Longboat Key is an offshore barrier island running roughly north to south and enclosing the western boundary of Sarasota Bay in Southwest Florida. The island’s eastern shoreline has dense mangroves except where canals have been dredged and marinas built. The western shoreline consists of a white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico. On both the north and south ends, Longboat Key is separated from neighboring islands by deep water passes from the Gulf to Sarasota Bay. St. Armands Key and Lido Key lie just south of Longboat Key and West of Sarasota. Lido Key is bordered by Sarasota Bay on the East and by the Gulf of Mexico on the West. St. Armands Key is surrounded by Lido Key on the West and Sarasota Bay on the East. Longboat Key, Lido Key and St. Armands Key are directly connected to each other by bridges.
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 Bradenton–Sarasota–Venice Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The town’s population was 6,888 at the 2010 census, down from 7,603 at the 2000 census.
Notable current and former residents of Longboat Key include:
Al Arbour, four-time Stanley Cup-winning former coach of the New York Islanders
Lou Bender (1910–2009), pioneer player with the Columbia Lions and in early pro basketball, who was later a successful trial attorney
Nick Bollettieri, founded Bradenton’s Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978 and groomed such champions as Andre Agassi and Monica Seles
Marcella Hazan, Italian cooking instructor and cookbook author
Charlie Maxwell, former Major League Baseball player for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox
Ed Miracle, artist
Frank Mockler, 47th Governor of American Samoa
Joe Perry, lead guitarist for the rock band Aerosmith
Lee Scott, former CEO of Wal-Mart
Maria Sharapova, Russian professional tennis player and multiple Grand Slam singles champion, who was also coached by Nick Bollettieri
Much of the land area of Longboat Key is occupied by either single-family homes or condominium apartments. Most of the condominium associations co-own common elements which comprise pools, tennis courts, sites with water views and access to beaches.
Almost the entire land area of Longboat Key is now occupied. The remaining older, singly owned houses are as much as 45 years old, annexed to comparatively small parcels, again an outgrowth of the 1/2 acre limitation on homestead property area within municipalities as set forth in the Florida Constitution. In the last few years, these properties have been purchased by new owners who sought to and did demolish them in order build small, ornate homes worth much more, many being valued to amounts on the order of as much as a few million dollars, a peculiar outgrowth of the unlimited-in-value homestead exemption for principal residences from forced sale provided to homesteaders under the Florida Constitution. This diverse mix of homes owned both singly and in condominium line the many cul-de-sacs and boulevards branching off main roads towards both the bay and the gulf, with the length of the island served by Gulf of Mexico Drive.