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Anna Maria Island Ferry Guide

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AMI Water Taxi: Everything you Need to Know

Embark on a scenic and hassle-free journey between Bradenton and Anna Maria Island with the Gulf Islands Ferry. This new water taxi service offers an exciting and convenient way to explore the beauty of the Gulf Coast.


Discover the features and benefits that make the ferry a must-try experience for both locals and visitors.

Read on for our valuable insider guide insights into frequently asked questions about the Anna Maria Island Ferry service, things to do in each port of call, when to ride the service, insider tips and more.

The best eco-friendly way to traverse the Bradenton, Florida mainland to Anna Maria Island. 

Explore our guide to get the most out of your trip!

Anna Maria Island Ferry Interactive Map

Anna Maria Island
Ferry Map 

Use our Water Taxi Map from our Insiders Guide to the Ferry

Anna Maria Island Florida

Features and Benefits: Riding the Gulf Islands Ferry

  • The Gulf Islands Ferry operates every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • It runs year-round, providing flexibility for island adventures.

  • Affordable pricing makes it a budget-friendly option.

  • One-way tickets priced at $6, special rates for children (4-12) and seniors (55+).

  • Convenient online ticket purchasing through the website or the soon-to-be-launched app, offering a seamless and secure reservation process. Click here to buy your tickets

  • Initial ports include Downtown Bradenton Riverwalk near the Green Bridge and Anna Maria Island.

  • Future stops are planned at Coquina Beach and Bridge Street.

  • The anticipated trip duration is 35 minutes, with final run times to be posted on

  • Passengers are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before departure for a stress-free boarding experience.

Benefits of AMI Ferry

Ferry Insider Tips

Insider Tips

  • Seniors 80+ years and children under 3 years old ride for free!

  • The Bradenton Gulf Islands Ferry service to Anna Maria Island started January, 12, 2024.

  • The times between stops ranges from 25 to 40 minutes.

  • Dress appropriately for summer with hats and sunscreen and in the winter with warm jackets!

  • The two vessels in operation are named "Miss Anna Maria and Downtown Duchess", each offering a unique and enjoyable journey across the Gulf waters.

  • Parking in downtown Bradenton is free at the City Centre Parking Facility, with a short five-minute walk to the Bradenton Waterfront.

  • Limited parking on Anna Maria Island, but early birds can find spots along S. Bay Boulevard and at nearby Bayfront Park.

  • Utilize the free Anna Maria Trolley for island transportation, connecting passengers to and from the ferry throughout the day.

Insider Tips - Gulf Islands Ferry

AMI Water Taxi Route Map

Anna Maria Island Ferry Route Map

Bradenton Riverwalk Pier to Anna Maria Island City Pier

  • The water taxi running from Bradenton to Anna Maria Island usually takes about 35 minutes.

Future Ports of Call to Coquina Beach and Bridge Street Pier start in the summer of 2024.

Cost of Anna Maria Island Ferry Tickets

Cost of AMI Ferry Tickets

One Way Tickets

  • Adults 18 yrs+ is $6.00

  • Senior Military 55 yrs+ is $4.00

  • Seniors 80 yrs+ - Ride for Free

  • Children 4 to 18 yrs - $4.00

  • Children under 3 - Ride for Free

Round Trip Tickets

  • Adults 18 yrs+ is $10.00

  • Senior Military 55 yrs+ is $6.00

  • Seniors 80 yrs+ - Ride for Free

  • Children 4 to 18 yrs - $6.00

  • Children under 3 - Ride for Free

. Click here to buy your Ferry tickets online

FAQs: Your Guide to Smooth Ferry Travel

What are the Operational Days and Times of the AMI Ferry?

  • The ferry operates every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., year-round.

What are the Ticket Prices?

  • One-way tickets cost $6, with special rates for children (4-12) and seniors (55+). Round trip tickets costs $6.00 with sepcial rates for Military, children 4-12 and seniors 55+. Tickets can be purchased on the website or the upcoming app. 

What are the Ferry Routes and Duration of Stops?

  • Initial ports include Downtown Bradenton Riverwalk and Anna Maria Island City Pier, with future stops planned in Bradenton Beach and South Coquina Beach Boat Ramp. The trip is initially anticipated to take 35 minutes.

