ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. — The sound of rolling waves nestles softly onto the sugar-white sand beaches. The water is turquoise and a consistent 80 degrees. A flock of pelicans fly by, low to the beach in V formation.
This is not some faraway island in the South Pacific. It’s Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, Florida, about a four-hour drive from Jacksonville.
The island at the entrance to Tampa Bay was voted one of 50 top locations to visit by Travel + Leisure. More than 20 staffers created a list of where travelers should pack their bags and venture to in 2024.
According to the travel magazine for Best Beach Vibes, “Anna Maria Island is a place where most people tool around by gold cart or beach cruiser, and almost all the sherbet-hued clapboard homes are vacation rentals.”
You won’t find high-rise condos or hotels at this beachside paradise. There are no corporate restaurants or outlet malls. This is a destination defined by mom-and-pop storefronts and funky to elegant eateries.
Outdoor activities including fishing, boat tours, water sport rentals, and horseback riding can all be booked prior to arriving.
Visit Florida has listed the island as home to three cities: Anna Maria on the north end, Holmes Beach toward the middle, and Bradenton Beach to the south, which all offer unique places to shop, eat, and stay.
If you’re looking for a mellow, laid-back, secluded destination out of the way from the hustle and bustle Anna Maria Island should be on your immediate vacation list.
Below pictures and video from Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.
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