Leffis Key Preserve


Leffis Key PreserveLeffis Key, the County's island preserve, has a prominent hill where one can get a panoramic view of beautiful Sarasota Bay.

Once a spoil island overgrown with non-native plants that greatly reduced its habitat value, Leffis Key is now a shining example of how government and private interests can collaborate to restore and enhance vital saltwater wetlands, essential to the health of a nationally significant estuary.

One of the unique features of the design is a 26-foot high hill in the center of the restored area. This upland feature offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The hill was planted with native dune and coastal ridge plants such as sea oats, beach elder, dune sunflower, southern red cedar, green buttonwood, sea grape, gumbo-limbo, Hercules' club, Jamaica dogwood and strangler fig. In addition, over 20,000 marsh grass plants, such as smooth cordgrass, saltwater cordgrass and salt jointgrass, were installed along the banks of the tidal ponds. The plant installation was accomplished with volunteer labor that included hundreds of school children, local environmental clubs and citizens.

Site amenities include footpaths that circle and scale the hill, benches, and 1,500 lineal feet of boardwalks that meander through the mangrove forest, with strategically placed viewing platforms penetrating the open water. Interpretive signs describing the various habitats and the respective plant and animal life are located along the paths.


2351 Gulf Drive South
Anna Maria Island


Leffis Key Preserve is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Things to Do

HIKING: Available on all trails.

ACCESSIBILITY: The trails are a combination of packed shell and boardwalks. BE AWARE: Any area not on a designated trail may have a very soft surface.

FISHING: Available from the boardwalks along the Intracoastal Waterway. NOTE: Fishing is subject to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulations.

WILDLIFE VIEWING: A variety of birds and wildlife can be seen throughout the preserve in the restored native ecosystems.

Please Note: Dogs are not permitted at Leffis Key as this preserve is located within Coquina Beach Baywalk. In order to comply with the management plan of the Coquina Beach area, which prohibits dogs, dogs will not be allowed within this conservation property.


The development and implementation elements of recreation programs appropriate for the Leffis Key Preserve property were determined by requesting input from area conservation groups, including information from the Manatee County Public Works Department, the Manatee County Transportation Department, Manatee County Environmental Action Committee, and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Input was analyzed by the Board-appointed citizens of the Environmental Lands Management and Acquisition Advisory Committee, coordinated by staff liaisons from the various County departments. The recreation programs were presented to the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners and approved through a detailed management plan.

Leffis Key