Beaches and Bites: 5 things on Longboat Key

Longboat Key provides no shortage of things to do and places to explore, and we have just a few suggestions to get you started.

Longboat Key sits at the northernmost part of Sarasota County, and like all the Florida Keys, it has a unique flavor all its own.  It is known for its beautiful, secluded beaches and pristine resorts, but there are certainly a bounty of public places for all to explore and other attractions and activities in this beautiful key.  You can begin and an end a several relaxing days in Longboat Key without repeating your itinerary or to-do list.

1. Experience The Beaches

There are twelve public beach access points on Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key. Enjoy more intimate, less crowded beaches that have a “private beach” feel. There are actually no lifeguards on duty (nor are there public bathrooms), so adventurous visitors should have fun but be aware.

2. Explore The Ecology (In The Wild, Or In Aquariums)

The beaches are not the only place one can experience the outdoors, or even check out aquatic life.  You can visit the nearby Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium to see a stunning variety of sea-life without ever getting your feet wet or sandy.  You can take a less enclosed approach and hire the services of Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures for an up-close eco-tour along the lagoons and mangroves, or explore them on your own at Quick Point Nature Preserve.  If your tastes in ecological encounters are inclined more towards catching your subjects during a fishing outing, there are some good places to cast a line at the Ken Thompson Park or under New Pass Bridge (and you can get your bait at the New Pass Grill & Bait Shop).

3. Try A Bite (Or Many Bites)

You’ll build up an appetite from all your playing and exploring, and Longboat Key is fortunately known for some of its delicious dining spots.  Here are just a few ideas to consider when your appetite catches up with you.  The roasted duckling at Euphemia Haye is a rich culinary delight to keep highly ranked on your list of foods to experience.  The Chart House Waterfront Grill excels in steakhouse and seafood menu items (to be enjoyed alongside a gorgeous waterside view), but one would do well to also save room for their nearly-too-sweet-to-be-real hot lava cake.  Sample the coastal cuisine offerings at Harry’s Continental Kitchens; I personally recommend you try the shrimp and grits with a bloody mary with bacon for an unexpected treat.

4. Be Sporty

While you can certainly break an incidental sweat at the beach or on an eco trek, there are more deliberately sporting and recreational ways to accomplish this on Longboat Key.  Visitors can strike up a game of tennis at the Cedar’s Tennis Resort (also equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, for a nice post-game cool down).  Guests staying at the Resort at Longboat Key Club can likewise use that facility’s tennis courts to serve like the pros, or at least do their best approximation of pro-level serves. Resort at Longboat Key Club guests can also enjoy a round of golf on the island.  Alternatively, if bicycling is more your speed, there are excellent bike paths throughout Longboat Key with generous views of the surrounding upscale homes or the Gulf’s natural outline.

5. Truly Relax

Maybe you don’t feel like breaking a sweat in any context; perhaps you’re not hungry and you’re also not in the mood for an eco-encounter. No problem; you’ve got alternatives.  There is plenty of high-end shopping (and also plenty wares for the less pricey whimsy-collecting shoppers) to be done nearby at St. Armand’s Circle.  Or, you can catch a little aesthetic stimulation while browsing the art exhibits at the Longboat Key Centre for the Arts.  Finally, if the Sun’s started it’s own wind-down, you can catch some live music and early nightlife; check out Euphemia Haye or Amore by Andrea and cap the night off with a cocktail and/or some carefree dancing (which may or may not benefit from the aforementioned cocktail).