Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Did you know that our Sunshine State is home to the largest mineral spring in the entire world? After you let that soak in, did you know that Warm Mineral Springs is the only one of its kind in the whole state? It’s also just a short drive from Riviera Dunes Marina. After just 51 minutes via I-75 S, you’ll be able to swim in the only warm mineral springs in the entire state, making this a one-of-a-kind experience during your visit.  

For those cooler, spring days, why not take a day trip to North Port’s Warm Mineral Springs for a nice, warming soak in this naturally warm spring! Remaining at a constant temperature of 87 F, the spring is also surrounded by a resort and day spa. Admission to the spring is $20 for adults and $10 for those ages 10 and under.

If you’ve never been to a mineral spring before, here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting:

  • To avoid the crowds, visit the Warm Mineral Springs either during the week or earlier in the day if you visit on the weekend.
  • From fish to turtles, you never know what kind of wildlife you may encounter when swimming in the springs. Keep a watchful eye out for wildlife. After all, you’re a guest in their home.
  • In addition to wildlife, be wary of the vegetation on the bottom of the spring. Though Warm Mineral Springs gets up to 250 feet deep at its center, be careful not to stir up sediment or disturb the ecosystem when in the more shallow areas.
  • While this might be a no-brainer, make sure you don’t forget your essentials. Take a advantage of the clear waters by bringing your snorkel and mask to view the wildlife beneath you. Then in your waterproof bag, make sure to pack multiple towels, snacks and water and even water shoes if you prefer.
  • Lastly, please do not leave any trash behind. Dispose of your trash to not only clean up after yourself but also to protect the wildlife and their home.

Next: 3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina

Don’t Forget These Top 7 Beach Essentials

Don’t Forget These Top 7 Beach Essentials

Don't Forget These Top 7 Beach Essentials Riviera Dunes Marina

Don’t Forget These Top 7 Beach Essentials

You’ve booked your trip to sunny Bradenton, Florida . . . now what? From your swimsuit to your sunglasses and everything in between, it can sometimes be overwhelming as you begin to pack for your beach vacation. Have no fear! We’ve rounded up the top seven beach essentials that you don’t want to leave home without!

1. Large beach tote

First things first, you’ll need a large beach tote to haul everything to and from the beach each day. You’ll want a beach tote that’s large enough to hold a few towels, sunscreen, snacks and other beach essentials. It’s a plus if the bag is waterproof and has lots of small pockets. 

2. Waterproof case

Whether your waterproof case is as fancy as a zipper pouch or as affordable as a Ziplock bag, you’ll want to bring one or both during your vacation here. With all of the fun in the sun also comes the water and sand, which is not so fun when it gets on your phone, e-readers and other small electronics or valuables. 

3. Portable charger

Portable chargers are lifesavers when you’re spending a full day at the beach. No need to worry about missing that snapshot of the lovely sunset or the friendly manatees. You’ll thank yourself when you bring your portable charger! 

4. SPF everything

SPF doesn’t end with your sunscreen! Make sure you’re protecting your skin with sunscreen, but don’t forget your lip balm with SPF as well as moisturizer with SPF. 

5. Sun protection

From a pair of sunglasses to a beach umbrella or large-brimmed hat, bring whichever form of sun protection suits you best . . . just remember that something is better than nothing. Here’s a pro-tip for beachgoers: Bring a back-up pair of sunglasses. You never know when a wave might unexpectedly take your sunglasses away. 

6. Reading material

One of the best times to catch up on some reading is at the beach. Books, or any other reading material for that matter, are one of the top beach essentials for optimal relaxation at the beach. 

7. Refreshments

Don’t leave home without snacks and your water bottle! While you’ll probably be able to scoot away from the beach for lunch, it’s always important to make sure you have some extra snacks and a water bottle in your beach bag in case your beach day goes from a couple hours to a full day. And we wouldn’t blame you for spending more time on our beautiful beaches!

Next: Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

If you’re on the fence about where your next vacation should be, look no further! When you vacation to Sarasota, you’ll have nonstop fun from the moment you arrive to the second you return home. With stunning nature parks, local events, theme parks and miles of glistening beaches, there is so much to love about a vacation to Sarasota.

In case you’re not convinced yet, here are some of the top reasons why you should vacation here:

We’re family-friendly!

Sarasota is a popular destination for all, but families will especially enjoy our area. From its sandy beaches and amusement parks to its landmarks and abundant outdoor activities, time for fun in the sun never ends when in Sarasota.

You’ll never tire of the white sandy beaches.

