Longboat Key and Lido Key are well known for outstanding beaches, where sunsets are marvelous, the Gulf of Mexico provides warm tropical breezes, the water is warm, and the superb sand invites lounging, walking, fishing or playing.
Longboat Key Beaches
Longboat Key’s white sand beaches beckon visitors every day of the year. During a walk near the lapping shores of the turquoise Gulf of Mexico, you’re likely to stumble across a freshly made sandcastle, a fly-fisher in search of the perfect catch, a sailboat breezily passing in the distance and any other beach-related activities you can dream up. Because the beach stretches down the length of the 11-mile Key, it’s easy to carve out your own space and soak up the relaxation of your private outdoor oasis. The gorgeous white sand beaches of Longboat Key are enjoyed by residents and guests at LbK’s fantastic resorts, hotels, condos and beach houses.
Whitney Beach, towards the north end of the key across from Whitney Plaza, has public parking, and there are a number of well-marked beach access areas. Although there are no amenities, these beaches offer beautiful white sands, graceful sea oats, sparkling Gulf waters and refreshing breezes.
Accessible by shallow boats at the north tip of Longboat Key, Beer Can Island offers a stunning place for picnics, parties, fishing, swimming and sunbathing. It can also be reached by walking across at low tide – but keep in mind that you have to walk back at low tide as well!
There are 11 different beach access points, which allow beach-lovers easy access to arguably the area’s greatest asset.
From bird watching in the north to kayak launching in the south, with public beach amenities between, the beaches of Lido Key offer visitors a variety of ways to enjoy themselves in fine Florida style.
North Lido Beach is home to many local and migrating birds, and many species nest in this area. It offers a quiet place to enjoy the Gulf, search for shells, and bird watch. Parking is limited, and in the summer during nesting season, some areas may be roped off to protect the nests of sand pipers and terns.
The main Lido beach stretches along Ben Franklin Drive and includes Lido Beach Park. The beach alongside Ben Franklin has beautiful dunes and fine white sands. Parking on the street gives easy access to the beach, and it’s an easy walk from nearby resorts.
Lido Beach Park has a pavilion, restaurant and concessions, restrooms, a playground, and plenty of parking. It also offers a public swimming pool, so visitors can enjoy either fresh or saltwater bathing, with lifeguards on duty.
South Lido Beach Park has shaded picnic tables, grills, nature trails, and lifeguards throughout the summer months. For kayaks and canoes, launch areas and self-guided water trails are available. A volleyball court, play equipment and nature trails make it a perfect area to relax or enjoy more active beach recreation. Area wildlife includes raccoons, wading birds, manatee, dolphins, pelicans, and osprey.
Other Area Beaches
For visitors who want to wander off Longboat and Lido Keys, there are other area beaches you might enjoy.
Across a bridge at the north end of Longboat Key over Longboat Pass, Anna Maria Island’s Coquina Beach offers a shaded area to picnic and barbecue. A boat launch is located across the street on the Bay side. North of Coquina Beach is Bradenton Beach, with the historic fishing village of Cortez, and Manatee Public Beach and Holmes Beach. Family-friendly Holmes Beach has restrooms, showers, a playground and ample parking. Palma Solo Causeway to the east is a pet-friendly beach that is great for boating and jet-skiing. Anna Maria Beach, at the island’s northern end, is a great place to walk and enjoy a sunset.
Siesta Key to the south is accessible by car, across Ringling Causeway to Sarasota and then south on 41, Tamiami Trail. Siesta Public Beach, famous for its soft white sand, has received numerous awards. It offers shaded picnic areas, playground and volleyball courts, restrooms and concessions. Further south is Turtle Beach, a popular boat and kayak launching area with picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground.