Things to do on Longboat Key

Longboat Key is a town in Manatee and Sarasota counties along the central west coast of the U.S. state of Florida, located on and coterminous with the barrier island of the same name. Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

On November 13, 1955 the town was incorporated by a 186–13 vote. At the time only about a third of Longboat Key was developed and roughly 215 people lived on the key. When the town was incorporated it changed its name from Longbeach to Longboat Key.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Arvida corporation purchased the south end of Longboat Key and developed it for $13.5 million. President Bush had arrived on Longboat Key on September 10, 2001 the day before the September 11 Attacks to read to second graders in a campaign at the Emma E. Booker School in Sarasota. On November 14, 2015 the town of Longboat Key celebrated its 60-year anniversary.

On February 1, 1958, the name of the Longbeach post office was changed to Longboat Key. 

The median income for a household in the town was $290,251, and the median income for a family was $307,983. Males had a median income of $261,157 versus $230,104 for females. The per capita income for the town was $280,963. 

As much as I adore driving my automobile it requires a special reason to do so on Longboat Key. Driving here is a contest. There is only one main road on Longboat Key; that is, Gulf of Mexico Drive which runs like a spine the entire 11-miles of island from one end to the other. Hidden on either side of Gulf of Mexico Drive are private residences many of which are within gated communities and some of which border slips leading to Sarasota Bay.

Occasionally when bicycling from Bay Harbour (nearby Block 1000) where we reside at the south end of the island to Bayfront Park about half-way along the island (Block 4000) I divert into the short branches of roads adjoining the east side adjacent Sarasota Bay. The island is seldom more than a half-mile wide in my estimate so the sidelong ventures are generally limited. Significantly the broadest sub-tropical pathway in a park-like setting is one adjoining the Catholic Church and forming part of its large waterfront property.

It is ventures onto the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico on the west side of the island which afford the more spectacular scenery during the daytime. I qualify this by noting that when there is no wind the sea is disappointingly placid, like a broad plate (though normally of a lovely emerald colour). To the credit of the Town of Longboat Key there are many beach access areas along the length of the island. The access areas are not hidden but neither do they scream their location. It requires attention to locate one of choice even to the uninitiated cyclist.

My perambulations about the island are routine and uneventful. I devote myself to cycling and swimming. Last year I cycled further abroad than I do this year. My age is winning I’m afraid. My limit is normally 16 kms daily. Any longer and I start to feel the abuse of the bicycle seat. As for swimming I prefer the Gulf of Mexico if the weather is hot; otherwise I am satisfied with the pool. My cycling custom usually takes me to Bayfront Park where I have cultivated a routine of pausing for a drink of cool water from the fountain then sitting on a bench overlooking Sarasota Bay. While doing so I check my email and compose responses. Unquestionably I have the veneer of an old fogey by the bay! No matter, everyday there is a renewed view.