"What a Florida postcard!” developer Will Bean must have thought over 100 years ago, seeing this seahorse-shaped, 7-mile-long barrier island with white sand washed by the sparkling waves of the Gulf of Mexico on the west and lapped by the deep blue bay waters to the east. It would be an irresistible escape for winter-weary Northerners, for folks fleeing yellow fever in Tampa just up the coast, and for anyone else who sought a ticket to paradise." View full article here.
“The island-wide speed limit never tops 35 mph, so bicyclists sometimes move at too fast a pace for this town on a tiny, white-sand sliver about 50 miles south of Tampa. There are no high-rise condos or greasy golden arches. Gulf Drive cuts down the center, and canals branch off from the interior, creating a plethora of water-accessed homes. Instead of a car, it’s more likely you’ll use your bike, kayak, or flip-flops. You know the nights are quiet when turtles choose your beach to lay their eggs.” View full article here.
“With a seven mile coast line of exquisite sugar-white sand, an average daily temperature of 84 degrees and 361 days of sunshine per year, you'd be forgiven for thinking such a place doesn't exist. But it does. With a rustic charm, a laid-back Floridian style and unhurried tropical living, the word 'recession' will be far from your thoughts.” View full article here.
“I dreamed that I had escaped to the perfect getaway. As I slept, I visualized swaying palms, beautiful beaches, and not a high-rise condo in sight.
Colorful shops and local restaurants added charm, and a laid-back vibe erased all cares. I awoke smiling but shook my head. Surely there was no such piece of paradise left. Then I discovered Anna Maria Island.“
“Anna Maria Island is an easy 1 1/2-hour drive from Tampa. It's only 7 1/2 miles long and less than a mile wide and, for starters, boasts not a single towering condo. (No building over three stories is allowed.) Chain restaurants? Very few of them. The restaurants are delightfully local and extremely good. In other words, you’ve stepped into the Florida of decades ago, with one major difference: New amenities enhance the old charm for a winning combination.” View full article here.
“Last best beach town” View full article here.
“Anna Maria Island, about 40 miles south of Tampa, has always kept things old school. A free trolley-style bus runs the length of the island, and colorful old cottages dot the landscape. There are practically no chain restaurants, no high-rise hotels or party beaches — just a laid-back, margarita-by-sunset kind of place with establishments committed to keeping things fresh, independent and local.” View full article here.