Spend your day among the miles and miles of white sandy beaches during your vacation to Sarasota. Did you know that Siesta Key Beach has been rated the No. 1 beach in the country multiple times? That’s right. The beaches in Sarasota are brimming with uninterrupted views of the sea, plenty of sunshine and several opportunities for beachcombing for unique shells. Just bring a picnic lunch and a towel, and you can spend your whole day—or three—on the beaches of Sarasota.

The nature areas are stunning.

From the Myakka River State Park to the 600-acre Nathan Benderson Park, there are several nature areas in Sarasota that offer a full day of fun for all ages! Bike or hike among the trails. Take your furry family member along for the day. Kayak or rowboat along our waters for a picturesque tour of Sarasota. Or you can join in on the the many recreational activities, championship events and more that our local parks offer year-round. Just visit the parks’ websites to find the latest community events.

We’re a short drive to the most fabulous theme parks.

You might already know a thing or two about the theme parks in Florida, but when you vacation to Sarasota, you’ll be in close proximity to not just one, but three! Head to Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and Disney for an action-packed afternoon of attractions, entertainment, tours and so much more one-of-a-kind fun.  

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Will you be freshwater fishing near Bradenton or Sarasota soon? Whether you’re a veteran freshwater fisherman looking for new bait to use or a novice ready to learn the ropes, here are the top live fishing bait you should bring with you when you’re freshwater fishing.

Golden shiner

Did you know that the spring months of March and April are the peak time of the year for catching largemouth bass in Florida? To take home this trophy game fish, golden shiners will be your best bet. Using a large hook, secure the golden shiner through either the lips or dorsal fin, then use a medium-heavy rod, which is helpful if you’re in a heavily vegetated area.

Clams and Mussels

Clam and mussels make for reliable live fishing bait, too! Like all live bait, you want to make sure that they are as fresh as possible in order to have the most success when freshwater fishing. Clams and mussels, in particular, can be easily gathered from local shallow waters when you’re en route to your fishing hole.

Minnows

Minnows are excellent live fishing bait for our local freshwaters. You’ll often have luck with minnows drifting in deeper water until you can find a school with an appetite. Freshwater anglers are known to have success catching bass and black crappie. Using a No. 4 hook, secure the minnow upside down being careful to not harm its spinal cord. By doing this, the minnow will be secure on your hook, yet still be able to move to attract a school.

Shrimp

Shrimp are another one of the top live fishing bait you should use when fishing in freshwater. There are advantages and disadvantages to baiting them live or frozen. Live shrimp will certainly be more expensive, and it’s difficult to keep them alive unless you are regulating their temperature and keeping them in aerated buckets. However, in comparison to frozen shrimp, they cannot be easily stolen by bait thieves, and they easily attract fish due to their movements. Ultimately, you get to decide which is best suited for your fishing trip.

Worms

Oftentimes the tried-and-true worm will do the trick when freshwater fishing in the Bradenton waterways. Use worms when fishing along the bottom or when lowered beneath a float. If you’re not having luck, adjusting the depth of your worm will often do the trick. Worms are known to be great bait for catching bluegill, redbreast sunfish and trout.

Next: No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina

3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina

3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina

Whether you’re on spring break or visiting our lovely beaches for your annual vacation, you don’t have to break the bank. By now, you know that traveling expenses and food in and of themselves can take up the majority of your budget leaving you with the decision to exceed it or stay within your means. Staying within your budget doesn’t have to be boring! Here are plenty of fun things you can do here that are either free or affordable to make this a budget-friendly vacation for you and your family.

1. Head to the beach.

Visiting our local beaches should come as no surprise for spending your budget-friendly vacation here. Head to Longboat Key, Lido Key or Siesta Key in Sarasota or to the Coquina, Holmes or Bradenton beaches near our marina. Once your have all of your beach essentials, from your chairs to your towels and toys, pack your picnic for a no-sweat lunch and to get the most out of your beach day. Then, take a container with you because you’re sure to find all sorts of lovely shells you’ll want to take home. The best of all? Walk along the shore during sunset for breathtaking views—at no cost.

2. There’s plenty of indoor fun, too!

When you need to recover from a sunburn, the fun doesn’t stop when you head indoors. Hone in on your bowling skills at the local AMF in Bradenton where you can participate in bowling tournaments and have lunch in the food court. The kids can also play in the game room! Parkway 8 Cinema is another fabulous indoor option that’s especially great for your budget-friendly vacation. Set in an old-style theater, all of the movies will cost you no more than $2.50, and there are also affordable snacks at the concession stand. Make sure to bring cash since the theater is cash-only.

