Explore Leffis Key Preserve on your next AMI Vacation

Leffis Key Preserve looks like a small green heart with a small moat around it from the sky. But once you get down to Earth, you’ll find intricate and dense mangroves, beautiful boardwalk trails, and an impressive array of Florida wildlife.

This is Leffis Key as it should be. We take a look at what you’ll find, what you can do, and how you can get there during your upcoming Anna Maria Island vacation.

What is Leffis Key Preserve?

Leffis Key Preserve is a revered and protected island reserve alongside Anna Maria Island. Its address is 2351 Gulf Drive South.

Once a spoiled island, covered in non-native plants and even accumulated trash, city officials sought to give it a massive facelift and turn it into the only nature preserve on Anna Maria Island.

Now, this Anna Maria park is a gorgeous place to visit, filled with benches for relaxing, about 1,500 feet of boardwalk trails, and numerous footpaths to explore at your leisure. All along, you are surrounded by Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. 

The preserve’s highlight is a 26-foot high sand and grassy hill. Here you’ll catch views of the water in literally every direction around. The hill is the centerpiece of the restoration project. It was fitted with native foliage, some even rare, to preserve the island’s ecological integrity. You’ll find an assortment of ridge plants, like southern red cedar, the very important sea oats, sea grape, dune sunflower, Jamaica dogwood, green buttonwood, gumbo-limbo, and strangler fig.

This 360-view is one of the most breathtaking on Anna Maria and lets you scope out what makes this Florida escape so unique.

What is there to do?

little boy fishing in anna maria island

While small, the preserve allows you to let loose with all sorts of Anna Maria Island things to do, like hiking, fishing, paddleboarding, birdwatching, shelling, and much, much more. It’s a catch-all of natural exploration.

The hiking trails are plentiful and usually always have a line of sight to the water. Along the way, you’ll see wildlife viewing plaques providing education about the environment, the visible wildlife, and the plants. The most common animal sightings include sea turtles, dolphins, lizards, egrets, and predatory birds. You may even be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a manatee in the water, though they are rarely seen outside November to late March.

The main trail is a 0.8-mile loop around the bulk of the island’s sand dune center. The elevation is flat, so you can easily take the path with an entire family of young ones. Along the trail is an outlook to Longboat Pass, a passage of water coursing between Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.


Anna Maria Island outdoor activities can be enjoyed all that much more if you have some welcoming amenities.

Plan Your Anna Maria Island Vacation

We have various accommodations featuring beach views, rentals with a private pool, patio decks, rentals with a dock, and more.

The trails make Leffis Key Preserve a kid-friendly attraction. Non-boardwalk trails are a combination of packed shells and sand. However, we recommend staying on the trail. Leave it, and you may start sinking into the water through the marshland! Other things to do in Anna Maria Island include kayaking, canoeing, and fishing at the dock or one of the posted outlooks.

The preserve is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. There are no restrooms on-site, and there is no entrance fee entrance. Pack what you need, and be sure to leave with everything.

How to get there and where to stay on Anna Maria Island?

There is only one way to get to Leffis Key Preserve. The preserve is located near the southernmost point of Anna Maria Island. Continue heading south towards Longboat Key and before clearing the bridge, take a left into Leffis Key. Of course, if you are heading north to AMI, you’ll enter Leffis Key on your right just past the bridge.

Be sure to stay near all the top Anna Maria Island attractions. Review the complete list of our available Anna Maria Island rentals to make your vacation escape exciting and memorable.