Visit Longboat Key, the Best Beach in the U.S.

Updated on May 24, 2018
habee profile image

Holle Abee and her family love going on beach vacations in the South, and Longboat Key is their favorite beach destination by far.

White sand and turquoise water of Longboat Key are gorgeous!
White sand and turquoise water of Longboat Key are gorgeous! | Source

Beach Vacations

My family members and I are all lovers of the beach. As often as we can, we enjoy wonderful beach vacations. Over the years, we’ve searched high and low for the perfect beach, and our travels have taken us to the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and all over Florida. In fact, my hubby and I have even checked out a few beaches on islands in the Bahamas. What were we looking for, exactly? We wanted a beach that would suit all of us—one with that perfect combination of sand, surf, weather, restaurants, available activities, and friendly natives. Last year, we finally found our saltwater nirvana (conveniently located only five hours away from our hometown): Longboat Key, Florida!

You'll LOVE the water!
You'll LOVE the water! | Source

Longboat Key

You’ve never heard of Longboat Key? I’m not surprised. I think the Longboat Key fans want to keep this paradise a secret. You see, the pristine, uncrowded atmosphere is a big part of the island’s charm. The only time we've ever seen it crowded was on July 4th. This small isle is located in Southwest Florida, south of Tampa. It’s just off the coast of Sarasota, and obviously, it’s surrounded by water. At the north end is Longboat Pass, on the east is Sarasota Bay, at the south end is New Pass, and on the west lies the glorious Gulf of Mexico. Since the island is narrow, you can stay in a house on the bay and simply walk across the street to the Gulf beach.

The sand at Longboat is soft and warm. It’s also wide even at high tide, so you never have to worry about not having enough room to spread out all your beach gear. At the edge of the sand are palm trees and flowering shrubs.

Now for the best part: this place is beautiful! The water is the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It’s literally as clear as tap water. The colors are amazing, too. In the shallows are pale shades of glowing emerald, and where the water is deeper, it ranges from teal green to deep turquoise. Also, we’ve never seen any floating bits of grass or seaweed in the water at Longboat Key. In fact, we rarely even see any fish, crabs, or other critters in the Gulf waters at the island beaches.

We love the crystal clear water.
We love the crystal clear water. | Source

Child-Safe Beach

I have ten grandchildren, and at least some of them usually go on vacation with us. Some of the grands are small, so a child-safe beach is important to us. Longboat Key fits that bill, as well. There’s barely any surf, and really no undertow to speak of. The water gets deeper gradually. We’ve never found any steep drop-offs or holes. Even the toddlers can play safely in the water without having to battle waves or strong undertow.

Longboat Key provides some great fishing!
Longboat Key provides some great fishing! | Source

Things to Do on Longboat Key

Longboat Key is super laid back, without chain restaurants or shopping malls. There are still plenty of things to do, however. Believe me, once you experience this beach, you’ll want to plant yourself on it and never leave! You’ll spend a lot of time swimming, sunning, boogie boarding, searching for seashells, building sandcastles, and just relaxing. Rent a boat and do some island hopping on your own. Cross the northern bridge to Anna Maria Island, and you'll find more to do. There, you can go horseback riding on the beach, take an eco-tour, see the island aboard a Segway, rent a paddle board, or go parasailing.

Sooner or later, of course, you’ll have to eat. You’ll find some wonderful restaurants right on the island. Fresh seafood is the star of the restaurant scene, including popular dishes like shrimp, crab, local fish, scallops, lobster, octopus, and conch. You’ll also find eateries that serve steaks, burgers, sandwiches, Italian food, French cuisine, and southern food. If you want a larger repertoire of eateries, all you have to do is cross the bridge to Sarasota.

We’re a family of anglers, so we do a lot of saltwater fishing while we’re on Longboat Key. All in all, it’s our favorite place to fish. The bay, the passes, and the canals are loaded with snook, redfish, trout, black drum, grouper, mangrove snapper, flounder, sheepshead, sharks, pompano, and sand trout. Blue crabs and stone crabs are easy to catch in the bay, and if you can toss a cast net, you’ll catch your fill of huge mullet. Nothing beats a super fresh seafood dinner you catch yourself!

Like I said, you won’t find any shopping malls here, but you will find a few charming shops with unique items. There’s also a great Publix grocery store, so you don’t have to leave the island to buy necessities. For a wonderful shopping adventure, however, famous St. Armand's Circle is just a few short miles away.

Enjoy lots of great food at local restaurants!
Enjoy lots of great food at local restaurants! | Source
Swim out to the fun boat!
Swim out to the fun boat! | Source

The Best of Both Worlds

With a Longboat Key vacation, you get the best of both worlds. Kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the island, while soaking in the charm and nature's beauty. For more excitement and entertainment, simply cross the bridge into Sarasota, a bustling city that offers practically anything you want: opera, live theater, symphony, museums, botanical gardens, circuses, an aquarium, historic sites, a planetarium, amazing restaurants, and world-class shopping.

Longboat Key is a great place to call your temporary home while you enjoy more of Florida, too. A short drive will take you to Disney World, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Legoland, Universal Studios, and more. Once you've had a hectic day at a theme park, you'll be more than ready to chill on Longboat Key!

Have the perfect family beach vacation!
Have the perfect family beach vacation! | Source
Regardless of age, all my grandkids love this place!
Regardless of age, all my grandkids love this place! | Source

Why Longboat Key Is America's Best Beach

Yes, I proclaim Longboat Key to be the best beach in the U.S. Why? Because it has everything we want in the way of a beach vacation. There are several different types of vacation rentals with a wide range of prices. The island is uncrowded, and the sand and water are both beautiful and unspoiled. The vibe is laid back and friendly, and the pace is slow and serene. We enjoy seeing all the birds, fish, and marine mammals, too, along with the abundant vegetation. Also, should we get the urge to visit a much larger city, Sarasota is just minutes away. Longboat Key is a very safe place, which gives us a good feeling about our family beach vacations. This place really is “old Florida,” in every sense. Book a trip and see for yourself!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Marcy Bialeschki profile image

      Marcy Bialeschki 

      2 months ago from Cerro Gordo, IL

      Always looking for a great laidback vacation spot/ This place sounds amazing.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Carson City

      Habee!! So GOOD to see you, stranger. Even better to know you & your beautiful family are well & happy and loving life in a paradise-like beach! Wonderful article. The tourist organizations should hire you!!

      Enjoy every moment. Peace, Paula

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      wonderful hub Habee as always:) but stay safe this weekend friend!

    • savvydating profile image


      2 years ago

      Let me first say that you have a beautiful family. Loved your pictures: the ocean water really is as clear as tap water. I've never seen anything like it. It's also great to know that families do not have to worry about undertow. That's the thing that always concerns me. And the fact that everything a person needs is either right there or a boat ride away is perfect. I enjoyed this well written article very much.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a wonderful sounding place to stay for a vacation. That beach on Longboat Key looks amazing. I have visited Sarasota but not any of the islands off of the west coast in Florida. Pinning this to my Florida board.

    • elayne001 profile image


      2 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Serious looks amazing. I lived in Hawaii for 21 years and the South Pacific for 15 more years. There are some beaches that may rival your chosen beach, especially in Tonga. You can also swim with the whales there. I haven't been to Florida yet, but hope to one day. Great hub!!

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      2 years ago from Tennessee

      This really does sound like a wonderful beach, Holle, Just the type of beach our family would love. But now after your great article it will probably become crowded.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      What the hell is a longboat?

      Great article, Holle! Wish I could go down there, but your best friend is too fragile......or something! :P


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)