This barrier island accessed by a bridge just west of Bradenton and about an hour south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast is a sleepy hideaway with gorgeous powder-fine beaches and no chain stores or hotels in sight. Beach cruisers and golf carts are the favored mode of transport around town, where you'll find a few restaurants, boutiques, and shops renting Surrey bikes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. And you can choose between beaches on the Gulf of Mexico side or on the smaller sliver of sand on the island’s bay side. There are two fishing piers on Anna Maria where you can cast out a line and scout for dolphins, and no high-rises at all on the island. Come sunset, everyone makes their way to the Sandbar Restaurant and the surrounding beach to salute the end of another wonderful day and watch for the elusive green flash.