Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, and the Intracoastal Waterway, Anna Maria Island is an easy 1 1/2-hour drive from Tampa.
It's only 7 1/2 miles long and less than a mile wide and, for starters, boasts not a single towering condo. (No building over three stories is allowed.) Chain restaurants? Very few of them. The restaurants are delightfully local and extremely good. In other words, you’ve stepped into the Florida of decades ago, with one major difference: New amenities enhance the old charm for a winning combination.