Trade the “ocean sounds” setting on your alarm clock for the real thing when you book your stay at a waterfront hotel. For an elegant treat, try the Mainsail Beach Inn on Anna Maria Island. All of the two- or three-bedroom suites, which mix historically inspired architecture with luxe, modern amenities, have beachfront access, and a few have views of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Or you can try Longboat Key’s Beach Castle Resort, which has a truly remarkable location. Nestled in a narrow stretch of Longboat Key, the resort offers guests easy access to both the Gulf and the bay—locals proudly refer to it as one of the few “beach to bay” communities. The resort also has tennis courts, private access to a 12-mile beach and a dock perfect for boating and fishing.


For a little more privacy, try a waterfront cottage like The Cut House, located on the Snead Island Cut. The three-bedroom, two-bath house has access to the Manatee River, Tampa Bay and the Gulf, making it a perfect retreat for water lovers looking to kick back and enjoy the view.