Anna Maria Island (or Anna Maria Island) is a barrier island off the coast of Tampa Bay, Florida, named in honor of the queen of Charles II of Spain by Ponce de Leon in the 16th century. The island has great transport links to mainland Florida and boasts a trolley style bus service on Gulf Drive. Long known as a sleepy hidden gem with its amazing beaches, sea turtles nest on the beaches of Anna Maria Island from May through October, and the entire island is a bird sanctuary. Dolphins and Manatees have also been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico near the island so residents are appropriately situated to observe all the beauty of nature in their own backyard. Locals treat the protection of the sea turtles as a serious issue even as they work towards increased tourism so this area is perfect for lovers of nature and beautiful beaches!