Hotel at a Glance: Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort
Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort overlooks a stretch of private beach on the gulf side of Anna Maria Island; guests can borrow beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas free of charge. The resort also contains a heated, outdoor pool surrounded by lounge chairs and dwarf palms. Meanwhile, the California-style rooms have a beachy feel with tile floors, baby blue walls, and tropical decor.
- A fresh coat of paint: The resort completed an exterior renovation in February 2014.
- Free breakfast: Guests get a grab & go continental breakfast each morning.
- Sleep like a baby: Triple-sheeted beds have 3-inch foam mattress toppers.
- Prepare a home-cooked meal Most rooms have a full kitchen or kitchenette.
- Watersports: Rent a jetski, catamaran, paddleboard or kayak right on the resort's private beach.
Bradenton Beach, Florida: Barrier Island Beaches with a Free Trolley
The sugary white sands of Bradenton Beach stretch for miles along the Gulf of Mexico. The beachfront community sits on Anna Maria Island, a thin barrier island right off the coast of Sarasota. Beaches here are great for swimming and shelling, thanks to the warm, calm waters of the gulf. Rent kayaks and bicycles from local shops to explore Anna Maria Island. You can also get around on the free beach trolley that runs from the Anna Maria City Pier to Coquina Beach. The trolley stops at popular beaches and shopping complexes along the way, including Pine Avenue, where you'll find shops selling French-milled soaps, specialty olive oils, and handmade clothing. Local restaurants are abundant here, too, but no drive-throughs—they're prohibited on the island.