Is Anna Maria Island still Old Florida?

Castles in the Sand

There’s no doubt how much Anna Maria Island has changed over the past 25 years since I found the Island. One might say it’s gone from shabby chic to polished coastal, but has it also gone from Old Florida to upscale Florida pretending to be Old Florida.

Last month the Island, or at least Holmes Beach, had another “best of” rankings bestowed on them. This time it was from Trip Advisor who picked the top seven “delightfully low-key Florida beach towns you might not know about.” Well if they didn’t know about it before they sure know about it now. Just what we need, more cars on the Island. On the other hand, for people who own property on the Island and want to generate some profit, this may be the right time if you follow a few simple rules.

There are lots of ways to get your property out there if you’re considering rentals, VRBO, Airbnb, the new Marriott Homes & Villas and of course, traditional Island real estate companies.

Starting with a great location is key and the Island has a multitude of great locations. Properties closer to the beach always rent for more but it’s hard to find anywhere on Anna Maria Island that’s undesirable.

Next is the number of bedrooms, the more the better. If there is any way to turn available space like an office or storage room into another bedroom it will make your rental more attractive. Also, remember the children and furnish the property with sturdy and well-built trendy furniture that is washable and somewhat indestructible. Leave the Chippendale in storage.

Provide big sectional sofas and seating areas for everyone to get cozy on, and also a large enough dining table for the maximum number of guests allowed. Add some beach essentials like beach chairs, beach toys, beach carts and maybe even paddleboards. If you have a pool having a floating chair with a drink holder could seal the deal. A gas grill is also appreciated by renters as are ping pong tables, bikes, games and restaurant recommendations. Towels, including beach and bedding that are not expensive but in good condition, are essential. No one likes a dingy towel. Don’t forget toilet paper, paper towels, bath soap and dishwasher soap, providing at least enough to get started if it’s a long-term rental and enough to get short-term renters through to the end.

Leaving a complimentary bottle of wine and some welcome cheese and crackers is a nice touch that people don’t forget. And don’t be afraid to decorate with some cute and beachy stuff. I read somewhere it’s a good idea to have a plaque made with the name of your rental placed in a position where renters might take a picture, free advertising when they show their vacation photos to friends.

The bottom line is to create a space that you would like to spend time in.

Trip Advisor loves the slower pace of Holmes Beach and the “Old Florida” vibe without the crowds. But we’re not alone – the other top six low-key Florida destinations include Venice, Cocoa Beach, Englewood, Daytona Beach Shores, Lauderdale By The Sea and Longboat Key. I’m not sure if Longboat Key residents would agree with the “Old Florida” characterization, but polished coastal does fit.

There’s no argument that Anna Maria Island is one of the most beautiful beachfront communities in the country and to people coming here for the first time it still epitomizes Old Florida. So, if you’re considering using your home as a rental there certainly is a thriving market. Old or upscale, it’s still the tops.

More Castles in the Sand:

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Million dollar homes and taxes