Located at about Mile 84 of the GICW, Longboat Key is just south of Anna Maria Island and connected to its larger neighbor by a bridge over a pass that gives access to the Gulf of Mexico. With Longboat between the anchorage and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and Sister Keys protecting it from Sarasota Bay to the East, this is a good gunkhole for a quiet weekend. About a dozen boats are more or less permanently anchored here but only a couple of liveaboards since there is no shopping or convenient public transportation ashore.
Be careful entering from the waterway and favor the island to starboard as you come in between markers R40 and G39. It’s VERY shallow there. Lots of grass, but once you’re well inside the anchorage the bottom is sandy and depths of around 8 to 15 feet. There is a good restaurant and lounge at the anchorage edge to the northwest that is very popular on the weekends. There is a fish cleaning station on the little beach where fresh, potable water is available.