Longboat Key is a gorgeous community in Florida, located between the Manatee and Sarasota counties, being almost equally divided between the two counties. Here, many people have boats parked in their backyards or front of the house, according to case, due to the fact that a good part of this community is surrounded by water.
It is futile to say that the weather is stunning almost most of the time, the plentiful sunshine making this community perfect for boat owners and people that appreciate water sports or a quiet day at the beach. Overall, there are only advantages when it comes to the Longboat Key community and not downsides to it.
Even though it looks like a rather recent city, Longboat Key has a rich history because the area has been inhabitant since ancient times by the Native Americans. The first white man that reached this place was the scout of Hernando De Soto, the famous Spanish Conquistador that discovered and explored the area of Sarasota.
There is a local legend saying that he tried for about two months to find a suitable place to land his boat. Once he found it, he also met the Indians that inhabited the place.
Believing that they are hostile, he fled with his entire crew, leaving his boat behind. After this episode, there was no more interest in the area for more than 300 years.
It is not known for sure when the first settlements appeared in the area, but it is believed that both Spanish and Cuban fishermen established camps in the area before 1842. Back in those days, the area was recorded on maps as being “Zarazote” or “Saraxola”, very little information appearing about the small island that stands today as Longboat Key, until 1848.
One of the first post masters of the area, Charles Abbe, who was an early settler in the area of Sarasota, was known to have plantations of pineapples and citruses on this small island, although no one knows for sure where those were. In the late 1800s, the Longboat Key area started to be properly settled.
Several people, among them Thomas Mann, one of the island’s most important settlers, also claimed land here and moved in together with his sons. Later on, he brought in his entire family and built a house in the northern part of the key, in 1888.
A year later, this small town received its first name, being called Longbeach. A special passage was dug in the area in 1895, to allow paddle boats to access the island from Sarasota and Tampa Bay. At the beginning of the 1900s, the city was a real farming community, famous for its fruits and tomatoes.
On the 13th of November 1955, the city was incorporated and received the name of Longboat Key. At that particular moment, only 215 people lived in the city and only a third of the island was actually developed.
Longboat Key in present days
Since then, Longboat Key went through an extraordinary change and development. Development at a large scale started in 1960 and continued until 1970, a period when the Avida Company purchased the end of the island located in the south part, investing more than $13 million in its development.
In the modern history of the city, it is known the fact that President Bush came to Longboat Key on the 10th of September 2001, one day prior to the notorious attacks of the 11th of September, to read books to second grade children, as a part of an educational program. In 2015, on the 14th of November, Longboat Key celebrated the city’s 60th anniversary.
The community is a perfect residential area, most of the properties here containing single family homes and condominiums. In the case of condominiums, the associations that manage them co-own various facilities, like tennis courts pools, beach access, and so on, which are part of the lifestyle in the area. In present days, almost all the land on the island is occupied, modern houses and beautiful parks being developed here.
The oldest houses here are 45 years old, although the people that bought these properties demolished them to build smaller and more modern houses. Having the vicinity of the beaches and beautiful views, it is quite a treat to live in this area, as it resembles more with a vacation resort than a residential community.
What to do in Longboat Key
Go shopping at the Coquina Beach
Coquina Beach is a marketplace you’ve never seen before. You will find an outdoor market only on Wednesday and Sunday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., where you can find all sorts of items, from beautiful jewelry to corn on the cob.
The prices are very reasonable and there is no fee for parking or entrance. But, if you are not in the mood for shopping, you can come at this beach in any day of the week and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. You can enjoy long stripes of soft sand and flat beach, perfect for walks.
You get a glimpse at the pelicans that reside nearby and are a constant presence on the beach and even catch your breath under a palm tree. If you are hungry or wish to get refreshed, there is a café in the area that serves lunch as well besides beverages.
Enjoy a cruise with Catherine’s Florida Charters
What’s the point in being in Longboat Key if you don’t go out on the sea at least once? Boating is very popular in the area and charter services are available even for those people that do not own a boat. You will love the charters at Catherine’s Florida Charters, as they are elegant and sail very gently, perfect even for families with children.
They are especially designed to offer you a relaxing time out on the sea, enjoying the sunshine and seeing the dolphins play in the water. You can even bring the beverage of your choice on board, as you will find glasses there if you want to spoil yourself a little. Catherine will also help you with taking photos of your on sea escapade, so you can have images to remember this beautiful adventure.
Play some golf at the Islandside Golf Club
If you love spending an afternoon playing golf, this golf club in Longboat Key will definitely impress you. You will find a golf course in an incredible shape and some conditions that will challenge your golf skills. The winds coming from the nearby shoreline and the water surroundings will only make things more interesting. But, being here is also pleasant, as you will be able to enjoy your day bird watching, the golf course being known for attracting numerous species of marine birds. Even if your golf skills are not that great, it is still worth visiting the course, because it was designed to fit all player categories, advanced or beginners. So you will definitely have a great time here.
What to see in Longboat Key
Visit Joan M. Durante Community Park
If you are looking for a place that will give you both the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant walk and spoil your senses with gorgeous views, you need to come to the Joan M. Durante Community Park. There is a special boardwalk in the park that will allow you to stroll relaxed through the park, while enjoying the green trees, the sight and sound of the waves, the presence of the birds, and gentle breeze. It is the perfect retreat if you want to recharge your batteries and relax without spending a dime.
Spend the day at the Quick Point Nature Reserve
This is an incredibly beautiful place where you can enjoy nature and peaceful walks. You can choose to walk along the shoreline, boardwalk, or even on the beach. It is a great place for birdwatching, many species coming here due to the abundance of fish. Talking about fish, you will see plenty of them here as well and you might even be lucky enough to see them jumping out of the water, performing quite an interesting show. The large open space will provide the perfect environment for a family outing, allowing the kids to have fun in the outdoors and wonder at the multitude of colorful birds and fish that are permanent residents of the Key.
Check out Cannons Marina
If you like checking our boats or enjoying water sports, like snorkeling or fishing, you have to come to the Cannons Marina. It is worth mentioning that you can even rent boats from this place, in case you want to venture out on the sea in your own boat. So, you see, you don’t have to own a boat in Longboat Key in order to enjoy sailing, as there are boat renting services that will allow you to enjoy this any time you want. Sail out and enjoy the areas around Longboat Key, relax, go diving, and do anything else that will help you have a great day.