An aerial view of Longboat Key in Sarasota County, Florida.

Longboat Key, Florida

As an offshore barrier island, the town of Longboat Key is a unique location along Florida's west coast. With its warm and temperate climate, the town offers itself as a premier vacation destination with an abundance of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico's turquoise waters.

Geography Of Longboat Key

Longboat Key
Aerial view of Longboat Key.

Located in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, Longboat Key is a town on an offshore barrier island of the same name on Florida's west coast. The island encloses Sarasota Bay's western boundary in southwest Florida. Thus, it lies between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and south of Anna Maria Island. Moreover, it is located north of Lido Key and St. Armands Key and south of Bradenton Beach. Longboat Key has a total length of 10.8 miles and a total land area of 4.26 square miles. Moreover, the island has a width of 0.05 to 1 mile and an elevation between 3 and 18 feet. As for its geographic coordinates, Longboat Key lies at 27.396931°N and 82.644751°W (27.396931, -82.644751).

Climate Of Longboat Key

Longboat key experiences a temperate climate that is perfect for those seeking a tropical getaway. The town has a 4.5-month hot season that commences on May 25 and ends on October 8. This season experiences an average high of 85°F, with August being the year's hottest month with an average high reaching 89°F. On the other hand, Longboat Key experiences a short, windy, and cool 2.8-month cool season with an average daily temperature below 74°F. January is the year's coldest month as it records an average low of 54°F. The town's wet season lasts from June 6 to September 27, with August having the highest number of wet days with an average of 20.2 wet days. Various tourism scores indicate that the best times of year to visit Longboat beach and experience its warm-weather activities are from late February to mid-May and from late October to early December. 

Population And Economy Of Longboat Key

Aerial view of Longboat Key town and beaches in Manatee and Sarasota counties a
Aerial view of Longboat Key town and beaches in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

According to the most recent US Census, Longboat Key had a population of 7,505 residents in 2020 and a population density of 1,774 individuals per square mile. Despite being the 195th largest city in Florida, it is currently experiencing an annual decline of -0.28%, although this is still an increase from the previous 2010 Census, which indicated a population of only 6,888 individuals. In terms of ethnicities, the population is almost exclusively White, accounting for more than 98.05% of the total. The only other ethnicities represented on the island are Asian at 0.97%, Native American at 0.16%, and more than one race at 0.81%.

The town records an average household income of USD 185,914, an unemployment rate of 4.5%, and a poverty rate of 3.09%. The town's job market has witnessed an increase of 2.6% over the past year. The most common work placements include management occupations, office and administrative support occupations, sales and related occupations, and business and financial operations occupations. Furthermore, Longboat key has an average house value of USD 740,500 and an average monthly rental cost of $1,625.

Brief History Of Longboat Key

Originally a vacation region for the Caloosa and Timucuan Native Americans, Longboat key has a rich history that stretches for centuries in the past. The Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando DeSoto is widely thought to have visited the region in 1539 along the north pass. A Civil War veteran, Thomas Mann was awarded 144 acres of the island's north end as a homestead grant in 1891. However, this was later sold for approximately USD 500 at the turn of the century. Homes and settlements began to increase on the island in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, John Ringling of the Ringling Brothers Circus purchased hundreds of acres of land on the island's south end and commenced the construction of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. However, it was never completed and was actually torn down in 1962.

Throughout World War II, the island's population significantly dropped. In 1955, Longboat Key was incorporated, became part of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice Metropolitan Statistical Area, and witnessed significant development in the 1960s and 1970s. The area continued to increase in popularity, which thereby brought the need for the Town Commission to improve overall utilities and tighten zones to serve the growing population. Moreover, the island made history once more as it was the location of President George W. Bush during the infamous September 11 terrorist attacks.

Tourist Attractions In Longboat Key

Beaches Around Longboat Key

Gulf of Mexico beach on Longboat Key Florida
Gulf of Mexico beach on Longboat Key, Florida.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico's turquoise waters, Longboat key has many outstanding white-sand beaches. One such beach is Coquina Beach, a 1.5-mile-long beach that is a popular family destination given its sizeable picnic areas. Whitney Beach is another popular beach visitors can access that offers refreshing breezes and access to the Gulf's sparkling waters.

Beer Can Island is another nearby beach that can almost exclusively be reached by boat. This laidback beach offers visitors swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnic, and party opportunities. 

Golfing In Longboat Key

Longboat currently features four golf courses that are frequently rated as some of the US' best. Some of the most notable courses on offer are at the University Park Country Club, featuring 27 holes for golfers of various skill levels, and the newly overhauled Links on Longboat, which boasts over 6,700 yards of scenic splendor.

Wildlife Of Longboat Key 

A great blue heron in Longboat Key near Sarasota, Florida.
A great blue heron in Longboat Key near Sarasota, Florida.

In addition to its top-notch beaches and golf courses, Longboat Key is a premier destination for those wishing to engage in wildlife viewing amid some spectacular scenery. One such attraction is the Joan M. Durante Park, where the restoration of 32 acres of native habitat offers a birdwatching Mecca, where bald eagles, kingfishers, ospreys, pelicans, and many others call the park home. Moreover, the area features some of the island's few untouched salt marshes and mangrove forests.

As for those wishing to venture out further into the waters, visitors can catch a boat from one of the many charters on offer to experience some of the area's marine wildlife. Thus, visitors can go on many whale watching and dolphin sighting trips. There are also plenty of opportunities for sea life tours through kayak adventures and diving experiences.

Longboat Key presents itself as one of the US' top vacation destinations with its outstanding beaches and entertainment opportunities. 

With its temperate climate, wildlife diversity, and rich history, Longboat Key appeals to a wide variety of vacationers.

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