Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island is much more than just another beach getaway! Of course, you'd be remiss to visit Holmes Beach without visiting the iconic Manatee Beach which is a key part of this quaint town, but there are so many things to do besides sun, sand, and surf.
Think of it as your playground for all sorts of fun, from getting your adrenaline fix with watersports on the Gulf of Mexico to golf carting around town, pancakes by the beach or exploring local art galleries; there's something for every type of vacation mode.
Consider this guide your gateway to the best of Holmes Beach. Whether you're in for relaxation, adventure (or a bit of both), you're in the right spot. Join us as we explore the fun activities that make Holmes Beach a must-visit on Anna Maria Island.
1. Spend a Beach Day at Manatee Public Beach
Photo Credit: dougmartin571 via Flickr CC2.0
Visiting Manatee Beach is one of the most popular things to do in Holmes Beach. With its soft, white sands and calm Gulf waters, it's easy to see why visitors and locals alike are keen to spend a day here. The beach has everything you need for a perfect day out – lifeguards for safety, picnic tables for a seaside lunch, and clean restrooms.
But if lazing around in the sun doesn't sound appealing to you, there are plenty more activities! The beach is also home to a playground for the kids, and for those who enjoy a bit of exercise, there is beach volleyball. This beach is the perfect spot for anyone new to Holmes Beach, offering a combination of relaxation and activity in a picture-perfect setting.
2. Take Part in Some Watersports
Photo Credit: Brian Lynch via Flickr CC2.0
Need an adrenaline fix? Holmes Beach won't disappoint. Watersports here are among the best of the best, offering everything from the thrill of jet skiing to the chill vibes of paddleboarding. Or imagine kayaking over the clear waters, maybe even spotting some sea critters below!
Local shops along the beach provide rentals for all sorts of gear, so you don't need to worry about purchasing or bringing from home. Parasailing, anyone? It's a must-try.
3. Indulge in Beachside All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes
Photo Credit: Sanjay Gupta
Now let's talk pancakes. At the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, they've got an infamous all-you-can-eat pancake deal that's pretty legendary. Picture this: fluffy pancakes, as many as you can eat, toes in the sand. It's the kind of breakfast that dreams are made of, isn't it? But hey, it's not just about pancakes.
The cafe is situated directly on the beachfront, allowing you to bury your toes in the sand and feel the mist from the sea right from your table. In addition to some yummy breakfast options, Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe also serves lunch and dinner, perfect for fueling up during a day of beach fun.
4. Jump into a Game of Beach Volleyball
Photo Credit: KarenCohen
After pancakes (and sufficient time to digest them!), you won't have to go far to join in a game of beach volleyball. The nets are set up right at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe! Jump into a game with friends or join in with locals and other visitors.
The vibe here is super casual. Skills aren't required to join in; it's all about having a good time. It's the perfect way to mix physical activity with meeting new friends, making it one of the best things to do in Holmes Beach.
5. Take a Tour with Egmont Key Adventures
Photo Credit: Billy via Flickr CC2.0
For an adventure that takes you off the beaten path (and offshore), Egmont Key Adventures offers a boat tour you won't soon forget. Sure, while this is technically considered a day trip outside of town, Egmont Key Adventures departs from Holmes Beach, making it easily accessible if you're staying in one of our vacation rentals.
Egmont Key is a blend of wild beaches perfect for snorkeling, intricate history, and wildlife galore. On the tour, you'll get the opportunity to explore historic sites, like an old lighthouse and the remnants of Fort Dade. Nature lovers will go crazy for the local flora and fauna, including a number of shore birds and our beloved gopher tortoises.
6. Dinner & Music at The Ugly Grouper
Photo Credit: Melissa Hunter
The Ugly Grouper in Holmes Beach is not only one of the area's best restaurants but also an exciting nightlife experience that combines yummy food with lively entertainment. With live music daily, it's one of the best things to do in Holmes Beach at night. As evening settles on the island, The Ugly Grouper comes alive with the sounds of local musicians, cheering, and laughter from the guests.
The Ugly Grouper has an eclectic, laid-back vibe that captures the essence of carefree island life. It's a place where you can unwind, enjoy some fresh seafood with friends or family, and make friends with the locals. Don't miss the opportunity to take a selfie with the iconic grouper statue!
7. Explore Local Art Galleries
In Holmes Beach, the burgeoning art scene is nearly as vibrant as the sunsets. The Artists' Guild of Anna Maria Island is a cozy spot where local artists showcase everything from ornate sculptures to landscapes of sandy beaches. Island Gallery West is more low-key, a co-op where the artists themselves are the ones running the show. You'll find a bit of everything here – paintings that capture the heart of Florida, handcrafted jewelry, and more.
8. Take a Fishing Charter
Photo Credit: Rob Mosenfelfer
For those who love fishing or just want to try something new, booking a charter with Ultimate Fishing Adventures and Captain Taylor is an incredible experience to have in Holmes Beach. Ultimate Fishing Adventures caters to everyone, from the experienced angler to the little ones just learning how to hold a rod.
Captain Taylor has you covered whether you're interested in inshore, reef, or offshore fishing. His charters are tailored to what you're looking for a serious fishing session or a fun day out on the water with the family.
9. Rent a Golf Cart to Explore
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov
For a truly unique experience in Holmes Beach, head over to Fun and More Rentals to check out their golf cart selection! With golf carts holding up to eight people, it's a great way to explore town and get out with the whole family in tow!
You've got plenty of options and extras from which to choose. They offer both gas and electric options, with the flexibility to rent by the day, three days, or even a whole week. Prices start at a reasonable $205, making it an affordable way to add some extra excitement to your typical sightseeing.
And if you're vacationing with little ones, no worries. Fun and More Rentals has thought of everything. They offer booster seats and 5-point harnesses to ensure the kids are safe and sound as you explore.
Ready to Visit Holmes Beach?
That wraps up our list of the best things to do in Holmes Beach! Regardless of your preferences and travel style, you'll find activities here catering to all interests. With easy access to the rest of the island and beyond, boredom will never get you down.
Are you ready to make some unforgettable memories on this little slice of paradise? Pack your bags, book your Holmes Beach vacation rental, and get ready to experience the magic yourself!