Best Things to Do in Longboat Key, Situated between Sarasota Bay and the mainland to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Longboat Key is situated in the middle of a long barrier island.
Longboat Key, which spans the boundary between Manatee and Sarasota Counties, has 7,500 people as of the time of the most recent census.
Sport anglers and lovers of the great outdoors have long favored the town, which was formed in the middle of the 1950s. For people who are interested in historical and cultural events, it’s also a suitable choice because it’s close enough to many big-city attractions.
Best Things to Do in Longboat Key
- 1. Turtle Crawl Inn Longboat Key
- 2. Bayfront Park
- 3. Lake Manatee State Park
- 4. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
- 5. Lido Beach
- 6. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
- 7. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
- 8. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
- 9. Emerson Point Preserve
- 10. Ed Smith Stadium
- 11. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
- 12. Village of the Arts
- 13. Cortez Historic Fishing Village
- 14. Artist’s Guild of Anna Maria Island
- 15. De Soto National Memorial
1. Turtle Crawl Inn Longboat Key
Similar to several other coastal communities in the region, Longboat Key frequently attracts beachgoers, fishermen, and naturalists. It has an unmistakably laid-back vibe that sets it apart from many of the state’s more touristy places.
For individuals who would rather forgo fancy accommodations in favor of affordable lodging and convenient access to a range of natural resources, Turtle Crawl Inn is a well-liked choice.
The modest kitchenettes and individual balconies with views of the beach make the accommodations ideal for small families and couples. Owing to their westward aspect, they’re excellent locations for witnessing a breathtaking Florida sunset.
2. Bayfront Park
With a playground, fishing pier, dog park, and kayak launch area, Bayfront Park is a well-liked hangout for locals who would rather spend a few hours or a lot of money in the automobile exploring the great outdoors.
The community of Longboat Key oversees the park, which is a popular destination for both residents and visitors.
Following a costly and protracted rehabilitation, the park now has additional pathways, shuffleboard courts, and a variety of sports fields that are often accessible to the public first come, first served.
3. Lake Manatee State Park
Despite being officially located on East State Road 64, on the outskirts of Bradenton, Lake Manatee State Park is a top destination for physically fit outdoor enthusiasts, spanning over 500 acres.
The park is especially well-known for its fantastic freshwater fishing, kayaking, boating, and bathing opportunities. Other interesting inland settings, such as pine woods and marshes, are also close by.
Within the park, camping is also quite popular. Past visitors have said that although though the campsites were in a natural environment, they had plenty of facilities including electrical hookups, showers, and bathrooms.
4. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
With options ranging from grouper and scallops to big gulf shrimp and stone crabs, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill caters to almost every type of seafood enthusiast.
As its name suggests, Waterfront Grill provides its customers with breathtaking views as well. While the sights are impressive for all visitors, those traveling from far-off landlocked states will find them more so.
Prior visitors have said that the restaurant had excellent food, was in a fantastic location, had friendly and knowledgable personnel, and that everything seemed to work perfectly.
Plan ahead because the restaurant, which is situated on Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key, tends to get busy during the busiest hours.
5. Lido Beach
Only a short distance from Longboat Key lies Lido Beach on Lido Key, which draws a distinctly foreigner audience than other nearby beaches.
Among the facilities at Lido Beach are a wheelchair- and stroller-accessible viewing deck and a playground. It is possible to hire beach chairs and umbrellas for visitors from out of state.
Many guests choose to use the heated pool on-site during the winter months when the gulf may be a little chilly; a full day pass costs less than $5 for adults and much less for kids.
6. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is a distinctive research institution devoted to the study and preservation of the region’s natural ecosystems and fauna. It is situated on Ken Thompson Parkway in neighboring Sarasota. Midway through the 1950s, it was formed.
The public may visit the aquarium section of the establishment, which is home to hundreds of species of local marine life, including fish, sea horses, and turtles, to mention a few.
Sharks are another well-liked residents, and the staff of the aquarium hosts feedings on a regular schedule that are well-liked by both adults and children. There are many lessons and activities available for kids, especially in the summer.
7. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
The fact that panthers still exist in the wild astounds a lot of first-time visitors to the Sunshine State.
large Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, which is situated on Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota, was established over 30 years ago with the goal of rescuing wounded, orphaned, and abandoned animals, including large cats.
