Main Content

16 Alluring Things to Do in Longboat Key, Florida

Longboat Key: What to eat, where to shop, and everything in between.

There is no shortage of high-end designer stores, places to eat, or things to do on the sought-after island of Longboat Key. Although you won’t find large shopping malls on the 12-mile island, you will find one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, and plenty of watersports sprinkled throughout, which perfectly showcase the unique and sophisticated community of Longboat Key, Florida.

The information below is a list compiled for public use as a guide for Longboat key activities. The goal is to provide quality recommendations and support local businesses. If you are a Longboat Key business owner or know of a reputable provider you feel should be included on the list, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Whether you are a resident living a vacation that never ends or on a staycation, here are some of the best Longboat Key things to do, no matter where you live.

1. Beach Day

Nothing is more relaxing than listening to the waves crash against the shore while soaking up some Florida sunshine. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, you will appreciate a jog along the beach, hunting for seashells, building a sandcastle, or taking part in some surfing.

After a day at the beach, make sure to check out some of the best local restaurants. It’s the perfect way to end your day.

Whitney Beach

Map & Directions

At 100 N Shore Road, Whitney Beach, on the north end of Longboat Key, provides public parking with several beach access areas. Although the beach offers no amenities, beachgoers will enjoy sparkling blue waters and soft white sand.

Beer Can Island

Map & Directions

Beer Can Island, situated at the northern tip of Longboat Key is a hidden oasis that can be reached at low tide.

Its driftwood-lined shores are a beautiful spot for picnics, swimming, and relaxing.

Beach Access Points

Blue and white signs along Gulf of Mexico Drive indicate beach access points for Longboat Key residents.

  • 100 N. Shore Road (Parking available)
  • 7055 Seabreeze Avenue (No parking available)
  • 6847 Gulf of Mexico Drive (No parking available)
  • 2825 Gulf of Mexico Drive (Parking at Town Hall

 

2. Parks

For one of the best free things to do in Longboat Key, visit one of the island’s multiple parks. You will discover acres of nature’s beauty with walking and biking trails, fishing, playgrounds, sports courts, butterfly gardens, and kayak launches.

If you are looking for a dog-friendly park in Longboat Key, FL, be sure to visit the Bayfront Park and Recreation Center.

Overlook Park

Map & Directions

201 FL-789, Longboat Key, FL 34228

Open 5 AM – 11 PM

Heading north into Longboat Key, as soon as you cross the New Pass Bridge onto the island of Longboat Key, take a sharp left before the Chart House.

This historic landmark is where John Ringling started construction on what was to be the Ritz Carlton Hotel but never completed the project. The vacant structure was later deemed the “Ghost Hotel.”

Discover how the Ghost Hotel received its name:

https://www.bristarealty.com/3-historic-neighborhoods-in-longboat-key-florida/

Quick Point Nature Preserve

Map & Directions

Open 5 AM – 10 PM

100 Gulf of Mexico Drive

This 34-acre park features winding paths, a lagoon, native plants, and an osprey nesting pole. It is a great place to fish or go for a short walk or just relax and take in the views at the small private beach area.


Bicentennial Park

Map & Directions

2730 Gulf of Mexico Drive

This one-acre park features a dazzling butterfly garden and benches to sit and take in the views.


Bayfront Park and Recreation Center 

Map & Directions

4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive

Bayfront Park is a wonderful community gathering spot offering amenities, including a kayak launch, dog park, pickleball, tennis courts, walking and biking paths, a fishing pier, and a children’s playground.


Joan M. Durante Park

Map & Directions

Located at 5550 Gulf of Mexico Drive is a 32-acre park featuring a children’s playground, fishing pier, walking, and bike path with stopping points overlooking Sarasota Bay. 

3. Biking

Take in the beautiful Gulf Coast views while biking the 9.47 mile trail that runs through Longboat Key, starting at the island’s south end.

Bikers must adhere to two rules, a ding bell to warn pedestrians and a 10-mile speed limit. There is no better way to combine sightseeing and exercise all in one.

Bike paths can also be found at some of Longboat Key’s nature parks.

For bike rentals, helmets, toe clips, and bike locks visit the Backyard Bike Shop located at 5610 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Unit 1B.

