Longboat Key, An Island Getaway You'll Remember

July 25, 2023

Longboat Key, An Island Getaway You'll Remember

Longboat Key, Florida

An exclusive beach hidden away that few know about. 

Every year we vacation in Longboat Key, a barrier island, or key, on the coast of Sarasota, Florida. This tropical getaway has warm and inviting weather, cool mornings and evenings, and crystal clear turquoise water splashing up on white sandy beaches. The remarkable thing is not too many people know about this little place. There’s not a lot of tourists. The area surrounding Longboat Key is known for three main things:

  • Pristine white sandy beaches 
  • Crystal clear water
  • St. Armands Circle 

And we’ll cover all three. 

Located in Manatee and Sarasota counties along the central west coast of Florida, Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The island has about 7,500 local residents who call the island home; in addition to the many vacationers, like us, that come to relax on one of the finest beaches in all the world. 

At Bee, we rank Longboat Key’s coastline and overall vacation experience with the finest there is in Florida. This small geographical area has some of the best food, beaches, sandbars, and sunsets in all the world. Once you experience this place you’ll understand why it captures so many people from all over the country. In fact, although Bee Mortgage currently lends all over the state of Florida, we plan on opening an office on Longboat Key to serve the local area better.

The Beach

If you didn't know, Florida’s Gulf Coast has some of the highest rated beaches in the world. In fact, the #1 beach is on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and while it’s not Longboat Key, Longboat Key is right up there with it, in our opinion. There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to the waves crash against the shore while hunting for seashells or playing with the kids while you soak up the Florida sunshine.  

Longboat Key proudly showcases one of the most awe-inspiring coastlines in the world. Renowned for the immaculate stretches of white sandy beaches, shimmering turquoise waters, and calming experiences you’ll ever find. Mornings are calm and cool as people stroll the white sand and the occasional dolphin swims by. As the sun comes up over the ocean, some of the prettiest shells can be found on the beach. Rumor has it the first sea shell Sally ever sold was found on the picturesque shores of Longboat Key. 

Some of the funnest things to do is just wade in the water or paddleboard. As the tranquil aquatic sights, sounds and feelings mesmerize you, kayakers, and boats cruise by making it easy to lose track of time and simply enjoy yourself paddling around at a leisurely pace.  This is the Florida lifestyle so many people come here for, and why so many people come back to if they leave. This is SaltLife, pura vida, Florida. 

Fun activities include 

  • Waterskiing  
  • Marine museum 
  • Turtle walk 
  • Tennis & Golf 
  • Kayaking the intercoastal and ocean 
  • The pier 
  • Fishing 
  • Biking  
  • Multiple public parks 
  • Beach yoga 

With eleven beach access points, it’s important to note that parking may be challenging at certain times of the day in some of the locations, and not all roads are paved.  

Some of the popular beaches include: 

Whitney Beach
Located on the North end of Longboat Key at 100 N Shore Road, Whitney Beach has public parking and several beach access areas, but does not have any amenities like showers or bathrooms.  

Beer Can Island
Found on the northern tip of Longboat Key, this hidden beach oasis can only be reached at low tide. Its driftwood-lined shores are beautiful spots for pictures, relaxing, picnics and swimming. Be careful though, it’s easy to lose track of time and get stuck out there when the tide comes in.  

Beach Access Points
Blue and white signs along Gulf of Mexico Drive indicate beach access points for Longboat Key residents and visitors. They can be found at: 

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)


The intercoastal waterway running along Longboat Kay has some of the best sandbars to spend the day at in all America. The island of Longboat Key is a boaters paradise. There’s many marinas, canal front homes with easy Sarasota Bay access, private docks, and waterfront restaurants. If you love the water, this is the place for you.

Don’t own a boat? Don’t worry. There’s plenty of boat rentals and charters available.  There’s nothing better than making a day of cruising the intercoastal with friends or family, enjoying the sights and sounds of the water as the cool wind blows on your face. 

The houses on the water are absolutely stunning and there’s many sandbars to drop anchor at and chill. Hanging out with other boaters, splashing and playing, riding jet skis, sliding down slides on a double-decker tritoon boat, watching dolphins, catching sea urchins, sand dollars and crabs are all part of the fun! And the water is so clear you can see right down to the bottom of it.

Be sure to pack some food and drinks, along with sunscreen and snacks. Wading through the water on the sandbar makes for an ideal day exploring the natural aquatic wildlife. Memories of a lifetime are made driving the boat, playing on a splash pad, hunting for shells, watching dolphin swim by, and catching crabs!

Time flies when you having fun, and it goes by quickly when you're having fun on a sandbar. If you're renting a boat, you need at least 6 hours of rental time in order to have a good time. Four hours isn't long enough, and eight hours might be a little too long depending on whose on the boat with you. 


