The town of Longboat Key was incorporated in 1955 with a population of about 215. Today, with a population of just under 7,000, the town is known for its warm temperatures and lovely beaches. Longboat Key accommodates three times its population in the most popular times for tourists.
When to Visit Longboat Key, Florida
The best time to visit Longboat Key is during the fall, from September through November, when temperatures are moderate and tourism is down. This means you can find a hotel room at a reasonable price, especially if you book early.
The second-busiest season for tourism is the spring, from March through May. Hotels will cost a little more, but you'll also find more to do.
If you don't mind the heat of summer, June through August is an economical time to visit. Though summer is hurricane season, you'll pay less for lodging, and you'll be able to take refuge in your air-conditioned hotel room when the heat becomes unbearable.
The most popular time to visit Longboat Key is the winter, the busiest tourist season of the year. The cool winter temps draw travelers heading south to escape cold winter temperatures. Hotel prices will be at their highest during this time, but you can save some money by booking a room well ahead of time or staying a few miles from the beach.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Longboat Key, FL:
Longboat Key by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Longboat Key, FL. You can use these charts to determine the least expensive months to book in Longboat Key during the year.
Luxury Hotel Options in Longboat Key, Florida
4 Star Average Prices: $163.47
Longboat Key offers a variety of luxury resorts and hotels for those who want premium amenities and maximum pampering. The Resort at Longboat Key Club has so much to offer that you might not want to go anywhere else for the first couple of days of your stay.
Most of the huge rooms are suites, and all have full balconies with stunning views. The beautifully decorated luxury resort boasts a luxury spa, 45 holes of golf, 38 tennis courts, and much more. You'll be within a mile of Lido Key, Gulfwind Marina, Mote Marine Aquarium, and the shops at St. Armands Circle. The 100-acre South Lido Park is about 2 miles away.
Choose Zota Beach Resort for 5-star beachfront luxury close to the upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment options of St. Armands Circle. The resort boasts a wine bar and a sunny outdoor pool. You can bring your pet for an additional fee.
Some rooms have picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico. The resort is good for business travelers with its meeting and event space. Outdoors, you can relax in the cabanas or hit the water with activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. If you're looking for something different, you're less than 6 miles away from the Ringling Circus Museum.
Another beachfront destination is The Beach on Longboat Key by ResortQuest. Truly a home away from home, this is part-condo and part-hotel, with queen-sized Murphy buds tucked away to maximize living space. The full kitchens have granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. You can relax in the heated pool and cook a steak on a propane outdoor barbecue.
Affordable Hotel Options in Longboat Key, Florida
3 Star Average Prices: $142.74
The Lantern Inn & Suites in Sarasota has rooms with refrigerators and microwaves, and some rooms have two-burner stovetops so you can cook a real meal in your home away from home. The Lantern Inn has pillow-top mattresses and free Wi-Fi, and the hotel offers a heated swimming pool. The recently remodeled hotel is just 2 miles from the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport.
Also in Sarasota, the Comfort Inn Airport is just half a mile from the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport and a short walk from the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art. The hotel provides a free hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, and a morning newspaper. Free coffee awaits you in the lobby at all times. Barnacle Bill's Seafood Restaurant is right next door.
2 Star Average Prices: $85.76
Longboat Key: Real Discounts
The Super 8 Bradenton Sarasota Area offers AAA and CAA discounts, as well as discounts for government employees and members of the military. You can make yourself at home in your room with a refrigerator, microwave, and desk, and there's a heated swimming pool outside. If you're into classic cars, check out the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, just 3 miles away.
Sleep Inn Sarasota / Bradenton Airport offers AAA/CAA, senior, and government/military discounts, as well as substantial group discounts. The hotel is only blocks away from several attractions, such as the Ca d'Zan Museum, Asolo Theatre for the People, and Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Rooms have large work areas, ideal for those traveling on business. Hot breakfast is served in the morning.
Best Value Options in Longboat Key, Florida
The Shorewalk Vacation Villas features roomy two-bedroom condos with fully equipped kitchens so you can enjoy home-cooked meals and save on restaurant meals. Each living room has a queen sofa bed, so these condos can easily sleep six people. The property has two outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, tennis courts, barbecue grills, and a playground, among other amenities. You'll be minutes away from the Gulf of Mexico without paying a beachfront-hotel price. A short walk away are numerous shops, restaurants, and bars.
Another value hotel is the Quality Inn Bradenton Sarasota North, where you'll get a free hot breakfast and a free daily newspaper. Rooms are spacious and pleasantly decorated with warm, inviting colors. If you choose a room with a microwave and a refrigerator, you'll be able avoid an expensive restaurant bill. Pets weighing less than 25 pounds can stay for a small additional daily fee.
Things to Do in Longboat Key, Florida
If you're spending your vacation in or near Longboat Key, with its 12 miles of white-sand beaches, you'll have plenty of natural entertainment all around you, including less inexpensive options in the nearby towns of Bradenton and Sarasota. In Longboat Key, you'll find a championship golf course and tennis club and many options for dining and shopping. And if beaches aren't your thing, you'll find plenty of things to do in the town and beyond.
Mote Marine Library and Aquarium in Sarasota is a family-friendly marine research organization with myriad species of fish and other marine life. You can watch professional trainers and biologists swim with sea turtles and dolphins, and kids and adults alike will enjoy interacting with anemones and other marine creatures at the touch tank.
Myakka River State Park, a 57-acre property with meadows, wetlands, and forests, offers easy and moderate wilderness trails for hikers and spectacular wildlife viewing. A highlight of the park is the suspended canopy walkway, which reaches as high as 100 feet above the ground. The park has two lakes and a river, and you can take a "safari" tour on an airboat.
The whole family will enjoy the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, known for the flamingos that wander freely throughout the property. Young children can check out the petting zoo for an up-close experience with farm animals. You can even pet a real alligator, with supervision from a professional animal wrangler, of course. There are also bird and animal shows and an impressive collection of native and exotic plants.
If you're looking for a unique experience, go to the family-friendly Ringling Circus Museum, where the whole family can learn about what circus life was like in the early 20th century. Since children and circuses go hand in hand, the Ringling is a great place to bring the kids. The museum also hosts numerous activities for children, including live performances and arts and crafts classes.
There are fascinating exhibits of circus props, art, artifacts, music, videos, and more, including the world's largest miniature circus display. Some of the unique objects displayed here include performers' costumes, intricately carved wagons, and a cannon that was used to launch a human.
St. Armands Circle is known for its park-like atmosphere, where you can shop and dine amid palm-lined medians. But this unique area has other points of interest as well. For example, you can view more than 30 statues at the St. Armands Statue Walk and check out the honorees in the Circus Ring of Fame.
The shopping area was named for Charles St. Amand, a Frenchman who was the first to own residential land on the island. A misspelling of his name on land deeds led to the spelling of St. Armands Circle. Circus legend John Ringling purchased the St. Armands Key property in 1917 and planned a development of homes and shops laid out in the circular pattern that still exists today.
Whether you want to relax on the beach, enjoy sporting activities, or visit the area's many attractions, you'll find a lot to do in Longboat Key, Florida, and the surrounding area. Just don't forget your camera!