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Photos Madison Ave Media
Longboat Key was most likely named for the longboats the Spaniards used to explore the shores once they made landfall. In 1821, infamous pirate Jean Lafitte was shipwrecked on or near Longboat Key for several months. Buried treasure, anyone?
The course of the island’s history changed in 1959 when Arvida Corporation purchased water- front property on the south end of Longboat Key and its surrounding keys for $13.5 million. Through- out the 1960s and 1970s, Arvida developed plans for condominiums and golf courses which would give Longboat Key its current distinctive character.
Today, Longboat Key enjoys a year-round popu- lation of 6,900 and draws as many as 23,000 in peak season, usually considered February through Easter weekend. And just like the Key’s original tourists, residents and visitors alike enjoy its beautiful beach- es and the picture-perfect weather. In addition, to- day’s islanders also cherish the many recreational
and cultural attractions that Longboay Key has to offer, along with unique shops and outstanding restaurants located both on or a stone’s throw from the island.
Centuries after Calusa and Timucuan Indians be- came Longboat Key’s earliest day-trippers, it’s still a popular destination. Longboat Key is consistently named one of the best beaches in Florida and was voted one of the top 10 vacation islands in the U.S. in the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 & 2016 Readers’ Choice Survey. But Longboaters who revel in its optimum weather, beaches and abundance of local happenings, don’t need a survey to tell them that their beloved isle is paradise found. d
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