The largest of three communities on Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach offers three miles of sandy white beaches for your family to explore. In addition to relaxing, swimming, and soaking in up some sun, you can engage in a variety of fun activities that appeal to children and adults of all ages. If you want to hit the big city while vacationing, you’re in luck as Tampa and Saint Petersburg are within an hours drive. Here are 12 activities to enjoy with your kids during your stay in a Holmes Beach vacation rental.

1. Visit the Beach

Play in the surf, or sit back with a book while your kids build sandcastles in the pristine white sands that line the coast of Anna Maria Island. One of the most popular destinations on the island is Manatee Public Beach, which features free parking, picnic tables, volleyball courts, a playground, and many other amenities. Spend the entire day at the beach, and then relax on the porch of your vacation rental in the evening and watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.

2. Go Fishing

Head to one of the local piers to satisfy the fishers in your family. Depending on the season, even the smallest anglers can reel in snapper, tarpon, bluefish, and other fish from shore. To go after the big ones, including grouper and redfish, charter a fishing boat for a few hours or an entire day.

3. Renta a Boat or Take a Boat Tour

Even without fishers in your family, a boat tour is a great way to explore the area. Companies such as Mango Bango Adventures offer at-sea tours with guides that answer questions about the local area and sea life. Pack a picnic and your swimsuit, then sit back and enjoy the ride. If you prefer to control your own route, rent a boat and drive yourself. Either way, if luck is on your side your kids could see dolphins or whales in their natural environment.

4. Go Paddleboarding

Rent paddleboards from AMI Paddleboard Rentals, and head out on the water with your older children. Explore the sheltered waters of the Anna Maria Sound to see the towns along the island and mainland. On a calm day, paddle up and down beaches on the Gulf.

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5. Explore the Island by Bike

Bicycling is a great way to explore the island, so bring bikes from home, or rent them in Holmes Beach. For a fun adventure with older kids, ride to Anna Maria Island’s other communities to check out different beaches. When you get hungry, stop for a bite to eat at one of the many lunch spots in the area.

6. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

Let your kids experience the beauty of the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving during your vacation. You can find fish and other interesting sights at almost any beach, or you can boat to the best spots. Sign up for a scuba or snorkeling lesson at Sea Kat Divers in Bradenton Beach, which is just a few minutes south of Holmes Beach.

7. Play Mini Golf

For some friendly competition and family fun, head down the road to Bradenton Beach for a round of mini golf at The Fish Hole. The 18-hole course has a fishing theme and unique holes that keep golfers of all ages interested in the game.

8. Rent a Jet Ski

Zoom across the waves on a jet ski from Surf’s Up Watersports Florida, which is located right in Holmes Beach. Give your little ones a ride they won’t forget on the back of a two-person machine, or rent a single jet ski to let your teenagers drive on their own. The company also rents other equipment, including motorized surfboards.

9. Take a Segway Tour

Venture around the island with modern flair by joining a Segway tour offered by Zegway by the Bay. The tour includes visits to many of the most popular spots in Holmes Beach, including Coquina Beach and Longboat Pass. This activity is only for adults and children ages 14 and older. Segs by the Sea in Bradenton Beach offers Segways for rent, so visit this retailer if your family wants to explore the southern end of the island.

10. Go on a Nature Hike at Neal Preserve

Satisfy the nature lovers in your family with a visit to Neal Preserve, which features 120 acres of coastal habitat to explore. While you wander the trails, keep an eye out for local bird species, many of which nest in the area. For an excellent view of the preserve, head to the 20-foot-tall observation tower.

11. Visit Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Your kids will enjoy getting an up-close look various ocean creatures when they visit Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, which is about a 25-minute drive south of Holmes Beach. They’ll look with awe at sharks and manatees and will have the opportunity to touch stingrays at the touch tank. The aquarium has numerous exhibits that provide informative marine and wildlife information that’s tailored to children.

12. Take a Day Trip to Tampa

Enjoy a day away from your beachside paradise, and head to the big city of Tampa, which lies just about an hour north of Holmes Beach. The city is full of places children love to visit, including the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, Dinosaur World, and the Glazer Children’s Museum. For extra excitement, drive a little further to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, which is located on the north side of the city and features an assortment of Africa-themed rides and games.

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