If you only had one day to spend on Lido Key how would you be sure to hit the highlights? Since I'm an early person I'm going to assume that you are too. So we'll get an early start because after all you’ve only got a day and you have a lot of ground to cover. If you get the chance there's a few quirky things to see as you're exploring Lido Key in one day.
Nothing gets the day off to a good start than a morning walk over the Ringling Bridge. If you time it right you'll be able to see the sunrise coming up over downtown and you'll have a great view of Lido Key on the way back. A good alternative is to walk up North Lido Beach and see the mermaids.
The walk got your appetite going so get a latte, fresh fruit and a fresh croissant to power up. This is a locals morning spot on The Circle so you might get some local gossip. Check out some of the local history on your way to the next stop.
7:00 AM Kayak the Mangrove Tunnels at Ted Sperling Park
I know more exercise, but remember it's good for you. The tunnels are some of the best kayaking (or SUP) on the west coast of Florida and make for some fun family and great photo opportunities. There's many companies who rent kayaks and provide guided tours. The sun can get very hot on the water so be sure to kayak in the morning and take some sunscreen.
11:00 AM Have a cold one at The Lido Key Tiki Bar at Ritz Carlton Beach Club
All that kayaking works up a thirst and the Lido Key Tiki Bar is right down the street from kayaking. Grab a cold one (or two) to cool off before heading to the Circle for shopping and lunch. Besides it's never two early for a cold one in Florida. Also not a bad lunch spot for people watching and looking at the ocean.
12:00 PM St. Armands Shopping and Columbia Restaurant Lunch on the Circle
The Circle has some cool shops to browse on your way to the Columbia. Be sure to cut through the middle of the Circle where you'll find our Hollywood Walk of Fame. Get a table on the patio for outdoor dining at its best. Order half a Cuban and the 1905 Salad for lunch. Wash it down with a pitcher of the Cava Sangria (maybe two) and watch the world go by. A good alternative is to have lunch at the Old Salty Dog on City Island on the north end of Lido headed to Longboat key. Their peel and eat boiled shrimp are the best.
2:00 PM Catch some Sunshine and Watch a Gorgeous Florida Sunset
You're in Florida and you have to the do the beach so your northern friends will be jealous when you go home. Besides you've walked a lot today and it's time to relax and get your second wind. Grab some end of day sunshine and bring some sunset cocktails on Lido Beach. We like to bring a candle and sit in the dark after sunset (when's the last time you did that?). Another great spot for the sunset is The Drift Kitchen and Bar at the Lido Beach Resort which has a spectacular view up island.
7:00 PM Shopping and Dine on the Circle
You're dining not eating so take your time after a long day. There's lot of good restaurants on The Circle and be sure to make reservations in advance. I have some personal favorites in Tommy Bahama, Speaks Clam Bar and The Shore. I also like a good cocktail and they all meet the bill for that. Save some room for desert (your next stop) and take in some of the shops of St. Armands along the way.
10:30 PM Ice Cream at Kilwins
Do NOT buy the Peanut Brittle. If you do I am not responsible for the addiction that will follow - we call it "Crack" its just that good. Kilwins is the best Ice Cream and sweet spot on the circle as indicated by the line out the door most of the time. Take in the Wyland Gallery store next door while enjoying your desert. They have some funky stuff there that will set you back some coin.
Congrats! You covered a lot of ground today and hit some of the highlights on Lido Key. Hopefully you did not get sunburned.
Watch for a future blog on How to Spend a Day off the Island.