Longboat Key Sunset

Longboat Key sunsets are the stuff of romantic legend. As the sun sets over the northern part of the Gulf, the sunlight dances over the water creating sensational reflections that are really out of this world. The East Coast of Florida has the sunrise, but the West Coast has the sunsets. And, quite frankly, I can't decide which one is prettier. 

There’s something about the sun coming up that energizes you with hope for a new day and what’s to come. But there’s nothing more calming and peaceful than the sun setting over the ocean at the end of the perfect day in Longboat Key. 

Lot's of proposals are made in these stunning Florida sunsets as the beauty of nature provide the ideal backdrop for special moments and pictures.  

Strolling along the white sand underneath the moonlight is very nice, as is wading in the cool waters. At times you can see turtles hatching then scurrying to the ocean to swim. Sand dunes sparkle at night and it seems as if you can stay on the beach forever. 

The Finest Dining

Some of the best restaurants in all Florida are on Longboat Key. Shore, Dry Dock, and Whitneys are three of the most popular places for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Thirsty at Whitney’s? Just climb one of the many coconut palms, pick a coconut, crack it open and stick a straw in and enjoy fresh coconut juice in a sub-tropical climate! 

Dry Dock and Shore overlook the water where dolphins regularly swim looking for their own meal, small fish. The clear water makes you the perfect spectator to the sea life’s natural wonder while you wait for your table or food. If you’re boating, there’s no better place to enjoy fine dining than Shore. Simply dock your boat and come in! If you're looking for something more laid back and relaxed, dock your boat and eat right on the shore at Mar Vista.

The Lazy Lobster, Maison Blanche, and Euphemia Hay Restaurant are also some favorite spots along with more casual fare such as pizza and other staples. No matter if you’re a local or vacationing for a summer, you’ll never get tired of the dining options on Longboat Key and the surrounding areas. No matter which way you go, inland, north or south, there’s more restaurants, bars, diners, fine dining, and hole-in-the-wall spots to try out. 

The surrounding area also has some great tasting options, including:

  • Arcada Monsters, Lido Beach
  • Veronica Fish & Oyster, Sarasota
  • Made, Sarasota
  • The Spot Tacos & More, Bradenton
  • Tikka Indian Cuisine, Venice
  • Melange, Sarasota
  • Indigenous, Sarasota
  • Dim Sum King, Bradenton
  • Owen's Fish Camp, Sarasota
  • Chateau, Bradenton
  • Pho Cali, Sarasota

St. Armands Circle 

You can spend a weekend all year at St. Armands Circle and it never gets old. Located in the commercial district on St. Armands Key, there’s tons of shops, tons of restaurants, and tons of stuff for children and adults to do at this outdoor circular mall with a coastal view. With 130 high end retail and entertainment shops, restaurants and galleries, St. Armands Circle was inspired by its designer, famous circus ringmaster, John Ringling. And in October, the circle comes to life with spooky decor! 

Just minutes away from Longboat Key, past the Chart House restaurant, this mall is the perfect place to go for just about anything except grocery shopping (there’s a Publix with a great PubSub station on Longboat Key for that). There’s a wide variety of food to choose from, just about every shop you can imagine, and something for everyone.  

Got kids? Bring them to St. Armands Circle’s candy and top shop, among other attractions and food they’re sure to enjoy. Ditched your kids, or don’t have any? Great! Come down for some of the best food you can find then hang out and party at St. Armands Circle’s famous nightlife venues. 

St. Armands Restaurants

Columbia Restaurant

Owned by the same family for over 100 years and featured in Southern Living, Columbia Restaurant serves some of the best Spanish and Colombian inspired food while you take in the sights and sounds overlooking St. Armands Circle with second story seating. 

Cafe L’Europe

Opening in 1973 in the original site of John Ringling’s real estate business, this French-inspired restaurant serves delicacy dishes such as honey-curry glazed sea bass, brandied duckling and filet mignon with black truffle butter. 

Crab & Fin 

This is arguably the best seafood on the circle. As one of the top-rated upscale seafood restaurants on St. Armands Circle, visitors feast on gulf golden tilefish, coconut crusted chicken, Gulf pompano, lump blue crab cakes, grouper sandwiches, and Alaskan giant red king crab. 

Blu Kouzina

The most exquisite Mediterranean cuisine: extra virgin olive oil, sea salt from the Mani Peninsula of the Mediterranean Sea and organic thyme honey from beehives in Mani, Greece served on Mediterranean salads, homemade hummus and eggplant dips, spinach pie, dolmades, wraps, lamb kebabs, steak, calamari, prawn, frilled fish and more. 

Speaks Clam Bar

This New York style clam bar is the go-to place for unbeatable house made pasta made on an authentic Italian machine right from Italy. With award-winning Italian food, hand crafted spaghetti, rigatoni, linguini, tagliatelle, garden to glass cocktails and a unique prohibition decor, Speaks Clam Bar is super popular with locals and has been featured prominently in the news.

