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  • Writer's pictureChris A.

Speak the Lido Key Lingo

At times we have our own language on Lido Key and I find that there are a number of expressions and terms that are used that can be a bit nonsensical to visitors. I'm convinced that most were derived during cocktail hour. Some are just funny terms and others refer to places or things. So here's a short list in alphabetical order along with examples of usage.

The Bridge

This refers to the John Ringling Bridge, the biggest bridge in town, that you can't miss and which connects the mainland with Bird Key and other islands.

Example: Head off island over the Bridge and take a right at the Trail

The Circle

This refers to St. Armands Circle business district located on St. Armands Key. Not to be confused with driving in circles like the snowbirds looking for a parking spot.

Example: Tommy's is located on the beach side of the circle

Down island

This refers to any place south on the island from where you currently are; or the south end of Lido Key. Short for down the island.

Example: Ted Sperling Park is down island

On the key

This refers to things located on Lido Key NOT off island or one of the other keys.

Example: It's on the key at the circle.


Someone who lives here year round and knows their way around. Not be confused with a native.

Example: He's a local and knows all the best places to go.


This refers to either a renter who rents by the month (usually a snowbird) or a rental unit that can only rent by the month.

Example: The condo only allows monthlies. They are monthlies and will be gone in May.


A local resident who was born in Florida. They are rare around these parts but they do exist.

Example: There' are not many natives on Lido Key, they are mostly transplants.

Off Island

This refers to any place off the island over the bridge to the mainland. However, it does not refer to up island like Longboat which is actually off Lido Key. Short for off the island.

Example: There's a Publix on 10th off island.


aka "tourist season". You know it must be cold up north because all the snowbirds are in town during this time. Season typically runs from January through April with a ramp up starting in October and trailing off around Easter. February and March are the busiest months. I hide for those 4 months.

Example: It's harder to get a reservation in season.

The Shore

This refers to the Shore Restaurant located on the circle. Not be confused with "the shore" if you are from New Jersey.

Example: Let's meet at the shore at 8.

If you don't know who these are you've been living under a rock or you are one.

Example: We are overrun with snowbirds in season.


Refers to Tommy Bahama Restaurant located on the Circle. Could also refer to the Tommy Bahama Store on the Circle.

Example: Let's do cocktails at Tommy's on Friday. Did you get that dress at Tommy's?

The Trail

This refers to US 41 also known as the Tamiami Trail. It was once the main road between Tampa and Miami, hence the name. The Trail is a landmark and things are generally referred to as "east of the trail" or "west of the trail".

Example: That neighborhood is off island east of the trail. He lives east of the Trail.


People who moved here from out of state and now live here full time. Similar to local but typically they are more recent arrivals and don't know their way around as well as the locals. They can be spotted driving in the wrong lane or very slowly like they are looking for something similar to tourists.

Example: He's a Jersey transplant and 10 years from now will be considered a local.

Up Island

This refers to any place up the island from where you are; or the north end of Lido Key. Short for up the island.

Example: There's a Publix up island on Longboat. Anna Maria is up island (from Lido).

Congrats! You can now understand and speak the local gibberish now.

It's not a complete list by any means and share some others if you have them!

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