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Longboat Key is in Manatee County. The southern end of the island is in Sarasota County.


Native Americans inhabited the island prior to Spanish colonization. Juan de Añasco explored the island for Hernando De Soto and the Native Americans fled the island, leaving the longboat. The island became a fishing destination for the Cubans and Spanish colonizers until the mid-19th century, when a hurricane decimated the island.

Former Bradenton resident Thomas Mann moved to the island in 1888 amidst a number of claims to ownership of the island. A canal dug several years later made it more accessible, and steamship routes and mail service were established to the island. Mann sold his land in 1898, and a post office was established in 1907. Byron Corey, who owned a pier on the island, became postmaster. Development would begin in earnest during the 1910s as agriculture and associated business became the center of the island's economy. After another hurricane caused damage in 1921, John Ringling invested in the area by building a luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel, although he failed to complete it. The first bridge to the island was built in 1929.

Gordon Whitney of Chicago saw an opportunity for development at Longboat Key, and in 1935 began his project by purchasing land on the island. Telephone service came to the island over the next few years, only for the island to be used as a bombing range during the Second World War. After the war, in 1955, the town incorporated as Longboat Key and the "Longbeach" name that had previously been used was discarded. The population of the island was merely 200 at the time, though, and large-scale development didn't commence until around 1960 when Arvida Corporation planned to grow the city by 12,000. In the mid-1960s the unfinished Ritz-Carlton hotel was demolished to make way for the development. Ultimately the island itself reached its peak population of 7,600 in 2000, and the population has stabilized since.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

You can enter Longboat Key from the north or the south. The road from the north connects from Bradenton Beach, a part of Anna Maria Island. The southern road connects from a group of islands ("keys") that can in turn be accessed via the John Ringling Blvd, which crosses the lagoon from Sarasota.

Get around[edit]


Map of Longboat Key
  • The beach
  • 1 Rufus P Jordan House (Mar Vista), 760 Broadway St. Built by Rufus Jordan in 1920, it was converted into apartments in 1942 and then into the Mar Vista Restaurant in the 1980s. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Rufus P. Jordan House (Q7378078) on Wikidata Rufus P. Jordan House on Wikipedia


  • 1 Bayfront Park, 4052 Gulf of Mexico Dr (the lagoon side of Gulf Dr). 5AM–11PM. Sports and kayak launch.






Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Longboat Key is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.