3. Choose your own adventure at the local parks and nature reserves.

The De Soto National Memorial is a must-see while here in Bradenton, and admission is also free. Surrounded by 26 acres, there are a variety of activities you can enjoy when visiting the park. From December through April, Camp Uzita has live history demonstrations every Thursday–Sunday. There’s also an on-site theater where you can view “Hernando de Soto in America” and learn more about the Hernando de Soto expedition. Other nearby nature areas include Emerson Point Reserve, Felts Audubon Preserve and Robinson Nature Preserve, where you can traverse the grounds via bike or foot! Some of the nature areas also offer launch areas for you to take out your kayak or paddle board.

Next: 6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

Picture this: you’re out on the boat with your loved ones and all of a sudden you hear stormy weather brewing in the distance. While you can often watch out for storms before heading out on your trip, it never hurts to know what to do if you’re suddenly caught in a storm.

It goes without saying that you should always have life vests aboard when boating. You should also notify a family member, who is not accompanying you on your trip, of your boating plans regardless of the type of weather you’re expecting. In addition, if the weather conditions are looking particularly stormy, you should reschedule your trip for a more accommodating day.

Here are some tips for boating in stormy weather:

First, make sure to have back-up essentials.

Here are some key items to have on board:

  • External battery phone charger: In the event that your phone battery gets drained, pack an external battery phone charger to charge your phone so that you can communicate your location during a storm.
  • First-aid kit: Make sure you have your first-aid kit stocked with the essentials.
  • Flashlights: If the power goes out on your boat, it never hurts to have backup flashlights.
  • Portable marine battery jump starter: This will also be very helpful if you lose power.

Head to shore quickly, yet safely.

While this might seem like common sense, you must head to shore during stormy weather instead of trying to tough it out. It’s certainly important to head back to shore quickly, but you shouldn’t do so in a hurry by speeding and putting your passengers at risk. Remain calm so that you can safely navigate back to shore.

Lower any bimini tops and curtains.

During stormy weather, it’s likely that the wind will pick up. When you see stormy weather encroaching, it’s time to lower the boat tops and curtains in case the wind picks up, and they become troublesome or dangerous when you’re trying to navigate back to shore.

Know what to do if there’s lighting.

First, clear your view. In addition to lowering any boat tops, remove any fishing rods, antennas and loose items out of the way. Next, disconnect any backup batteries to prevent them from being damaged if lightning does strike. Then you should record your GPS coordinates so that you can communicate this via radio or your cell phone. Lastly, tell your passengers to take refuge in the boat cabin until the storm passes.

Next: Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities  near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

With spring break just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your trip to the Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto areas! In addition to our area’s pristine beaches, you’ll quickly discover that our area accommodates all ages. Family-friendly activities abound near Riviera Dunes Marina, from fishing trips to nature obstacle courses and much more. Here’s a snapshot of some fabulous activities that are perfect for your family this spring break.

Spend a day in the trees.

If your family loves being outside, but they want to take a break from the beach, everyone will enjoy a day in the trees as they traverse unique obstacle courses at TreeUmph! Adventure Course! If you’re new to ziplining, TreeUmph! has guides that not only monitor you to ensure you are safe, but they also train you to best navigate the courses. Of course, you are always clicked in with their belay systems to keep you secure during your adventure. Zipline among the trees or sit back and watch your loved ones for one unforgettable experience during your vacation! 

Cast a line.

If you don’t already know, the folks here love to spend a day fishing! You can choose from a shorter excursion at one of our local piers, or you can seek out a local fishing charter where a captain takes you out for a longer fishing trip. Depending on the day, you might catch red grouper, flounder or king mackerel, among several other species. Do you love deep sea fishing? There are trips here just for you! There are even special sunset fishing trips, too. The best thing about local fishing charters is that they are often customizable. You could take a private charter to accommodate a small group of people or join in on a trip with a few dozen other people. 

Tour our area in a new, unique way!

Perhaps you visit the Gulf Coast for spring break every year, but you’re looking to get a fresh taste of our region this year. There are food tours that take you through Downtown Sarasota as you sample our area’s best in fine dining, global fare and more delightful delicacies! Eco tours are another unique way to tour the area. Whether your vessel is a bike or a kayak, there’s always something new to discover about our area’s natural history.

Have a beach day.

Of course, it’s not a visit to the Bradenton area without a day spent at the beach during your spring break vacation. From lounging on the beach to playing a round of frisbee, to shelling and looking for unique birds, our many beaches are a great way to relax and spend time with your loved ones.

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

Anglers love pontoon boat fishing as they’re comfortable, can accommodate a group of people and are sturdy, which is especially true during rougher water conditions when a small boat would typically rock in the Sarasota waterways.

If you’re a boating novice or looking to learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a quick guide in order to help you have a successful fishing day on your pontoon boat. 

Remove or lower your bimini top.

