J.McLaughlin Local Guides: Longboat Key
Just south of the buzz of Tampa is the low-key barrier island of Longboat Key. The beach town is a laid-back tropical paradise getaway that will make for an enjoyable and relaxing stay. Located in Sarasota and Manatee counties, it encompasses 12 miles of white sand beaches. J.McLaughlin is located on 515 Bay Isles Parkway near St. Armands Circle, Sarasota's destination for fine dining and entertainment. Pack your bags with your favorite breezy fits — we're taking you to explore all that this resort community has to offer in this guide to Longboat Key.
If you're headed to Longboat Key, the beach scene should be at the very top of your itinerary. With warm tropical breezes, crystal clear waters, and white sands, there's little room for disappointment. There are 12 public beach access points along the full length of the island. Other than sunbathing and wave-watching, you can go on a narrated boat tour, take a horseback ride, or embark on a paddling adventure. Also on the Key are beautiful waterfront golf courses to enjoy after your beach adventures. The Resort at Longboat Key Club offers 45 holes of championship golf as well as the award-winning Tennis Gardens.
For shopping, check out the Shoppes of the Bay Isles, which just so happen to be J.McLaughlin’s home. The shopping center is your one-stop for prescriptions, groceries, and more. At its heart is the nearly 50,000 square foot Publix, a supermarket with a hot plate bar, cold bar, Pacific Wok station, and wine chilling station. At Publix, grab a bite to eat or pick up food for a picnic. Be sure to check out the nearby St. Armands Circle for boutiques, restaurants, and more.
In the nearby Sarasota, visit the Mote Marine Aquarium, where you'll discover over a hundred species of local marine creatures such as turtles, fish, and manatees. Founded in the 1950s, it's a research facility that preserves Sarasota's natural environment and wildlife. Another Sarasota gem is the Ringling, which features a complex of historic and artistic wonders. The 66-acre estate of John and Mable Ringling consists of several landmarks, including the Circus Museum, Ca' d'Zan mansion, Museum of Art, and more. For foliage lovers, stroll around the Ringling's Bayfront Gardens to enjoy views of the roses and banyan trees. This slice of paradise can easily keep you occupied for one to two days.
After all of your beach adventures, you can enjoy Longboat Key's finest eateries. Dine like a local fisherman at Dry Dock Waterfront Grill for seafood just out of the water, such as stone crabs and jumbo shrimp. Another spot for gulf seafood is Mar Vista, a rustic eatery with everything from crispy fried fish collars drizzled in lime-chili sauce to Florida steam pots with generous Old Bay or Cajun seasonings.
For your tropical adventures, you can't go wrong with a breezy #jmclook. Peruse the beautiful collection from J.McLaughlin for swimwear and more to channel those relaxed vacation vibes.