Where can I park for the Gulf Islands Ferry?

  • Free parking in downtown Bradenton. Limited parking on Anna Maria Island, but early birds can find spots along S. Bay Boulevard.

Are the Ferry vessels ADA accessible?

  • The ferries are ADA accessible, with wheelchair ramps and designated seating areas.

Can I bring my pet on the Ferry?

  • Pets, Restrooms, and Belongings:

  • Pets are allowed on the ferry for ADA/special needs purposes only.

Are there restrooms on the Ferries?

  • Restrooms are available on each vessel.

What Can I bring on board?

  • Beach gear like towels, picnic baskets, beach chairs, and coolers are allowed. Bikes are not permitted due to U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

Can I Charter a Large Group on the Boats?

  • Group accommodations are possible with advance arrangements made at least two weeks before the travel date.

What Kinds of Things to Do are at Each Port of Call?

  • Each port of call is unique. There are things to do like enjoy the local restaurants and specialty food items like ice cream, fudge and Hawaiian Bubbles. Some ports like Bridge Street have mini putting and quick access to the beach. Ports like Anna Maria offer shopping and an easy walk to the beach. Bradenton port offers the Riverwalk Water Park area replete with skateboard park and more. All ports offer fishing and sight seeing.

AMI Ferry FAQs
Ports of Call - AMI Ferry
bradenton riverwalk downtown bradenton fl.jpeg

Port of Calls: Exploring Bradenton and Anna Maria Island

Bradenton Riverwalk

The Bradenton Riverwalk area offers a diverse range of activities and attractions, making it a vibrant and engaging destination. Here are some specific things you can do at the Bradenton Florida Riverwalk area:

  1. Stroll Along the Riverwalk:

    • Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Riverwalk, which stretches along the Manatee River. Enjoy the scenic views, lush greenery, and the refreshing breeze from the river.

  2. Pier 22 Restaurant:

    • Indulge in waterfront dining at Pier 22 Restaurant, offering a diverse menu featuring fresh seafood, steaks, and other delectable dishes. The restaurant's outdoor seating provides a delightful dining experience with views of the river.

  3. Skate Park and Roller Hockey Rink:

    • If you're feeling active, visit the Riverwalk's skate park and roller hockey rink. It's a great spot for skateboarders and roller hockey enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite activities with a riverside view.

  4. Outdoor Recreation:

    • The Riverwalk area provides opportunities for outdoor recreation. Bring your bike and explore the biking trails, or rent a kayak or paddleboard to navigate the river and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

  5. Mosaic Amphitheater:

    • Check the events schedule for the Mosaic Amphitheater, an outdoor venue featuring live performances, concerts, and cultural events. Attendees can relax on the lawn while enjoying the entertainment.

  6. South Florida Museum:

    • Explore the South Florida Museum, located near the Riverwalk area. This museum features exhibits on Florida's natural and cultural history, including archaeological artifacts and marine life.

  7. Splash Pad for Kids:

    • Families with children can make use of the splash pad, providing a fun and interactive water play area for kids. It's a great way to cool off on a warm day.

  8. Art and Culture:

    • Admire public art installations along the Riverwalk, showcasing the vibrant art and culture of the community. Keep an eye out for sculptures, murals, and other artistic expressions.

  9. Saturday Farmer's Market:

    • If you're visiting on a Saturday, explore the Farmer's Market offering fresh produce, local crafts, and artisanal products. It's a lively and community-oriented event.

  10. Events and Festivals:

    • Check the calendar for special events and festivals hosted at the Riverwalk throughout the year. These may include food festivals, cultural celebrations, and family-friendly gatherings.

Anna Maria City Pier

The Anna Maria City Pier area is known for its laid-back charm and offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some specific things to do at the Anna Maria City Pier area:

  1. Anna Maria City Pier: 

    • Begin your exploration at the iconic Anna Maria City Pier. Stretching into the Tampa Bay, this historic pier provides breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll along the pier, enjoy the sea breeze, and capture memorable photos.

