Are you looking for a destination that offers all the pleasures of the Caribbean without the international plane ticket? Longboat Key on the Gulf Coast of Florida offers turquoise waters, family-friendly beaches, and even waterfront golf courses. If you still need a little convincing, let the choices on lure you into booking a trip to Florida immediately.

What to Do in Longboat Key

longboat key vacation

Fun in the Sun

The beach pleasures here are simple. Spend an afternoon building a sand castle with your kids, watch all the colors of a sunset, and cool off in the refreshing water of the Gulf. If you’re in the mood for a beach getaway, Longboat Key will deliver all of these simple pleasures and more.

White sand beaches here will tempt you to spend the entire day sunbathing and reading a good book, but if you’re interested in a little exercise, there are many activities to choose from as well. Rent bikes for a ride along the edge of the beach; your kids will love the chance to rent jet skis or go for a boat ride.

Just for Adults

While Longboat Key is a great spot to bring the kids, it’s also just as fun to leave them at home. Golf courses here are known for their ocean views, so before you spend a day on the beach, why not wake up early and play a round of 18 at Longboat Key Club? If you could use a little pampering after you game of golf, check out the local spas. A massage can be the perfect cherry on top of an adults-only vacation.

Entertainment and nightlife will make you glad you decided to leave the kids at home for your trip to Longboat Key. Sip a frozen cocktail as the sun sets, dance the night away to live music, or indulge in a gourmet meal at one of the local award-winning restaurants. There will be too many fine dining options to try in one vacation — so choose wisely!

A Family Adventure

If you can’t bear the thought of leaving the kids at home, bring them along; Longboat Key has plenty to offer. Take tennis lessons together at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort or improve your sailing skills with the help of a local instructor. If you brought your pet along, Whitney Beach is a pet-friendly beach, so bring your pooch along for a swim!

From beach volleyball to tossing around a Frisbee, there are plenty of opportunities for quality family time in Longboat Key. Water sports are a favorite family activity, including parasailing and snorkeling. You won’t believe all of the incredible marine life you will encounter just off the coast of Florida!

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What to See in Longboat Key

Longboat Key is a sophisticated beach getaway where the pleasures are simple: a day spent on the beach or a night spent at a great restaurant with a glass or two of wine. There aren’t many historical sites or landmarks here, but the scenery makes up for it. If you want to get your dose of culture or history, head over to neighboring Anna Maria Island or Bradenton. Or think about doing it as you lounge on the beach for another blissful hour.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Longboat Key

longboat key shopping

Shop-portunities in Longboat Key

If you want a day away from the sun, why not spend a day seeing what kind of shopping Longboat Key has to offer? Some visitors choose to cross the bridge to the wonderful shops of Sarasota, but you also don’t need to leave the island if you want to indulge in a little retail therapy.

Have you always wanted to get that family portrait taken but haven’t found the time? Go to Stephanie Dubsky Photography and have a professional help make your memories. There are also many sports rental shops and beach stores whether you need a bathing suit or you forgot your sunscreen at home. Tiny boutiques will win you over with their one-of-a-kind offerings.

Fine Dining in Longboat Key

Foodies won’t have to look very hard to find fine dining options in Longboat Key. Chefs here are just waiting to impress you with a variety of cuisine and styles. Food here also comes with different price tags, whether you’re looking to splurge or just want a satisfying casual night on the town.

If you want a great view along with your dinner, choose Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub. For something a little more romantic, make a reservation at Euphemia Haye where you will find French-continental fine dining. If an impressive wine list is at the top of your wish list, choose Maison Blanche, a classic French restaurant.

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When to Visit Longboat Key

The sunshine state offers fantastic, enticing weather all year long. Once you’ve visited Longboat Key, you will be tempted to return the next season. Temperatures vary only slightly according to season with average highs being 82 degrees in spring, 90 degrees in summer, 84 degrees in fall, and 73 degrees in winter. Longboat Key doesn’t offer the blazing temperatures of South Florida in the summer, but doesn’t stay quite as warm in the winter either. Every traveler will have their own favorite time to visit Longboat Key. Some travelers love the buzz of the summer while others love the solitude of winter. Spring and fall offer pleasant temperatures and no crowds. During the winter pack along a light sweater or jacket for the evenings.

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What to Bring to Longboat Key

Dress code in Longboat Key is resort casual, so do pack along a few nice items for evenings on the town. For ladies, dresses and high heels with a touch or two of jewelry will fit right in, while men should pack long pants and collared shirts. Jackets and ties aren’t necessary at restaurants in Longboat Key. A day at the beach is also an option to show your style, so bring fun beach cover ups, a floppy hat or two, and an elegant pair of sandals.

This island is all about relaxation, so bring along anything that helps you relax. Whether that is a pile of magazines or a juicy novel, pack some entertainment for long, relaxing days on the beach. The sun here is strong, so don’t forget your sunscreen. Longboat Key is known for its beautiful scenery and sunsets, so don’t forget your digital camera to capture these memories.

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Local Services in Longboat Key

Longboat Key caters to its upscale residents, resulting in excellent local services for visitors. Expect to find a wide range of grocery items available, unique shops, and employees that are focused on customer service. All of your basic services such as ATMs and convenience stores are widely available as well. The best source of information on local services will be the owner of your vacation rental. Ask for recommendations about the best shops, bakeries, bistros, and you will have the inside track for a great vacation in Longboat Key.

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What to Know About Longboat Key

Longboat Key is home to approximately 7,000 people, many of whom consider the island to be a second home. As you talk to locals during your trip, you might be surprised to discover that many homeowners first came for a visit, and then fell in love with the island and decided to buy a second home. Longboat Key delivers a real community feel, allowing visitors to blend right in with the locals. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach destination where you can spend a romantic week or quality time with the family, this is it.

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Getting to Longboat Key

A top reason travelers choose Longboat Key is for its accessibility. The easiest way to arrive is to fly to Sarasota Airport, located 14 miles from Longboat Key. This drive will take approximately 30 minutes. Gulf of Mexico Drive is the main street down the center of the long, skinny island. Another airport choice is to fly to Tampa International. Located 55 miles from Longboat Key, the drive from Tampa takes approximately one and a half hours. Most visitors choose to rent a car at the airport as it makes many aspects of the trip more convenient. For picking up groceries, going to restaurants in the evening, and doing a little shopping, a rental car will come in handy.

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Why Longboat Key Vacation Rentals?

Take a cue from the visitors to Longboat Key who became homeowners. The real pleasure in Longboat Key comes from renting your own oceanfront property or villa where you can relax in the extra space and take the vacation at your own pace. There are no rules to abide by at vacation rentals (such as what time breakfast ends in hotels), and you are guaranteed to have more opportunities for quality family time with your own living room and kitchen. Why just get away to Florida, when you get away to Florida in style by choosing vacation rentals?

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