Anna Maria Island: Remembering the Perfect Girls' Weekend Away

By: Terry Ward

ADD TO FAVORITES

My favorite girls' weekend ever? A reunion with my three best friends on Anna Maria Island, a true hideaway on Florida's sugarspun Gulf Coast (less than an hour south of Tampa).

Our get together was many years in the making--even when you live somewhere as enticing as Florida, it's not easy to wrangle four busy people from around the country to come together at one time, in one place! But we made it happen earlier this year...and in the prettiest of places, to boot.

Caroline, Kelly, Kate and I knew we wanted to stay in a vacation rental for our weekend rendezvous. Don't get me wrong--I love a nice hotel room. But when you're staying with a group, there's something really special about being able to stretch out in a waterfront home, cook gourmet meals in a beautiful kitchen and lounge about like sea nymphs on your own, private waterfront dock, wouldn't you say?

Honeyfish Villa--one of seven luxury properties (including six villas and one apartment)  in the Pineapplefish collection--ended up being the most perfect vacation rental we could imagine. There were four bedrooms, so each of us had our own private space and ensuite bathroom. And the home's layout was exactly how I  envision my dream home--with spacious bedrooms stemming off of a big central living area that looks onto the water and a big, open kitchen outfitted with gourmet everything. Oh, and we had our own private pool at the  house, too. And an enormous waterfront porch with plenty of Adirondack chairs overlooking a quintessential Florida waterway scene.

Indulgent?  Very.

But like I said, this get together was a long time coming. And Honeyfish ended up being just perfect for entertaining, perfect for hanging out, and most of all--perfect for plain old being with people I absolutely adore!

Herewith, a few tips my friends and I put together from our visit so you can cut the legwork out of the equation and get down to making the most of your own getaway on wonderful Anna Maria Island:

  • Rent a boat to tour the island and its scenic residential canals with Freedom Boat Club (you can cruise to nearby Longboat Key from Anna Maria Island)
  • Rent beach cruiser bikes, GoPeds or golf carts from Beach Bums to tour the island (kayak tours can also be arranged here, and Beach Bums also has you covered on baby-oriented rentals, too, such as strollers, highchairs and car seats)
  • Plan an elegant evening out at one of the area's best restaurants, Beach Bistro, known for Florida seafood (try the grouper) and romantic oceanfront views
  • Weekend breakfast at Ginny and Jane E's (the former IGA gorcery store), famous for its Creme Brulee French Toast and eclectic selection of fun home furnishings and gifts
  • Spa time at Acqua Aveda in Holmes Beach
  • Lunch and tropical drinks at the Sandbar Restaurant

Have the best time ever with some people you love in one of my favorite Florida locales! I promise, this is the stuff of memories that will last a lifetime...

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