In the winter of 2010 I was in charge of planning a trip for our family, as well as my husband’s parents and siblings. We wanted to bring his parents to Florida so they could see why we loved to visit the state, and his siblings graciously agreed. From our other trips I knew I wanted to go to the Gulf side of the state, and Anna Maria Island sounded so quaint and family oriented.
Once Anna Maria Island was decided on for the location I had to find accommodations that would:

  • Allow 11 people, from young to senior, and 2 dogs to coexist comfortably
  • Have an uncrowded pool
  • Be close to beaches

I soon decided that a vacation rental would be the most suitable choice, and was lucky enough to find a lovely one. I couldn’t wait, not only because I loved Florida, but I was also excited to show my inlaws.


Above is the beautiful rental we stayed in.

As soon as we started driving over the causeway to the island I knew something was different than any other Florida experience we had had, and in a good way. A very good way. The scenery was absolutely stunning. Blue-green water surrounded a mangrove lined island in the distance, and all along the sides of the causeway were beaches with people sitting or fishing or walking their dogs. As we drove on to the island I was struck by the beauty of the gulf beaches and the quaintness of the community. There are no high rises allowed on the island. Not only does this allow constant views of the beaches and the Gulf of Mexico, but preserves the old world feel of the island.


Anna Maria Island, photo: Jack Elka

The two weeks we spent on the island were filled with many wonderful family activities. Beach walks, bike rides, mini golf, yoga at the community center, barbecues, swimming, dog walks, shopping and exploring – all in the beautiful Florida sun. And the beach! Oh the beach! It was truly spectacular! And there was 7 miles of it! I just could not get enough.


The sunsets are so awe inspiring that people line the beach each night to watch. Every night. They are that beautiful.


As with most vacations it was time to go home far too soon. When we were home my thoughts and heart were often back on the island.

The next winter we decided to visit again – we couldn’t stay away! This time there was just four of us, myself, my husband, and our two youngest children who were young teens. Again we had a fabulous time. The atmosphere is wonderful for families, and there are endless things to do. We didn’t need such a large space this time, so we rented a condo in a small complex.


We enjoyed that condo so much we ended up buying in that same complex the next September. My daughter and I flew down that October and furnished and set up the condo. We stayed as often as time allowed, and we also rented it to other vacationers.

I discovered quickly that I very much enjoyed providing not only a beautiful place for people to stay on their vacation, but helping them discover the island and providing personal service that made their holiday special.

So I bought Blue Turtle Cottage 🙂

Blue Turtle Cottage is steps from the beach and has a private pool. It is a wonderful base to enjoy this paradise of an island from.

Those that make their way to Anna Maria Island almost always come back time and time again. There is something about the island that can not adequately be described in words or shown in pictures. The enchantment so many are afflicted with after they visit is a feeling. People often say they left their heart on the island, and they spend a lot of time yearning to be back. Well I am the same! I constantly conspire to get back, and visit vicariously through my guests.

If you would like to come visit Anna Maria Island please contact us for accommodations at annamariaislandhouserental.com