Florida remains one of the top destinations of choice for vacationers in North America and non- Mediterranean European countries like the UK and Germany.
Most visitors initially come for the obvious attractions like the climate, the magnificent sandy beaches and its world beating theme parks. However, once they have been seduced by the Sunshine States balmy charms, they tend to return time and time again to discover everything else that it has to offer.
Many of those visiting for the first time often plan a two stop stay so that they can perhaps spend a week doing all the theme parks and then another week relaxing by the sea in order to recover from it all!
One coastal region which is particularly popular both with first time and regular visitors is the Tampa Bay/ St. Petersburg / Sarasota area. This is because of its relative proximity to the major theme parks and international airports as well as its magnificent beaches.
This section of the Gulf of Mexico coast also benefits from a string of small islands which are connected to the mainland by numerous road bridges. These are ideal for those looking for the peace and quiet of quality self- catering properties with sea-frontage and private pools.
One which has been well known to discerning Florida enthusiasts for a very long time is Anna Maria, an island at the mouth of Tampa Bay with no less than 15 miles of beaches. Here you will find a wonderful selection of luxury vacation villas with private swimming pools, exquisite ocean front condos and outstanding direct bay front vacation homes.
Anna Maria Island was discovered by local indian tribes the Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes and then by Spanish explorers (including Hernando DeSoto) in the name of the Spanish Crown. Hernando de Soto and his crew entered the mouth of Tampa Bay north of Anna Maria in May, 1539, but passed it by to make their landfall on the mainland.
The Island consists of three town communities; Anna Maria City to the north end, which houses some of the largest residential homes. Holmes beach in the centre and Bradenton Beach in the south; with its fun shops and restaurants. However with only 8000 inhabitants on the Island, it is far from being crowded.