My family and I have been vacationing in Longboat Key for about 7 years now. My dad purchased a condo and it has been our second home. At first it seemed like a hidden gem but since has grown and the word of mouth about the beautiful area and ocean have gotten out. Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
I am constantly asked about the area, especially after I post pictures and unfortunately every time I was never able to recommend places to stay, because we do not rent out our condo. This trip I did some research and was able to tour a hotel in Sarasota while I was there so that I could better understand places to recommend.
The great thing about the area is that you could stay in Longboat Key or Sarasota and still have somewhat of the same access to things. Especially the very popular St Armand’s Circle which is in between the two that is great for shopping and eats. I will list a few of my favorites at the end of this post!
If you have seen my pictures and you want something similar, that is on the same beach, Longboat Key Club is going to be the closest thing to what I get to experience. Unfortunately, I was unable to to tour their facility but I walk by it when I take my daily walks on the beach and it looks like a great place to stay and I know a few people who have gone and have stayed there and loved it.
The hotel I was able to tour was called Sarasota Modern and it is in Sarasota on Boulevard of the Arts, just right across the bridge from Longboat Key to Sarasota and it was stunning. It’s a brand new build, and beyond ‘Insta worthy.’ You could tell that they put a lot of thought into it and I loved that about it. It has a bar by the pool, a restaurant called Rudolph’s which offers gluten free items on their menu which was a huge plus in my opinion. It does not have beach access but Lido is just a 5-10 minute drive depending on traffic. They also offer day passes for locals or people visiting which I thought was really nice. There is a studio on the top floor where they do yoga classes or you could rent out the space for multiple different events and the view is gorgeous.
Other options that I would feel comfortable referring my followers to are the Westin and the Ritz Carlton, both in the same Sarasota area very close to Sarasota Modern and all have about the same access. So if anyone is looking to vacation there, those are the places I would recommend.
As far as things to do, places to eat, and more here is a list of things below:
- The Shore: this place is located in St. Armand’s Circle and most everything on their menu is gluten free friendly which is amazing. Their crab cake is so good.
- Crab and Fin: another restaurant located in St. Armand’s Circle. This is more fine dining so not budget friendly and their portions are small but they have great oysters.
- Le Colonne + Venezia: Both of these Italian restaurants are location in St. Armand’s Circle and provide fresh Italian food. Venezia is not gluten friendly so I am unable to eat there now but when I did it was very good-their pizza is amazing. Le Colonne has a very limited gluten free menu but their lobster ravioli is to die for.
- Tommy Bahama: Also located in St. Armand’s Circle. Offers a gluten free menu. Their coconut shrimp and mocktails are really good.
- The Dry Dock: Located in Longboat Key sits on the bay front and they have the best lobster rolls and corn and crab chowder.
- Artisan Cheese Company: this place is the cutest and they just recently moved into a new brick and mortar in the Rosemary District. I love stopping in for some cheeses and other unique items she has in the shop.
- Serving Spoon: located in Sarasota this is a great place for breakfast. They have fresh juices and some gluten free friendly items on the menu.
- Perq: Has great coffee and matcha lattes.
Things to do:
- Obviously the beach.
- Sarasota Farmers Market on Saturdays.
- The Ringling Museum.
- St. Armand’s Circle. Favorite boutiques: Influence + Modern Soul + The Shore.
- Shopping at UTC.
- Mote Marine Laboratory + Aquarium. This is a little pricey- $24/adult so be prepared for that.
- Make a day trip to Anna Maria Island or Siesta Key. Venice is also a cute place to visit if you can.
- Sarasota Bayfront Park + Marina has a place you can rent boats or go on boat tours. This is also where the famous Unconditional Surround Sculpture is.
- Grocery shopping at Detwiler’s.
I am probably missing so much but I will add to it when i think of other things! These are just the main things I can think of for now. Small disclaimer, Sarasota has a lot of construction going on so if you choose to stay in Sarasota there is a chance you will be near construction, especially with all the new hotels and building being build but I wouldn’t let that stop you from visiting.