Anna Maria Island consists of three small "cities", Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria. In other parts of the country they might be called towns or villages. The island is connected to the mainland by three bridges: two to Bradenton, and one to Longboat Key.

Relaxed and casual, the island has distinct charm. The residents refer to it as "old Florida." I say, "It's like Nantucket used to be."

The beaches are open and accessible to both residents and visitors. Free shuttle buses run up and down the island, but you can alos walk or rent bikes. Getting around is easy.

The island has several piers from which to fish and eat. Restaurants are plentiful and varied, from the all-you-can-eat Sunday pancake breakfast on Manatee Beach, to a sunset dinner at the Sun House or Sandbar Restaurant. A 20 minute drive south through Longboat Key to St. Armand's Circle for shopping and lunch or dinner is a must.

Except to buy groceries (a Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, and other stores are just down the road), you don't ahve to leave Endless Summer.