Lido Key Travel Guide [y]

[y] Lido Key Visitors Guide

Lido Key is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast and is part of the Sarasota area.  Only an hour’s drive south of the Tampa Bay area, Lido Key is the perfect spot for a vacation or a weekend get-a-way.

Lido Key boasts some of the most luscious beaches in the world, but that’s just the tip of the sandbar. Lido Key has an incredibly laid-back vibe and offers a variety of accommodations. Plus, it’s an easy walk to St. Armands Circle where you will l find amazing boutiques and eateries.

Lido Key is accessible from Sarasota to the east by using John Ringling Boulevard and from the north by traveling south from Longboat Key.  Just to the east of Lido Key is world-famous St. Armand’s Circle and its upscale shops and restaurants.

 Lido Beach Multi Use Recreation Trail
Lido Beach Multi-Use Recreation Trail

While the island of Lido Key, Florida, is only ten miles long, it, along with St. Armands, attracts vacationers by the droves and the quality of vacation rentals like condos, apartments, cottages, villas, and homes settled in beach resorts. Lido Key, Florida, is comprised of North Lido Beach, Lido Beach, and South Lido Park, each being unique. What is similar between them all is the beauty to witness in the white sands, clear blue waters, and natural workings of flora, fauna, and the shape-shifting of a barrier island. Go to 100 acres of South Lido Park to see creatures on land and sea, and four distinct bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bay. Swing by the more public beach of Lido Beach. Or, find a niche in the more private North Lido Beach. The ambiance is preserved, as well as nature is protected. Laws limit size and number of buildings.

Before or after you explore Sarasota and St. Armands, Lido Key, Florida, is an exploration of leisure and sport. Many boaters choose Lido Key because of its access to the Gulf of Mexico and the intertwining canals and protected bays of the Intercoastal Waterway. With every sport imaginable in the Sarasota, St. Armands, Lido Key, and Longboat Key area, what will attract you to Lido Key are the leisurely time along the shores, under the radiant sun, by the seemingly-drinkable waters. A quiet picnic at one of the tables, a playground for the children to enjoy, a nature trail to stroll through – Lido Key is the ideal getaway, without the seclusion of all the excitement of a Floridian vacation.

St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle, a popular tourist destination, features a large circular roundabout surrounded by 130+ retail shops, dining establishments, ice cream, and chocolate retailers, art galleries, salons, spas and the like. In the center of the large circle is a park-like setting that often is home to many exotic car shows, arts and craft festivals, and outdoor performances each year. Originally conceived by circus Magnate John Ringling in 1925, the modern-day Circle has long surpassed his original vision and dream of a premier shopping and dining district.

Many of the Circle’s popular names are restaurants including The Columbia, Crab & Fin and Cafe L’Europe which have lined its circular street since the late ’70s. For your convenience we have listed many of the popular St. Armands dining establishments and retail stores further down this page.

Lido Key Things to Do

Lido Key has a wide variety of things to do including deep sea fishing charters, area golf courses, boat rentals, Waverunner rentals, sightseeing or just laying around on miles of white sand beaches.

Lido BeachTwo points of interest for the Lido Key visitor are the South Lido Park Nature Center and the Mote’s Aquarium. At the aquarium, there is the “Touch Tank” where you can play with different sea creatures. Lido Key, Florida, is less likely to have events, but you can’t miss both St. Armands and Sarasota when you enter or leave Lido Key. Numerous events run the gamut of interests. From the educational to film festivals, from triathlons to dance competitions, from wine tastings to beachcombing parties and pub crawls, year-round, the area is rich with cultural and beachy events.

This is a location where one can go shopping on St. Armands Circle, fish, and sailing, golf or do not do anything at all, but take it easy on the white sand seashores of Lido Key. The beaches here are separated into about three areas: North Lido Beach, Lido Beach and South Lido Beach. Lido’s beaches are one of Sarasota’s most interesting and diverse beachfront locations.

Shopping
When you need to browse for the latest of all fashions and sporting gear, or the antique and local arts, St. Armands Circle is where you go. Over 130 upscale stores, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants are a vacation on a vacation for the shopper. Finding the right shop or restaurant is difficult, as there are many choices, but an easy drive from Lido Key and an easy walk around the world-renowned outlets and malls. Of course, a holiday destination like Lido Key, Florida, has, besides many excellent beach resorts, plenty of vacation rentals like condos, homes, apartments, cottages, or villas.

St Armands Shopping
As a popular tourist destination, vacationers from all over the world enjoy strolling around the Circle and it 130+ boutique shops and restaurants lined with lush tropical landscape, statues, and seating areas. The Circle has a wide variety of tenants including restaurants, wine bars, fashion stores, gifts, and collectible stores, art galleries, jewelers, salons/spas and real estate offices just to name a few. With large window displays and bright lights, the shops and galleries of the Circle seem to naturally draw you in. Many people enjoy getting a large ice cream cone and leisurely strolling around the colorful storefronts. There are also many park benches available to just sit and people watch for a bit.

Many boaters choose Lido Key because of its access to the Gulf of Mexico and the intertwining canals and protected bays of the Intercoastal Waterway. With every sport imaginable in the Sarasota, St. Armands, Lido Key, and Longboat Key area, what will attract you to Lido Key are the leisurely time along the shores, under the radiant sun, by the seemingly-drinkable waters. A quiet picnic at one of the tables, a playground for the children to enjoy, a nature trail to stroll through – Lido Key is the ideal getaway, without the seclusion of all the excitement of a Floridian vacation. Be prepared to enjoy not just the stunning beaches, but the excellent vacation rentals settled in beach resorts too.

History of Lido Key, Florida

On the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, near Sarasota, Florida, St. Armands island, and Longboat Key, the barrier island of Lido Key has had a quiet history, with little interruption, leaving the island an exclusive air for its visitors. Paleo and Calusa natives lived on the shores of Lido Key for approximately 4,000 years. Evidence suggests they worshipped the sun. They all but disappeared with the arrival, in the 1500s, of Ponce de Leon, Hernando de Soto, and Panfilo Narvaez, who sought but didn’t discover, gold and silver. The Spanish Explorers left.

Vacation rentals in Lido KeyThere would be hardly any permanent residents on Lido Key, Florida, for the following centuries. Sarasota, Longboat Key, and St. Armands grew in wealth and population when businesses, such as a Scottish group, the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, and single developers, such as Bertha Potter Palmer and John and Mabel Ringling, bought the land. It is said that the first golf course was developed in Sarasota by the Scottish group. John Ringling of the Ringling Bros, saw in Lido Key and St. Armands prime land for an international shopping mall and a mansion as a second white house for President Warren G.Harding. He constructed bridges and named each street on Lido Key after a president. As of 2004, Longboat Key has a population of 7,622. Lido Key, Florida, is incorporated.