Sarasota Longboat Key
The elegant and scenic environment that is Longboat Key, offers breathtaking beaches, stunning scenery, translucent waters, and rich cultural activities. Located along the central west coast of Florida and situated within two counties-Manatee in the north and Sarasota in the south, Longboat Key is roughly 16 square miles. The original inhabitants of Longboat Key are believed to be the Timucan and Caloosa Native American tribes. In the late 1530s, the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto ventured into the region with his scout, Juan Anasco, making their journey through the north pass in what was called longboat.
In the 1800s, Jean Lafitte of New Orleans, who was also called the Gentleman Pirate, was said to have been shipwrecked in the vicinity of Longboat Key. Before 1842, a camp and trading post were established on the northern portion of Longboat Key by some of the first settlers, which included Cuban and Spanish fisherman. During that period, the area was referred to on maps as "Saraxola" and "Zarazote". Not much is known about the Longboat Key following 1848, but in the latter part of the 1800s, Longboat Key was opened up for settlement.
Civil War veteran Thomas Mann and his family became the first non-native settlers on the north portion of Longboat Key in 1891. They were awarded 144 acres as a homestead grant, allowing them to farm and live on the allotted land. Later, in 1904, the southern portion of Longboat Key was homesteaded by Byron Corey, and in the 1920s, John Ringling bought several hundred acres on the south end of Longboat Key. Ringling went on to construct a golf course and planted Australian pine trees along what is now Gulf of Mexico Drive, and he also initiated the construction of a luxurious hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on New Pass in 1926, but eventually abandoned that undertaking. Longboat Key was incorporated in November of 1955. By the 1970s, development of Longboat Key hit its peak, but not before the construction of the notable Longboat Key Towers, the first condominium built.
The beauty of Longboat Key can be found in its diverse and interesting array of exotic wildlife, from the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, West Indian manatees, loggerhead sea turtles, roseate spoonbill, brown pelican, to the great blue heron. You can further enjoy Coquina Beach, Quick Point Nature Preserve, snorkeling excursions, along with dolphin and whale watching. Longboat Key is a beautiful piece of paradise that offers fun-filled days and tranquil nights.
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