A wooden footbridge leading to the beach

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Things to Do on Longboat Key

Longboat Key may be a beach lover’s paradise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other activities and attractions in the area! Whether you want to head into the heart of Sarasota for a taste of the growing visual and performing arts scene, indulge in a local restaurant, or choose from a variety of outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do on Longboat Key and the outlining areas! This list is only a taste of everything there is to explore near Sarasota. Request your free copy of our Vacation Guide for more local tips and information on the best things to see and do during your Florida beach trip!

8 of the Top Things to Do on Longboat Key

1. Relax on Pristine Beachesan overhead shot of the Longboat Key beach

The star of the show along the Florida coast is the beach, and it’s easily the best thing to do on Longboat Key. This gorgeous stretch of pristine white sand beach bordering the crystal clear Gulf water spans the entire west coast of Longboat Key. Rows of private homes and vacation rentals line the beach with very few public access points, making this the best spot to stay in the area if you’re searching for a quiet beach setting. What’s better than walking out of your vacation home right onto the beach? If you want to test out another one of Florida’s finest beaches, head north for 10 to 20 minutes on Gulf of Mexico Drive to Manatee and Coquina Beach where you’ll find several public access points with picnic tables, beach volleyball, and classic lifeguard stations lining the water. To the south, Lido Key Beach has excellent shopping and dining options just steps from the sandy shores.

2. Indulge in Local Cuisinea table at the Mar Vista restaurant

You don’t have to leave Longboat Key to indulge in some of the best local restaurants. From a beautiful waterfront dining experience at Mar Vista directly on the bay, to a romantic night out at Euphemia Haye Restaurant or Harry’s Continental Kitchen, you can savor a delicious array of cuisine just minutes from your vacation rental. Of course, downtown Sarasota has a bevy of restaurants and bars that are perfect for an evening out on the town!

3. Explore Sarasota’s Art and Nightlife SceneThe Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota

The art and nightlife experience in Sarasota is one of the top things to do near Longboat Key during your vacation. The Asolo Repertory Theatre is one of the most beautiful performing arts venues in the area and features an array of shows and musicals on its Victorian-era themed stage. There are plenty of art galleries dotting the city that you can pop in and visit throughout the day. The crown jewel of the area’s burgeoning art scene is the Sarasota Opera, where residents and guests flock to the historic theatre in the vibrant downtown district. This is a great place to grab some food at a restaurant before going to the show and finishing the night off with a drink at one of the local bars.

4. Shop the Day Awaya couple walking around St. Armand's Circle

There is no shortage of shopping near Longboat Key. The Shoppes of Bay Isles and The Centre Shops are excellent options if you want to stay on the key. For those wanting to explore other options around the area, there are plenty of upscale shops on Lido Key, downtown Sarasota, or University Town Center on the outskirts of town. Historic Burns Court is a great place to discover boutique stores that have unique, individual flair. If you’re searching for shops close to the beach, St. Armands Circle is the perfect location for an afternoon of shopping after a morning in the water. The Mall at University Town Center is a contemporary shopping center featuring high-end shops like Tommy Bahama, Tesla, and Swarovski.

5. Celebrate our Beautiful Area at a Sarasota Eventpro baseball players warming up on the field

Enjoying a Sarasota event should be on the top of your Longboat Key things to do list. There is a variety of fun and exciting festivals and events that fill up the schedule year-round. Are you in the mood to taste some local seafood or watch a major fishing tournament? What about watching some pre-season baseball? Or maybe you want to experience something that’s unique to the area like the Sarasota Annual Grand Prix Boat Race? You name it; the Longboat Key/Sarasota area has an incredible event or festival for everyone.

6. Experience Outdoor Recreation at its Finestkayaking near Longboat Key

There are so many ways to have fun in the sun on Longboat Key that it’s impossible to count them all up. Kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and biking on Longboat Key are popular things to do, but there are also plenty of nature walks and hikes if you venture off the island. Places like Leffis Key Preserve and Myakka Hiking Trail give you the opportunity to explore coastal Florida wildlife and scenery. Longboat Key Public Tennis Center is a fantastic place to play a tennis match. Golf enthusiasts will love the countless courses around Sarasota. You can also rent bikes and boats at a couple of locations on the island or in Sarasota. Whether you like to fish on the beach or grab a charter boat and hit the open water, anglers will be at home in the beautiful Gulf Coast waters. Joan M. Durante Park and Bayfront Park also offer fantastic views of the water on both sides of the island! So, put on your bathing suit, grab some sunscreen, and enjoy the beautiful sunny paradise that is Longboat Key.

7. Marvel at a Sunset on the Beacha beautiful sunset on Longboat Key

There’s nothing quite like a sunset on Longboat Key or Lido Key Beach. Bring a beach chair and take a front row seat to watch the fiery sun dip below the horizon of the Gulf of Mexico as a gentle Gulf breeze keeps you cool. At that moment, if you haven’t already, you’ll know that you are in paradise.



8. Find Your Perfect Florida Vacation Connection Rental

Your dream beach rental property awaits you at Florida Vacation Connection! Our extensive list of prime Longboat and Lido Key or St. Armands homes and condos offer guests a variety of options. Whether you want to stay in a beachfront condo, a canal-side house with a boat dock, or an oceanfront home, you’ll find your ideal Sarasota accommodation with us. Add in our unparalleled service, and you’re in for the trip of a lifetime.

Browse our list of Longboat Key properties and start planning your trip today! We look forward to welcoming you to the Florida Vacation Connection family!