Hotel rooms are so New Year's Eve. When it comes to making the most of your summer vacation, it's always better to find your own space – which usually means renting someone else's. A rental property can offer the sort of amenities (think: privacy) that resorts can't. And there is nothing better than truly getting away from it all.
Planners that we are, we scouted the best places to spend the summer. Book your cabin, lodge, or houseboat soon. Summer is a big relief and even bigger business.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
You won't find any Sunshine State kitsch on this off-the-radar barrier island just north of Sarasota, one of the last islands still offering a genuine Florida getaway. Chain stores are banned on Anna Maria Island, where beach cruisers and SUPs appear to outnumber cars and oceanfront porches spill onto sand as fine as baby powder. Pineapple Fish has the best selection of contemporary houses for rent here, with gulf front or canal side options – the latter is perfect if you're also going to rent a boat. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the calm waters, where you're likely to spot dolphins and manatees. And join the nightly sunset ritual at the Sandbar, where you can wash down platters of peel-and-eat shrimp with frosty beers.
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