Everyone that has ever visited Sarasota loves it. For different reasons. Some love it for the cultural offerings while for others it is the weather and for others the ability to live on the water, etc. No matter, everyone loves it for Longboat Key. This pristine barrier island is a gorgeous 11-mile stretch of gorgeous beaches and incredible natural beauty and a very desirable average year-round temperature of 73 degrees. There is not a way to get directly to the key from the Mainland of Sarasota. One must travel over a couple of bridges to arrive but, no worries, the trip is easy and the scenery along the way is worth it all. The fortunate ones that live on the key do so in style. There are breathtaking homes, luxurious condo buildings and all sorts of quaint, older Florida-style homes, many with access to the water. It is a bit of a boater’s haven as well as a paradise for golfers and tennis players. It is a playground for many.
Longboat Key is at the north end of Sarasota County and actually a good portion of it even lies within Manatee County. It is truly an island and is completely surrounded by glorious waters. The Gulf of Mexico is to the west while Sarasota Bay is to the east. It is considered a rather secluded island as the costs to live on this key is rather prohibitive to many people. It is considered to be fairly affluent and, at one time, even boasted as being one of the top ten zip codes in the US for per capita income. (Did I mention that I don’t live on the key?) There are approximately 7500 full-time residents on the key but the number goes as high as 20,000 when full season is in swing and those that live only a portion of the year on the island are in town.
With a wide variety of housing options available, there is also a wide variety of prices for property. Single family homes range from as low as about $400,000 all the way up to $20,000,000. Condos can run anywhere from $300,000 all the way up to $7,000,000. It is fun to see the beautiful condo buildings that grace each side of the main road, known as Gulf of Mexico Drive that winds its way along the key. What could be a better address to have? Equally fun is to gaze across the golf course to see some of the breathtaking mansions that sit directly on the beach. These ultra-luxurious homes are in an area known as Regent Court and are the homes of very successful business owners, politicians and some who just were born into the right family as their family name says it all, if shared. (We will respect privacy here and won’t divulge them!)
One of the best known entities on the key is the Longboat Key Club. This is a fabulous, large resort that includes something for everyone. (Well…everyone with the means that is.) There are luxury homes, maintenance free villas, condos and hotel rooms. They are known for the incredible golf facilities which include 45 holes of world-class golf, two pro shops, golf instruction for all ages and levels and several driving ranges. Besides golf, there is a wonderful tennis facility with 38 Har-tru courts and then for those who would prefer simply to be pampered there is phenomenal spa. Many dining options also exist from the very casual to the best of fine dining. The Longboat Key Club is world-famous and is an incredible asset to Sarasota County. Also a fabulous asset is The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort. This is going through change and re-direction at the moment but has often times been recognized, and was for 8 years in a row in fact, as the number one tennis resort in all of the United States! Not a bad title to hold.
Longboat Key is just north of St. Armands Key allowing very easy access to all that it has to offer with its wonderful shopping, restaurants, etc. There is also Lido Key with more restaurants, great places to keep one’s boat and the very prestigious Mote Marine with its research facilities as well as public exhibitions. If one heads north on the key then all of Bradenton with its great shopping and additional restaurant choices are available. And don’t forget about Anna Maria Island, also just over the north bridge. This quaint key has wonderful beaches, fun quirky shops and galleries and great little eateries.
Downtown Sarasota is only minutes away with its not-to-be-beat arts and cultural scene. There is the opera, ballet, symphony, museums, galleries, theaters of all sorts, and on and on. Name what it is that you are in the mood for and you can find it. Enjoy one of the restaurants in the city if you want a change from those on the key. You can’t eat French food every night, I guess.