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Longboat Key At A Glance

If Anna Maria Island is a bit of a beach bum, then Longboat Key is her more sophisticated seaside cousin. Quiet, leisurely and relatively upscale, Longboat Key lures visitors who want a bit of pampering. Here, travelers dine well on globally-inspired cuisine and fresh seafood, shop in small boutiques, and gaze at the impossibly green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Key is perfectly sandwiched between the beachy playfulness of Anna Maria Island to the north – and the nightlife, restaurants and culture of St. Armands Circle and adjacent downtown Sarasota, just a few minutes to the south.

The Landscape

Longboat Key is aptly named: This narrow strip of land floating between the blue of Sarasota Bay and the jewel-green of the Gulf of Mexico is manicured, though not stuffy. Sections of the barrier island widen a bit to play host to residential communities, but most visitor accommodations are found along Gulf of Mexico Drive, predominantly on the beach side. Small public beach accesses all along the drive open up to startlingly beautiful views of the water.

The Accommodations

Longboat Key has somehow managed to create and maintain a quiet, non-commercial feel despite the fact that it offers an excellent mix of traditionally styled resorts, small cottages, hotels and vacation rentals. Most accommodations are just off of Gulf of Mexico Drive, where careful landscaping adds harmony and balance between buildings and nature.

The Locals

About 7,000 people live here on Longboat Key. For most, the barrier island is a second home in which to joyfully escape the winter in the Midwest or up north. Many first became enamored of the Key while visiting here and returned to live here.

The Dress Code

Tasteful, understated elegance – what some call —resort casual” – is the dress code on Longboat Key. Ladies wear sundresses and flip-flops with bling or linen blouses and bermudas; gentlemen are seen in colorful polos and crisp shorts. You might want to dress up a bit for dinner: Add an accessory or two and some heels for the ladies; long pants and a collared shirt for men.

The Weather

Longboat Key offers near-perfect weather. Bring a light wrap or jacket in winter. Summer is warm: Ask the nice resort staff to bring you a cool washcloth by the pool. Average highs and lows by season: Spring (82°F/60°F), Summer (90°F/71°F), Fall (84°F/64°F), Winter (73°F/51°F).