4. Boating Tours & Charters

The island of Longboat Key is a boater’s paradise. Canal front homes are plentiful and provide easy access to Sarasota Bay with many homes having their own private docks. For others, there are marinas throughout the key. A number of restaurants on the island have docks for guests as well.

If you don’t own your own boat, there are plenty of opportunities to navigate the waters with a local boat tour or private charter.

 

Catherines Florida Charters

Map & Directions

700 Broadway Street, Longboat Key, FL 34228

941-893-9590


Longboat Bay Charters

 Map & Directions

518 Bayview Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

863-660-8852


Ultra Yacht Marine Lifestyle Store

Map & Directions

522 Cedar Street, Longboat Key, FL 34228

833-779-2248

5. Boat Ramps

Experience a first-hand view of Longboat Keys’ natural beauty by boating the sparkling waters that surround this tropical paradise. Whether by motorboat, sailboat, kayak or paddleboard, the sights will be breathtaking.

Ken Thompson Park City Island

Located at 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway is an 84-acre park offering three boat ramps. 


The Coquina Beach South Boat Ramp 

Parking is located immediately north of Longboat Pass at 1465 Gulf Dr. S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217


 

Longboat Key Club Moorings 

(Membership in the Resort at Longboat Key Club required) 

Located at 2630 Harbourside Drive, Moorings is a first-class yachting resort featuring 291 boat slips, marina services, 24-hour security, and amenities, including a Harbourmaster and dock crew. 

6. Fishing

Whether fishing on or offshore, don’t miss out on Longboat Key’s fabulous fishing. Discover snook, flounder, ladyfish, pompano, snook, speckled sea trout and more.

Bayfront Park

Map & Directions

4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive

Bayfront Park is a wonderful community gathering spot offering amenities, including a kayak launch, dog park, pickleball, tennis courts, walking and biking paths, a children’s playground, and a fishing pier.


Fishing Pier Behind Mote Marine

Map & Directions

Although you will find people fishing off the Longboat Key New Pass Bridge, which connects Longboat Key to St. Armand’s, there are several nearby fishing piers as well. Immediately south of the bridge is a Fishing Pier behind Mote Marine located at 1704 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL, 34236


Longboat Key Pass Bascule Bridge 

Map & Directions

(The bridge that connects Longboat Key to Bradenton Beach). 

The bridge holds broad concentrations of fish, including pompano, bluefish, sheepshead, snook, and snapper. 


Longboat Key Public Pier

Map & Directions

Try this Pier located at 5 4th Street, Bradenton, if you like fishing off a pier.

7. Golf

A close up photo of a golf ball sitting next to a hole on the golf course.

Longboat Key Club Golf

Longboat Key offers two private courses, Islandside and Harbourside. These courses are only available to members and guests staying at the Resort at Longboat Key Club.

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, the Islandside course features an 18-hole, links-style course. The Harbourside borders Sarasota Bay and offers three nine-hole courses.

For additional golf opportunities, view a list of 29 golf courses in the Sarasota area.

 

 

8. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to explore the local mangroves and to watch for manatees, dolphins, birds, and all kinds of incredible wildlife.

Island Adventure Outfitters

Map & Directions

6844 Gulf of Mexico Drive

941-773-1920

This Longboat Key Surf Shop offers kayak tours of Longboat Key and the surrounding areas.

9. Tennis

The Resort at Longboat Key Club

For tennis membership information to the Resort at Longboat Key Club, feel free to contact us. We are happy to assist.

 

Longboat Key Public Tennis Center

Map & Directions

Located at 590 Bay Isles Road, the tennis center offers ten open courts, tournaments, Round Robin League, tennis lessons, and clinics.


Bayfront Park and Recreation Center

Map & Directions

4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive

The facility offers public tennis courts for residents.

10. Marine Life

One of the most fascinating things to do is to learn about the variety of marine life. There are sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and more. Where can you see these magnificent creations?

To view them in their natural habitats, visit one of Longboat Key’s nature parks, the Mote Marine Aquarium or participate in a public turtle walk.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Map & Directions

1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236


Public Turtle Walk

Due to covid, the walks have been canceled for 2021. For updates on future turtle walks, visit Longboat Key Turtle Watch.

11. Restaurants & Coffee Shops

A close up photo of a lobster claw depicting dining out as one of the best things to do in Longboat Key.

