How Far Is It From Orlando to Anna Maria Island? [Plus 8 More FAQs]

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The driving distance from Orlando to Anna Maria Island is about 126 miles, but there are a few different ways you can get there.

Here, we’ll look at the best ways to get to Anna Maria Island from Orlando, where to stay, and what to do once you’re there.

Driving from Orlando to Anna Maria Island

If you’re looking to drive between Orlando to Anna Maria Island, the primary route is to take I-4 to I-75. The driving distance is 126 miles and takes about 2 hours.

First, get onto I-4 West in Orlando and take it all the way into Tampa. Then, get off at Exit 9 (Ocala/Naples), which will put you on I-75 South.

You’ll then take Exit 228 to get onto US Hwy I-41/Tamiami Trail. Once you’re in Bradenton, you can turn right onto FL-64 W (Manatee Ave), right after Manatee

Recommended: Free Fuel Cost Calculator

Other ways to get there

Driving is by far the best way to get to Anna Maria Island from Orlando. Let’s look at other options that you may be curious about.

One great advantage of visiting Anna Maria Island is that there is a free trolley that goes around the island. So if you can get to the island, then you will also be able to fully enjoy your vacation without worrying about renting a car while you’re there. 

It’s a good idea to download the free App for the trolley before you get there. You can see where the trolley is and how much longer before it will get to your stop, so it’s very useful!

Flying

Because of the very short distance, there are no flights between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and either Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) or Tampa International Airport (TPA).

You can get flights to other parts of Florida from Orlando, including Orlando to Miami, but if you’re wanting to get to Anna Maria Island flying really isn’t an option.

But if you’re coming in from another part of the country and wanting to visit Anna Maria Island, it may be worth looking at tickets to the Sarasota Airport or the Tampa Airport instead of the Orlando Airport. That will put you much closer and may be worth the difference in cost.

Bus

You can take a Greyhound Bus between Orlando and Sarasota. From Orlando, you have the option of two different stations:

Orlando Bus Station
555 N John Young Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32805

Orlando (The Florida Mall)
8001 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809

Both of them drop off at the same station in Sarasota:

Sarasota Cattlemen Transfer Center
5951 Porter Way
Sarasota, FL 34232

From there, you take public transit all the way to Anna Maria Island. Here’s a map:

Train

It is possible to use Amtrak to get to at least part of the way Anna Maria Island. First, take the Silver Service/Palmetto Line from Orlando to Tampa.

You’ll travel through these two stations:

Orlando Station
1400 Sligh Blvd
Orlando, FL 32806

Tampa – Union Station
601 N Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33602

Once you’re in Tampa, though, you’ll likely either need to get a rental car or an Uber or Lyft in order to get to Anna Maria Island.

What’s the cheapest way to get there?

Overall, a bus is probably the cheapest way to go. But it can also be pretty inconvenient in this case, especially since you’ll need to rely on both Greyhound and public transit once you get there. For the price difference, that’s probably not worth it.

Flying and taking a train are not really options to get there, so let’s look a little more closely at the costs of driving and of taking a bus.

Costs of driving

Based on the driving distance,  you can probably get between the two cities on a tank or less of gas. So that may make it a cheap option compared to other ways of getting there.

But owning a car isnโ€™t only about the fuel costs. Itโ€™s also about the cost of ownership, including purchase, registration, and repairs. 

According to the American Automobile Associationโ€™s 2022 report on driving costs, the average cost to own and operate a new car in 2022 was over $10,000. The cheapest car to own was a small sedan, coming in at around 54 cents per mile.

Orlando to Anna Maria Island is 126 miles one way, or 252 miles round trip. That means a round-trip drive between the two destinations would cost about $136.

Costs of taking a bus

Greyhound is the cheapest option, but not by much. A one-way trip between Orlando and Sarasota is about $90. You’ll then need to account for a small amount of extra money for public transit once you’re there.

One advantage of course is that you can hop on the bus and not worry about driving. Greyhound also has free onboard entertainment and Wifi.

