Modern, Laid-Back Condos Steps from Beach
In 1948, MGM used Anna Maria Island as a stand-in for Hawaii in On an Island with You, one of the studio's big-budget aquatic musicals starring waterproof songstress Esther Williams. Generations of beachgoers have frolicked in her footsteps, discovering an outpost of paradise just off the southwestern coast of Florida. Sporting a façade of sunshine-colored stucco behind nodding palms, The Beach Club at Anna Maria combines a laid-back, tropical vibe with a full complement of resort-style creature comforts.
One-bedroom condos have a sleek, modern look to them. Stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops adorn the full kitchens, each of which also comes equipped with an in-unit washer and dryer. A rooftop sundeck overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Downstairs, muscles relax in the hot tub, and the heated outdoor pool invites leisurely dips and life-size games of Battleship. Just across the street, a sugar-white beach stretches to the bathwater-warm ocean, and less than a block away, a complimentary trolley stops to take day-trippers to town.
Anna Maria Island, Florida: Relaxed Resort Community with Picture-Perfect Beaches
The warm, sunny weather and postcard-ready sunsets of Florida's Gulf Coast draw vacationers to Anna Maria Island year-round, but visitors don't have to worry about sprawling high-rise hotels blocking their beachfront views—tall buildings are strictly forbidden. The historical Anna Maria city pier bustles with beach-themed stores and a popular ice-cream shop. The Anna Maria Island Historical Society displays regularly changing exhibits of period costumes and rare photographs in a museum located next to an old local jail open for tours or self-administered claustrophobia tests.
The region's lush flora blooms at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which encompasses 14 acres abounding with more than 20,000 exotic plants and trees. After a day of culture and horticulture, visitors kick back in eateries serving fresh seafood and fruity cocktails at tables set right out on the beach.