I’d Rather Be Boating: Sarasota & the Sister Keys

With winter approaching, who is ready to escape to the Sunshine State for some warm weather and sunny skies? Here are a few ways to get your feet wet in the Sarasota


Make your way to the easygoing amble of Sarasota and the nearby barrier islands just a few nautical miles south of Tampa Bay along Florida’s central west coast. In this laid back boater’s paradise, the Gulf of Mexico offers often placid waters near shore with easy line-of-sight navigation.

Where to go in Sarasota…
Moor at Marina Jack, right in the heart of downtown. It offers a full-service fuel dock, berths to 200 feet, good food and complete amenities. For a bit more exclusivity, try the Sarasota Yacht Club, which can accommodate transient yachts up to 120 feet.

Much of what’s happening around Sarasota is actually on the keys just offshore…

  • Anna Maria Island: The Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Bay surround this seven-mile island. Anna Maria Bayfront Park on the north end offers a serene beach. Holmes Beach is excellent for walking. Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach on the south end have lifeguards, restrooms, showers, picnic areas with grills, lots of shady pine trees and concessions.
  • Armand Circle: The area’s tony shopping district is actually its own key.
  • Lido Key: Offers great beaches.
  • Longboat Key: Stretching for 11 miles – only half of which is in Sarasota County. Here you’ll find Longboat Key Club and Resort, one of the country’s finest upscale escapes. Visiting captains can find a slip in Cannons Marina or Longboat Key Moorings at ICW Marker 15.
  • Siesta Key: Eight miles of beach and bayfront property with canals honeycombing through many neighborhoods and excellent shops.

Boaters should keep in mind…
Many areas are shallow and shoal easily.
This area is the southern end of the world’s largest manatee population, so check your speed.

Explore rental options
Take a lesson: sailing  or watersports
Join a boat club