Looking for a Laid Back, Friendly, and Natural Island?

We just spent a week on Anna Maria Island, a small barrier island on Florida’s west coast. Only 7 miles long, 3 communities are on the island: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria. Known for its wide beaches and warm waters, the island has a 1950’s/1960’s vibe. Amazing sunsets and sunrises which I enjoy photographing, along with blue and green crystal clear waters. Anna Maria Island is laid back and natural in an “old" Florida way which appeals to me.


Sea oats and sunset on Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island.
Sea oats and sunset on Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island.

One resort after another, single family residences, duplexes, condominiums, and mom & pop motels line the Gulf side and the Bay side. No high rise hotels on the island or tourist attractions. You’ve got to make your own entertainment, at the beach, on the bay, or swimming pool. Anna Maria Island is a place for people to relax and enjoy each other’s company without the distractions found in tourist destination.


Our view from the bay side of our resort on Anna Maria Island.
Our view from the bay side of our resort on Anna Maria Island.

Each town has a small area of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and stores. The restaurants are fabulous; serving fresh seafood dishes presented beautifully. No chain restaurants or fast food in sight!


The Fish Hole miniature golf on Bridge Street, Anna Maria Island.
The Fish Hole miniature golf on Bridge Street, Anna Maria Island.

Our little resort had a pool, hot tub, and fully furnished kitchen. Outdoor grills and decks to the pier to watch the sunrise with your cup of coffee in hand and enjoy the quiet start of your day. Aah, not many places left like this anymore.


View from our patio where we grilled steaks one evening.
View from our patio where we grilled steaks one evening.

Bean Point on the north end of the island is peaceful and less crowded with many private residences for rent. One of the unique things about the island is that you can park your car at your resort or private residence and take the free trolley from one end of the island to the other. It is hop on-hop off from any trolley stop with no more than a 20 minute wait.


Traffic is moderate on the island so it was fun checking out the various neighborhoods and shops. Some old fashioned trailer parks too with shuffleboard caught my eye and curiosity.


Directional sign on Anna Maria Island.
Directional sign on Anna Maria Island.

Nice long stretches of beach to walk, not so touristy, and excellent restaurants make Anna Maria Island a place to go back to again and again. Check it out on your next vacation!


Note:

Save the date, Saturday, August 7 if you’re interested in coming to New Smyrna Beach for an art opening at Arts on Douglas. Arts on Douglas has a reputation for having an eclectic mix of original art by Florida artists and is located at 123 Douglas Street in New Smyrna Beach. The opening reception for Endless Summer, a group juried exhibition, is from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Two of my mixed-media paintings were selected for this exhibit. Come early and enjoy exploring the historic downtown or stay afterwards and have dinner at one of the delightful restaurants in the area.


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CONTEMPORARY MIXED MEDIA ARTIST