6) Anna Maria Island
South of Tampa in the Gulf of Mexico is the pleasant, laid-back Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a change of pace from the city life, this is a good place to start. The island is only seven miles long and has just three cities. Besides the picturesque beaches, there’s plenty more to see and do. Visit any of the art galleries, museums, and aquariums. Bike or walk the many nature trails winding around the island. Feeling lazy? Take a Segway tour! You can also horseback ride along the beach, kayak, or parasail. Depending on your taste and budget, you can choose to dine at relaxed tiki bars or elegant bistros. You won’t find any fast food joints here. You can also enjoy truly unique shopping; no chain stores have set up shop and all the locally run boutiques sell handmade, authentic goods.