Anna Maria Island
Though the area around Bradenton doesn’t get a whole lot of credit for anything other than opioids, Anna Maria Island is a forerunner in beach town sustainability. It’s got some of the most spectacular sunsets in the state, none of which are blocked by high rise condos or hundreds of tourists jockeying for picture position -- all best experienced over a grouper sandwich at the locally legendary Sandbar. Anna Maria's Pine Avenue was also named the Greenest Street in America in 2016, packed with solar panels, energy efficient buildings, and some street surfaces made from recycled materials.
Where you’re staying: Mainsail Beach Inn. Though there’s an abundance of great places to eat on Anna Maria Island, if you’re coming for a while with your family, having a big kitchen is key. As is having several bedrooms. This hotel has 12 short-term residences that fit the bill, and though you can rent condos all over the island -- this one has a restaurant, pool, and all the amenities of a hotel.