Florida’s Gulf coast is a spectacular vacation destination. With so many wonderful locations to choose from it is impossible to go wrong. Miles of sandy beaches gently sloping into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, lush tropical plants, mangrove wetlands and incredible natural diversity offer a perfect backdrop to the vacation of your dreams. Whether you are vacationing with the whole family, or slipping away for a romantic break, Florida’s gulf coast is a great choice.
Anna Maria Island is no exception. Just 40 miles from Tampa, it offers the perfect balance of accessibility and seclusion. Access is via the causeways from Brandenton or Long Boat Key to the south. Gulf Boulevard runs along the backbone of the island, to the Northern most tip, Anna Maria City. The 25 mile an hour speed limit on this winding beach road hints at the slower pace of life on the Island. Here people stop to smell the scents of the breeze, to admire the sparkling gulf waters and catch sight of the Dolphins.
Brandenton Beach is home to only 1500 residents, its historic Downtown was in danger of slipping away. Fortunately the tide was turned and the development held at bay, allowing the Historic District to be preserved and rejuvenated. It is a small but perfectly formed slice of the past. The old buildings provide a glimpse of early 20th Century Florida. The City Pier Area is the original wooden bridge that connected the Island to the mainland. When the bridge was replaced the town converted the old bridge to a pier. It has proved to be a huge success with cafes and restaurants adding to the attraction.
Traveling further North along the Island you are spoiled for choice. You wont find big characterless resorts and massive hotel tower blocks, instead there are Cottages and Bed and Breakfasts and Inns. Low rise buildings that seem to be an extension of the landscape rather than a man made structure perched upon it. They are often a little faded and may show signs of damage from storms but this all adds to rather than detracts from their charm.
Holmes Beach, just a couple of miles north is home to some great beach side cottages and villas. They offer the perfect base for any beach vacation. Extra space for the whole family to spread out, pools, beach front locations and the wonderfully convenient free trolley service around the island. An evening out at one of the world class restaurants will be worry free and you will be ready to enjoy a cocktail or two as the sun sets.
At the northernmost point of the Island is Anna Maria City. If every city were this beautiful life would be one long vacation. It is the perfect vacation spot if you need to relax and unwind and home to spectacular beaches, like the Beach at Bean Point, named for one of the founders of the settlement. It wont appeal to surfers or anyone looking for wild motorized water sports, but with its gentle waves it is perfect for wading kayaking or swimming. The snorkeling is fantastic, so pack your mask and flippers along with a towel.