  2. Fishing: 

    • The City Pier is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Bring your fishing gear and try your luck at catching local fish. The pier has a bait shop, making it convenient for visitors to gear up for a fishing adventure.

  3. Dining at The City Pier & Waterfront Restaurants:

    • Indulge in a delightful dining experience at The City Pier Restaurant, located at the end of the pier. if you want something fancier try our favourite restaurant on the island, The Waterfront Restaurant overlooking the pier and Tampa bay. Enjoy fresh seafood, traditional Floridian dishes, and panoramic views of the bay. It's a perfect spot for a leisurely meal with a coastal ambiance.

  4. Shopping at the Pier Bait Shop:

    • Explore the Pier Bait Shop for souvenirs, fishing essentials, and beach gear. It's a quaint shop where you can find unique items to commemorate your visit to the Anna Maria City Pier.

  5. Bird Watching:

    • The area around the pier is a haven for birdwatchers. Keep an eye out for various bird species, including pelicans, seagulls, and other coastal birds. The scenic views and peaceful atmosphere make it an ideal spot for birdwatching.

  6. Relaxing on the Beach:

    • The pier is situated near a lovely sandy Bay beach. Bring a beach towel, relax under the sun. If you're up for the short walk down Pine Avenue you can take a refreshing dip in the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches are perfect for unwinding and enjoying the coastal surroundings.

  7. Sunset Views:

    • The Anna Maria City Pier is renowned for its spectacular sunset views. As the day winds down, find a spot on the pier or the adjacent beach to witness the breathtaking colors of the sunset over the Gulf waters.

  8. Community Events:

    • Check for any community events or festivals that may be taking place at or near the Anna Maria City Pier. The community park area occasionally hosts events, farmers markets, live music, and gatherings that showcase the local community spirit.

  9. Art Galleries and Shops:

    • Explore nearby art galleries and boutique shops in the vicinity of the pier. Discover local artworks, handmade crafts, and unique gifts that capture the essence of Anna Maria Island. Try my fave women's shop called Island Cabana for tropical vacation clothing.

  10. Stroll through Anna Maria Historic Green Village:

    • Take a stroll through the nearby Anna Maria Historic Green Village, where you can explore environmentally conscious businesses, art studios, and enjoy the charming ambiance of this eco-friendly community.

  11. Explore The Anna Maria Museum:

    • Step back in time at the Anna Maria Historic museum on Pine Avenue and take a Instagram selfie at the open air Jail next door.

Future Ports of Call - AMI Ferry
Bradenton Beach - Bridge Street Pier

The Bradenton Beach - Bridge Street Pier area is a lively and charming location with a variety of activities to enjoy. Here are some specific things to do in this vibrant area:

  1. Bridge Street Pier:

    • Begin your exploration at the Bridge Street Pier, extending into the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the pier, offering panoramic views of the water and the surrounding coastline. Fishing is also popular here, so bring your gear if you're an angler.

  2. Historic Bridge Street:

    • Explore Historic Bridge Street, a bustling area filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Discover unique treasures in the eclectic shops or grab a souvenir to remember your visit.

  3. Dining with Gulf and Inter-coastal Views:

    • Indulge in waterfront dining at one of the many restaurants along Bridge Street. There's Anna Maria Oyster Bar right on the pier, Bridge Tender Inn for outdoor patio Bayfront dining. A myriad of other restaurants are dotted along Bridge Street. Enjoy fresh seafood, tropical cocktails, and Gulf views as you savor a delicious meal.

  4. Mini Putting:

    • Enjoy a cool shady mini putting experience at The Fish Hole miniature golf range. With cool water sprays it's a great way to beat the heat.

  5. Water Sports Rentals:

    • Engage in water sports activities at YOLO by renting paddleboards, kayaks, or jet skis. Explore the coastal waters and enjoy a day of aquatic adventures.

  6. Live Entertainment:

    • Check for live entertainment at local venues on Bridge Street like at Bridge Tender Inn and Island Time Bar & Grill. Some establishments feature live music, karaoke nights, or other performances, providing a lively atmosphere in the evenings.

  7. Bridge Street Beach Access:

    • Head to the nearby Bridge Street Beach access point to relax on the sandy shores of the Gulf. Soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy the laid-back beach ambiance.

