Every traveler looks for something different when it comes to the place they’ll stay while on vacation. 

When you decide to visit Anna Maria Island, on Florida’s serene Gulf of Mexico, you’re not going to find a lot of the chain hotels and high-rise condos that many other beach communities have. We’re a bit different – more about making you feel at home. Our vacation rentals are cozy homes away from home, where you can cook, relax, spread out, and enjoy the slower pace of all your days off. 

So how should you choose your own vacation rental on Anna Maria Island

We work with vacationers all the time, helping them decide on the place that’s going to serve their needs and those of their traveling companions. We’ve put together some things you should think about before you book. 

There are plenty of options here, but don’t take too long deciding. Properties book quickly, and you don’t want to miss out on the vacation home of your dreams. Take a look at these tips, and then let us know how we can help you plan the perfect beach getaway.

Think About Anna Maria Island Location 

The location of your vacation rental is going to impact your stay. It’s easy enough to get around – everything on the island is just minutes away, wherever you happen to stay. It’s a tremendously walkable region, and there’s also a trolley that runs and welcomes people on and off without charge. 

But, it helps to be in just the right place. 

Maybe you want to be as close as possible to the beach. Or, you might want good restaurants within walking distance. Maybe watching seabirds search for breakfast while the sun rises over the Gulf is your idea of paradise. 

There really isn’t a bad neighborhood in Anna Maria Island. But before you decide where you want to be based, you should get an idea of how the island is laid out and which areas have the best access to beaches, shops, and history. 

Anna Maria Island is a seven-mile barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. The island is arranged in a way that splits it into three distinct and unique towns. 

Each of Anna Maria Island’s towns has a main thoroughfare, which includes restaurants, shops, and pavilions for live music, art shows, and other types of entertainment. Each town has its own local beach as well. 

On the south end of the island is Bradenton Beach, with Bridge Street being the place where everything happens. You can stay in this part of town and be close to Coquina Beach, which is routinely rated one of the prettiest beaches in the country. 

Holmes Beach Is the next town, in the central part of the island. People like staying here because they’re literally in the middle of things. The local beach is Holmes Beach or Manatee Public Beach. The main street running through this part of the island has restaurants and shops as well as cafes and bars. 

On the northernmost part of the island is Bean Beach, which is part of the City of Anna Maria. If you stay on this end of the island, you’ll be close to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum. On Pine Street, you’ll find restaurants and all the things you need, including a city pier which has a rich history of its own. 

These are some of the local terms you’ll see when you’re browsing vacation listings: Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and City of Anna Maria. When location is a priority, this is helpful to know.

Decide What Your Priorities Are for Vacation 

You have to know what you want when you’re choosing a vacation rental. Set down a list of priorities. For some visitors, waterfront properties are the only ones they’ll consider. For others, a water view is sufficient. 

Those priorities will be driven by what you plan to do. If you aren’t going to cook a lot while you’re away, and you look forward to eating out for every meal, you’re not going to need a home with a gourmet kitchen. Instead, you’ll look for a rental that’s close to some of the great restaurants you’ve researched on Yelp and TripAdvisor. 

Maybe you have kids or you’re traveling with pets. Those things will also cause you to prioritize differently. You’ll need to find a place that permits pets. You’ll also need a kid-friendly home that might include a fenced backyard, a crib, or even bunk beds in one of the bedrooms. 

The things that are important to you will depend on:

  • Who is traveling with you.
  • What you’re hoping to spend your time doing while on vacation. 
  • Which things are most important to you in a rental home, whether that’s a garden bathtub, an outdoor dining area, or a set of bikes that come with the home.
  • Whether it’s a complete vacation or work will need to be done. How important is good Wi-Fi, for example?

Make a Budget Before you Book

Money is always going to matter. 

Decide how much your housing budget is going to be before you fall in love with a property you may not be able to afford. When you work with a vacation rental agency, you can be clear about your budget and leave it to the agents to offer you potential homes within the right range. Searching online can be misleading. There are often extra fees in addition to the rental amount that are easy to forget. Cleaning fees, booking fees, deposits, etc….you can end up spending more than you had budgeted for just by using the wrong platform. 

You’ll want to find ways to save money when you can, but don’t do things too cheaply. You really do get what you pay for and you don’t want to realize too late that by cutting corners you don’t have enough space or any of the amenities you want. 

Book directly with an owner or management company when you can. 

There’s going to be an overall vacation budget that you need to follow, which will include transportation to Anna Maria Island, food, entertainment, and any extras. Don’t forget to carve out a budget that’s specific to accommodations. 

Spend Some Time with Listings 

Find out what you’re renting and do your homework before you choose a vacation home – and definitely before you book. Sometimes, you’re in such a hurry to get a place booked or to get the best possible deal, you forget to spend enough time checking out the details of the home. 

Make sure the rental property that’s advertised is the rental property you’re actually going to find when you arrive in Anna Maria Island. Gather all the information you can about the place. Check out the website of the owner or the management company. Read online reviews. Pour over the pictures. Visit social networking sites and make sure everything matches up. 

Instead of simply clicking a “Book” button, have a conversation with the owner or the agent. Surely you have questions about whether the property is safe for a toddler or a person in a wheelchair. You’ll want to know what the cleaning protocols are and whether there’s parking. Send a message or make a phone call. It’s the best way to vet the properties you’re thinking about booking. 

Researching the owner or the management company is just as important. You want to know who you’re doing business with. Look for bios and websites. Make sure someone is willing to talk with you. 

Consult Your Traveling Party 

Family MembersThe choice you make will depend on the number of people you are traveling with, and you’ll have to find a way for everyone to agree on a vacation home. Depending on your group dynamic, this could be difficult. 

When traveling with an entire family or a large group of friends, consider breaking up into smaller groups. Instead of seeking out an eight-bedroom house, for example, perhaps you can rent a couple of adjoining condos or two smaller houses on the same street. For some travelers, being together is absolutely critical. For others, a little extra space is important. 

Get as much of a consensus as possible before you book, and see what you can agree upon. Always put one person in charge of making the reservation and being the point of contact for the place you book. It keeps things simple and streamlined. 

A good vacation rental will provide you with privacy, space, and comforts. You’re choosing a home instead of a hotel for a reason, and it’s a great opportunity to completely personalize your stay. Find something that checks off all your most important needs and desires. 

We take the time to get to know exactly what you’re looking for, so start your search for Anna Maria Island vacation rentals with Anchor Down Vacation Rentals. We’ll help you find your perfect place, and if you book directly through us, you’ll find you can save some money. Contact us to learn more.