Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota
Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as being north of Lido Key. The town has a total area of 17.1 square miles and most of the Gulf Coast beaches
. Much of Longboat Key is privately owned and developed land, but there is still a good stretch of beach where you can hang out and watch the crabs trying to avoid being a meal for the gulls.
The earliest vacationers on Longboat Key were the Timucuan and Caloosa Indians; shell mounds have been found indicating that picnics and fish fries were a common thing for them. In 1539, Hernando DeSoto is thought to have visited here with his scout, Juan Anasco, manning the "longboat" as it went through the north pass; it may be how this key got its name.
The Town of Longboat Key was incorporated on November 14, 1955, and much of the land area of Longboat Key is occupied by either single family homes or condominium apartments. Some of the people who live on Longboat Key are known as "snowbirds," meaning they only live there during the winter months; some people who vacation there or own second homes there. Most of the condominium associations co-own common elements such as pools, tennis courts, and some places have with water views with access to beaches, so it really is a great place to own property.
Longboat Key is also home to the exclusive Longboat Key Club, however, it is open to the public; both visiting tourists and club members. This club features indoor and outdoor restaurants, a pool, golf courses, tennis courts and easy access to the gulf side beach. The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort is another beachfront resort on Longboat Key and has been the No. 1 Tennis Resort in the U.S. for eight consecutive years. They have spacious all-suite accommodations, world-class dining, private beaches, complimentary year-round children's recreation programs, full service spa and salon and a complete fitness center. It's the perfect island getaway for either a romantic couple’s stay or the whole family.
Homes were built on the north end of Longboat Key in the early 1900's, some of which are still standing. In the 1920's, John Ringling bought hundreds of acres on the south end and planted Australian pine trees; he also started to build a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1926, but it was never finished and ended up being torn down in 1962. From then development was slow and started gradually hitting its peak in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
During World War II, hardly anyone lived on Longboat Key, which was a probably a good thing. For near where Longboat Harbor is today, there was a target range for Army Air Force planes; they roared over firing 50-calibre bullets.
Sure there are some places on the west coast that are more natural and undeveloped, but you would be hard pressed to find a place that is as quaint and well cared for as Longboat Key.
Restaurants on Lido Key
There are numerous restaurants on Longboat Key, including The Dry Dock, the Longboat Key Club Restaurant, Cafe On the Bay, Euphemia Haye, Harry's, Columbia, Cork, The Bottle Shop, and The Old Salty Dog. There are also full-service grocery stores, including Publix, and pharmacies, located centrally.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com