Lakewood Ranch is a bit of a marvel. Located just a few minutes from Sarasota, this master-planned community has just about everything you need, whether you’re visiting for a few days, staying for the season, or laying down roots in a more permanent fashion. 

If you’ve never been to Lakewood Ranch, we invite you to visit. It’s easy to access from just about anywhere in Florida. You’ll find it off Interstate 75; a trip that won’t take more than 20 or 30 minutes from Sarasota or Bradenton. You can be here from Tampa in about an hour. 

We’re going to tell you a little bit about this community, and then we’re going to offer 3 reasons to visit. There are actually dozens of good reasons to come and spend some time in Lakewood Ranch, but we’ll focus on three of the best reasons. You can discover the rest on your own. Exploring is half the fun. (more…)

If it’s been awhile since you explored downtown Bradenton, may we suggest that you re-acquaint yourself with the area? 

It’s a lot of fun. You can stroll along the Riverwalk and take a peek at the history museum. There’s also an aquarium and a planetarium. Shows are always coming through the performing arts center, and you have the Manatee River right there in front of you. Explore the marina and start saving for your own boat. You can also visit art galleries, shop in unique and locally owned boutiques. On Main Street, you’ll find bars and breweries. Outdoor festivals can usually be found, including live music and entertainment. 

Don’t forget there’s even baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a spring training stadium in downtown Bradenton. 

While you’re having all of this fun, you’re likely to get hungry. 

With food in mind (food is always on our minds), we decided to put together a list of the 5 best restaurants you can find in downtown Bradenton. 

This list is of course subjective. We know that everyone has a different idea of what makes a great restaurant. In fact, we’d love to hear your favorites if you don’t see them on this list. 

The next time you’re looking for a great place to eat, whether you’re local to Bradenton or visiting from out of town, try one of these spots. You won’t be sorry. (more…)

Few things are as fun as planning a vacation.

At least that’s the expectation. Vacation planning is exciting, but it’s also overwhelming. Lazy planning or a lack of planning can turn your high expectations into a nightmare. Reservations may not be made, the latest weather pattern might be missed, and you might find yourself completely disorganized when it comes to what you’re doing and where you’re going. 

Don’t let your vacation spiral, especially if you’re lucky enough to be visiting Anna Maria Island. 

It’s pretty hard to get stressed here. However, you want to make the most of your plans – so make sure your plans are in place. 

We’re here to help. With a little bit of preparation and effort, you can have a better time in Anna Maria Island than you even thought possible.  (more…)

We talk to a lot of vacationers, and we’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of trip-takers.

  1. Those who pack methodically, 24 hours before departure, according to a detailed list.
  2. Those who throw random things into a suitcase minutes before it’s time to leave. 

Whatever kind of packer you are, we have some ideas on how to prepare for your Anna Maria Island vacation. This is a beach town, so you’re probably expecting to bring a selection of swimwear and sunglasses. That’s good – but it’s not a complete list of what you’ll need. 

Let’s take a look at what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going so you know how to pack accordingly. (more…)

 

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. (more…)

Welcome to Anna Maria Island! If you’re planning a vacation here, you can expect warm waters, dazzling sunsets, and lots of local shopping, dining, and entertainment. We aren’t like other beach towns, and it’s our unique qualities that keep visitors coming back every year. 

At Anchor Down Vacation Rentals, we want to help you have the best possible experience. We love this part of Florida’s Gulf coast, and we’re proud of the properties we provide to travelers like you. 

One of the first things you’ll have to decide when you’re planning your getaway is – where will you stay? 

Anna Maria Island is a seven-mile barrier island just south of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay. The entire island is divided into three separate towns. Each town has its own main street, full of restaurants, shops, art galleries, specialty shops, and opportunities for entertainment and recreation. 

The towns on the island are:

Anyplace you stay will undoubtedly be lovely. But, we want your vacation to be just right, so here are some of the things you’ll want to think about when you’re deciding where to stay when you visit Anna Maria Island (more…)

Whether you’re visiting Anna Maria Island for a weekend or staying for a season, you don’t want to simply have the tourist experience. 

You want to know what it’s like to be part of the culture and community. 

We understand that – it’s part of what creates a memorable and meaningful travel experience. As we welcome visitors to their vacation rental homes here, we like to help them put together a unique trip that will mean more than just going to the beach and filling up on seafood. 

We want you to feel like a local. 

Here are some of the ways you can experience Anna Maria Island like a local. (more…)

What does your bucket list look like? Most people have that list of goals they want to accomplish and things they hope to see before it’s too late. 

When you’re coming to Florida’s Anna Maria Island for vacation, you need a separate bucket list just for the trip. 

Trust us, there are a lot of things you just don’t want to miss. 

First, let’s introduce you to the island.  (more…)

Anna Maria Island is on the west coast of Florida. Neighbored by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, there are three separate towns along the seven-mile-long island. These are Bradenton Beach on the south end, Anna Maria on the north side, and Holmes Beach settled in between.

You won’t find high-rise condos and luxury hotel chains here. There’s less commercialization and more chill. When you visit, prepare to drive slowly. Speed limits across the island top out at 35 miles per hour. All three towns are extremely walkable, and the beach is never far away.

Each beach town also has its own restaurants, shops, live music, and entertainment. These attractions can be found on Main Street in Holmes Beach, Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, and Pine Avenue in Anna Maria.

We can provide dozens of reasons to visit Anna Maria Island, but for the purposes of this blog, we are narrowing those reasons to three.

Come in the summer, when the beaches are full of sunbathers and swimmers or in the winter, when the water stays warm and the sunsets are majestic. Just make sure you visit.

Here are the top three reasons you should.
(more…)