Many of Florida's beautiful beaches are maintained for humans. Frequently restored with sand and raked daily to remove seaweed and other natural flotsam, they are like broad, flat parking lots, ideal for beach parties, volleyball or frisbee tossing.
But while they appeal to the human eye and adorn countless picture postcards, such beaches rarely attract much wildlife. Our wild neighbors prefer uneven coasts, molded by waves and coated with gifts from the sea (including dead fish and driftwood). Predators and scavengers patrol the shore, searching for a wide variety of invertebrates or feasting on the remains of marine plants and animals. Such beaches often repel humans, not enamored with the ocean "debris" or the odors that come with it.
Fortunately, the beaches along Longboat Key are kept nice enough to appeal to humans while retaining natural characteristics that bring in an excellent variety of wildlife. When it comes to enjoying the beach, I prefer the company of pelicans, shorebirds, crabs and their kin. I'll gladly skip the people beaches, replete as they are with umbrellas, coolers, jet skis and, of course, sun-baked humans.