Being property managers to 90 vacation rentals here on Anna Maria Island we are frequently asked if there is anything to do that is worth leaving our beautiful island.  Although there is a wealth of things to do on Anna Maria Island, sometimes it’s nice to escape the Island life and head into town to explore Bradenton and Sarasota counties.  So what is there to do?  Here is a list of my personal favorite things to do when I leave the island.


2525 27th St E.,

Bradenton, FL 34208

941-748-5829 or 800-608-2525

The Mixon gift shop has specialty gourmet items, wines, and cookies. All fruits are available including grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and more. Shipping is available onsite. A great place to learn about Florida’s citrus fruit industry! Bring your group to Mixon’s for a special luncheon at the Groveside Café and enjoy a shopping experience. Then enjoy a tour of their historic groves and wildlife center. They specialize in creating educational field trips for school children or summer camps, plus amazing luncheons and tours for tourists, church groups, social groups, gardening clubs, mommy groups and anyone else who has a group! Red Hats always welcome! If you have 12 people or more, you will qualify for a group reservation.

Open 10 am – 5:00 pm Nov. thru April

Open 10 am – 3:00 pm May thru Oct.

Monday-Saturday; Closed Sunday


1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy.

Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 388-4441

Dive into the Aquarium

Explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable-working labs, and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory. See sharks, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life. Great family attraction just over S. Longboat Key bridge-immediate left, on North end of St. Armand’s Key.

Open: 10am to 5pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays!


1707 1st St.

Bradenton, FL 34208

(941) 747-3794

The Red Barn Flea Market is one of the largest flea markets in central Florida. Owned and operated by the same family since 1981, the Red Barn in Bradenton, FL, combines a traditional flea market, arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing, accessories, unique items, collectibles, plaza shops, food courts and open-air farmers markets on a 145,000 sq. ft. former lumber yard. Enjoy 80,000 sq. ft. of air-conditioned indoor shopping, fresh produce, entertainment and a variety of prepared foods. Embark on a treasure hunt through more than 600 flea market booths and shops. You’ll always find a special treasure at the Red Barn!


5401 Bay Shore Road

Sarasota, FL 34243


Truly one of the most exciting attractions in Florida! This facility includes eclectic collection of Baroque art, the Museum of the Circus, a thirty-room mansion, the historic Asolo theater from Venice, and some 60 acres of beautiful gardens. Wander through 31 galleries filled with treasures and old master painting and sculptures. There are onsite cafes to enjoy while you are enjoying your viewing experience.


5500 N. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34243

(941) 355-6228

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is recognized as the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the Nation! Antique, exotic, European and one-of-a-kind classics are featured in our rotating exhibits throughout the museum.

Among 75 automobiles, see John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes Benz, and Paul McCartney’s beloved Mini Cooper. Classic and muscle cars are on display side by side, including Don Garlit’s dragster number two, and even a horseless carriage! The entire facility has displays of rare exotic cars such as some the world’s foremost automobile manufacturers; Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Cadillac, DeLorean, Edsel and Ferrari, Rolls Royce, are just to name a few of the exquisite examples of automotive craftsmanship!

Self-guided tours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 7 days per week.


Bradenton, Fl. 34205

(941) 746-4131

South Florida Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The museum interprets the region from the Pleistocene to the present. Highlights include fossil evidence of Florida’s earliest mammals and marine species and the Montague Tallant collection of prehistoric and early post-contact archeological artifacts. Recently opened is the Environmental Wing focusing on Florida’s ecology and bio-diversity in the Pine Uplands and Riverine Galleries.

Other exhibits cover local maritime traditions, early 20th-century medical practices and Spanish exploration in the New World. Spanish Plaza has full-scale replicas of a 16th-century manor house, chapel and conquistador Hernando DeSoto’s birthplace.

The Bishop Planetarium, featuring one of the most advanced all-digital projection systems in the world, presents astronomy programs the whole family will enjoy.

The Parker Manatee Aquarium, part of Florida’s manatee rehabilitation network, is home to the oldest known living manatee, famously known as ‘Snooty’.

Hours: Mon. – Sat. 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday Noon to 5 pm


1704 99th St. N.W.

Bradenton, Fl. 34209


Located in nearby Perico Island are nature walks and bike trails to enhance nature and bird watching.


1404 Manatee Ave. E.

Bradenton, Fl. 34208


The Fishing Village is located in heart of historic Cortez, just East of Cortez Bridge.  See the old fishing docks, seafood restaurants, boats, and historic marine artifacts.


4415 119th Street West

Cortez, Florida 34215


Hours of Operation: Tuesday-Saturday: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

An indoor museum displaying the history of the old historic Cortez fishing village, vintage boats, and fishing artifacts.




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