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Nature & Parks

Florida is famous for its natural beauty. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re spoiled for choice here. There are three nature preserves within walking distance of the hotel, all of which offer spectacular hiking, bird watching, fishing and cycling. Looking for more flower power? There are numerous gardens and parks just a short drive away, from a delightful butterfly garden with wetland views to timeless botanical gardens and a stunning national park. For a truly adventurous outing, include manatees in your plans. From wild manatees in Anna Maria to the residents at MOTE Aquarium, learn where to see this majestic creatures


However you choose to explore, the Compass hotel in Anna Maria Sound is close to all the action and natural beauty Florida has in store.



Right across the street from the Compass hotel, Neal Preserve offers 120 acres of coastal habitats, boardwalks and shell trails perfect for hiking and admiring Gulf views. Check out the unforgettable vistas from the observation tower before enjoying the trails of this historically significant site. Continue just half a mile down the road to Perico Preserve, a bird sanctuary featuring wetlands, a duck pond and well-kept trails—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for roseate spoonbills and great blue herons. If you have a furry friend with you, pet-friendly Robinson Preserve is the ideal recreational outing. Whether you’re in the mood for nature trails, kayaking and canoeing, picnic areas or fishing, look no further than Robinson Preserve. 



Find serenity in nature at the charming parks and gardens near the hotel. Florida’s first state-designated wild and scenic river, Myakka River State Park offers cycling, hiking, birdwatching and wildlife-spotting. The Celery Fields welcome visitors with panoramic wetland views, a dog park and even a dreamy butterfly garden. Watch delicate white peacock butterflies and monarchs dance across the wildflowers and let all your troubles flutter away. Desoto National Memorial Park is only ten minutes from the Compass hotel and offers surreal hiking—it’s a wonderful place to visit for any national park enthusiast. Outdoor activities certainly are a must here, including fishing, boating, walking or hiking on the nature trail and enjoying plenty of small beach areas. Also just a short, ten-minute ride from the hotel is Palma Sola Botanical Gardens, free to guests and offering a peaceful walking path with beautiful flowers and butterflies, along with an exotic fruit section for visitors to enjoy. A popular venue for events, Palma Sola is full of enchanting surprises, from a hidden garden nursery to “Yoga in the Park.”



Lions and tigers and bears, you bet! Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary lets visitors get up-close and personal with awe-inspiring jungle wildcats. The nonprofit sanctuary is home to dozens of exotic animals, as well as a family-favorite petting zoo. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you can also feed the bears—perhaps after enjoying your own meal at the onsite mobile catering kitchen. Spend an afternoon learning about animal care and conservation with these fantastic creatures.

Get Outside at Robinson Preserve

Just 6 miles from Compass Hotel Anna Maria Island, Robinson Preserve is a must-see attraction in Bradenton. The over 670-acre nature sanctuary encompasses former agricultural lands that have been transformed into beautiful coastal and wetland habitats, making it a prime stop for fresh-air activities like wildlife spotting, hiking, kayaking and lots more. Add one of the following Robinson Preserve activities to your Anna Maria Island itinerary.

Visit the Preserve

The Majestic Manatees

The sparkling blue sea, white-sand beaches and warm winter weather of Anna Maria draw in guests of all types. Meet the manatee–one of Anna Maria Island’s most delightful–and shy–visitors. Visit during the winter months and keep an eye out! If you’re lucky, you can spot these gentle giants puttering through the shallow waters around the area.


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