Glorious Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida

Glorious Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida photo

The town of Holmes Beach is yet another one of my Anna Maria Island favorites, and I never shy away from the opportunity to visit this area of the island. With some of the most luxurious resorts and vacation rentals on the island (I adore the White Sands Beach Resort, among others) and an abundance of things to do, see, and explore, Holmes Beach is one of Anna Maria Island's most exciting vacation destinations. Holmes Beach also has an abundance of luxury vacation rental accommodation, including beachfront condos.

Holmes Beach is home to Manatee Beach, easily the most popular beach on the island. The draw to this particular stretch of sand are the features not found on the other island beaches: lifeguards, volleyball courts, playgrounds, concession stands, and public restrooms, all of which make it the perfect beach for families. Manatee Beach is also ideal for the social beachgoer who likes a lively atmosphere when taking in the sun and sand. Because Manatee Beach is a hotspot for beach enthusiasts from all over the island, get there early enough to find that perfect place to plant your beach umbrella.

If you want to venture off the sand but are not sure where to start, Holmes Beach has plenty of options. Kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding along the shore are my favorite ways to view marine life without having a negative environmental impact. AMI Paddleboard Adventures offers paddleboat lessons and tours, or you can rent the equipment from Native Rentals and head out alone. (Both businesses are located in the center of Holmes Beach). But before you pay for anything, check with your vacation rental first: many of the Holmes Beach resorts and vacation rental properties allow guests free use of their equipment, including kayaks, snorkel gear, and paddleboards.

For those who are looking to spend a day on land, I always recommend taking a walking tour of the island - due to its central location, Holmes Beach is the ideal place to start. Anna Maria Island is only seven miles long, which means that it's easy to explore some or all of the island on foot. However, walking isn't always realistic for those traveling with small children or on days of intense Florida heat. For times when walking simply isn't an option, I recommend Zegway by the Bay, which has Segway rentals and offers two hour-long island tours. These rolling rides are an absolute blast, and they provide a great way to get around without too much exertion. You'll find Zegway by the Bay on East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach.

Apart from its numerous outdoor activities, its popular beaches, and its convenient central location, one of the most alluring aspects of Holmes Beach is that although it's close to so much action, it's still a quiet tropical setting. That means that after a full day of activities in the water and the sand, or exploring the towns and the shores, you'll be able to retreat back to your tranquil resort or vacation rental for some peaceful downtime. The fact that Holmes Beach so perfectly balances the best of both worlds – lively activities and quiet relaxation – is precisely why I keep returning to this part of the island.

To plan your vacation to glorious Anna Maria Island, visit www.annamaria.com/holmes-beach.html to book your Holmes Beach luxury vacation rental accommodation.