Anna Maria Island has been named one of the world’s top islands, by Conde Nast Traveler Readers. The popular travel magazine recently released the winners of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, which ranks top cities, hotels, resorts, spas and cruiselines in the world, based on readers’ votes. One of only 11 U.S. islands on the list, and the only representative from Florida, Anna Maria Island clinched the No. 26 spot, with a readers’ rating of 81.373.
The list includes from the bottom to top- Aquidneck Island (Newport), Rhode Island, Vancouver Island in Canada, Isle of Palms in South Carolina, Hilton Head in South Carolina, Anna Maria Island in Florida, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, British Virgin Islands, Frisian Islands in Germany, Prince Edward Island in Canada, Skiathos & Sporades in Greece, Öland in Sweden, Maldives, Moorea in French Polynesia, Bali in Indonesia, Oahu in Hawaii, Sea Island in Georgia, Bermuda, Menorca in Spain, Boracay in Philippines, and Tasmania in Australia. In the top 10 are Big Island, Hawaii, Kangaroo Island, Australia, St. John in U.S. Virgin Islands, Santorini & Cyclades in Greece, Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands in Australia, Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique, Kauai in Hawaii, Maui also in Hawaii, Kiawah Island in South Carolina and at the top of list is Palawan, Philippines.
Anna Maria is described by Conde Nast Traveler as a “narrow band off Florida’s west coast, this barrier island has some of the softest, whitest sand on the East Coast. And as it faces west, it’s a stunning place to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Pro tip: At seven miles long and two miles wide, Anna Maria Island is a great place for a leisurely biking trip along the water. By-the-hour cycle rentals are available at Beach Bums.”
This year, votes were received from more than 77,000 readers, and each entry was judged on a set of criteria related to its category and using a standard five-point rating scale from excellent to poor. The mean average of all ratings determined the final score. “This ranking confirms how special Anna Maria Island is to not only to our community, but to visitors as well,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director at the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Anna Maria Island is so much more than seven miles of beautiful sugar white sand beaches, it’s a community that is low rise, low key, with an old Florida setting that sets itself apart from other islands.”
The Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key area is located on Florida’s west coast between St. Petersburg and Sarasota. It is bordered on the north by Tampa Bay, and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico. Easy to get to, but off the beaten path, filled with “Old Florida” ambience brimming with opportunities to experience Florida at its most real and authentic, the Bradenton/Anna Maria Island/Longboat Key area is a part of the state worth discovering and exploring again and again.