Anna Maria Island might be one of the most perfect places on earth to have a family vacation. The entire island is mostly residential, quiet, quirky and just oozing old Floridian charm. Every corner has a little shop or cafe that invites you to just sit and stare at the turquoise waters of the gulf. And the waves aren’t overly huge – making this an ideal spot to introduce a little one to the ocean for the first time. Especially since the water runs around 80 degrees – this freeze-baby was thrilled with that!
And there’s such a variety of places to spend your days when you visit – from house rentals to boutique hotels. We chose to stay at the Bridgewalk Resort on our recent trip – located at the southern end of Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach. Specifically because the hotel is located on historic Bridge Street: where people used to enter the island on a wooden bridge. The street is lined with little shops, cafes and restaurants, where there always seems to be live music playing. And within two minutes you can walk the entire street, from the beautiful gulf beach to a fishing pier jutting out onto the salty bay.
We stayed in a condo in the Sabal Palm building, which was over 1,000 square feet, including a master bedroom, full kitchen and living space. There were two screened in verandahs; one which faced directly west so you could enjoy sweeping sunsets every night. The decor was very old Floridian: palm tree throw pillows, a bronze pineapple with your room number engraved, black and white photos of old fishing boats. I loved the little accents, like the fact that each room key was an actual key (no modern keycards here!) adorned with a little seahorse charm. Bridgewalk Resort is a place to slow down, take a break from the modern world and just soak in the slow lifestyle of the south.
This beach, right? It was beyond gorgeous.
All in all, we were thrilled with this resort! The staff was beyond courteous and even made an effort to remember our names during our trip. The room was clean, bright and had every amenity we needed. And didn’t need – like a jacuzzi tub (we used it to lay our wet swim suits on). Our only disappointment was the pool – it was a bit on the small side and incredibly warm due to all the sun. But really, who needs a pool when you have the beautiful, warm Gulf to swim in, just steps away?
Oh and did I mention that we were greeted with fresh chocolate chip cookies upon check-in? That is the mark of a quality resort 🙂 Overall, extremely family friendly in a GORGEOUS location! We can’t wait to go back!