For fabulous views, head up to the unspoilt beach at Bean point. As you emerge onto the white sand through a fringe of palm trees, the whole of Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and Egmont Key is spread out before you. Watch the magic of the Gulf and Tampa Bay tides meeting out to sea, collect shells from the shore, and indulge in some spectacular bird-spotting.
This upmarket haven of the arts is just down the coast, and it's the perfect place to go to up your culture quota. The Ringling Estate, with its Museum of Art, spectacular Venetian-style mansion and fascinating circus museum is a must; plus you can catch top-class theatre, ballet, opera and shows across a whole range of excellent performing arts venues.
There's a great selection of places to eat across the island, with many restaurants boasting superb waterside locations and spectacular views across the ocean. Seafood is a speciality and working your way through fresh scallops, ceviche, lobster, shrimp and grouper, all while drinking in the sunset, is a not-to-be-forgotten experience.
A clutch of State Parks and marine preserves are all within easy reach of Anna Maria Island, offering unique opportunities to discover the area's wildlife. Myakka State Park offers hiking trails, canoe trips and air boat rides through stunning wetlands, prairies and woodlands. You can even admire the view from tree-top level, via canopy walkways suspended eight metres off the ground.
If you've got the kids with you, or if you're in search of some thrills, make the journey to Tampa Bay's biggest theme park. Among the 12,000 animals on view are elephants, cheetahs, lions and meerkats; plus there's a whole host of rides, attractions and adrenaline-inducing roller coasters.