If you don’t have much experience fishing on a pontoon boat, then you don’t want to make the mistake of having your boat’s bimini or canopy top interfering with your cast. Before you set sail on your fishing trip, remove or lower your bimini tops to ensure your hooks don’t catch on them.

Bring a second anchor.

While pontoon boats are sturdy, they can be a bit hard to keep still when fishing if the wind begins to pick up its pace. To make your afternoon of pontoon boat fishing a successful one, bring more than one anchor. Release one at each end of the boat. By using two anchors, this will prevent the boat—and you—from spinning while you’re fishing. As you learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you may choose to add more anchors for your next trip if the weather is particularly windy.

Pack multiple towels.

In order to protect your boat’s seats, packing multiple towels for your trip is a wise idea. From baiting your hooks to gutting the fish, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your seats, especially if they are cloth seats. Vinyl seats tend to be more forgiving, but you should still take precautions and make the clean-up process much easier for yourself. It’s also helpful to have another towel available for you to clean your hands throughout the day.

Rod holders are a good idea.

Due to the finite amount of space on your pontoon boat, creating a place where you can rest your rods can be especially helpful during your fishing trip. You can easily purchase mounted pontoon rod holders that are not only helpful but are convenient to stow away when you’re not fishing. Look for rod holders that have a wide adjustment angle in the event that you need more flexibility.

Bring an extra container for your fish.

While this seems like a no-brainer, you will thank yourself later when you’re having a successful day pontoon boat fishing, and you want to keep fishing longer. Bring an extra container, such as a cooler, in order to store your fish until you’re ready to clean them.

Next: Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

You love our local area in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto for its pristine beaches, but it’s also known for its wonderful marine species, especially sea turtles and manatees. Though, it’s important to remember that these local beaches are home to these endangered species as well. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure we’re protecting our local marine species:

1. Obey the waterway signs.

Waterway signs do not solely exist for boaters’ safety, but they are for the manatees’ safety, too. Obeying the speed limit ensures that you slow down when necessary so that you have a clear view of the water and do not see any manatees before proceeding.

2. Steer clear from shallow waters when possible.

When boating, remain in deep waterways because manatees tend to feed in shallow seagrass beds. In addition, try not to anchor your boats in these areas and in coral reefs because these areas are often habitats for sea turtles.

3. Do not offer food to manatees.

When you see manatees, do not feed them or try to lure them to you. When you lure manatees to you, this increases the chance that they will get caught in watercraft traffic, which could put them at risk.

4. Pick up after yourself before leaving the beach.

Trash is one of the major threats to local marine species since they can mistake floating trash in the water for food, which can block their intestines. Make sure your bring a bag with you so that you can collect all of your trash.

5. The same goes for fishing.

Do not leave any stray fishing lines or nets behind as local marine species as well as birds can get entangled and trapped.

6. Pack a red or yellow flashlight when taking an evening beach stroll.

In the evenings, this is prime nesting time for sea turtles. Lights that are too bright can disturb this process and cause them to be deterred from going to the ocean. This also goes without saying that you should not disturb turtles, especially baby sea turtles because our hands carry chemicals than are poisonous to them.

Next: Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to start planning this special day with your special someone (or with your best gals for your own Galentine’s Day).

From local wineries to the beach, Bradenton and the surrounding areas make it easy for you to mix it up this Valentine’s Day. Here are a few unique ways to spend this holiday with your special someone.

Visit a winery.

There are plenty of local wineries that you can visit to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Besides their fabulous red, white and rose wines, Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery is also known for being a “green” winery because all of their bottles are recycled. While they are not open on Valentine’s Day, this makes visiting a winery a perfect excuse for extending this celebration of love well into the weekend. Fiorelli Winery boasts Old World dry whites and dry reds—all of which are Italian-inspired. Fiorelli Winery is open on Valentine’s Day until 5 p.m. However, if you are interested in going on a vineyard tour, these are only available on the weekend.

Catch a beach sunset.

Just because watching a beach sunset for Valentine’s Day is completely free doesn’t mean that it’s any less special! Make the evening more special by packing a picnic with dinner, blanket and beverages as you sit back and relax under the moonlight.

Take it to the ice!

To mix things up, head to a local ice skating rink, such as Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. Located in nearby Ellenton, their 115,000-square-foot ice and sports complex is open to the public daily and welcomes all levels. Listen to music while you skate with your sweetie in the arena for a truly unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

Head to the Riverwalk.

The best part about Bradenton’s Riverwalk is that there is truly something for everyone here. From the skate park to the fishing pier, the 1.5-mile park is complete with public art, places to shop and delicious restaurants for you to enjoy a hearty meal. Stroll the boardwalk for its array of activities, or simply enjoy a walk after your sunset picnic on the beach.

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota