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Longboat Key, Florida
View of Millar bay and Sister Keys from a Longboat Keys residence
View of Millar bay and Sister Keys from a Longboat Keys residence
Location in Manatee County and the state of Florida
Location in Manatee County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°23′49″N 82°38′41″W / 27.39694°N 82.64472°W / 27.39694; -82.64472Coordinates: 27°23′49″N 82°38′41″W / 27.39694°N 82.64472°W / 27.39694; -82.64472
Country  United States
State  Florida
Counties Sarasota, Manatee
 • Total 16.00 sq mi (41.44 km2)
 • Land 4.08 sq mi (10.56 km2)
 • Water 11.92 sq mi (30.88 km2)
3 ft (1 m)
 • Total 7,505
 • Density 1,840.36/sq mi (710.54/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 941
FIPS code 12-41150
GNIS feature ID 0286084

Longboat Key is a town in Manatee and Sarasota counties along the central west coast of the U.S. state of Florida, located on and coterminous with the barrier island of the same name. Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is almost equally divided between Manatee and Sarasota counties. The town of Longboat Key was incorporated in 1955 and is part of the BradentonSarasotaVenice Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town's population was 6,888 at the 2010 census, down from 7,603 at the 2000 census.


Early History 1538-1848

Longboat Key was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The area what is now Longboat Key was scouted by Juan Anasco who was the first known white man to explore the key and Hernando De Soto's scout. He spent about 2 months attempting to find a landing site, he was also most likely the first man to see and explore Sarasota Bay, Boca Ceiga Bay and the Manatee River. According to local legend he believed the Indians were hostile and when they reached land on the island and fled leaving their Longboat in a bayou. Pirate Jean Lafitte was said to have been shipwrecked near or on Longboat Key. For the next 304 years it was ignored.


Earliest Settlement 1842?- 1848

It has been known that there were Cuban and Spanish fisherman and along with squatters had made a camp and made a trading post on the northern part of the island before 1842. At the time the area was referred to on maps as "Saraxola" and "Zarazote". There is little know about the island after 1848. It has been known though that an early settler of Sarasota and it's first post master, Charles Abbe had a plantation for citrus and pineapples on an unknown location on the island.

Official Settlement 1882-1921

In the late 1800s, Longboat Key up for settlement. Longboat Key had appeared to be two people named Colin and Rowlin W Witt in 1882 and claimed 7.15 acres (2.89 ha) on the north end of the island. Thomas Mann, its most notable settler had purchased land and moved to it with he and his sons in 1884 receiving 144.5 acres (58 ha) on the key. in which he moved to in 1888 with his family and his house was located in the north end of the key. A year after buying the land the town was given a name and was known as Longbeach. With a passage being dug in 1895 from Sarasota Bay to Tampa Bay steamships and Paddle boats could access the island. Soon, a mail service was established that brought residents mail that sent mail from Cortez. The land was sold in 1905 for $500 for commercial development. In the early 1900s Longboat Key was a farming community until 1921. Longboat Key was very popular mostly for growing fruits and tomatoes with Bryon Corey owning a farm which was on the New Pass on the southernmost point of the key. In 1912 The Sarasota Times said on its headline: "From a lonely Key, it is now a center of trucking and fruit growing."

Post-Hurricane until Incorporation 1921-1955

In 1921 the key lost most of its agriculture and buildings during a hurricane. There were no roads that lead here until 1929 when a bridge lead to St. Armands, so most transportation was done with a ferry dock on the north end of the key. That same year, the island was split in two counties, Sarasota and Manatee. In 1925 at the south end, John Ringling, a developer, built the Ritz Carlton Hotel which began in March 1926 which was never completed and eventually torn down. In 1936 for the first time, telephone service was brought to the South End of the island and by 1939 or 1940 it was brought to the North End. In World War II Longboat Key had a bombing range.

Incorporation 1955

On November 13, 1955, the town was incorporated in a 186–13 vote. At the time only about a third of Longboat Key was developed and about 215 people lived there. The town when it was incorporated changed its name from Longbeach to Longboat Key.

Large Scale Development and present 1960s- present

In the 1960s and 1970s the Arvida corporation bought the south end of Longboat key and developed it for $13.5 million. President Bush had arrived on Longboat on September 10, 2001 the day before the September 11 Attacks to read to second graders in a campaign called at the Emma T. Booker School in Sarasota. On November 14, 2015 the town of Longboat Key celebrated a 60- year anniversary.


Longboat Key is located north of St. Armands Key, with its circle of shopping and dining, and Lido Key, and south of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria, which are located on adjacent Anna Maria Island. The nearby cities of Sarasota and Bradenton and the Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport round out Longboat Key's varied list of geographic amenities. State Road 789 (Gulf of Mexico Drive) runs the length of the island, with ancillary boulevards branching off to residential neighborhoods. From some locations one can see both Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. At other points the island widens and accommodates various homes owned both singly and in condominiums, hotels, and sports clubs.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.0 square miles (41.4 km2), of which 4.1 square miles (10.7 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (30.7 km2), or 74.19%, is water.

Some Longboat Key residents are "snowbirds", who vacation on or own second homes on Longboat Key, and are present only during the winter months. Others are homesteaders, utilizing the various homestead exemptions provided to Florida citizens who own and occupy their principal residences within the state, as set forth under the Florida Constitution.

There are numerous restaurants on Longboat Key, Mar Vista, The Lazy Lobster, The Dry Dock, Pattigeorge's Restaurant, Chart House, the Longboat Key Club Restaurant, Euphemia Haye, Maison Blanche, Bayou Tavern, and Harry's. There are also full-service grocery stores, including Publix, and pharmacies, located centrally.

Most of the Gulf side of Longboat Key comprises beaches.

The southern most area of the key is mostly part of the Longboat Key Club.


A perennial problem for Longboaters was water quantity and quality. Salinity and sedimentary factors threatened the availability of potable water to island residents, visitors, and businesses. This problem was alleviated sufficiently when the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District approved a connection to Sarasota County's water supply, augmenting the existing connection to that of Manatee County.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 1,000
1970 2,850 185.0%
1980 4,843 69.9%
1990 5,937 22.6%
2000 7,603 28.1%
2010 6,888 −9.4%
2020 7,505 9.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,603 people, 4,280 households, and 2,846 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,546.4 people per square mile (596.7/km2). There were 8,834 housing units at an average density of 1,796.8 per square mile (693.3/km2).

The racial makeup of the town was 99.24% White, 0.07% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.01% from other races, and 0.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 4,280 households, out of which 3.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.3% were married couples living together, 1.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.78 and the average family size was 2.11. In the town, the population was spread out, with 2.6% under the age of 18, 0.9% from 18 to 24, 5.7% from 25 to 44, 32.4% from 45 to 64, and 58.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 68 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $290,251, and the median income for a family was $307,983. Males had a median income of $261,157 versus $230,104 for females. The per capita income for the town was $280,963. About 0.4% of families and 0.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.9% of those under age 18 and 1.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

  • Al Arbour, four-time Stanley Cup-winning former coach of the New York Islanders
  • Marilyn Bendell, impressionist painter
  • Lou Bender, basketball player with Columbia Lions and trial attorney
  • Nick Bollettieri, founded Bradenton's Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy
  • Vern Buchanan, automobile dealer and member of the United States House of Representatives for Florida's 16th congressional district, which includes Longboat Key
  • Frank Swift Chase, post-impressionist painter
  • Marcella Hazan, Italian cooking instructor and cookbook author
  • Al Hirshberg, Boston-based sportswriter
  • Nathan J. Kaplan, Illinois jurist and politician
  • Jesse W. Markham, economist
  • Charlie Maxwell, baseball player for Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox
  • Peter Mellor (born 1947), English-born American footballer and coach
  • Ed Miracle, artist
  • Frank Mockler, 47th Governor of American Samoa
  • Joe Perry, lead guitarist for rock band Aerosmith
  • Ronna Romney, former Michigan Republican politician and sister-in-law to Governor Mitt Romney

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