Getting to Anna Maria Island from Miami, you pass cities, then desolate areas, then cities again. But then, ah, you arrive in what we consider beach paradise. Our guides, Rick and Lyn Puskas, provided us with one of their best beachfront properties – Hooks Haven. Email them to check out their other properties – all part of Serendipity Anna Maria.
Rick says that what he loves best about Anna Maria is that “it’s a small beach town with no high-rises or franchises.” Small businesses indeed thrive on this island.
Hooks Haven is a two-story dream house that can fit a large family or group. On the North Shore, it faces Rod Reel Pier – steps away from a good meal (try their famous french toast) or a good catch!
The property is beautifully decorated and it has every amenity one could need for a sweet escape – kayaks, paddle boards, bikes, and even a golf cart to use around the island at your leisure! It felt like home. 🙂
Wake up with The Donut Experiment – donuts made to order. You name it, they can do it. Talk about a sugar high! Just what we needed to face our upcoming zip line course challenge at Tree Umph! in nearby Bradenton. The staff there were amazing with our daughter. Major shout out!!
After working up a sweat, we wanted to unwind and relax. The perfect people for that are at Egmont Key Adventures. Captain Mike and Susan treated us to a sunset ride on their boat. Mike dropped us off on a small strip of land (Egmont Key), near a bird sanctuary, where our family was able to explore the remnants of Spain’s dominance (and what was a small town tortured by a fire) a long time ago. It was breathtaking, and we even got to see turtles! More breathtaking was the ride back, where the sun set perfectly – as if it were on demand. Cue in the dolphins. Not kidding!
We ventured out a little further to The Ringling in nearby Sarasota. Our daughter thoroughly enjoyed the circus exhibits and history! The property is just as gorgeous as my husband and I remember (from a trip before child) – from Mable’s rose garden to their private art collection. However, we were a bit disappointed that the Ringling home now requires separate tickets. That wasn’t the case years ago.
The afternoon ended with a required stop at Columbia for authentic, Spanish food. Talk about yum!
Later that night…we jumped on the golf cart and headed out for dessert whilst passing patches of beach – where the sun and pier can be viewed from amazing, different angles. Must say the best banana split we’ve ever had (we voted) was at Two Scoops! Dips Icecream is also yummy. 🙂
The truth is you don’t ever have to leave the island to get the relaxation or thrill you need. Plus, Anna Maria Island (AMI) felt so comfortable in so many ways because of the gregarious locals (like our amazing hosts and their team), small shops, adventure groups, restaurants…
AMI is forever in our hearts (drawn in the sand). #endlesssummer
As we left the island our daughter firmly asked, “Why have we never been to Anna Maria Island before?!”