A wooden footbridge leading to the beach

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Here’s How to Get to Sarasota and Longboat Key

If you’re planning on spending any time in Sarasota or her islands, you have to know how you’ll get there first. Specifically, you’ll want to figure out how you can get your toes in that soft, sugar-white sand as soon as possible! Then, once you arrive, you’ll need to know how to get around once you’re in town. Even if you drove in, our various modes of transportation can help you have fun as you explore. Below, we’ve explained all facets of how to get to Sarasota and Longboat Key. For more local tips and recommendations, be sure to check out our complimentary Destination Guide!

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How to Get to Sarasota and Longboat Key: Your Ultimate Guide

By Air

If you’re looking to fly into Sarasota, you’re in luck! Two major airports serve the area: Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). While the majority of our flying guests use these airports, there are several more within driving distance. Here’s what you need to know about our two closest airports:

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

Remember the call letters SRQ—you may want to pick up a souvenir hat before your stay is over! Sarasota’s main airport is less than 15 miles from Longboat Key and just five miles from downtown Sarasota. We’re thrilled to announce that this airport recently added several new direct flight destinations to its list (including Asheville, Cleveland, Columbus, Nashville, and Syracuse)! Your city may be on the list, so be sure to check. Navigating the airport itself is also a breeze. The airport is served by several major carriers, including 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. We love local fave Longboat Limousine, as well.

Tampa International Airport

The highly lauded Tampa International Airport is served by over 20 major airlines and a handful of regional ones. It does nearly 100 nonstop flights to and from the U.S., Central America, and Europe. Within the past two years alone, it has added 40 domestic routes to its run. Passengers travel from places like Zurich, Havana, and even Amsterdam to enjoy a beautiful getaway to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Why is TPA so beloved? People love this airport’s user-friendliness, ease, design, and manageable traffic. TPA offers cab service to the Sarasota area (about 45-65 miles away). You can also choose from a wide variety of rental car services or go the Uber/Lyft route.

By Car

To get to the Gulf Coast from the north, find your way to I-75 and head south. From there, four exits take you toward Sarasota, with 210 (Fruitville) offering the most direct path to Longboat Key via the Ringling Causeway and St. Armand’s Circle.

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. Armand’s to Longboat Key.

Getting Around Town Once You’re Here

The Sarasota County Area Transit offers a variety of fare rates, routes, and passes. You’ll love that it 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.

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

Leave the car behind and discover downtown Sarasota, St. Armand’s Circle, Ringling Bridge, and Lido Key by segway! Three tour times per day are offered seven days a week.

For just $50 per 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.

Relax in Your Private Vacation Rental By the Beachbeachplace 7-102

After mastering how to get to Sarasota and Longboat Key, enjoy a relaxing evening in your beautiful Longboat Key or Lido Key vacation rental. We have truly jaw-dropping sunsets here in Sarasota, so we hope you make it in time to kick off your vacation with one! Our guests often rave about the sunset views from our properties’ patios, decks, and lanais. No matter which property you choose, you’ll love being close to everything Sarasota has to offer (yet feeling like you’re in a private paradise). In addition to incredible views, your Florida Vacation Connection property features premium perks like a fully equipped kitchen, fast Wi-Fi, and heated swimming pools. Some of our properties even offer access to tennis and fitness centers! Whether your perfect Florida vacation includes kayaking mangroves, catching award-winning performances, or relaxing by the pool, an unforgettable experience awaits.

Find your perfect home away from home now!