Lido Key and St. Armands Circle

John Ringling had purchased these islands with plans for a major tourist attraction.  Although the reality did not arrive within his lifetime, Lido and St. Armands Keys maintain world-class status featuring elegant shops, award winning restaurants and fine hotels.  The islands are linked with bridges to the mainland of Sarasota as well as the island of Longboat.

North Lido Beach is a pristine half-mile stretch of sand accented by towering Australian pines.  Spanning an area behind a residential location, it is the least populated and perfect for walking.

Perhaps you prefer being around people, making new friends and enjoying the beach scene.  Mid-key, the public beach supports a swimming pool, playground, concession stand and shops.  Lifeguards are on duty all year-round.

At the southern end of Lido Key, you'll find 100 acres of Australian pines, picnic tables, grills, a volleyball court and playground.  Nature lovers enjoy the wooden walkways, trails and canoeing opportunities at South Lido Park.

Set amidst a tropical paradise, St. Armands is an enchanting circle of fine shops and gourmet restaurants. Renowned as a market place with a continental flavor, it is a charming and graceful synthesis of past and present.

In 1893, Charles St. Amand, A Frenchman and first resident of the island, purchased for $21.71 three tracts of land totaling 131.89 acres. He homesteaded the land, fishing in the waters of the Gulf and Bay and, along with other early pioneers, raised produce which he brought by boat to the market at City Pier in Sarasota. In later land deeds, his name was misspelled "St. Armand" and this spelling has persisted to the present day.

Visionary circus magnate John Ringling purchased the St. Armands Key property inBust of John Ringling St. Armands Circle 1917 and planned a development which included residential lots and a shopping center laid out in a circle. As no bridge to the key had yet been built, Ringling engaged an old paddle-wheel steamboat, the "Success," to service as a work boat. His crews labored at dredging canals, building seawalls, and installing sidewalks and streets lined with rose-colored curbs. In 1925, work began on a causeway to join St. Armands Key to the mainland. Circus elephants were used to haul the huge timbers from which the bridge and causeway were built.


St. Armands Circle Columbia Restaurant





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