Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Hey boaters! There’s always a new, beautiful place to discover when boating in our Florida waters. From the lovely Shell Key in Tampa Bay to the rich culture found at our own Bradenton Beach, venture to one of these boating destinations near Palmetto, FL, and you will be in for an exciting afternoon!

Bradenton Beach

Spend some time in the sun on the gorgeous beaches of Bradenton on Anna Maria Island. First, set up your chairs for an afternoon of sunbathing and a peaceful beachside picnic. Once you’ve had your time in the sun, there is much to see and do in town. Visit specialty shops and galleries or embrace nature on a kayak paddleboard!

Tampa Bay

If you’re looking for fine dining experiences, Tampa Bay is one of the boating destinations near Palmetto, FL that you will not want to miss. In addition to the exquisite dining experiences, there are hidden gems that are only accessible by boat. One of those places is Shell Key—a prime beach for swimming, camping and fishing.

Egmont Key

For a unique experience, Egmont Key is home to a wildlife refuge as well as lovely beaches filled with shells for you to collect and bring home as souvenirs. While you can also swim, picnic and fish here, you have the opportunity to tour an 1858 lighthouse and visit other fascinating historical sites and trails as you step back in time. This park is also quite remote, so make sure to bring plenty of water and food for your visit.

Longboat Key

Along the 12 miles of pristine beaches of Longboat Key, there is much to enjoy. Gather to see the spectacle of sea turtle hatchlings march to the water. Play a round of golf with a view of the water. When you’re ready to take a break from the scenic route, there is fine dining, luxury resorts for you to relax and excellent shopping opportunities.

Manatee River

Spanning 36 miles, Manatee River has a wealth of activities for you and your boat crew to enjoy. From fishing to traversing the lovely parks, there are also many great lunch and shopping destinations nearby if you decide to go inshore during your visit to one of the top boating destinations near Palmetto, FL!

Next: 6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Where to Fish in Bradenton FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

With the milder Florida winter we’ve had, we’re still welcoming the spring season with open arms … especially for fishing! Wondering where to fish in Bradenton, FL?

Here are a few of our favorite spots:

Lake Manatee

In this beautiful, freshwater lake, you can choose to fish either from the dock or your personal boat. There you will find a boat ramp available for use, but your boat, kayak or other vessel must be less than 20 horsepower.

What you’ll catch: sunshine bass, catfish, speckled perch and bluefill

Piers on Anna Maria Island

The 7 miles of Anna Maria Island are a perfect place for an afternoon of fishing. Several piers and bridges are dotted along the island as well as the bait shops stocked with all of the essentials to keep you busy all afternoon!

What you’ll catch: grouper, bluefish and flounder

Fort Hamer Park

The freshwater area of the Manatee River begins once arrive at the peaceful Fort Hamer Park. There are a couple ways to fish when in the park: from the pier or your boat. Keep in mind that rowing teams often practice in this area, so be kind in sharing the river. In addition, Fort Hamer is equipped with fabulous amenities including a large boathouse, a deck and floating docks.

What you’ll catch: snook and bass

Do you have any favorite fishing holes in Bradenton? Let us know where you like to fish in Bradenton!

Next: The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

With Spring Break here, there’s no shortage of kid-friendly things to do near Palmetto, FL.

From museums to miniature golf, families will never run out of fun things to do!

Here are five kid-friendly things to do near Palmetto that are enjoyable for the whole family.

South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium

‪201 10th St W, Bradenton

At the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium, kids will enjoy exciting exhibits and presentations by the museum’s knowledgeable and lively staff members. There’s even a show recorded by Tom Hanks! You’ll want to make sure you leave plenty of time to visit the planetarium and view the various shows offered. Kids will also enjoy feeding the manatees and stopping by the gift shop to bring home a souvenir.

Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf

‪2000 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton

Play a round of mini golf at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf! Experience a fun, though challenging, game at their scenic course complete with 18 holes and 25 live alligators on-site! You can even feed them for an extra fee. The tropical course also features lovely waterfalls and caves for a serene afternoon for all ages.

The Ringling

‪5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

The Ringling carries on the circus legacy of brothers John and Mable Ringling, known for the “Greatest Show on Earth.” From the Bayfront gardens to the Museum of Art, a Circus Museum, an education center, exhibits and much more, there is much to explore while visiting. Don’t miss the forest of “Pathless Woods,” an exhibit made entirely from ribbons by American artist Anne Patterson. The exhibit will be on display through April 26.

Marietta Museum-Art & Whimsy

2121 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 

Gorgeous grounds await you at the Marietta Museum! The whimsical art museum is chockfull of paintings, ceramic pieces, pottery and more exciting colorful displays. Weave through the gardens as you admire the sculptures and creative artwork. Inside, view the famed Lee Family Arch embellished with beads, crystals, shells and other raw materials in honor of the museum’s founders.

Sarasota Children’s Garden

‪1670 10th Way, Sarasota

Be prepared to spend the better part of an afternoon exploring all that awaits you at Sarasota Children’s Garden! Depending on the day, the garden offers free art programs with admission where kids can learn about gardening, have storytime and explore other fun topics. In addition, there are areas where the kids can play dress-up, play with wagons and let them live out their imaginations for the day! Feel free to bring a picnic for lunch and enjoy this hidden Sarasota gem.

Next: Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina.jpg

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

Did you just become a new boat owner in Bradenton? Welcome to the club! New boat owners often have a lot of questions when they make their first boat purchase.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you enjoy your new boat!

1. Put together a boat bag.

“What’s a boat bag,” you ask? Basically, a boat bag is what holds all of your boating essentials. Some items you might consider putting in your boat bag are bottles of water, sunglasses, bug spray, a flashlight, sunscreen and towels. Of course, there are other items that may be more or less important to you, and you can tweak this list as you see fit.

2. Get a towing membership. 

While you can hope that you won’t need a towing membership, the reality is that you’ll need a Plan B if you find yourself in a rut. New boat owners often make the honest mistake of not getting a towing membership. Towing memberships will cost around $150 annually, while a single tow without a membership can cost near $700. Save yourself the funds and get a membership.

3. Have a cleaning and maintenance routine.

Purchasing your boat isn’t the only investment you’ll make as a new boat owner. It’s crucial to invest time into cleaning and maintaining your boat after each use to ensure a long lifespan. In addition, do some research as to what kind of engine maintenance is required for your boat.

Here are a few things we recommend after each use:

  • Wipe down your seats with a conditioner.
  • Rinse the boat with a hose. 
  • Use fresh water when flushing your motor.
  • Dry out your boat to prevent mold growth. You can do this by opening the hatches or compartments. 

4. Equip your boat with safety equipment.

Florida Law requires that you have the necessary safety equipment on your boat at all times depending on its size and horsepower. A full list of safety equipment can be found here. The minimum requirements are a life jacket for each person, a throwable device, a visual distress signal, a fire extinguisher and a sound device such as a horn, bell or whistle. 

5. Learn the rules.

Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 are required to take a boating course. Though, even if you were born before 1988, it is a course that will benefit all new boat owners. The course can be taken with the Coast Guard, U.S. Power Squadron or online at BoatUs.org/Florida.

6. Know where to dock your boat. 

Our very own Riviera Dunes Marina is a great place for you to dock your boat. From electrical services to a gas and diesel fuel dock, we have much to offer! For a full list of the amenities we offer on-site, click here.

Next: 6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Riviera Dunes Marina

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

TripAdvisor just released their 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards and ranked our local beach No. 1 in the U.S.! Our own Siesta Beach, located just 20 minutes from Sarasota is ranked as the No. 1 beach in the country. It’s no surprise to us as Siesta Beach is a lovely destination year-round! 

