A Florida classic!

Key Lime Pie: Sweet, tart, and refreshing.

Stone Crab Claws: A seasonal delicacy when in season.

Best Restaurants & Cafes: Discover hidden gems and island-loved spots:


The Donut Experiment: Fun, custom donuts to start your day.

Ginny’s & Jane E’s:  A popular cafe with a huge breakfast and lunch menu.

Beach Bistro: Fine dining and gorgeous Gulf views.

Tips for Event Dining:

Reservations Recommended: Popular spots fill up fast, especially during events. Book ahead for the best tables!

Explore Food Vendors: Many events have local food trucks or vendors offering delicious treats and unique eats.

Pack Snacks: Stash some snacks and water in your bag for those longer event days.


Stay Safe and Have Fun

Listen to the Rules: Events have guidelines – follow them for the best time.

Sun Safety:  Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and reapply it often!

Updated Yourself: Where to go or who to call in an emergency.

Fall festival
Fall festival

Additional Resources


More Island Info & Inspiration

The Official Anna Maria Island Website:

Visit Anna Maria Island:


Contact Event Organizers

Most events will have contact information listed on the calendar websites mentioned above.

For major events, searching the specific event name + “Anna Maria Island” will often lead you to the official event website with contact details.



Anna Maria Island isn’t just about the beaches (though those are pretty amazing!). It’s a place where the community comes together to celebrate art, music, good food, and the simple joy of island life. Whether you’re dancing at Bayfest, watching sandcastles come to life, or cheering on furry friends at Paws in Motion, there’s an event to make your trip unforgettable.

So, what are you waiting for? Check those event calendars, pack your sunglasses, and get ready to experience the vibrant heart of Anna Maria Island. It’s an adventure filled with sunshine, smiles, and memories that will last long after you shake the sand from your shoes.

Ready for more? Stay updated on the coolest happenings on Anna Maria Island by checking out the websites mentioned above. From cozy winter festivals to epic summer parties, there’s always something new to discover.



Q: What is the best time to visit Anna Maria Island for events?

A: Anna Maria Island has something happening all year round! However, peak event seasons are:

Spring (March-May): Enjoy art festivals, Easter celebrations, and pleasant weather.

Fall (October-November): Catch the lively Bayfest, Symphony on the Sand, and smaller harvest-themed events.

Holidays: Both Christmas and New Year’s Eve bring festive parades and parties to the island.


Q: Are there any free events on Anna Maria Island?

A: Yes! Many events are free to attend:

Beach Markets: Browse local vendors at events like the Coquina Beach Market.

Art Walks: Enjoy strolling through galleries and meeting artists during ArtsHOP weekends.

Parades: Catch the St. Patrick’s Day parade or festive holiday parades for free.

Check Event Calendars: Websites like AMI Locals ( and the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce ( list both free and paid events.


Q: How can I participate in the SandBlast Sand Sculpture Festival?

A: There are several ways to get involved:

Watch the Masters: The main event is watching world-class sand sculptors build incredible creations.

Take a Class: SandBlast offers lessons for all ages to learn the basics and build your masterpiece.

Volunteer: Help make the festival run smoothly by volunteering your time. Check the festival’s website for details.


Q: Is Anna Maria Island pet-friendly?

A: Yes, but with some rules to keep everyone happy:

Leash Laws: Dogs must be on leashes in most public areas.

Beaches: Some beaches have designated dog-friendly zones or specific times for off-leash play. Check signs carefully.

Events: Some events, like Paws in Motion, are specifically for pets. Always check if pets are allowed at other events.


Q: What should I pack for attending events on the island?

A: You must pack the below necessities. Be prepared for fun and comfort.

Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and a lightweight cover-up.

Hydration: Reusable water bottle to stay refreshed.

Comfy Shoes: You’ll likely be doing some walking.

Small Bag: For snacks, cash for vendors, and any essentials.

Beach Gear: Towel, chair, or blanket if the event is beachside.

Rain Plan: A light rain jacket can come in handy, as Florida showers can pop up.


2 thoughts on “Anna Maria Island Events: The Ultimate Bucket List for 2024”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.