From Italian to seafood, there is an array of restaurants on Longboat Key that are sure to please any pallet. For a categorized list of all the best restaurants and coffee shops in Longboat Key, click here.

https://www.bristarealty.com/best-restaurants-on-longboat-key-florida/

 

12. Shopping

Whether you are looking for something to do on a rainy day or just love to shop, Longboat Key offers a variety of quaint shops and boutiques.

Avenue of the Flowers Town Plaza

Map & Directions

525 Bay Isles Parkway

941-383-2471

This shopping center has several stores, including Publix, CVS, and a nail salon.


Downtown Sarasota

Discover your artistic side with a visit to the quaint downtown Sarasota, also known as Florida’s Cultural Coast, where you will find theaters, museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues.  


Exit Art

Map & Directions

201 Gulf of Mexico Drive

941-387-7395

Located next to Chart House, this boutique offers everything from jewelry to sportswear.


J.McLaughlin

Map & Directions

515 Bay Isle Parkway

941-960-2071

This retail chain offers fashion and accessories for both men and women. 


Longboat Ace Hardware

Map & Directions

4030 Gulf of Mexico Drive

941-383-1313

Located mid-key, Ace Hardware recently added a wonderful gift shop with beach-themed decor. 

 


Map & Directions

6828 Gulf of Mexico Drive

941-387-9933


Publix Super Market

Map & Directions

525 Bay Isles Parkway

Located in the Shoppes of Bay Isles, Publix offers the freshest meats, local produce, and sustainably sourced seafood. If you are looking for a great deli sub, look no further!

941-383-1326


Steff’s Stuff

Map & Directions

5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive

941-383-1901

Located in the Center Shops, this fun little shop offers everything from jewelry to collectible furniture.


Swim City

Map & Directions

3170 Gulf of Mexico Drive

(941) 383-2288

Excellent selection of brand-name products at reasonable prices.


St. Armand’s Circle

Map & Directions

941-388-1544

Beyond Longboat Key’s New Pass Bridge, heading south is the posh St. Armand’s Circle with 130 shops, spas, boutiques, and restaurants.


Whitney Beach Plaza

Map & Directions

Stores include a cafe, hairstylist, Italian restaurant, a beach shop, exercise center, kayaking, and a Homeopathic Shop for dogs.

 

13. Ski A Rees

This photo is an example of things to do in Longboat Key. It shows a girl with shoulder length hair wearing a red life vest on water ski's.

Map & Directions
1602 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236

Watch skiers practice for their upcoming competitions. Starting in mid-September, taking place on the Mote Aquarium grounds, this show is enjoyable and informative.

 

14. Yoga

Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages and what better place to start your day than with some yoga on the beach. If you prefer a yoga class, Longboat Key offers this option as well.

Feel Good Yoga Studio & Massage

Map & Directions

6350 Gulf of Mexico Drive

Offering a variety of techniques for any age group or shape, Feel Good Yoga specializes in helping you feel your best. And it doesn’t stop at yoga — massages are available too.

15. Thing to do in Longboat Key at Night

Relaxation is the name of the game on Longboat Key; therefore, there is not a wide array of nightlife. If you are looking to stay on the island for the evening, the Hayloft at Euphemia Haye provides music, dessert, and drinks after dinner hours. 

 

Whitney’s also offers live musicians until 9 pm. Click here to check out their calendar of nighttime music events.

If you would like to venture off the island, be sure to visit the nearby downtown Sarasota or Southside Village in Siesta Key for things to do at night.

16. Where to Stay in Longboat Key

For those who want to immerse themselves in the island lifestyle, spending a night or two is a must. The beachfront hotels along the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico bring the term elegance to new levels. If you are in need of a hotel for your next visit, you can start your search here.

 

For snowbirds who plan Longboat Key as their extended winter get-away, browse these vacation rental options:

Find your dream vacation rental on Vrbo

 

Gina Ursini is a VRBO Parternerized affiliate program member and earns a small commission from qualifying purchases. 

Additional guides and resources:

 

I am Gina Ursini, a realtor in Longboat Key, Florida and the owner of Brista Realty. I am passionate about real estate and design and love sharing my knowledge through my real estate blog. When you are ready to buy or sell a home, we hope you will find this information of value. Please reach out or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

Skip to content