The Island: Longboat Key, Fl 27.4125° N, 82.6590° W
Where: Western Florida south of St. Pete and just North of Sarasota
How: Longboat Pass is a gorgeous island in western florida offering resorts, beaches, shopping and plenty of other things to do.
Why: We decided to tuck up into Longboat Key Moorings Club to wait out some very windy weather. We fell IN LOVE with this marina and plan to keep our boat there in the future.
What: Not only was the marina gorgeous, it had a short, easy albeit skinny channel to get in but then plenty of room to maneuver into our slip. We had a pool within sight, Italian restaurant, a pub, Publix and a golf course. The marina has all the amenities including laundry, ships store, bike rentals and a free taxi to the beach where we were waited on all day on the beach by their fantastic beach service. Even though it was windy we made the best of it and limed, relaxed, provisioned and did laundry until the weather improved.
The Island: Jewfish Key, Fl 27.4417° N, 82.6793° W
Where: Jewfish Key is a small island just inland of Longboat Pass.
How: There are very few homes on Jewfish and they are private so you have to arrive by boat. The sandbar just off the western side offers plenty of options for dinghy’s, pontoons or any water vessel that doesn’t require much of a draft.
Why: While we hadn’t planned to make a stop here, fate had other ideas for us. When our destination anchorage didn’t work out, we anchored next to Jewfish just south of the sandbar at Longboat Pass…and didn’t leave for 2 days. It was THAT good.
What: The sunsets were epic and the sandbar plentiful. It only took us a few minutes to get to the sandbar even in our not so fast dinghy. Once there, you were met with gorgeous white sand, bright blue water and an abundance of sea life. We witnessed more than one person walking away with handfuls of sand dollars. While we don’t recommend needing that many, we did love seeing so many in the water as well as crabs and other large whole shells. There are many restaurants nearby on Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island as well as Longboat Pass which offers a perfect opportunity to watch boats going in and out of its VERY skinny opening.
The Island: Egmont Key, Fl 27.5891° N, 82.7628° W
Where: Egmont is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay in western Florida
How: Egmont is the last stop before the open ocean and a boat is the only option. While there is a national refuge and plenty to do on the island there is currently no ferry, restrooms or overnight options.
Why: Egmont Key has a deep history with the military including an old Navy hospital, a fort which is now in ruins and several lighthouse keeper homes. The island also has a gorgeous brick walk that was part of Fort Dade and its 300 residents that lived on Egmont during the Spanish-American war. The army and its families offered protection for Tampa Bay. There are reports of many turtles on the island but we didn’t run into any on the day we were there.
What: We had a nice sail through the bay and anchored on the south side of the beach. It was a nice hold but a long walk to the lighthouse and ruins. I highly recommend taking water and a snack if you plan to walk the whole island. Not a hiker? The white sandy beaches brought plenty of shelling opportunities and all sorts of treasure hunting finds. It felt like a step back in time. I’m so glad we stumbled on this super cool island!