What’s the fastest way to get there?

By far, the fastest way to get there is to drive. A one-way trip by car is only 2 hours. This beats a bus by a long shot, considering all the waiting around you’ll have to do with public transit.

What’s the most environmentally friendly way to get there?

If you’re looking for the most sustainable way to travel, then bus is probably going to be your best option here. Bus and train are typically much more energy efficient than personal cars, especially when you consider the cost of ownership.

So if you have the time and want to go green, then Greyhound Bus may be your best bet.

Where to stay in Anna Maria Island

There are lots of great places to stay on Anna Maria Island, including oceanfront properties, suites, and budget choices.

Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages

Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages is the top-rated accommodation choice on TripAdvisor, and for good reason. Their waterfront cottages, suites, and rooms put you just steps away from Anna Maria’s beautiful beaches. 

Their accommodations are spacious and homey, and all their rooms come with full kitchens. Their smallest rooms are private studios, at around 200-300 square feet, while their largest cottage is close to 1300 square feet and sleeps up to 6 people.

They’ve also got so much to do onsite you practically don’t need to leave the property to have a great vacation. The beach is the highlight, of course, but they also have a Beach Club, Bocce Ball, free bike rentals for guests, and Tiki Huts and hammocks for relaxing the day away.

Pet Policy

No pets are allowed at Cedar Cove. The pet policy is not clearly stated on their website, but I did a little bit of digging and found they answered this question on a Q and A on TripAdvisor.

Bali Hai Beach Resort

Bali Hai Beach Resort is a very nice hotel located right on the beach. They have a total of 42 rooms, including standard rooms, 1-bedroom suites, and 2-bedroom suites. They have 2 ADA-compliant rooms as well.

Highlights of Bali Hai include a heated outdoor pool, cabanas, and an onsite spa. They also offer free wifi and other standard amenities.

One great feature of this hotel is that the free trolley going around Anna Maria Island stops right on the property, so it’s a very convenient choice if you’re wanting to explore the island without the hassle of driving.

Pet Policy

Pet-friendly hotels (and accommodations in general) are hard to find on Anna Maria Island, and Bali Hai is one of the few pet-friendly hotels in the area. But their pet policy is still somewhat restrictive.

They welcome a maximum of 2 dogs (no other animals) with a weight limit of 50 pounds total. There are also breed restrictions, and dogs are not allowed in the pool or spa area, or on any of the beds.

Be sure to call them in advance if you plan on traveling with your best friend, to be sure you can get a pet-friendly room and they will accept the reservation when you get there.

Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort

Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort is another highly-rated choice, located in Bradenton Beach on the south side of Anna Maria Island. They also have very spacious rooms, but are a little cheaper than Cedar Cove Resort.

They don’t offer cottages, but their rooms still come with kitchenettes and many of them have separate bedroom and living areas.

The beach is also just across the street from the resort, so you can easily walk there from your room. Their free breakfast can save you both time and money in the morning. Other amenities include free Wifi and a heated outdoor pool. 

It doesn’t have as many resort-style amenities as Cedar Cove or Anna Maria, but that also means you don’t pay extra for a lot of things you may not use.

Pet Policy

No pets are allowed at Silver Surf.

Anna Maria Beach Resort

Anna Maria Beach Resort is on the north end of the island, close to many of its best waterfront restaurants. They offer standard rooms, 1-bedroom suites, and a luxury suite.

The rooms here are smaller than both Cedar Cove and Silver Surf and sleep up to 4 people, but the interior is beautiful and modern. All rooms have either a kitchenette or a full kitchen.

This hotel is right on the water and many of the rooms have sweeping oceanfront views. There are lots of good amenities here too, like an outdoor pool, poolside cabanas, fire pits, and BBQ grills.

They of course also have standard amenities like free Wifi. Breakfast is not included at Anna Maria Beach Resort.

Pet Policy

No pets are allowed at Anna Maria Beach Resort.

