Longboat Key

As a southwest Florida coastal barrier island with the Gulf of Mexico on the west and Sarasota Bay on the east, Longboat Key draws residents and visitors from all over the world to live in this well planned community and play on the beaches and in the parks.

Location of Longboat Key

Longboat Key is almost equally divided between Manatee and Sarasota counties. Longboat Key is located north of St. Armands Key, with its circle of shopping and dining, and Lido Key, and south of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria, which are located on adjacent Anna Maria Island. The nearby cities of Sarasota and Bradenton and the Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport round out Longboat Key's varied list of geographic amenities. State Road 789 (Gulf of Mexico Drive) runs the length of the island, with ancillary boulevards branching off to residential neighborhoods. From some locations one can see both Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Longboat Key Real Estate

History of Longboat Key

Longboat Key was the vacation land of the Timucuan and Caloosa Indians for hundreds of years. Shellmounds have been found showing that picnics and fish fries were commonplace.

In 1539 Hernando DeSoto is thought to have visited here with his scout, Juan Anasco, manning the “longboat” as it went through the north pass.

In 1891 Civil War veteran Thomas Mann settled with his grown sons on the north end and was awarded 144 acres as a homestead grant. One of his sons received another 144 acres on the southern end of the Key. Mann sold his land around the turn of the century for $500.

Homes were built on the north end of Longboat Key in the early 1900's, some of which are still standing. In the 1920's John Ringling bought hundreds of acres on the south end and planted Australian pine trees along Ringling Boulevard (now Gulf of Mexico Drive) from one end of the island to the other. He also built the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on New Pass, which was started in 1926 but never finished; it was torn down in 1962 after Arvida bought the land

During World War II Longboat Key was sparsely inhabited, but near the present Longboat Harbour there was a target range for Army Air Force planes, which roared over firing 50-calibre bullets. Gates blocked Gulf of Mexico Drive while target practice was held and then opened again to let the few vehicles pass.

The Town of Longboat Key was incorporated on November 14, 1955. Development started gradually but hit its activity peak in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Longboat Key Towers was the first condominium built.

Town Commissions gradually tightened the zoning and approved Town water and sewage in the 1970's. It was estimated at the time that these utilities would serve a population of 26,000.

Since then development has exhausted almost every acre of land, and the zoning has become even stricter. Today, very few tracts of privately-owned land over a few acres remain undeveloped.

History provided by the Longboat Key Historical Society.

Additional Information:

Longboat Key Historical Society

Historic Markers


New to Town

Are you new to town? Visit Town Hall to pick up your “Newcomer Welcome Packets” from the Office of the Town Clerk. Services provided through the Town include water, sewer and garbage services. You can also find information on pet licenses and starting a business in Longboat Key.

Important Contacts

Parks and Recreation

The parks and beaches on the Key are some of the most beautiful in the world. Residents, visitors, and animals alike are captivated by the natural beauty of Longboat Key. Many activities are available for all to enjoy. All parks are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Fishing is permitted in our parks unless otherwise posted. All park rules and regulations apply. Fishing, salt water and fresh water, is regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Parks and Rec Info

Things to Do and Places to Visit

Find out all the information on: Longboat Key Turtle Watch, Longboat Key Foundation, Longboat Key Garden Club, Longboat Key Library, Longboat Key Rotary Club Library and Longboat Key Rotary Club

Find all the details here

Contact us to see Longboat Key Homes!

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