Located in the middle of Anna Maria Island in Florida, Holmes Beach is a fantastic vacation destination for travelers of all ages. Whether you choose to go water-skiing on the Gulf of Mexico, lounge on the soft sand under the sun, or take a leisurely stroll down the scenic Anna Maria Island Boardwalk, you’re sure to treasure every moment you’ll spend at this tropical heaven. Book a stay at a Holmes Beach vacation rental today. Without further ado, here are the most picturesque places in and around Holmes Beach to check out.

1. Bradenton

If you’re traveling with the family, Bradenton is a great choice for vacation rentals. It has a welcoming small-town feel, but it’s just a quick drive from two larger cities, Tampa and St. Petersburg. It’s approximately half an hour by car from Holmes Beach. When you’re not at the beach, be sure to visit South Florida Museum, a history museum, aquarium, and planetarium. The Riverwalk is a popular destination you should also visit. It’s a 1.50-mile park that overlooks the Manatee River with stunning views and unique public art.

2. Sarasota

Sarasota is a gorgeous, community-oriented city with a whole lot to offer to vacationers. The area is known for its lovely beaches, thriving arts scene, immaculate golf courses, and flourishing downtown. If you’re looking for a luxurious vacation rental, check out neighborhoods that are just south of downtown — Cherokee Park and Harbor Acres are both fine choices. While you’re in town, make sure you visit the flamingos at the 4-acre Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and explore the local plant life at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

3. Longboat Key

Upscale and elegant, Longboat Key is a great place to seek vacation rentals if you want to treat yourself and your family. The majority of the residents live there part-time, so you should have no problems finding available rentals. The serene, white-sanded beaches are perfect for sunbathing while the crashing waves lull you into relaxation. The area offers world-class golf courses, tennis courts, restaurants, and shopping. Joan M. Durante Community Park is a scenic park and nature reserve that’s perfect for jogging or bicycling.

4. Venice

Venice is a unique city with a downtown area referred to as “Venice Island” because it’s separated from the mainland by a man-made canal. The island has plenty of delightful restaurants and shops, and it’s a great place to explore on foot. If you enjoy fishing, be sure to visit the Venice Fishing Pier to catch some local seafood. If you’re not lucky angling your supper, head to the Detwiler’s Farm Market, where you can buy fresh, local seafood, produce, and other culinary delights, then prepare it all in the kitchen of your fabulous vacation rental.

5. Manasota Key

Reminiscent of 1940s and 50s Old Florida, Manasota Key is the premier destination for anyone who loves nature. The area is famous for its abundance of flora and fauna, and there is plenty of natural beauty just waiting to be explored. If you’re feeling daring, get an aerial view of the long barrier island at Englewood Beach Parasailing. Stand-up paddleboarding is a popular activity in this aquatic area, and of course the beaches are top-notch. Look for vacation rentals in the northern half of Manasota Key if you want something luxurious, and check the southern half for rentals more on the affordable side.

6. Englewood

If you’re looking for waterfront vacation rentals on a budget, Englewood is an excellent choice. Englewood isn’t the most popular tourist destination, but it’s a hidden gem that’s very popular among in-the-know locals. This area has that laid-back Old Florida vibe that’s getting harder and harder to find. Stump Pass Beach State Park offers miles of gorgeous beaches, and it’s the perfect place to take a stroll and collect seashells. Rent a boat to explore the Lemon Bay or Myakka River, and don’t forget to swing by the Englewood Farmer’s Market for fresh food, crafts, gifts, and more.

7. St. Petersburg

Nicknamed the “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg is known for its year-round summer weather, as well as its eclectic shops, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s a 45-minute drive from Holmes Beach, perfect if you want big city amenities with easy access to the coast. Be sure to visit The Dali Museum, a fascinating facility dedicated to the artwork of Salvador Dalí. While you’re feeling artistic, check out the Museum of Fine Arts. If you want to escape the business of the city, head to Sunken Gardens, a tranquil getaway teeming with stunningly beautiful plant life. Maximo Park is another must-visit location, especially if you have kids. The massive waterfront park includes multiple playgrounds, a beach, bike paths, a nature boardwalk, and more.

8. Tampa

The largest city in the southwestern section of Florida, Tampa is a great city packed with family-friendly attractions. Visit a huge variety of exotic wildlife at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, and then see the aquatic creatures at The Florida Aquarium. Spend the day at Busch Gardens riding a huge variety of thrilling roller coasters and other amusement rides. Bring the kids to Glazer Children’s Museum for a full day of fun and learning.

9. Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach occupies the southern section of Anna Maria Island, so it’s just a stone’s throw away from Holmes Beach. The area is known for its excellent fishing piers, as well as its unique shops and eateries. The beaches have fine white sand that’s perfect for laying out in the sun or strolling along the shore. Water sports are extremely popular in the Bradenton Beach area, and there are plenty of boat rentals readily available, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving options. The historic Bradenton Beach City Pier offers beautiful views and excellent fishing.