Island Communities on the West Coast of Florida

Barrier Islands Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Each Island Community is unique. Let us take you on a journey and give you an overview of the Island Communities, also called the Barrier Islands. Florida’s Gulf Coast is blessed with many Barrier Islands that line up like crown jewels on a string. Starting to the north off the coast of Bradenton lays the Barrier island of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. When you drive further south, you see Lido Key and the famous Siesta Key. Continue with your journey to Casey Key, off the coast of Nokomis and Manasota Key in Englewood. Don Pedro Key and the Gasparilla Islands and some tiny keys are at the tail of the keys chain.

Anna Maria Island

anna maria island

Starting to the north off the coast of Bradenton lays the barrier islands of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key. Anna Maria Island is the northernmost of a string of barrier islands that extends in a southerly direction. Located on the West Coast of Florida, about 35 miles south of Tampa, Anna Maria Island is the barrier between the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.

Almost 8 miles of white-sandy beaches are stretching along the Gulf coastline southwards to Longboat Key Pass.
Lush sub-tropical vegetation surrounds the beautiful homes on the key. Those homes are barely visible. When you hear the island birds, you feel the peace and security of times gone by. It is so relaxing on Anna Maria Island that you want to stay forever.

Yes, Anna Maria has resisted changing over the years. On this laid-back island, you will still experience the “old Florida” feeling. But on Anna Maria Island, you need to learn to spend your days with the simple things in life again: fishing, shelling, or swimming, relaxing. Reading a good book in the palm tree’s shade while the fronds are swaying in the balmy air will also be one of your tasks. There is an extensive canal network throughout the island, which is hardly visible – but many homes have their deep water dock, and many homes offer spectacular bay views.

Anna Maria Island, the first in a string of beautiful island communities, is easily accessible by automobile via two bridges (Manatee and Cortez Bridge) from the mainland. Two main airports, Sarasota International and Tampa International are also only a” stone’s throw” away. So, you can live like Robinson Crusoe if you wish, but within minutes you can dive into Sarasota’s nightlife.

Longboat Key


Although it is known as a “private” island, Longboat Key’s 12 miles of sun-drenched beach is a popular destination for visitors worldwide. Longboat Key’s span crosses Sarasota and Manatee Counties. While Manatee County governs the northern part of the island, Sarasota County handles the southern section of the island. Unless you are a couch potato, you will love Longboat Key.

Activities on Longboat Key are endless. Fishing, shelling, biking, rollerblading, and water sports are some of the activities the island offers; you name it, and you can be sure that you can do it on Longboat Key. Tennis and Golf enthusiasts are welcome to take advantage of the first-class Longboat Key Country Club. Only three barrier islands have a golf course, Longboat Key, Venice Island, and Gasparilla Island. All other islands have no space for such an extravagance.
The island is only one bridge away from Sarasota, the city that offers many cultural activities. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Ringling Museum, Asolo Theater, Sarasota Ballet, or the Sarasota Opera House are only a fraction of the vast selection of entertainment choices.



The new John Ringling Causeway bridge connects Lido Key with the mainland. Another bridge connects the island with Longboat Key, just a little further north. From there, you can go to Anna Maria Island. The heart and soul of Lido Key are St. Armand’s Circle with the tropical and beautifully landscaped roundabout.

With the world-famous shopping at St. Armand’s Circle, the fascinating Mote Marine Aquarium, and some of the finest restaurants in the area, St Armand’s and Lido Key are impressive pearls in the string of the Barrier Islands.
More than a hundred years ago, John Ringling had a Vision – today, that Vision is called “St. Armand’s Circle”. At that time, visionary John Ringling already realized the island’s high potential. Therefore he bought the St. Armand’s Key in 1917 and planned a development that was laid out in a circle. That design was quite revolutionary in 1917.

Today the rotary and Italian-Style Garden is, thanks to John’s Vision, an enchanting experience. Shopping, street restaurants, and nightlife events create a graceful synthesis of past and present. Antique statuary and contemporary architecture contribute to an international atmosphere


Kayak-and-car-store-Siesta-Key (2)

Siesta Key offers a getaway as you’ve never experienced. Famous for its with quartz-crystal sand as white and soft as powdered sugar, it’s clear, warm waters and tropical nature preserves it is haven for locals and vacationers from all over the world.

Siesta Key Village is a walkable section in the heart of the Island. You will find small boutiques, fine restaurants, bars and tiki bars with live music.


Casey Key

Casey Key is one breathtaking tropical seclusion amid an atmosphere of unmistakable affluence. It is impossible to travel its eight-mile length without uttering the word “wow” at some point. The island is strictly residential with only a few small motels near the southern end. There is only one long and winding road cutting through the center of the island. Here and there you can catch a glimpse of the beach or of the Gulf of Mexico. In certain spots, the island is so narrow that you can see the water of the Gulf on one side and the water of the Intracoastal Waterway on the other side.



Manasota Key, off the beaten path, is another pearl in the string of the West Coast’s island communities, is an enchanting barrier island off the coast of Englewood. The northern and central parts of the island, located in Sarasota County, are entirely residential. A narrow road snakes its way along the Key past island homes on one-acre lots. Many of which have their back yard on the bay and their front yard facing the Gulf of Mexico. They are tucked behind lush tropical foliage and are barely visible.



So far all island communities are connected to the mainland by bridges. The next four islands are not so easy to reach. There is a ferry connecting Don Pedro Island but it is quite costly to get your car over to the other side, and it is pretty useless. If you want to go there to spend a few hours on the beach, you might be better off leaving the car on the mainland. Everything is within walking distance on the island.

The islands of Don Pedro, Palm, Knight, and Little Gasparilla can all be put together in one big group because they are essentially a cluster of islands off the coast of the Cape Haze peninsular. Once Separated – the Islands come now in one Piece

There is not much in the way of shopping here with only a general store for the necessities. The Islanders need to purchase everything else in Englewood or someplace else on the mainland. There are about 300 homes on Little Gasparilla Island and not too many lots to build on are left.

If you want to feel what Robinson Crusoe experienced on his island, this might get as close as it can get. Although, you have power, you have water, you have everything – and there are, hopefully, no cannibals on the island. There is also no “Friday” preparing the drink for you, though. Or maybe there is? Well, we don’t know.


Mansion with tropical landscaping

Gasparilla Island is a stunning Island, where you can get lost while wandering on the seven miles of pristine sugar-white sandy beach. During low tide, you may exploring the Back Bay. There is a bike path through the entire island. Tourism and fishing are the economic basis on this tranquil tropical barrier island. A bridge connects the mainland with Gasparilla Island, where the famous Boca Grande is the capitol. During the winter months the wealthy visitors rub shoulders with local fisher men and longtime local residents.