Visit Longboat Key: Reasons to See This Barrier Island

Located in both Sarasota and Manatee counties in southwest Florida, Longboat Key is an island between Sarasota Bay and Gulf of Mexico. With the majority of residents either retired or part-time snowbirds, the island offers a quiet yet entertaining way of life perfect for family vacations. In addition, visitors have easy proximity to Sarasota’s arts scene and the picturesque islands of Anna Maria, Bradenton and Holmes Beach. Keep reading for more reasons to visit Longboat Key and find things to do.

Top Reasons to Visit Longboat Key, Florida

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Longboat Key Beaches

Miles of white sand and turquoise waters make up the tropical environment that welcomes visitors to relax and let stress melt away. The beaches run the entire length of the 11-mile island, with 12 public beach access points along the way.

None of the beaches have restrooms or concessions, but that enables guests to bring whatever they need and make sure not to overdo it. While at the beach, bring an umbrella for shade, a bucket for shells, snorkeling gear for searching and a good book.

Golf and Tennis

Voted by Golf Digest as one of the Best Places to Play, The Resort at Longboat Key Club features 45 holes of world class golf. Play a round on the Harborside Golf Course lined with trees and overlooking Sarasota Bay, or try the Islandside Gold Course on the Gulf of Mexico. Both are as challenging as they are beautiful, and promise a sunny day on the greens. After playing golf, enjoy drinks and a meal at the club restaurant and bar, Spike ‘n Tees.

This oceanside destination also ranks among the top tennis resorts in Florida. The award-winning tennis gardens house 30 Har-Tru tennis courts, including a USTA stadium court, which is home to the Sarasota Open. Get everything at the Pro Shop, then sign up for lessons to improve skills. The Court 21 Cafe & Lounge provides a great place to unwind after a match.

Fresh Seafood

Longboat Key’s Gulf location means fresh seafood is the main star in area restaurants. In addition, many are known for waterfront views where diners can see dolphins and manatees playing in the water. Need a place to start? Try Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant.

On of the oldest surviving structures in Longboat Key, this seaside restaurant is central to the island experience. Satisfy everyone — from foodies to families — at this historic restaurant, which has served the area in various capacity since the 1920s. Its menu features fresh Florida seafood, including sandwiches, salad, and raw and cooked options.

Want to visit Longboat Key? Find affordable vacation rentals. Then find more outdoor activities in Longboat Key.