Longboat Key

Longboat Key is a tranquil southwest Florida coastal barrier island with the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Sarasota Bay to the east. It is divided almost equally between Manatee and Sarasota counties. Encompassing a total area of 16.0 miles, Longboat Key is 4.1 square miles of land and 11.9 square miles of water.

Originally the vacation spot of the Caloosa and Timucuan Indians, leaving behind shellmounds, showing that fish fries and picnics were a common way of their beach sabbatical. John Ringling bought hundreds of acres at the south end of the key in the 1920's. He planted pine trees from Australia from one end of the island to the other creating Ringling Boulevard, which has now become Gulf of Mexico Drive. He commenced the construction of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on New Pass in 1926, but it was never completed and was torn down by the Arvida Corporation when they purchased the land in 1962.

In November 14, 1955, the Town of Longboat Key was incorporated. Development began slowly, but by the 1960's and '70's development had peaked. The first condominium on the island was the Longboat Key Towers. Since that period of time, the expansion has exhausted almost all of the land, making much stricter codes and zoning requirements a necessity. Co-owning a lot of the common elements that the condominium community desires has provided associations with the opportunity to offer more to their residents like swimming pools, tennis courts, sitting area with gazebos for the breathtaking water views and access to pristine beaches and save on the land usage.

With an estimated population of 7,082 in 2013, a 6.9% decrease since 2000, Longboat Key offers 12 miles of breathtaking, white sand beaches. This island of paradise has no neon signs, billboards, or shopping malls, just up-scale shops and award-winning restaurants that are within the landscape of this manicured tropical space. This a luxurious Gulf Coast resort town attracts residents and visitors from all over the world. With a median age of 68 and 73.0% of them being married, many of its residents are retirees, enjoying the beach lifestyle along with the island's championship golf course and tennis club, and its fabulous Gulf side dining and shopping.

An environment of many cultural activities, Longboat Key is home of the the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, a Division of Ringling College of Art and Design. The Arts Center, which includes the Durante Gallery, Cultural Media Room and many classroom spaces, offers a plethora of different performances, exhibitions and community events each year along with multiple classes and workshops. Many of their workshops and classes are instructed by world-renowned artists, offering exquisite learning opportunities in all forms of art; printmaking, drawing, painting, jewelry, sculpture, photography and many more, all done using the Key's picturesque scenery as inspiration. This center is nestled in the historic Village neighborhood and is a mecca for creative minds, artists and art-lovers alike. The Longboat Key Education Center is a place to cultivate that love of learning new things. Founded by Laura Taubes in 1985, her motto was that continued education helps keep the mind active and the spirit young. Offering more than 150 courses, there is anything from yoga and tai chi to foreign affair discussions and book clubs. On occasion, you'll find performances of live jazz combos, piano recitals, theatrical performances, movies and lectures hosted by local and national speakers going on at this inspirational center.

The awe-inspiring Longboat Key combines the tranquil seashore pleasures of fishing, boating, kayaking and beachcombing with the variety of cultural pastimes of the arts to the recreational games of golf or tennis, all in a calming and relaxed island atmosphere.

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Updated: 16th September, 2019 2:54 PM.