Plan Your Next Winter Beach Vacation To This Stunning Gulf Coast Island

For some people, all they want to do during the winter is soak up the once-a-year opportunity to embrace the cold, snowy weather. Many wait all year for the temperatures to drop so they can take trips to the best skiing destinations in the country. Even those who aren't into winter sports will plan getaways to cozy cabins in the very areas that get the most snowfall. However, for many of us, all we can think about during these frigid, stormy months is the days when the sun was out and we were tanning in our bathing suits.

If you identify with the latter, there's a way you can treat your winter blues — a trip to Anna Maria Island, Florida. This beachy getaway on the Gulf Coast is the perfect escape from the chilly weather that most of the country deals with this time of year. With blue skies and the sound of the ocean waves, you won't even remember what month it is.

What to do at Anna Maria Island

During the months of December, January, and February, you can expect the temperatures in Anna Maria Island to average from 68 degrees at its coldest and 72 degrees at its warmest. While all three months have low precipitation levels, it's common that the wind picks up in December. However, from January to February visitors enjoy a moderate, peaceful climate. That said, you'll likely be able to enjoy all the same outdoor activities you typically save for the summer and spring.

Biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and golfing are all popular activities for tourists visiting Anna Maria, which has a great selection of rental shops to grab gear from. If you're a real dare-devil, you'll definitely want to check out the high ropes course at TreeUmph! Adventure Course, just about a 50-minute drive from Anna Maria Island. Or, for something a little more passive, catch a boat tour of the island. If, on the off chance, it does happen to rain on you, we recommend you head indoors to shop at the Red Barn Flea Market or peruse The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. There's plenty to do.

How to get to Anna Maria Island and where to stay

On all sides of Anna Maria Island, you'll find the waters of Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Intracoastal Waterway. However, the island is connected to the mainland via three bridges, allowing for bike, car, and bus access to the island. The three entrances from the mainland are by way of State Route 64, the Cortez Bridge, and Gulf Drive. If you are flying into the area, Sarasota Airport is the closest place to land near Anna Maria Island at just 35 minutes distance by car.

Once you have arrived at Anna Maria Island, you'll find three distinct cities: the City of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. The most residential of these three is the City of Anna Maria. Meanwhile, Bradenton Beach sits at the opposite end of the island and is described as the most buzzy, with many visitors drawn to its nearby attractions. Holmes Beach, on the other hand, sits in the middle of these two cities both locationally and atmospherically. Whichever spot you choose, you'll enjoy a mellow, beachy vibe and good weather.