Beyond Orlando – a great day at Longboat Key!

As you may have noticed, we are big Disney World fans – and have been fortunate recently to make it to Orland a lot recently!  However, outside of a couple times cruising out of Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, I had never journeyed beyond the Disney curtain! 🙂 Fortunately, that changed during our recent stay, when I rented a car and visited a dear friend out in Longboat Key on the West Coast for a day.

Longboat Key was about a 2.5 hour drive Orlando, and it was extremely easy to take an Alamo shuttle and rent a small car at the Car Care Center on Disney property for a day.   I’d definitely recommend using their services if you need to get off property for some reason-  whether it be grocery shopping, a Universal Orlando visit, or to visit friends and family like I did.

Lunch on the water with wildlife, dockside living, and lots of flora and fauna make Longboat Key special! 

Longboat Key is an incredibly beautiful and serene place to visit!    Located about an hour south of Tampa and just adjacent to Sarasota, Longboat Key is in fact an island surrounded by Sarasota Bay to the East and the Gulf of Mexico to the West. Primarily a retirement community, it’s a hot spot for tourists and “snow birds” during the winter season… but to its residents (which include plenty of families like my friend’s) it’s a respite and haven for the full twelve months of the year. It’s pretty amazing to literally live on the water, with boat access to some of the most popular bays and oceans in the world!   We had a great time checking out local plants and fauna (which include star-fruit and sugar grass), eating a delicious meal on the bay with dolphins and Great Blue Herons, and simply enjoying the beaches and scenery along the Gulf of Mexico. Some more touristy walking areas are within easy driving distance, and the major Resort Hotel on the island is absolutely gorgeous, with a private beach, pool, and bar.  However,  stay away from this vacation spot,  as the locals and those of us who have discovered it want to keep it to ourselves 😉

The Gulf of Mexico has some of the most beautiful waters in the country!  And the most serene white sand beaches! 

In all seriousness… please get yourself to the West Florida coast. The people are delightful, the scenery and ocean are like nowhere else in the nation, and it’s far less chaotic than the more popular oceanside cities on the East Coast (not to mention the crowded beach cities in my local area of Southern California)! I can’t wait to go back to explore more of this area of the Sunshine State!

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