One of the very best features of Anna Maria Island is how often you get to see the water. This may sound like an obvious part of being in an island paradise. However, many beach communities that promote themselves as paradise offer far less than Anna Maria Island does, when it comes to water views. Think about how rarely one gets to see the Gulf when driving the main roads of Longboat Key. Or Sanibel Island. Or Siesta Key. In most cases, it is only the people in beach front homes who get to see the water, and these large homes block the view for everyone else.
Thanks to the low density development of Anna Maria Island, we still get to see the water as we drive around and go about our daily business. I marvel at this and feel very lucky every time I fill up my car in central Holmes Beach—with a water view! In recent months it has been nice to have something to feel good about at the gas pump.
We also get plenty of intimate water views from the small bridges that connect Anna Maria Island to the mainland and Longboat Key. The beauty of this is not to be taken for granted. It keeps us feeling more connected to the environment here. Driving over a high fixed span bridge, such as the one that connects St. Armand’s Circle to the rest of Sarasota, can be beautiful in its own way, but it does not give the driver a sense of being on the water. There is a detachment. It is like a view from a high-rise condominium.
Considering how many boat owners do not seem to use their boats very often, it’s worth thinking carefully before buying a boat. And there is that funny old saying about a boat being a hole into which one pours money. The lucky people who live on Anna Maria Island have many chances to feel they are on the water without having to go out and buy a boat. And pay for gas. And maintenance.
Whether it’s a stroll out one of the lovely piers that all three of our island cities offer, or a stroll along the miles of beach, or sitting at a drawbridge that is up to allow the passage of yachts, or even just pumping gas in Holmes Beach, we who live on this island can be on the water every day. Sure, it would be nice to own a boat, but if you can’t, this is the place to be.