About 45 minutes north of the lively Siesta Key is the barrier island Anna Maria. Visitors have three towns they can explore: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and the village of Anna Maria. A sleepier, cozier alternative to some of the area’s more rambunctious destinations, Anna Maria Island offers nostalgic appeal, warm weather and seafood restaurants galore. It’s generous with its coastline, offering miles of white sand and crystalline, blue water. Coquina Beach is especially well-kept and worth visiting.
But why hassle with a public beach when you could book a hotel with its own private sand? We’ve selected a mix of hotels for you across Anna Maria Island, at different price points and offering a range of beach access.
From $166/ night
Located in Bradenton Beach, this resort is also adjacent to the sands—specifically those of Cortez Beach, which is about 1,650 feet away. Also nearby is Bridge Street, a popular attraction boasting food, shops, music and bustling crowds. Of course you many not want to leave the beach, as you’ll have the chance to spy dolphins swimming in the ocean. Once you’re satiated with the area’s magical natural sights, you can enjoy your room at Bridgewalk, which, if it’s like the most here, is over 800 square feet.
Waterline Marina Resort
From $381/ night
The calming island decor, the wood furnishings, the sleepy, aquatic color palettes and the balconies looming over sparkling blue: it’s all meant to lull you into a state of comfort. And you should be comfortable here: the Waterline Marina is one of the most sparkling properties in Holmes Beach, with high customer ratings all around. Continental or American breakfast are available every morning, and should provide the needed energy to walk to across the street, to the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, where you can pick up some local treasures that aren’t seashells. Once you’re ready for white sand, Waterline can shuttle you to their Beach Club at Holmes Beach, open ’til sunset daily.
Haley’s Couples Retreat
From $156/ night
Also advertised by the simpler name of Haley’s Motel, this adults-only property is but steps away from soothing Gulf waters and crystalline sands. The motel itself is quite attractive, too, with a laidback island vibe that’s perfectly cozy for the couples it hopes to woo. Suites and apartments come with wifi, a coffeemaker, a kitchen and a toaster. An outdoor pool and air conditioning in your room ensure a cool and relaxed stay here—and perhaps the opportunity for some romance. After all, you’ll be about 20 minutes from downtown Bradenton—reachable if you want to do something, but far enough away from it all that this property really is a ‘retreat.’
Queen’s Gate Resort
From $160/ night
The Queen’s Gate Resort is located in Bradenton Beach, and like Haley’s Motel, it’s likewise an affordable option, with even a two-bedroom house running around $220. The even-more affordable studios are under $200 and include patios (or sometimes garden views) to enjoy the blissful weather of Anna Maria Island. The rooms are simply decorated and perhaps not the most contemporary, but why worry about furnishings when you’ve got a private beach and outdoor pool to enjoy? Or if you’re hungry, make a quick jaunt to Indian food or pizza, both within a four minute walk.
Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort
From $157/ night
Another worthwhile option in Bradenton Beach, this highly-rated resort has been operating for 30-plus years, catering to all kinds of travelers. The Silver Surf’s 50 rooms and units are parallel to a private beach, where you can dip your toes in the sand and let out that resounding “Ahhh” you’ve been waiting for. The staff is happy to accommodate families, as are the amenities, which seem palatable to parent and kid alike: you can rent jet skis, paddle boards or kayaks.