Just returned from an amazing, soul satisfying, week in Anna Maria Island, just off the coast of Sarasota, FL, where I stayed at the lovely Via Roma Beach Resort. You can fly into either Tampa International or Sarasota-Bradenton, but the latter is definitely easier (smaller and less crowded), as well as a shorter drive to the island.
Anna Maria is as beautiful as it’s name, with long, uncrowded beaches edging most of it’s 7-mile length, and sunsets on the western side that will take your breath away. It’s definitely got that no-hurry-no-worry ambiance that you’ll find in the Keys. If you love nature and the ocean, this is the place to be. Leave your make-up and dressy clothes behind, and just immerse yourself in the Gulf. Go fishing, diving, or beachcombing. Take a dolphin watching catamaran tour or try parasailing. Flop down on the beach with a book, or just close your eyes and listen to the gulls. If you’re into photography, you’ll find no shortage of subjects, especially seabirds.
Just a short drive away are great places to visit, like Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Love seafood? Try the Gulf Drive Café for beachside dining, or the super casual Starfish restaurant, where you’ll get delicious, fresh seafood in a box.
Oh, Anna Maria, I miss you already!