A significant portion of the sanctuary’s operations include offering visitors educational opportunities in addition to rescue and rehabilitation services. One of the highlights of many visitors’ trips is their time spent on-site.
8. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, a landmark of Sarasota’s live entertainment scene with more than 1,500 seats and a history dating back to the late 1960s, is situated on North Tamiami Trail.
The venue features distinctive architecture and hosts a range of performances, including comedy, serious theater, dance, and music. It is genuinely unique, with a delightful blend of contemporary lighting and sound systems and vintage charm.
It is advisable to check their website before leaving, since they have a comprehensive program available all year round. Even though there is plenty of seating, the most popular concerts tend to sell out quickly.
9. Emerson Point Preserve
Emerson Point Preserve is an easy and affordable option to enjoy the outdoors along the Manatee River, without having to spend hours driving to and from other bigger parks in the area. The Manatee River is one of the central Gulf Coast’s main attractions for outdoor activity.
In addition to several historic and ancient monuments, the park spans more than 350 acres of unspoiled natural settings.
The multipurpose pathways in the preserve are accessible to runners, cyclists, and walkers. There are a number of raised boardwalks that are excellent for seeing animals and are perfect for anybody who would prefer not to get dirty and wet.
10. Ed Smith Stadium
The Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball have called Ed Smith Stadium on 12th Street in Sarasota their home during spring training for almost a decade.
Remodeled seats that are really remnants from the old Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the team’s home city of Baltimore, Maryland—more than 1,000 miles away—are among the upgrades that have been made to the almost 8,000-seat ballpark in recent years.
As opposed to paying big-league pricing for hot dogs and beer as you would during the regular season, the spring training season is a terrific chance to see a few games and take advantage of the nice Florida weather.
11. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Sunshine, rain, and a year-round growth season make Florida the home of more internationally renowned botanical gardens than any other state.
Situated along the picturesque Sarasota Bay, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens may be found on South Palm Avenue. They’re the ideal spot to spend a few hours getting back in touch with Mother Nature if you’re sick of the crowds at the more popular tourist spots.
The grounds are connected by clearly delineated trails that have several seating places, greenhouses, separate cultivated sections, and educational signage. The gardens exhibit significant collections of both native and exotic plants, flowers, and trees.
12. Village of the Arts
Lover of art and the bohemian lifestyle, the Village of the Arts on 12th Avenue in Bradenton is a well-liked location, situated amidst more than thirty peaceful and quiet acres.
With around 100 galleries, studios, residences, and cafés, the hamlet is essentially the heart of the art and creative scene in the area and is a great spot to spend a few afternoons.
The town is distinct from the majority of other local attractions due to its distinctive architectural style of homes and shops. A wide range of fairs, festivals, and art-related events are available all year round.
13. Cortez Historic Fishing Village
Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, commercial fishing has long been a significant industry, albeit it was far less automated centuries ago.
There is no better spot to witness the shoreline and fishing industry as it was in the past than the intriguing and free ancient hamlet of Cortez, which is located just north of Longboat Key.
The downtown part of the hamlet, which has restaurants, marinas, and historic buildings, is quite walkable. A museum and cultural center are also located there, with old photos, fishing gear, and first-hand recollections from those who had worked in the field.
14. Artist’s Guild of Anna Maria Island
There have always been a good number of authors and artists that go to Florida in the hopes of drawing inspiration from the state’s breathtaking scenery.
The non-profit Anna Maria Island Artist’s Guild was established with the goal of promoting and exhibiting the artwork of regional and local artists. Their Marina Drive location provides a range of exhibitions, fairs, and educational activities targeted at both established and emerging artists throughout the year.
The public can visit the guild, which has been operating for almost 30 years, Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
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15. De Soto National Memorial
Hernando De Soto arrived on the shore close to Bradenton in the first part of the sixteenth century. Historians claim that he was searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth and gold-filled towns.
The Do Soto National Memorial is a monument honoring this momentous occasion and is situated on De Soto Memorial Highway.
Situated close to the mouth of the Manatee River, the memorial and the park it surrounds span over more than 20 acres. Aside from its historical value, the park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as bird viewing, kayaking, fishing, and nature paths.