With pristine beaches, turquoise blue waters, spectacular sunsets, exotic wildlife, and a number of water sports activities, the “Sunshine State” is well and truly a paradise for thousands of beach lovers like me.
The Sunshine State is home to hundreds of beach cities and picturesque barrier islands laden with unbelievable eco-rich landscapes, two such great Florida destinations that are renowned to offer exquisite vacation experiences are Siesta Key and Anna Maria Island.
We’ll compare the two locations based on parameters like beaches, activities, and nightlife, so you can make the best decision for your next vacation.
|Particulars||Siesta Key||Anna Maria Island|
|Average cost of a 7-day trip||$3,490 (For couples)||$3,289 (For couples)|
|Known for||Soft powdery-white sand, Beachside Amenities, Nightlife, Mangrove tunnels||Laid-back vibe, amazing restaurants, “Old Florida” charms|
|Beaches||Siesta Key beaches are livelier and busier than Longboat Key. They are known for their beautiful white quartz sand and turquoise blue water.||Pristine white sandy beaches with clear blue water & a laid-back vibe|
|Popular Tourist Attractions||Siesta Key Beach, Siesta Key Village, Daiquiri Deck, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach||Beach Market at Coquina Beach, Bradenton Beach, Bridge street pier, Pine Avenue|
Siesta Key Vs. Anna Maria Island: Which is BETTER for Vacation?
Siesta Key Vs. Anna Maria Island: Beaches
When it comes to beaches, it is no secret that both Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key have some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. If you are a true beach lover, you will love both of these destinations. But, if I had to choose one, I would choose Siesta Key over Anna Maria Island.
Siesta Key is a small island known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Its beaches are made up of 99% super white quartz sand and that’s why they remain cool even in hot weather.
In fact, due to its super white sand beaches and crystal clear water, Siesta Key is often ranked as the top beach destination in the country. The water around the island is also calm and clear all year round, which offers perfect conditions for water activities like swimming and bathing.
There are many beautiful beaches on Siesta Key Island, but Siesta Key Beach is without a doubt the most popular and beautiful beach on the island.
This beach also has beachside amenities like lifeguard stations, restrooms, showers, and changing areas on the beach. This lovely beach, with its calm waters and a wide range of beachside amenities, suits every kind of visitor.
When it comes to Anna Maria Island, it may not have super white sand beaches like Siesta Key, but apart from that, there are many similarities between these two destinations.
🦈 Relevant reading: Are There Sharks in Siesta Key? Everything You Need To Know!
Anna Maria Island is also known for its miles of white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Like Siesta Key, it is also located near the Gulf of Mexico. That means the water is usually warm and crystal clear all year round.
There is also a diverse range of beaches on this island. If you just want to relax on a beach and want a peaceful setting, then Bean Point is the beach for you.
This beach also offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. On the other hand, if you want a lively beach with beachside amenities and a wide range of shops and restaurants, Bradenton Beach is the place for you.
🏖 Related post: Siesta Key Vs. Longboat Key: Which is BETTER for Vacation?
Siesta Key Vs. Anna Maria Island: Best Things to Do
Apart from their pristine beaches, both Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key offer a number of activities to do for visitors. Let’s find out what are some of the best things to do at both of these destinations.
Best Things to do in Siesta Key
1) Visit the Siesta Key beach: Obviously, if you are planning a trip to Siesta Key, this must be the first thing on your bucket list. Tripadvisor has ranked Siesta Key Beach as the 2nd best beach in the United States in its annual Traveler’s Choice Awards for 2022. So, if you are a true beach lover, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit the most beautiful beach in the country.
2) Birdwatching: Siesta Key is not about just beaches. It is also home to countless species of birds, like pelicans, herons, and egrets. In other words, it is a great place for birdwatching.
3) Sunset Tour: Siesta Key is known for its spectacular sunsets. If you are tired of exploring various beach activities and want some relaxing evening time, then you can take a sunset tour to catch some spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico.
4) Explore Wildlife: If you are an animal lover, then there are a lot of things to do on Siesta Key. You can take a dolphin-watching tour or you can take a mangrove kayak tour to get a better look at the flora and fauna of the island.
5) Visit Downtown Sarasota: Downtown Sarasota, which is filled with various shops and restaurants, is just 10 minutes away from Siesta Key. You can visit this place if you want to explore the different boutique shops and art galleries present there.
🏖 Related post: Tampa Vs. Sarasota: Which is BETTER for Vacation?
Best Things to do on Anna Maria Island
1) Visit Bean Point Beach: Bean point beach is a hidden gem on Anna Maria island. It is the most relaxing beach on the island as it still remains relatively untouched. Unlike other beaches on Anna Maria Island, this one offers a tranquil setting and spectacular views of Tampa Bay.
2) Beach Market at Coquina Beach: If you are a shopping lover, you would love this place. The beach market is usually open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You will find many interesting things like jewelry, pottery, arts and crafts, fresh produce, and beauty items here, most of which are made by local people.
3) Take a boat tour: I think the boat tour is one of the most fun things to do on Anna Maria Island. There are several companies on Anna Maria Island that offer boat tours. These boat tours usually last about 2 to 3 hours, and you can expect to see different exotic animal species like dolphins, manatees, and stingrays on these boat tours.
Siesta Key Vs. Anna Maria Island: Nightlife
Siesta Key has better nightlife than Anna Maria Island. The most important thing about Siesta Key is that it has a diverse nightlife scene. There are clubs and bars for those who want to drink and dance until the early hours of the morning. There are also chilled live music bars for those who want to just sit and relax and enjoy their drinks.
On the other hand, Anna Maria Island also has a good nightlife scene if you know where to look for it. Bridge Street, which is located in the Bradenton Beach area, is undoubtedly the nightlife hotspot of Anna Maria Island.
There are a number of bars and clubs on this street. Whether you’re looking to dance the entire night or simply enjoy a few drinks with friends, you will find plenty of options on this strip.