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BUNGALOW BEACH RESORT: WHERE COOL IS SMALL
 
(2021 - Winter Issue)

Writer: KARUNA EBERL



The family-run Bungalow Beach Resort on Anna Maria Island is a sleepy tucked away hideaway on a compact island that is big on the small things.  If you want a laid-back, off-beat beachfront then get ready for your next Florida vacation here.

At Bungalow Beach Resort, the modest gazebo entrance is kind of like a time machine. Pass through it and you feel like you’ve entered a tropical world. The restored 1930s-era wooden cottages sit directly atop the sand (something that’s rare, since it’s impossible to replicate with today’s building regulations). Gentle blue-green waves from the Gulf of Mexico literally drop seashells within arm’s reach of your doorstep.

This is Old Florida. Author Ernest Hemingway reeled in marlin off the coast. Circus magnate John Ringling, who had the “Greatest Show on Earth” with the Ringling Brothers, cruised past these very bungalows in his yacht full of celebrities and politicians.

Charming Cottages by the Sea

While each bungalow has its own personality, they’re all decorated with a clean, natural feel. Five of them have full Gulf-front views and none of them have stairs. That means the silky white sand sinks between your toes as soon as you step out the door. The ocean is right there to say “Hello,” morning, afternoon and night.

Go Local

If the seaside entertainment ever gets boring, there are free trolleys to take you around the island and to Bridge Street, a cute small-town strip with restaurants and shops. The island is also a good launch pad for the Gulf’s well-known water sports, like fishing charters, kayaking, parasailing and scuba diving.

The Big and Small

An easy drive from the quaint resort gets you to larger attractions nearby such as Mote Marine Aquarium and the Ringling Museum of Art. If you drive a couple of hours you’ll be at Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and the rest of the theme parks.

While the bungalows are pretty paradise-y, their rustic “Old Florida” charm is not for everyone. The Wi-Fi can be frustratingly spotty, and instead of cable TV there are streaming services like Amazon Prime. The pool is small, only about six metres by three metres. Then again, there’s a whole ocean right there in which to play.

For those who prefer casual and close encounters with nature over high-rise glamour and hotel bars, the Bungalow Beach Resort is a rare find. There’s enough here. Enough good food and drink nearby. Enough palm trees and tropical breezes. Enough white sand and warm waves.

There is especially enough solitude and openness, as you look out over the endless blue skies and water, into the forever.

Fun Sun Note

This is the Florida where humans and nature can meld, especially every evening as the sun gently drifts below the horizon of the Gulf.

Travel Planner

For more resort information: bungalowbeach.com

 
 
 
 
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