Longboat Key today…

Contributing Columnist

Longboat Key is a beautiful offshore barrier island that encloses the western boundary of Sarasota Bay where it is dotted with thick mangroves, dredged canals and man-made marinas.  The eastern shoreline has miles of powdery sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

This 10 mile Island has 8000 full-time Residents, and 12,000 Seasonal Residents that swells to 22,000 during the Peak Winter Season.  The southern half of the town is located in Sarasota County, while the Northern half is part of Manatee County. The population has a number of affluent retirees escaping from the winter chill of Northern States.    Approximately 2/3 of the populace lives on the Southern end of Longboat.

In the late 1950s, Arvida Corporation bought hundreds of acres on the South End of the Island, and began to develop a planned community that transformed the area into a resort-styled neighborhood.

Northern Longboat has more diverse surroundings and historic structures.

Examples of historic Longboat are the MarVista Restaurant, originally built in 1912 and located in Longbeach Village, an “Old Florida” Neighborhood that dates back to the late 1800s.

Throughout Longboat Key history, tourism has played a significant role in the development and economy of the Island.  It was a popular vacation destination in the 1950s and 1960s, when many former and current residents arrived here as tourists.

There are many popular recreational activities available within Longboat’s borders, including boating, fishing, windsurfing, golf, tennis, kayaking and biking.  Naturally, the gorgeous surroundings appeal to walker’s who can’t get enough of the stunning landscape.

The town of Longboat Key has a thriving seasonal population, partly because it is not a typical tourist beach destination.  Density limitations under the 1984 Comprehensive Plan have prevented the Island from developing a skyline blocked by high-rise buildings, allowing Longboat to retain its natural qualities and preserve open space that contributes to its distinctive character.

Sheldon Paley, a resident of Longboat Key for 20 years and a realtor for 13 years, is affiliated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to moving to Longboat Key, Paley attended Ohio State University; U of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry and Harvard Medical School for 18 months for a degree in Implantation.

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