Anna Maria Island is a low-key beachside community about an hour south of Tampa. This island is most popular with northern snowbirds during Florida’s mild winter season, however, the charming town remains quite peaceful during the off-season, and thus, is the perfect beach choice for those looking to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Florida coast in the absence of noisy tourists.
Unlike the more touristy Gulf beaches, Anna Maria Island maintains an old-fashioned charm with little in the way of any beach side commercialization. As you drive in, you will notice rows of colorful cottages lining the streets – it’s like a step back in time to Old Florida.
The 7 mile stretch of quaint white sand beaches of Anna Maria Island is the perfect place to escape the rowdy tourists for a day of sunbathing, swimming, reading, beachcombing, or birdwatching. Beachcombers will be pleasantly surprised as the beaches here offer no shortage of diverse shells. Birdwatching is a real treat here as many diverse species can be seen here, especially during migration season as they make their way to this barrier island, enroute from the arctic to South America. Egrets, osprey, pelicans, herons, and sandpipers are just a handful of species you will likely see.