Runners up in the top five spots include Ka’anapali Beach in Hawaii and Florida’s Saint Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach and the beach at Panama City.

In addition to ranking No. 1 in the U.S., Siesta Beach also ranks No. 5 best beach in the whole world!

With its white sand and nature areas nearby, Siesta Beach is a fantastic place to visit. Perfect for large families or as an intimate getaway for couples, this acclaimed beach does not disappoint. 

If you haven’t visited Siesta Beach yet, here are some perks you’ll get to enjoy:

Cool beaches: Because the sand is comprised of 99 percent pure quartz, you don’t have to worry about burning your feet (this is especially important to note for the little ones) even on the hottest summer days.

Volleyball: The beach is equipped with its own volleyball court. Just bring a ball, and let the games begin!

Safety: Lifeguards are always on duty, so you can rest assured that you and your loved ones will be safe when treading the waters. 

Pavilion: Perfect for toting your own picnic, settle under the pavilion where you can take a break from the sun and fuel up for the remainder of your afternoon at the beach. 

Beach-friendly wheelchairs: Offered year-round, travel from the parking lot to the shore with ease via their complimentary beach-friendly wheelchairs. You can find these at the concession area.

ADA beach access mats: The ADA beach access mats make it a breeze for those in wheelchairs or pedestrians with strollers or beach carts to travel the shore more easily. 

Looking for more beautiful beaches near us? Read about 6 secret islands to visit near Palmetto, FL!

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida Riviera Dunes Marina

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Don’t miss all of the wonderful family-friendly winter festivals right here in Central Florida! See a circus performance, embrace Italian culture and food, and join thousands at our local fishing village for their annual extravaganza!

Circus Sarasota Winter Performance

When: Through Sunday, March 5

  • Weeknights: 7 p.m.
  • Wednesdays & Saturdays: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Where: The Ulla Searing Big Top, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota

What: Join Circus Sarasota as they commemorate 20 years with their winter performance! This special show will feature circus legend Nik Wallenda as well as other international circus stars performing amazing acts that will surely dazzle you and the whole family! Make sure to purchase tickets ahead of time as they are known to sell out! More info here.

Admission: $15–$55

The 35th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

When: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18–19

  • 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.

Where: Cortez Fishing Village

Parking: G. T. Bray Park, Bradenton

What: Don’t miss the 35th Annual Cortez Commericial Fishing Festival honoring this year’s theme, “Fishing For Our Future.” What began as a small festival with 500 attendants is now a festival that attracts thousands of guests each February. This beloved local festival is perfect for the whole family! Enjoy nautical-themed arts and crafts, children’s activities, delectable seafood, beverages and so much more. Hear live music from Shanty Singers, Jason Haran, Karen and Jimmy Band, Eric Von and many other great artists. Be sure to snag a commemorative t-shirt as a souvenir! More info here.

Admission: Adults—$4. Children ages 12 and under—free.

29th Annual Venice Italian Festival and Carnival

When: Thursday Feb. 23–Sunday, Feb. 26

  • Thursday and Friday: 4 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Noon

Where: Venice Airport

What: The 29th Annual Venice Italian Festival and Carnival is a delicious and delightful four-day festival held in the Venice and Nokomis area. Nosh on authentic Italian cuisine paired with beer, wine and an assortment of other beverages. Then make sure you stick around for doo-wop, swing, classic rock and many more performances for a chance to let loose! The kids will enjoy carnival rides, games, face paintings, caricature artists and their own kid zone! More info here.

Admission: Free.

  • Parking: $5.
  • Prices vary for carnival rides.

Next: Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Whether you’re a rookie fisherman or a well-versed angler, our local fishing charters are enjoyable for all skill levels! Here are our top three fishing charters near Bradenton.

