There’s no question that one of the best ways to see all the wildlife, scenery and beauty that Anna Maria Island has to offer is from the water.
If you’re looking for things to do, is there anything better than hopping in a kayak and spending the day paddling around fascinating nature preserves and parks, enjoying the sparkling water and the sun?
Okay, so you’ve rented your kayak and your paddle, you’ve got your life vest on and a cool drink packed—now where to go? We’ve scoped out the best spots for Anna Maria Island kayaking to help you plan plenty of thrilling outdoor adventures.
Slip your kayak into the waters of the Palma Sola Bay along the Manatee Avenue causeway. Then head over to explore the fascinating mangrove tunnels of Robinson Preserve. The salt marsh is home to jumping mullet and lots of other marine life. You could spend all day paddling around more than 600 acres of coastal preserve.
This mid-sized bay is located in the Holmes Beach area of Anna Maria Island, and is a top Anna Maria Island kayaking to explore the many canals on the island. You can drop your boat in anywhere along the pier on Bay Boulevard and head along the beach to the bay. Most of the bay is fully developed, but the calm protected water makes it safer for kayaking. Dolphins and manatees can often be spotted in this area!
Explore 120 acres of coastal habitats like mangrove forests, pockets of oak trees, and salt terns. This Anna Maria Island kayaking spot is located on the south side of Manatee Avenue near Holmes Beach. The protected waters are rich in wildlife and are perfect for either a single or tandem kayak.
South Lido Mangrove Tunnels
This is a great spot to see some of the area’s best mangrove tunnels. Manatees and dolphins are often seen here as the waters are warm, and it’s a prime feeding spot for marine life. A great spot for beginning or advanced kayakers, you can also see several tropical birds and live shells like the Florida Horse Conch. Launch your boat off the north entrance of South Lido Park!
Kayak the fresh waters of the river located in Florida’s largest state park. This route is perfect for bird watchers and nature lovers. Paddle down the pristine waters of the river and you’ll be sure to see a variety of birds on the riverbanks, plus the occasional deer, turkey, and wild hog. Sometimes, you’ll even see an alligator in the park! But don’t be scared, the alligators in the state park have not been fed or harassed by people, so if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone too.
De Soto National Memorial Park
If you’re wary about exploring in a kayak alone, head to this national park and put your fears behind you. The park offers ranger led kayak tours for free. Kayaks can also be launched away from the tour by the park beaches. A hidden gem by the bay, you can explore the spot where De Soto himself landed from the water.
If you’re looking for more things to do, when you’re done with your Anna Maria Island kayaking adventures, get out and explore some of the history this spot has to offer!