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5 Fun Adventure Activities You Need to Try in Longboat Key, FL

adventure activities longboat key

Longboat Key has a long history as a leisure destination going back thousands of years. Yet, it wasn’t until the 1800s that someone decided to set up a home on this idyllic island.

Today, Longboat Key ranks among the best islands in the USA, packed with luxury homes, high-end hotels, and epic adventure activities. 

Not only do these excellent diversions make Longboat Key a hotspot for travelers, but they add to its appeal for homeowners too. Keep reading to find out all about the island adventures available in this part of Florida. 

1. Kayak Adventures

Kayaking is among the most rewarding leisure activities in Longboat Key. You can enjoy it by signing up for lessons, joining a guided tour, or heading out on an independent adventure.

You’ll find kayak excursions dotted all over Longboat Key, as well as nearby Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, and Sarasota. 

Guided kayak tours are perfect for vacationers who want to make the most of their time paddling around these destinations. Some tours include:

Sunset Tours

Kayak tours are perfect for enjoying uninterrupted vistas of Florida’s famous sunsets. At sunset, the skies light up with every imaginable shade of orange, pink, red, and purple.

If you’re lucky, you could get to witness a rare green flash as the sun sinks beneath the waves. You could also enjoy sightings of manatees and bottlenose dolphins while out on the water. 

Island Tours

These tours head out into the glorious stretch of water between Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. It’s the ideal tour for nature lovers and the most popular activity for visitors to Longboat Key

You’re bound to catch sight of manatees and dolphins at play as well as other marine creatures as you paddle quietly through the depths, and the birdlife puts on a spectacular display in this area, too. 

For a unique experience, you can embark on glass-bottom kayak tours at nearby Anna Maria Island. 

Mangrove Tours

Mangrove tours take place at Lido Key, adjacent to Longboat Key. Kayaks are the perfect way to explore these unique habitats, thanks to their small size and easy maneuverability.

Fishing Charters

Fishing from a kayak is a novel way to enjoy this rewarding pastime.

Kayaks can slip into narrower waterways than boats can, so there’s less competition for the best catches. These include red drum, snook, and spotted sea trout. 

Fishing charters include a fishing rod and specialized kayak; your tour operator provides the bait. 

All Longboat Key tours take place under the auspices of an experienced guide. First-time paddlers and children are welcome to join in.

Each of these sessions starts with a brief safety talk and a lesson on basic kayaking. Tour operators provide all the necessary safety gear and equipment to enjoy your journey of discovery.  

2. Boat Trips

Longboat Keys boasts an abundance of marinas housing hundreds of different boats. So, you’ll find no shortage of choices when it comes to oceangoing adventures. 

Some of the best ways to feel the ocean wind whipping through your hair include:

Boat Charters

You can hire almost any kind of boat in Longboat Key. You can choose from Yachts, catamarans, fishing boats, pontoons, and more.

There are boats for families, couples, or groups of friends.ou can either head out with your own skipper’s license or with a crew. 

Boat Tours

For those who love a variety, some tours offer a little bit of everything you fancy, including fishing, diving, sightseeing, and lunch at one of the island’s excellent seafront restaurants

Others focus on specialized trips, like sunset tours, eco-adventures to explore your natural surroundings, and the chance to snorkel in these clear waters. 

Fishing Charters

Experienced skippers, top-notch equipment, and the best fishing boats ensure a successful outing in the waters surrounding Longboat Key. Most trips include water, ice, snacks, bait, and a fishing license, too.

When you take to the seas equipped with everything you need, plus experienced guides, you stand a good chance of bagging the best possible catches of the day. These could include sailfish, crevalle jack, flounder, sheepshead, redfish, tarpon, pompano, and more. 

3. Underwater Adventure Activities

Watching dolphins and manatees breach the surface of the water is always a delightful occasion, but there are many more wonders to enjoy under the water.

You can dive and snorkel all year round in Longboat Key thanks to its calm, clear, warm water, suited to all levels of divers.

It’s located close to some of Sarasota’s best wreck-diving sites, as well as other prime spots on the Gulf Coast.

This area has glorious natural reefs where tropical fish flit among pink, yellow, and orange-colored sponges. You could also come across less extravagant specimens like jewfish, grouper, hogfish, and amberjack. 

The Bayronto is the largest and one of the most prominent shipwrecks on Florida’s west coast.  This 400-ft British freighter sank during the 1919 Florida hurricane along with several other vessels. 

Today, it’s home to abundant life forms like barracuda, jewfish, and amberjack. It’s a prime spot for underwater photography, too.

Apart from exciting wreck-diving opportunities, you can also enjoy a lower-key experience among beautiful natural reefs and grass flats inhabited by small marine creatures. These include sea urchins, clams, crabs, sand dollars, scallops, sea stars, and small fish.

Barges, boxcars, concrete culverts, rubble, and US Army tanks form the basis of many artificial reefs around Sarasota and Longboat Key. These are now the realm of the colorful corals and sponges typical to this area and a drawcard for large species of fish.

Beer Can Island is an excellent destination for avid snorkelers, offering a chance to spot some local wildlife during your visit, too. 

4. Eco Outings

Curated eco-tours are a wonderful and informative way to admire and appreciate the local fauna and flora of Florida’s islands and keys. 

The eco-tours might not demand a high energy output, but they’re bound to get your adrenaline pumping thanks to unexpected sightings around every bend.

There are so many ways to make the most of the natural abundance near Longboat Key.

You could venture to the nearby mangroves to admire wild seabirds, dolphins, and manatees. What about sandbar hopping in search of sea stars, seashells, sand dollars, and seahorses? 

The seabird rookery provides a breathtaking spectacle of ospreys, pelicans, blue herons, and roseate spoonbills in their natural nesting environment.  

Turtle tours take place between May and October every year when the sea turtles come ashore to nest. You can join these free walks every Saturday morning and help local marine conservation organizations keep track of these sensitive animals.

If you enjoy seeing manatees and dolphins whenever you head to sea near Longboat Key, you’ll love a boat-based tour with a naturalist on board to enlighten you about these fascinating marine creatures.  

5. Water Sports

With miles of beaches, warm ocean waters, and mild weather, Longboat Key is the perfect place to try out a host of water sports. Some of the best ones are:


Paddleboarding near the shore is easy and enjoyable and well within most people’s capabilities. You can rent a board from a local operator, with all the necessary equipment included in the price, or buy one if you decide this sport is for you.

It’s a wonderful way to experience nature up close, or spend solitary moments of reflection out on the water. 


This fun activity is a great way to glide gently along the water’s edge. It’s a little more complex than paddleboarding, but you’ll soon get the hang of it after a few pointers from an instructor.


This high-adrenalin activity is ideal for those who want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Longboat Key’s abundance. Experienced USCG licensed captains will drive the boat and guide you every step of the way during this hair-raising adventure.

You can even bring spectators along to admire your courage from the boat.  

Jet Skiing

Jet skiing is a heart-racing activity that’s best for true adrenalin addicts. That said, it’s up to you whether you want to charge through the waves or potter around on the calm surface of the water.

You need a license to jet ski in Longboat Key, but you can earn a temporary one onsite after a short test of your skills.

Make the Most of Longboat Key

With so many adventure activities to choose from, plus a wealth of more sedate pastimes, Longboat Key is an outstanding choice for your next beach vacation.

It’s also a prime spot for those who want to buy an investment property that’s sure to pay, or a home surrounded by some of Florida’s loveliest landscapes.

Would you like to find out more about owning property in Longboat Key? Get in touch, and we’ll help you discover your perfect match. 

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