Family beach trips have been a constant in our lives since my wife Kristen and I were kids ourselves.
Before we met, my family took annual trips to the Atlantic beaches in North and South Carolina, while Kristen’s family mostly visited the Panhandle of Florida.
While dating, we got to experience what each of us cherished about those places. Once we established our family—now of five!—we wanted a beach tradition of our own. But where?
We knew what we didn’t want. I never loved the congestion and high-rise condos that line the Panhandle of Florida; Kristen never appreciated the “dirty-white” color and rougher textures of the Atlantic beaches.
What we learned—when we stumbled upon Anna Maria Island five years ago—is that you can’t really “choose” your family’s beach. It chooses you.
From the beginning, we both felt at home on this seven-mile slice of paradise. The flour-soft, shimmery sands and clear, emerald waters captured what Kristen loved about the Gulf of Mexico. The houses and island architecture reminded me of childhood vacations at the simple, cozy cottages that dot the Atlantic shore – although AMI’s homes are more updated and upscale inside, a welcome change.
Anna Maria Island locals are friendly and openhearted, and the whole island exudes this calming vibe that melts life’s worries on contact.
We’d found our beach. And three years ago, we decided to realize our dream and purchase a vacation rental home on Anna Maria Island.