Anna Maria Island at a Glance

Anna Maria Island just may be one of the most unpretentious places left on the planet. No one’s consulting their schedule via web-enabled cellular device, or looking at the logo on your shirt. They’re too busy with more important activities like eating grouper sandwiches at funky little beach bars, kayaking with dolphins in Palma Sola Bay, fishing from an old wooden pier, or watching the sky turn 10 shades of beautiful as the sun settles into the Gulf of Mexico. Life is simple here and good and even if you come for only a few days, you come away feeling better for that.

The Landscape

It’s more seascape than landscape, actually. Anna Maria Island is only two miles at its widest, much narrower in most places. No matter where you are on the island, you’re literally a minute or two from the bay or the beach. Geologically, topographically and temperamentally, it’s just what you’d expect from a tiny little island along Florida’s coastline: low-lying, sandy, and chock-full of casual, coastal charm.

The Accommodations

One of things that truly sets Anna Maria Island apart from other Florida beach destinations is the fact that corporate, branded America seems somehow to have missed this little gem. In fact, there are no hotel chain properties on the island. Instead, you’ll find quaint, tropically-colored cottages, small and charming inns and friendly little mom and pops.

The Locals

About 1,800 people live on Anna Maria Island, many of them seasonally. It’s a mix of retirees and snowbirds along with the folks who contribute to the locally-owned cafés, lodging properties, ice cream shops and nature tour businesses that make this place some kind of amazing flashback to a more relaxed day and age. Island residents are a casual lot: If anyone here owns a tie, it’s for weddings and funerals. The locals know that they’re lucky to live on the island, and they’re happy you want to share the experience.

The Dress Code

Anna Maria Island’s dress code is decidedly come-as-you-are. For most residents and visitors, that means swimsuits, shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. If you want to dress up for dinner out, bring a sundress, or shorts and a polo. Or don’t. That’s the beauty of the place.

The Weather

Anna Maria Island’s weather is nothing short of glorious. Bring a light sweatshirt in winter. In summer, cool off with those seaside breezes. Average highs and lows by season: Spring (82°F/60°F), Summer (90°F/71°F), Fall (84°F/64°F), Winter (73°F/51°F).