Right before Christmas, my parents took us and my siblings to Florida for a week of sunshine and relaxation. It did not disappoint! We stayed on Anna Maria Island on Holmes Beach (45ish minutes from Tampa) and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the location. We rented a house that had quick access to the beach (a 2 minute walk) and also had a heated pool. With kids, this was the magic combination! My nephew loved the sand, so in the mornings we loaded up to the beach, wore him out, and then went back to the house to swim while he napped.
This was Brayden and Kenley’s first trip to the beach. Ever. They were hooked from the first glimpse, and they did not want to come home! They traveled really well making it a no brainer to start looking into going next year.
The food was also incredible. We cooked at our house several nights but also went out to get some good, fresh seafood. Brayden loves shrimp so we knew he would enjoy this, and we basically ruined him on knowing what good seafood is at the ripe age of 7.
My brother is fantastic at finding the local hole in the wall places, and this did not disappoint. Star Fish Company sits on a dock and is a restaurant and a fresh fish market. They serve fresh seafood either fried, grilled, blackened, or sauteed- and their hush puppies are the best I have ever had! I had the crab cake, Brandon and Brayden had the fried shrimp, and Kenley isn’t the most adventurous, so she had a hot dog and tried a little of ours. My dad had the Mahi Mahi and it was incredible. I would go back in a heartbeat!
My dad, brother, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law did a chartered fishing trip one morning while we were there. When the guide cleaned all of their fish and sent them home, my brother started looking into restaurants that would cook it for you. Enter Tide Tables. We went there, they cooked up all of the fish (fried, blackened, and grilled) and we had the chance to try them all. It was $10 a plate for all the fish plus two sides of your choosing, and it was delicious! They also have an awesome menu (get the grouper bites!) and it’s a really charming little place.
I could probably dedicate an entire week’s worth of posts to this place. Seriously. I am almost regretting even stopping there because it was SO GOOD. They make from scratch cake donuts to order, and you get to choose the toppings! Our donuts came to us still warm, and they were nothing short of incredible. My favorites were the vanilla frosted with raspberry drizzle and the plain ol’ chocolate. If you are ever near one, GO THERE. You won’t be disappointed!
We had big family photos taken the last night we were in Florida, and afterwards we went to The Sandbar for dinner. This place was incredible. They had an awesome kids menu, the best staff, and we really enjoyed our dinner there. I had the stuffed shrimp and they were incredible. I have craved them twice already since we got home! It’s a great sunset watching location as well!
We had the best time on Anna Maria Island, and we can’t wait to go back! We made some amazing memories and it was so nice to get away right before the holidays. I soaked up some morning snuggles with my sweet nephew, listened to my kiddos giggle, and the joy of them seeing the ocean for the first time is something I will not soon forget.
Let’s hope we get to go back next year!