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Anna Maria Island: Vacation Rental - Awesome!

Updated on March 9, 2013
Gulf Coast Beaches - awesome!
Gulf Coast Beaches - awesome! | Source

Gulf Coast Beaches

This is about our experience with a vacation rental on Anna Maria Island, Florida. We love Florida beaches - especially Gulf Coast Beaches - and we've had a lot of experience with Florida vacation rentals. Vacation rentals in Florida run the gamut, from cozy beach cottages to condos to sprawling vacation homes. With our group, we need a big house to accommodate everyone, so we always search for Florida vacation home rentals. Last month, July 2011, my family, my best friend and her family, and I spent a wonderful week on Anna Maria Island. It wasn’t our first trip to the island, and it won’t be our last – as long as I’m still breathing! We rented an amazing house called “Midnight Channel.” Located on a canal, the house contains seven bedrooms, four and one-half baths, two kitchens, a living room, a sitting room, and two dining areas – some 5,000 square feet, in all. Upstairs is a screened-in deck with two sets of tables and chairs, and downstairs is another deck with seating. There’s also a ping-pong table, an in-ground pool, and an outdoor hot tub. The washer-dryer and plenty of storage space added to our comfort. The owner also had bicycles and a kayak for us to use. There’s a pontoon boat available, too. If you're visiting Anna Maria Island, I highly recommend this house!

Anna Maria Island Photos

My middle daughter and her family at Anna Maria Island.
My middle daughter and her family at Anna Maria Island. | Source
My niece and nephew.
My niece and nephew. | Source
My youngest grandson found a sand dollar! Notice the wide sandy beach.
My youngest grandson found a sand dollar! Notice the wide sandy beach. | Source
Snorkel for starfish.
Snorkel for starfish. | Source
White sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island.
White sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island. | Source
The kayak at the rental.
The kayak at the rental. | Source
Two little anglers.
Two little anglers. | Source
We caught crabs from the dock.
We caught crabs from the dock. | Source
The channel and dock.
The channel and dock. | Source
Back of the house.
Back of the house. | Source
Redfish caught from the dock.
Redfish caught from the dock. | Source
A happy fisherman.
A happy fisherman. | Source
A VERY happy fisherman!!
A VERY happy fisherman!! | Source
Note the proximity of the pool to the dock.
Note the proximity of the pool to the dock. | Source
Another beach pic.
Another beach pic. | Source
The shady beach at the north tip of Anna Maria Island.
The shady beach at the north tip of Anna Maria Island. | Source
Chillin' on Anna Maria Island.
Chillin' on Anna Maria Island. | Source

Vacation Rental

We found the house on VRBO. If you go to the site, you’ll see some reviews that mention some maintenance problems with the house, but we had no major problems. Our biggest was that the ice maker didn’t work, but the owner provided us with a bag of ice to start out our Florida vacation. The other things we saw were very small, like tiny holes in the screen and a crack in one window. These didn’t bother us at all!

The house is on a quiet street that has very little traffic. In fact, the most traffic we saw pass by the house was a boat now and then heading out or returning via the channel. Even though the vacation rental is on a back canal, it’s only a couple of minutes away from drug stores, groceries, bait shops, restaurants, and other businesses and stores. Anna Maria Island is pretty small, so any point can be reached quickly.

To be perfectly honest, our favorite part of the vacation rental was the dock. Several of us are avid saltwater fishermen, and we had a blast catching fish right in our “own back yard.” Some of the fish we landed were hefty, including some big reds that were great on the grill at our vacation rental. We also caught some crabs from the dock and had them for dinner one night. A few of the younger folks went out in the kayak to nearby Bimini Bay, where they caught flounder and trout.

Florida Vacation Home Rentals

If you have a large family or a large group of friends who want to vacation together, Florida vacation home rentals are definitely the way to go. There'll be room for everyone to "spread out" and have their own space, and you'll also have a lot more privacy than you would with a hotel or condo. At first glance, Florida vacation home rentals might seem too expensive for your budget, but if you take a closer look, you might find that a vacation home is actually cheaper in the long run. In our case, the cost was split among four families, so it wasn't too hard on anyone's budget. And, since most vacation homes have fully equipped kitchens, you'll save a ton on preparing your own meals instead of having to dine out three times a day.

If the vacation rental includes amenities like a swimming pool, hot tub, game room, kayaks, or bikes, that’s even better! You’ll enjoy on-site entertainment, so you won’t have to constantly be driving or walking in order to find something to do. Even though this particular Anna Maria Island vacation house wasn’t a beachfront rental, we loved being on the canal, as we love practically any type of water. It was relaxing just sitting on the bench on the dock and seeing the occasional boat pass by. Of course, the anglers among us loved the canal for fishing. We never used the bikes that were included with the house, but we took full advantage of the kayaks and the large swimming pool.

Great Florida beaches on AMI:

Beautiful Florida Beaches!

Midnight Channel is located just a few blocks from some beautiful Florida beaches, and it’s not a bad hike. We usually drove, however, because we had babies, small kids, old folks (hubby and I), and all our beach stuff. The island has several different public beaches, each with its own personality. I think over the course of the week, our group tried them all! My favorite is the beach between the two fishing piers at the north tip of the island. The water there is calm, shallow, and crystal clear. It’s perfect for snorkeling, and there’s even shade provided by some huge trees, along with picnic tables for enjoying a beachside lunch or snack. Best of all, I've never seen this beach crowded.

Hubby and I also enjoyed the small beach near the southern tip of the island, on the bay side. The strip of sand isn’t very wide, but it’s perfect for fishing. Along the shore are numerous small docks, and they all have lots of fish under them. It was fun to see all the different types of fish swimming around the pilings. I think next time we go to Anna Maria Island, I’m going to take a small net and catch some of the smaller fish for bait. Actually, I saw a few that were large enough for us to eat – especially the sheepshead. If you decide to spend some time at this beach, don’t go out too far in the water because the currents get strong here. We never went deeper than our waists, and we were fine.

Two of the grandkids enjoying the beach.
Two of the grandkids enjoying the beach. | Source
The sand is white...
The sand is white... | Source
...and the water is clear.
...and the water is clear. | Source
Catch your lunch or dinner!
Catch your lunch or dinner! | Source

Anna Maria Island tour:

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is located just south of Tampa. It’s quiet, friendly, and totally laid back. The island is home to some wonderful restaurants and some interesting shopping venues, and it enjoys great weather all year. I’ve been to many Florida beaches and vacation spots, and this island is truly unique. It’s one of the few remaining examples of “Old Florida.” The beaches are beautiful, and so is the water. At times, the Gulf of Mexico here is a gorgeous “Caribbean blue.” The surf is calm, too, so it’s perfect for small children. We’ve never found any sudden drop-offs, either. I highly recommend this gorgeous island for anyone wishing to have a fun, peaceful vacation that's family friendly and a wonderful change from crowded beaches, high rises, shopping malls, and theme parks. And if you do seek more excitement, Sarasota is just across the bridge. If you’re interested in renting Midnight Channel, you can find it on VRBO. The house was one of our best Florida vacation rentals - ever! And some of the best Florida beaches can be found on Anna Maria Island.


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