1. Tailing Tales Charters

 941-812-6640 | 5800 Riverview Blvd, Bradenton

Book a fishing trip with Captain Kris Winkel of Tailing Tales Charters and you won’t be disappointed! Tailing Tales Charters offers fishing trips inshore and nearshore at the best fishing spots in the area. Climb aboard the custom 1972 222 Aquasport to begin the journey to your fresh catch. No need to worry about ice or cleaning your catches. Capt. Kris takes care of that for you. Since their charters are focused on the inshore and nearshore fishing areas, it’s an ideal setting for anglers ranging all levels of experience. However, offshore trips are offered in the Tampa Bay, Sarasota and Bradenton areas.

Rates

  • Half-day (4 hours): Starting at $400
  • Three-fourths day (6 hours): Starting at $550
  • Full day (8 hours): Starting at $700

2. Bass N’ Bay Charters

941-722-2033 | Tampa, Palmetto, Sarasota 

Also known for their exciting sightseeing boat tours, Bass N’ Bay Charters offers excellent fishing trips as well! Fishing charters with Capt. Brady are very customizeable as you can choose to fish in saltwater or freshwater as well as choose between live bait or artificial bait. Novice anglers will enjoy learning casting and baiting skills, and the well-experienced anglers will get their fair share of a challenging catch. 

Rates

  • Inshore saltwater fishing: Starting at $400 for a half-day trip
  • Offshore fishing: Starting at $500 for a half-day trip
  • Freshwater fishing: Starting at $350 for a half-day

3. Five O’Clock Charlie Boat Tours

941-527-8008 | 2504 88th St Ct NW, Bradenton

Make lasting memories with a fishing trip aboard Captain John’s boat. Experience a unique fishing trip with Captain John as you can choose between a combination of fishing and/or snorkeling, shelling and other exciting excursions. Also, no need to worry about bringing supplies with you. Captain John will have you covered and can lend you a rod, fishing license, tackle and bait, and he will also clean any of your catches!

Rates

  • Day charter: Starting at $150 per person
  • Half-day inshore fishing charter: Starting at $375 for three people
  • Full day of fishing inshore or off shore (up to 9 miles): $600 for 3 people.

*Off-shore trips are dependent on the weather

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

Looking for a quick weekend getaway or a new destination for your family’s next vacation? Look no further than these six secret islands for your next adventure!

All six of these secret islands are within three hours of Palmetto, FL, so you can choose to take a quick day trip or opt for a longer weekend or week-long stay.

1. Gasparilla Island

Embrace the slower Gasparilla Island lifestyle via golf cart, like a true local. Enjoy shelling, swimming and even snorkeling here. Take a visit to the restored Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, and bring your picnic lunch for a bite in the scenic Gasparilla Island State Park.

2. Jupiter Island

Stretching less than 4 miles, Jupiter Island is a private barrier island home to celebrities including Tiger Woods and Celine Dion. Lounge on the island’s beautiful white beaches or go for a stroll through the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge where you just might meet a loggerhead sea turtle.

3. Merritt Island

Though not as “secret” per se, birders will enjoy a getaway here as they traverse the thousands of acres at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge also hosts Beginner Birder Tours that you do not want to miss! You’ll also enjoy an interactive afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and may even get to witness a rocket take off!

4. Cedar Key

If there were two words to describe Cedar Key, they would be ‘calm’ and ‘clams.’ Venture through the National Wildlife Refuge by kayak or cast a line at the local pier, but whatever you do, don’t leave without a bowl of their local clam chowder.

5. Pine Island

Cruise into Pine Island for optimal relaxation and a getaway immersed in art and local culture. Spend the day at the 300-foot-long fishing pier, peruse local art galleries, and dine at the freshest seafood spots. If you choose to stay overnight, you’ll find plenty of charming hotels and cottages with beautiful views of the water.

6. Cabbage Key

For a truly secluded and hidden getaway, enter a nature lover’s paradise at Cabbage Key in Pineland. Panoramic views of the sound and nature trails await you as you exit the ferry. That’s right, the island is only accessible by boat.

