1. Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages

Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island

Cedar Cove Resort and Cottages is a 19-apartment beachfront hotel in a residential area between Holmes and Bradenton. A free trolley — at a station one minute away on foot — takes guests across Anna Maria Island. The private beach is the hotel’s best feature. Beach accessories like chairs, umbrellas, coolers, and towels (exchanged daily) are available to borrow. There are rows of turquoise vinyl lounge chairs and a hammock on the beach, and a bamboo tiki hut “bar” (BYOB, not serviced by the hotel) with seating and picnic tables. There is also an outdoor barbecue area with multiple gas and charcoal grills. Cedar Cove attracts couples and family crowds who come to enjoy the quiet, beachfront location and the large apartment-style units with full kitchens and the option of ocean views and pullout couches.

2. Tortuga Beach Resort

Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island

While Cedar Cove is truly beachfront, this family-friendly value hotel is across the street from the sand. The property offers three pools, a dock for water sports, and a small cafe selling coffee, breakfast items, and snacks (none of these features are available at Cedar Cove). The 55 studios and apartments are large and feature fully equipped kitchens, patios or terraces, and beachy decor (think: wicker furniture and tropical prints). Freebies, such as Wi-Fi and loaner beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels, add value.

3. BridgeWalk a Landmark Resort

Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island

This upper-middle-range resort has appealing Key West style; the buildings that make up the property are painted light pink, yellow, and blue, and all have white balconies and a slightly Victorian feel. The big condos with kitchens and daily maid service (uncommon at condo-style properties) make BridgeWalk well-suited for travelers wanting to self-cater. The convenient Bradenton Beach location means that guests can ditch the car for most of their stay, as their shops and restaurants right nearby (not to mention a beautiful stretch of beach across the street). Local trolleys also make it easy to get around. It’s not a quiet location, though, and guests should expect late-night revelry and live music at the restaurants. Note that rates are a bit higher here than Tortuga, and rooms are comparable in style and amenities.

4. Tradewinds Beach Resort

Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island

Couples and families flock to this conveniently located hotel, which is essentially a line of pastel cottages on opposite sides of a driveway that stretches from a private beach to a bay that’s ideal for fishing. The 33 beach-themed apartment-style rooms are a bit dated, but they’re spacious and come with flat-screen TVs, full-size kitchens, living rooms with sofas, and daily housekeeping. The hotel has an outdoor heated pool and offers beach accessories for guests to borrow, plus free Wi-Fi and a guest laundry room. But there is no on-site dining; Bridgewalk has an on-site bar and grill that serves fresh seafood and cocktails.

5. Bungalow Beach Resort

Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island

Evocative of Old Florida, Bungalow Beach Resort consists of 1930s cedar clapboard bungalows set amid private gardens and swaying coconut palms. The clean white decor, private beach area, and heated pools — with a cabana area for private entertaining — make this homey, family-run resort a good choice for a romantic getaway, family reunion, or wedding. High ceilings and slow-moving fans add to the island vibe, while free Wi-Fi keeps guests in touch with the rest of the world. Bungalows range from one-room Studios to those with three bedrooms. Bungalow Beach Resort does not allow pets (as an alternative, Tradewinds is pet-friendly).

6. Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast

Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island

Harrington House is a quaint mid-range bed-and-breakfast located right on Holmes Beach. Its 26 rooms, including six bungalows with full kitchens, have charming island-style decor with lots of flower prints, wicker accents, and free Wi-Fi. Most units also have balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, and a few have fireplaces. The decor might seem dated to some, though; Bungalow Beach Resort’s rustic-chic all-white style is more appealing. There is only a small heated pool here (plus another private one in the bungalows complex). Still, the property offers plenty of wonderful freebies that add value, including an excellent breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, parking, kayaks, and bikes, and daily homemade cookies. Note that kids under 12 are not allowed on the property and that there is a fee for daily housekeeping in bungalows (Bungalow Beach Resort provides daily housekeeping, with sheets changed every three nights).

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