Happy Paddler leads fun and interactive kayaking tours in the calm bay-side waters of Anna Maria. You’ll meander through tunnels of Mangroves – carefully observing delicately preserved ecosystems where you can encounter a pod of dolphins, catch a glimpse of a manatee, seahorses, sea-urchins, starfish and all sorts of crustaceans that thrive in these quiet and calm waters. While we love and recommend Happy Paddler, bookings are limited and recommended weeks ahead of arrival. Fortunately, Anna Maria is home to several outfitters who specialize in backwater ecosystem tours, and even ocean-side sunset kayak tours.
Anna Maria Shorebird and Turtle Watch
Anna Maria Island is a protected nesting ground for all sorts of living creatures – one being the sea turtle. Want to learn more about the nocturnal nesting rituals, how hatchlings make their way back to the sea, and more about this creature than you could ever imagine? Attending an interactive Tuesday Turtle talks by AMI Shorebird and Turtle Watch during the April – October loggerhead nesting season is highly recommended. This community service group also provides shorebird information for bird-watching enthusiasts.
You simply can’t vacation on Anna Maria Island without taking advantage of an interactive dolphin cruise. Coastline Dolphin and Snorkeling Excursion offers cruises with several sandbar stops where kids can dig for sand dollars, forage for conch shells, and interact with sea urchins. Knowledgeable guides help cruise-goers easily spot schools of majestic dolphins— you’ll want to have your camera for this vacation moment.
To learn more, call highly recommended Coastline Excursion at 941-201-8429.
Egmont Key, an island only accessible via boat, has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has stood since 1858 and fort ruins from the Spanish–American War. Hitch a ride to this secluded key on the Egmont Key Ferry. Once there, have a swim among the ruins, and learn more about the island’s rich history. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for diverse wildlife like shore birds, sea turtles, and the grumpy-looking, burrowing gopher tortoise.