Longboat Key, FL

 

Longboat Key, FL is a lush and tropical barrier island. Surrounded by the sparkling blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the West and Sarasota Bay to the East, it is a favorite destination for residents and visitors alike. The Longboat Key beach expands over 11 miles and is lined with luxurious condos, million dollar estates, and beach access points for Longboat Key residents.

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The History of Longboat Key, FL

 

In 1539, it is believed that Hernando DeSoto visited the Key in his “longboat”.

One of the first settlers was a Civil War veteran who was granted 144 acres of land on the north end of Longboat Key in 1891. He sold the property at the turn of the century for $500.

During the 1920’s and the development of the railroad, Longboat Key, FL became a popular destination for wealthy vacationers and resort development.  In 1926, two influential men in Sarasota, John Ringling and Owen Burns, started construction on a grand Ritz Carlton Hotel at the very southern tip of Longboat Key. Soon after, the great depression set in, and construction came to a halt. Trees overtook the dilapidated building. The only life inside the skeletal structure were bats, owls, and local trespassers.  In 1964, Arvida purchased the property, and the prestigious Longboat Key Club was built in its place. By the 1980’s it grew into a planned community with single family homes and waterfront condos.

During World War II, the sparsely populated north end of Longboat Key was used as a practice bombing range for fighter pilots.  During training hours, the entrance to the Island was blocked off.  If residents needed to do their shopping in Sarasota, they had to leave Longboat Key before 8 am and were not allowed to re-enter until 5 pm.

On September 10, 2011, the night prior to the deadly 911 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush stayed at the Colony Beach Club. The morning of the attacks, he was reading stories to children at Booker Elementary.  He was wisped back to the Colony that day, which in essence became his makeshift White House after all government buildings were shut down.

 

Things to Do in Longboat Key

 

Named by Conde Nast as one of the nations top Islands, Longboat Key is the perfect location to visit if you are looking for some sun and relaxation. It is not your typical beach town with tourist shops and mega malls, but there is still plenty to do to for both adults and children alike. 

  • Surrounded by water, the barrier island of Longboat Key is attractive to boaters from around the world. Rent a boat from Cannon’s Marina and experience the barrier islands beauty while cruising along the beautiful blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.
  • Stroll along Longboat Key’s pristine beaches.
  • Rent a bike for the entire family. 
  • Ride your bike or dock your boat for a bite to eat on dry land. The historic Mar Vista Restaurant and Pub offers outdoor dining under shaded Buttonwood trees. Built in 1912, it is considered one of twelve oldest remaining historic structures on the island.
  • Experience the mangroves while talking a walk through Joan M. Durante Park or catch a peek at some of the wonderful Florida wildlife, including Manatees and Dolphins. There is even a children’s playground for kids ages 2-12.
  • At the very northern end of the Island, off North Shore Road, is a tiny island referred to as Beer Can Island.  Walk out onto the famous sandbar, hunt for starfish, or just sit back and enjoy some Florida sunshine.
  • Finish off your day by watching the amazing Longboat Key sunsets while relaxing on the beach.

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