A charming Floridian island along the Gulf of Mexico.
Past the industrial fruit juice-making town of Bradenton, you’ll find a clutch of beautiful hidden beaches and stoplight-free Anna Maria Island. It’s a quiet escape where days are spent sunbathing on soft sand, sipping chilly cocktails on the boardwalk, and tucking into fresh seafood on the deck of a waterfront restaurant as the sun sets. If you’re looking for nightlife, head into nearby Bradenton or Sarasota.
Sprawling from the street out onto the beach, this century-old spot serves surprisingly upscale food like sesame-crusted tuna.
The Waterfront Restaurant
The restaurant is housed in a rebuilt historic cottage gutted by fire five years ago; the menu’s heavy on fish, of course—try the Gulf Coast sampler, groaning with scallops, grouper, shrimp, and crab cake.
Sunrise Garden Resort
The Thai-accented property features 16 suite-size rooms kitted out in dark wooden Asian furniture, pool, and patio for lounging—there’s even a “spirit house” to amp up the resort’s good vibes
Thanks to its gentle currents, the beach is a popular and lively spot, especially on weekends. For seclusion, head to the gorgeous white-yellow sands of Long Boat Key.