One of the greatest advantages of living on Anna Maria Island, as opposed to other islands along the Sun Coast, is our proximity to Tampa Bay . So much of the Gulf Coast is shallow, not only around the islands, but into the Gulf. In contrast, Tampa Bay is a wonderful, place for boating, especially for sailing. And, when you live on Anna Maria Island, Tampa Bay is your back yard.
When we first started looking at property along the Sun Coast, Siesta Key caught our attention. Maybe it was the write-ups that described it as a place inhabited by artists and writers. Or maybe it was the descriptions of its award-winning beach. When we visited there, and looked at real estate for sale, we noticed a huge premium was put on properties with “sailboat water.” So many of the properties on Siesta Key sit on canals that are crossed at some points by low bridges. It is therefore not possible to bring a sailboat or large powerboat in and out of these canals. Hence, the terms “sailboat water” is something associated with the more desirable properties on Siesta Key, and one sees it often.
In contrast, this term is not common on Anna Maria Island. An outsider might think that would mean Anna Maria Island does not have it. On the contrary: sailboat water is almost a given on Anna Maria Island. That’s why we don’t talk about it. Although there are a few locations where canals or lakes are cut off by low bridges, the majority of waterfront homes enjoy canals without bridges and easy, quick access to the Intracoastal Waterway and Tampa Bay.
Considering how ideal a location Anna Maria Island is for sailing, it is surprising one does not see more of it. Whenever we sail on Tampa Bay, we notice a few other sailboats, but not as many as we would expect. The bay is a wonderful place in which to sail for several hours.
There are interesting destinations if one has a little extra time. Egmont Key is a fascinating and beautiful little island at the mouth of Tampa Bay. According to the Florida State Parks Web site, Egmont Key’s lighthouse has stood since 1858. During the 19th century, captured Seminoles were kept on the island. During the Civil War, the island was occupied by the Union Navy. Egmont Key visitors can walk around the ruins of Fort Dade, which was built in 1898 due to the threat of the Spanish-American War. The island is a beautiful place to view wildlife, walk beaches, and swim.
More information is available at Egmont Key State Park, or call 727- 893 – 2627.
Another fun destination is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which links Bradenton to St. Petersburg. St. Pete, itself, is another option, and there are some lovely spots up the Manatee River, too.
The coasts of Florida are getting very crowded, and those who can escape the crowds for a few hours on a sailboat in Tampa Bay are most fortunate. Waterfront property and sailboat access from Anna Maria Island to Tampa Bay makes a perfect combination.