  8. Fishing Charters:

    • If you're a fishing enthusiast, consider booking a fishing charter from the Bridge Street area. Experienced guides can take you on a memorable fishing excursion in the Gulf waters.

  9. Sunset Views:

    • Experience the breathtaking sunset views from the Bridge Street beach. Find a spot to enjoy the vibrant colors as the sun sets over the Gulf, casting a warm glow over the water.

  10. Boutique Shopping:

    • Explore the souvenir shops on Bridge Street for fashion, accessories, and unique gifts. The area offers a diverse shopping experience with a coastal flair.

  11. Ice Cream and Treats:

    • Indulge your sweet tooth with ice cream or other treats available in the area. Cool off with a refreshing dessert as you wander around Bridge Street.

Future Port of Call: 

Coquina Beach - New Boat Ramp

The Coquina South Boat Ramp, located at Gulf Drive South on Bradenton Beach, has recently undergone significant renovations to enhance its structural durability, docking capacity, and overall functionality. Approximately 500 feet of composite decking has been utilized to replace both the north and south accessory docks. This upgrade significantly increases the docking capacity, accommodating more vessels simultaneously. The $1.7 million project, completed on October 31, 2022, brings forth several improvements for boaters and visitors:

  1. Boating and Fishing:

    • If there's a new boat ramp, it's likely intended for boating enthusiasts. Enjoy a day of boating, whether it's sailing, motorboating, or fishing. Explore the coastal waters and try your luck with some fishing.

  2. ADA Accessibility:

    • The ADA-compliant walkway ensures that individuals of all abilities can enjoy the benefits of the boat ramp.This improvement enhances inclusivity and convenience for all visitors. Accessory lighting has been added to the facility, enhancing visibility during low-light conditions.​

  3. Picnicking and Grilling:

    • Across the road on the West side you can find many picnic facilities and grilling areas on Coquina Beach. Bring some snacks, have a picnic with friends or family, and enjoy a barbecue by the water.

  4. Beach Relaxation:

    • Coquina Beach is known for its sandy shores. Relax on the beach, soak up the sun, and take in the beautiful Gulf views. Bring a beach umbrella, a good book, or play beach games.

  5. Wildlife Watching:

    • Coastal areas often attract a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for seabirds, dolphins, and other marine life that might be present in the area.

  6. Nature Trails and Parks:

    • Nearby Leffis Key Preserve offers nature trails. Consider taking a walk or hike along the 0.8 mile loop (1.3 kms) to explore the natural surroundings with scenic overlooks on the Bayside.

  7. Kayaking and Paddle boarding:

    • Take advantage of the calm waters around the boat ramp for kayaking or paddle boarding. Rental services might be available if you don't have your own equipment.

  8. Sunset Views:

    • Coquina Beach, like many Gulf Coast beaches, can offer stunning sunset views. Take an evening stroll along the shoreline and witness the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico.

  9. Shell Collecting:

    • Gulf Coast beaches are often great for shell collecting. Take a walk along the shoreline and see if you can find some interesting seashells.

  10. Photography:

    • Capture the beauty of the coastal scenery. The boat ramp area and beach can provide picturesque landscapes that are perfect for photography.

Enjoying the AMI Water Taxi Experience

Thoughts on AMI Water Taxi

Navigating between Bradenton and Anna Maria Island has never been more delightful. From the scenic views to the convenient amenities, the Gulf Islands Ferry promises an unforgettable journey.

Experience the Gulf Coast like a local and savor the freedom of island-hopping with safety, accessibility, and affordability at the forefront. Whether it's a weekend getaway or a spontaneous day trip, the Gulf Islands Ferry awaits, providing a unique perspective on this charming coastal paradise.

Find out how to Get Around the Island

Many people like to visit Anna Maria Island to take advantage of the Free Local Trolley that traverses across the entire length of the island. If you arrive fresh off the Water Taxi Ferry you may enjoy learning about how to travel the island on the trolley to take you to the activities and attractions you want to see.

Check out our Trolley Guide here for more information on fishing on Anna Maria Island.

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