A wooden footbridge leading to the beach

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How To Get To (And Navigate) Longboat Key & Sarasota

How To Get To (And Navigate) Longboat Key & Sarasota

If you’re planning on spending any time in Sarasota or her islands, you’ll want to sort out how you’ll get there first. Specifically, how you can get your toes in that soft, white sand ASAP. Once you’ve nailed down how you’ll arrive, there are plenty of around-town transportation options to consider, too. Even if you have a car, availing yourself of the various ride types here can be a fun way to explore city and island culture.

By Car:

To get to the Gulf Coast from the north, find your way to I75 and head south. From there, four exits take you toward Sarasota, with 210 offering the most direct path to Longboat Key. In Sarasota, two major highways run parallel to each other, north-south: U.S. 301 and U.S. 41. University Parkway and Ringling Causeway run east-west. Gulf of Mexico Drive is Longboat’s major thoroughfare, running north-south. Two bridges serve the island, with the one to the north connecting Longboat to the Bradenton beaches, and the Ringling Causeway extending from downtown Sarasota to Lido Key/St. Armands to Longboat Key.

By Air:

Luckily, two major airports serve the area, with several more within reach, including St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Orlando International Airport to the north. To the south, there’s Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Meyers and Punta Gorda Airport in Charlotte County.

Tampa International Airport

This highly-lauded international airport is served by over 20 airlines and a handful of regional ones. It does nearly 100 nonstop flights to and from the U.S., Central America and Europe, and within the past two years alone has added 40 domestic routes to its run. Passengers travel from places like Zurich and Havana and, soon, Amsterdam to make their way to the Gulf Coast area. Why is TIA so beloved? Flyers site its user-friendliness and ease, design and lack of traffic.

TIA offers Yellow or United Cab service from Ground Transportation to the Sarasota area (about 45-65 miles) You can also choose from every rental car service you could possibly want, or go the Uber and Lyft route.

Sarasota Bradenton Airport

Remember the call letters SRQ; you may want to pick up a souvenir hat before your stay is over! SRQ Airport is less than 15 miles from Longboat Key and just 5 from downtown Sarasota, and navigating the airport itself is a breeze. The big news with SRQ is that major carrier Allegiant has recently added 9 more nonstop domestic flights to its schedule, among them Asheville, Cleveland, Columbus, Nashville and Syracuse. The airport is served by a good ten major and regional carriers, among them Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue and United. SRQ points to Diplomat Airport Transportation as the best way out of its manageable parking area and on to the beach. We love local fave Longboat Limousine as well.

Around Town:


The Sarasota County Area Transit offers a variety of fare rates, routes and passes and makes multiple stops throughout the city and the islands. It serves SRQ airport as well. The Downtown Transfer Station is SCAT’s hub. The bus also stops at some of the area’s major attractions like The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.


From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, visitors to Downtown Sarasota can catch an iRide for free. This environmentally-friendly electric vehicle is a great way to navigate Downtown and the Rosemary District.

Siesta Key Breeze Trolley

SCAT has recently added free trolley service to its schedule, so if you want to explore the Key on board this colorful, communal ride, hop right on! The route takes you around Siesta 7 days a week from 10-10 p.m.

Sarasota Segway Tours

Leave the car behind and discover downtown Sarasota, St. Armands Circle, Ringling Bridge and Lido Key by Segway. Three tour times a day are offered 7 days a week.

Pedego Electric Bikes

For just $50 for a full day, you can cruise around town on an eco-friendly electric bike, taking in all of the places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access from the car.