The rich past of Longboat key has helped define it as one of the top destination spots in Florida today. Legend says that Longboat Key gets its name from longboats left by the Spaniards once they reached land. According to this local legend, explorer Juan Anasco believed the Indians were unwelcoming and hostile which caused the explorer and his crew to flee, therefore leaving their longboats on the shore. The history of Longboat Key predates the founding of the town, which was long before its first settlers arrived. Longboat Key has always been a tourist destination for many for thousands of years. Some say that the Timucan and Calusa Indians would travel from the mainland to come to the Island to enjoy the beaches and the abundant seafood delicacies.
Longboat Key got its first permanent residents in the late 1800s by the name of Thomas Mann, a Confederate soldier, and carpenter by trade, who moved his family to the Island. He was awarded 144. 47 acres in 1891 as part of the Homestead Act of 1862. The area Mann owned is now considered part of Longboat Village neighborhood. This area started developing in the early 1900s by way of small agricultural communities and had approximately 18 families living on it at this time. Visitors and goods were transported back and forth between the island and the mainland by way of the Mistletoe steamship.
In 1921 a hurricane destroyed most of the islands home and crops but it couldn’t destroy the islands sprit. The island was able to rebuild its community over the next 30 years with families and businesses continuing to move to Longboat Key. November 13, 1955, marks the islands official birthday because on this day residents voted to incorporate it as a town. Longboat Key is home to about 7,000 people yet can draw upwards of 20,000 visitors during its peak tourist season. Most visitors find that Easter weekend is the ideal time to visit due to the Islands vast recreational and cultural activities. Longboat Key is the perfect destination for family reunions, weddings, and honeymoons. The Islands beautiful scenery is the ideal backdrop for every event, able to appease everyone, no matter how picky they might be. Who can say no to warm temperatures, unspoiled beaches, and enough room to enjoy all the spoils this island has to offer?
Residents can enjoy various outdoor activities nowadays on this island — from various water activities to land adventures. There are mangroves to explore along with a seemingly endless shoreline. Longboat Key is a serene place that is both simple yet opulent, a perfect place to raise a family and put down roots!