Next: Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

 

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

Wondering what’s best for your boat’s outboard performance? From taking an inventory of your boat’s gear to simply keeping up with its maintenance, here are six easy tips that you can take today to better your outboard performance.

  1. Leave your engines alone. While it’s tempting to modify the speed, it’s best to leave the setting to how it was manufactured. Modifying the engine, even by just a couple miles per hour compromises its reliability and voids its warranty as well.
  2. Straighten your outboard’s posture. Situate your boat so that its outboard points straight ahead. This allows the thrust to be guided to point up as well, which will increase efficiency and use your fuel more conservatively.
  3. Find the prop that works for your performance. The prop will differ very much if you’re racing one day and going on a fishing trip the next day. Try out different props to meet your desired purpose.
  4. Jack plates are your friends. When you mount your outboard on a jack plate, you’re able to achieve the optimal position for your engine. Another great benefit for using jack plates is being able to adjust the distance of the motor from the transom, which ensures that water isn’t entering the prop.
  5. Check your gear. Take an inventory of the gear that you carry on your boat. Too much gear can slow down your boat’s efficiency and speed. Boat racers estimate that 100 pounds of gear is the equivalent of 4 mph.
  6. Keep you with your boat’s maintenance. While it sounds like a no-brainer, the more you keep up with your boat, the better your outboard performance and the longer your boat’s lifespan will be. For instance, make sure you’re using the correct octane fuel and a high-quality two-stroke oil, and don’t forget to replace the lower unit’s oil. These are just a few of the many checks and balances you can make on your boat to ensure the best performance possible.

Next: Top 5 Palmetto Boating Safety Tips

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter Riviera Dunes Marina

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

While Palmetto, FL and the surrounding areas are great places to vacation to during any season, the winter season is especially favorable for both you and your wallet.

Though you probably don’t need to be reminded why you should vacation to Palmetto, FL, here are some of our six favorite reasons to further motivate you.

1. The winter season goes easier on your wallet.

Yes, it’s true. There are much lower rental rates for beach houses and condominiums in Palmetto, FL during winter. Come stay for a great deal, and you’ll have more allowance to enjoy all of the fun activities, delicious dining and more.

2. There’s always an exciting event happening!

Just because the temperatures are milder doesn’t mean the fun is compromised. Next month, the Bradenton Area River Regatta will amaze you with thrilling boat races. Then, make sure you don’t miss the Circus Sarasota Winter Performance beginning on Feb. 10 through March 5. Fisherman and water lovers alike will of course enjoy the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival held Feb. 18–19 in nearby Bradenton. As you can see, there is much to see and do during winter near Palmetto, FL.

3. You don’t have to fight the crowds.

While it’s certainly popular to visit during the summer, this of course makes for more lines for you and your family to wait in. Save your precious vacation time and visit us during the winter for shorter lines and more time to enjoy yourself!

4. Snag a deal when dining.

During the off-season, there are fewer visitors to local restaurants. This is why many will often offer more happy hours, winter specials and other dining deals to entice more customers. It’s better for their business and for your wallet—a win-win situation, if you ask us!

5. The outdoor fun never stops.

From boat tours to hikes, there’s plenty of adventure to be had in Palmetto, FL during the winter season. Check out some of our favorite nature areas and boat tours, and explore all that our beautiful area has to offer!

6. Dock your boat at the most luxurious marina in town!

Here at Riviera Dunes Marina, you have the luxury of storing your boat while you’re out exploring the sights. Whether it’s for the day or week while you’re visiting, our marina is equipped with top-notch services including free pumpouts, 50-amp electrical services and much more. Call us today at 941-730-9806 to learn more about our boating amenities and more!

We hope you enjoy your stay here in the Palmetto, FL area!

Next: Where to Eat, Shop & Play in Sarasota, FL