HOLMES BEACH, Fla. — Beach bungalows and mom-and-pop “efficiency” cottages (with kitchenettes) line the sandy shores of Anna Maria Island, but there’s none as inviting as the Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast. Inside, the main house feels like a New England B&B, complete with overstuffed couches and a fireplace, but all similarities end when you look outside — past the breakfast parlor and heated swimming pool — to the powdery sands and aqua waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A fringe of palms and sea oats leads to one of the finest beaches in southwest Florida.
Guest rooms are spread among four buildings: the circa 1925 coquina-block main house, a 1940s Carriage House, plus the Huth House, and our favorite, the Dodt Beach House, a 1930s house with large suites and a wonderful “old Florida” feel. All rooms have private baths, central air, and free Wi-Fi; the best have balconies that overlook the gulf — and the island’s legendary sunsets. Explore Anna Maria on one of the inn’s bicycles (complimentary) or the free Island Trolley. Breakfasts are luscious, and little touches like cookies (in the main inn) and lots of books for the borrowing make guests feel indulged.
HARRINGTON HOUSE BEACHFRONT BED & BREAKFAST From $169 through January; from $239 February-April. 5626 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, Fla. 941-778-5444, www.harringtonhouse.com
DIANE BAIR AND