Where to stay in Orlando

Most people reading this article are likely headed to Anna Maria Island. But if you are traveling the other direction, and going from Anna Maria Island to Orlando, youโ€™ll need a place to stay when you get there. Orlando offers a ton of different accommodations, so do your research before you book.

Here is a list to get you started.

Hyatt House across from Universal Orlando Resort

The Hyatt House is a luxury hotel located just a 5 minute walk from Universal Orlando Resort and just a 20 minute walk from Universal Studios Florida. It is a highly-rated accommodation in a great location that is great way to splurge on a vacation.

Amenities include free breakfast, free wi-fi, and a poolside bar. They also have a range of standard amenities, and most visitors feel like the beds are comfortable and the hotel is a good experience.

Pet Policy

Pets are not allowed at this hotel.

Quality Inn & Suites Orlando Airport

Quality Inn is a budget friendly option that still puts you right in the center of the Orlando action. It is only an 8 minute drive from the airport and right near the Florida Mall and the Crayola experience.

This is a very basic hotel, but there is a pool, and free wifi and breakfast is included with your stay. The price is hard beat, averaging around $100, depending on the time of year. There are mixed ratings for this hotel, as you would expect for any accommodation at this price point. But overall the combination of price, location, and mostly good to very good reviews makes it a decent choice if youโ€™re looking for a budget hotel.

Pet Policy

Pets are not allowed, although service animals are exempt from this rule.

Great Camp Spot: The Florida Springs

The beautiful water at Rainbow River

If you havenโ€™t been to a Florida Spring yet, you donโ€™t know what youโ€™re missing. These are crystal clear, cool pools of pure joy filtered by hundreds of miles of natural Florida limestone. 

Many are state parks and allow camping, and there are plenty of springs that allow RVs too. 

This article has good information on springs in the Orlando area.

The Beaches of Anna Maria Island

Of course the best things to enjoy on the island are its white sandy beaches, complete with turquoise waters, cabanas, and plenty of sun.

The beaches of Anna Maria Island are some of the best in the state, and the good thing is that they tend to be less crowded than other, more well-known destination like the Florida Keys or Destin.

Here are a few of the best beaches on the island.

Map created with Wanderlog, for making itineraries on iOS and Android

Bean Point Beach

Photo: Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bean Point Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Anna Maria. It is named after George Emerson Bean, a seafarer who was in love with Anna Maria Island and moved there in the late 1800s.

Bean Point has beautiful, white powdery sand, beautiful scenery, and plenty of wildlife. It’s a quiet beach, without the distractions of oceanfront bars, resorts, and the like.

Clear Kayak Glass Bottom Day Tour – Anna Maria Island

The only Glass Bottom 100% Clear Kayak Tour in Anna Maria Island, Florida Experience kayaking with a completely clear view of the ocean. We search for seashells, starfish, manatees, dolphins, and other exciting sea life!

Manatee Public Beach

Photo: Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Manatee Beach is in the center of the island, in Holmes Beach. That can get confusing because they both end in beach – but Holmes Beach is the name of the town and Manatee Beach is the name of the beach! To make it even more confusing, it is one of many Manatee County beaches. 

It is open from sunrise to 10PM, and there is a lot of parking here. Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe is a very popular cafe right in front of this beach, so that’s another reason it’s a great place to go. You can grab some food and get back to the beach without having to spend time going elsewhere on the island or packing your food.

Coquina Beach

Photo: Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Coquina Beach is on the south end of the island, in Bradenton Beach. Here again, we’ve got two confusing names – Bradenton Beach is the name of the town. Coquina Beach is the Beach!

There’s a beachside cafe here too, as well as a playground to keep the kids entertained. One cool thing you may want to check out while you’re here is the Coquina Baywalk, which takes you through some of the island’s mangroves.

The Bottom Line

Driving is the best way to get from Orlando to Anna Maria Island. The total distance is 126 miles and it’s about a 2 hour drive. Once you’re there, you’ll be met with white sand beaches, pristine water, and some serious relaxation time. You’ll find there are plenty of great places to stay, where you can disconnect and recharge.



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