Anna Maria Island named one of the best beach towns in America

a beach resort at sunset with an unground pool in the foreground, and a tiki hut in the distance.

The summer is nearly here, and that means it’s time for some fun Florida trips. Just a quick drive from the city of Tampa is Anna Maria Island, a beautiful beach town with one of the coolest cocktail bars in the country, and a totally funky brunch spot brimming with Florida kitsch.

“This barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast is quaint, uncrowded and uncluttered, presenting excellent opportunities for soaking up some sun in space,” wrote Newsweek in its rankings. “Visitors to Anna Maria Island can shop at one of the state’s largest discount malls, sample fresh Florida seafood prepared with local flair and relax in local parks and preserves where the wildlife-viewing is unparalleled.”

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What is there to do on Anna Maria Island? Start with beaches. The good news for visitors is the three main beaches offer free public parking. Enjoy soft white sand, crystalline water, and gentle waves as you embrace a cotton candy sunset. Your beach options include Manatee Point Beach, Bayfront Park, Cortez Beach/Coquina Beach; they’re all solid so do your best to experience all three while you enjoy a visit to the 7-mile-long island.

Anna Maria Island is worth the trip from Tampa

Take in the views from the newly built pier, explore boutique shops on historic bridge street, enjoy any of the myriad kayaking adventures available in the area, or simply take a step back and enjoy the comfort of (Anna Maria) island life. Did you know you can go snorkeling at Anna Maria Island? Yea, you can do that. You can also enjoy a Florida-style hike at Leffis Key Preserve.

The Doctor’s Office AMI is a hip new craft cocktail bar. The restaurant also offers up chef-prepared bar fare and a chic ambience unmatched by other bars. If you wake up early enough you can enjoy the the sensational cinnamon rolls at Ginny & Jane’s Cafe and Gift Shop. The Donut Experiment is also the perfect little morning shop for kids and adults.

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