The Terrace at Surf Shack

A little unknown, hidden in the upstairs of the Surf Shack is this upscale eatery featuring an eccentric mix of laid-back food and high-end class experiences. The piano bar features cocktails and rooftop dining with amazing views overlooking the circle. If you want some good, casual food that won’t break the bank, this is the place for you. 

The Enriched Longboat Key Lifestyle 

Longboat Key is an undeniable destination for those seeking the ultimate relaxed, laid-back Florida lifestyle complete with lucrative real estate investments, scenic beauty, and world-class amenities. It’s not just the island’s proximity to Sarasota, or the breathtaking natural landscapes and alluring pristine beaches that draw people from all over here. It’s a vast array of investment and property options that cater to your preferred, unique tastes.  

These sought-after properties epitomize the essence of Longboat Key living!  

Beachfront Estates
These exclusive and opulent properties are the peak of oceanfront living and the epitome of luxury. These beachfront estates offer unparalleled ocean serenity with direct beach access to the soft white sand and sparkling turquoise water, along with miles of coastline with panoramic views.  

Waterfront Condos
Longboat Key offers a charm of waterfront living many people come for. With graceful island marinas, tranquil waterways, and many convenient beach access points, these resort-style condos offer award-winning amenities and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay or the intercoastal.  

Golf Course Homes
Golf enthusiasts will find their paradise in Longboat Key! These esteemed golf course communities are meticulously designed and maintained to offer elegance and exclusivity, along with world-class, lush green fairways, and member benefits to match.  

Condo Hotels
For visitors who don’t plan on staying year-round love these properties. Condo hotels allow you the flexibility to use your condo on vacation each year, then rent it out when you’re not there–all while being professionally managed and maintained. Some of the finest condo hotels include The Resort at Longboat Key Club, among others. 

Longboat Key Housing Market

As one of the best places to live in Florida, Longboat Key offers residents a coastal, urban feel while most residents own their own homes. The area is popular with retirees and the public schools in Longboat Key are above average, well suited for kids. The area has many fun and educational extracurricular activities for kids and competitive sports leagues to play in. With almost 80% of homes sold below asking price last month, the housing market is beginning to favor buyers as prices drop for most homes.   

Bee Mortgage offers a suite of home loans ideal for the Longboat Key barrier island. For rate sensitive home buyers, Bee has you covered. With options ranging from 15, 20, and 30-year mortgages that come with unbeatable low rates, you control the monthly mortgage payment and can select one that’s ideal for your budget. If you’re looking for the lowest payment possible, there’s other types of loan available that come with lower interest rates and payments at the beginning of the loan.  

Bee Mortgage specializes in helping new homebuyers navigate the home buying process with expert advice and counsel, and has money available to help buyers cover closing costs. While the amount you get depends on the rate you choose, among other factors, Bee is always willing to help new buyers get into their first home for as little money as possible. Additionally, Bee offers a streamline home refinance option for those asking themselves, “Should I refinance my home to a lower rate?” 

The Median Home Price Compared to a Year Ago:

$1,253,333 (+2%)

Beds           June 2022       June 2023         %
1 Bedroom       $493K             $559.9K       +13.6%          
2 Bedroom       $950K             $942.5K       -0.8%
3 Bedroom       $1.6M              $1.7M          +3.6%
4 Bedroom       $2.7M              $4.2M          +57.9%
5 Bedroom       $3.9M              $6.7M          +72.5%

Number of Homes Sold:

May 2022       June 2023         %
       70                  40            -32.9%

Asking Price vs. Sold Price
37 under asking price
7 at asking price
3 over asking price

Average Home Sale Time:

June 2022       June 2023         %
      15                    53            +237%

Homes For Sale:

June 2022    June 2023       %
       302              243         -19.5%

Homes for sale by bedroom count:

Beds           May 2022       June 2023       %
1 Bedroom         24                 22          -8.3%          
2 Bedroom        135               110          -18.5%
3 Bedroom         86                 71          -17.4%
4 Bedroom         48                 32          -33.3%
5 Bedroom          9                   8           -11.1%


To see if you qualify for a streamline refinance, contact Bee at 855-626-1999 or apply here today


If you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership, contact us today! Our dedicated loan experts will walk you through every step of the way ensuring you get a low rate and close quickly!


If you’re looking for a streamline refinance to lower the rate and payment, apply here today or call 855-626-1999 and speak with one of our expert loan officers in your area!



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Bee is a leading Florida mortgage broker with over 10 Florida local offices that’s been featured heavily in the local and national news for its instant pre-approvals, low rates, fast closings, and new mobile technology. For more news and resources, click here.


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