Staying Safe While Having Fun on Vacation!

Staying Safe While Having Fun!

By Hannah M. 

Southern Florida is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Renowned for the alluring natural habitats, gleaming white sand beaches, calm rivers, and especially the intriguing wildlife. During your relaxing vacation in Southern Florida, you’re sure to run into the indigenous inhabitants- alligators. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind for an enjoyable vacation.

Sharing is Not Caring!

The most essential rule to keep in mind regarding alligators is to keep your food stored away. Do not feed them! Alligators have an instinctive fear of humans, which is favorable for us, as people are natural prey in the wild. Sharing your food can be dangerous, as it emboldens the alligator, and in turn, may look for other people in search of food. A good rule of thumb is to not feed any wildlife you may encounter.

Alligator Mating Season

Spring and Summer is alligator mating season in Florida, so be extra careful during these times. Alligator nests may also be found more frequently, so if you happen to run across one, do not disturb it. Mother gators are always nearby, so just keep in mind to give the alligators their space! Their temperament may change erratically, and you may see larger gators than normal – the best thing to do is not interact with them in anyway and give them plenty of space.

Keeping Your Furry Friends in Mind

It’s not the complete vacation without Man’s Best Friend! Everyone loves to bring their pet along for a cruise on the river or to splash in the waves. It’s easy to keep your best bud safe by keeping them leashed the entire time. Headed for a lazy day on the river? Make sure to keep your dog leashed when you dock, especially during alligator mating season.

Stay Away!

These magnificent creatures may appear passive and idle, but they move rapidly. A good rule is to always keep 60 feet between you and the alligator. If they hiss or lunge at you – back up! That’s a warning sign you’re too close.

Safety while Swimming

St. John’s River is a prime destination for boating, fishing and lovely water views. From the deck, under the warm Florida rays, you may be tempted to take a quick dip in the waters. A key safety rule to keep in mind on your vacation is this: If you can’t see your feet or arms while in the water, do not swim!

Swimming where you cannot see your arms or legs should be avoided, as gators frequent these areas.

There are many gorgeous, crystal clear springs that are accessible from St. John’s River, including Silver Glen Springs. The water is shallow and alligators are rare. Make sure to visit one of these breathtaking spots during your fishing trip!

Fishing Safety

Be careful where you pick your fishing spots – some gators will be attracted to the fish on a hooked line and may grab it. Fishing in areas that are heavy in vegetation or near the water’s edge is discouraged, as those are popular gator hang outs. If you’re fishing for a fresh catch for dinner and don’t want any surprise bites, just stay in open, clear water.

Have a Safe Vacation!

Geared with these quick and easy safety tips, you’re ready for your vacation on the river! Castaways on the River can help you plan for your essential vacation. With many different rental boats to choose from in the marina directly outside your hotel room or cottage door, relaxing on the river is a Florida Must-Do!

Original Article Here

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

The fun never ends in Sarasota!

Sarasota, the endless adventure and ideal vacation! If you’re looking to wind down after a day in Sunny Sarasota on the sparkling white sand beaches, there’s plenty of nighttime shenanigans to get in to. The combination of restaurants and bars offering happy hour and seafood specials with a breathtaking waterview makes Sarasota the place to be on The Gulf Coast! Mix in some live music from local artists and you’re sure to have a time to remember. The only dilemma you may face is deciding where go for the night. Below are Sarasota nightlife essentials, and regardless of where you choose, you’re sure to be in for a cool coastal time!

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar  

Live music, over a dozen frozen daiquiri options, happy hour specials, and an amazing tree top view, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar is a MUST DO! A deck overlooking The Gulf of Mexico and Lido Beach, with stunning sunset views from the second floor makes this an essential stop for your vacation.

Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon

A more traditional way to wind down is Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon. South Siesta Key Bar features nightly entertainment, plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite sporting event, pinball and foosball for entertainment and much more! Bingo Sunday’s are a sure way to have some fun with prizes offered all night long. Come relax with an ice-cold beer in Captain Curt’s warm and homey atmosphere!

Sharky’s on the Pier

Sharky’s, voted Florida’s #1 Beach Bar, is also a necessary experience. Directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Venice, Florida, Sharky’s offers dancing and live music on a large wrap-around deck. Finish the night with a cold one from the Tropical Tiki Bar and a walk down the pier.  

The Gator Club

If you want a place that features music and dancing, The Gator Club is the place to be. Nightly entertainment, Sarasota’s best known DJ, Ladies Night every Tuesday, The Gator Club promises to be an enjoyable evening.

Marina Jack

For a more sophisticated evening on the town, head over to Marina Jack, featuring a lounge and piano bar, with plenty of drink and food specials. This exclusive restaurant is a sure to be good time for the whole family- including your furry friends! Marina’s Jack patio is dog-friendly. Marina Jack also offers lunch and dinner time cruises for an unforgettable experience over the open water on their cruise ship, Marina Jack II.

So with these Sarasota nightlife essentials, you’re geared up for your most memorable vacation yet! There’s no end to the unique ways to spend your time in Sunny Sarasota, where the fun never ends.

Original Article Here

Kid-Friendly Things To Do Near Palmetto, Florida: Part 2

Kid-Friendly Things To Do Near Palmetto, Florida: Part 2

adventure time

Kid-friendly things to do near Palmetto, Florida: Part 2

Have you been looking for the perfect family vacation? Look no further than Bradenton, Florida! No matter what your family likes to do for fun, this is the place to be. The overwhelming variety of family fun here can make it hard to narrow down exactly what you want to do on your vacation – keep reading to see some of the hot spots you definitely want to check out! No matter how big your family and how different their interests may be, there is a fun time to be had by all!

Tree Umph

Have you been searching an adventure that will give your kids an unforgettable experience? With over 30 football fields of challenges and hundreds of aerial adventure games, Tree Umph is packed full of entertaining places to explore and endless fun. You wanted an adventure to rock their socks and you found it! By the time you’re done zipping through the trees and navigating their obstacle courses, the whole family be ready to relax.  

Bridge Street Pier

After a day of ziplining and adventure, head over to Bridge Street Pier for the perfect evening to unwind. Perched at the North End of Sarasota Bay, this pier features breathtaking views and a serene dinner atmosphere inside Anna Maria Oyster Bar Restaurant. If you wanted a complete family day out – this is the way to end it! If you’re looking for a better family bonding experience over dinner, then just head to end of the pier where beautiful, shady fishing spots are located – you can take your time showing your kids the ropes and enjoy your fresh catch for dinner! If everyone didn’t get enough of the view at dinner, deep sea fishing charter trips are offered for the whole family!

Beaches and Water Sports

If your kids need a reprieve from the exciting adventures filled with fun, Sarasota’s local beaches are renowned across the world for the crystal clear waters and sparkling white sands – a day out near the water is sure to bring plenty of fun for the kids and a relaxing day for you! There’s endless exciting possibilities for the kids to explore with the various water sports offered in the area. Jet skis, boat rentals, kayaking, paddle boarding, and kite surfing are just the beginning of the list of fun things to do! Here is a list of companies that offer lessons and rentals sure to give your vacation some jazz.  

Holmes beach is a lively spot to explore, as they are famous for their beach volleyball and home to some of the best cafes on the island, where a sweet treat is the best way to cool off!

Endless amusing activities, breathtaking and serene views, beautiful weather, stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear water – what are you waiting for? The Gulf Coast is the perfect place for an unforgettable adventure, with all kinds of fun to be had for every family. The quintessential family getaway awaits you!

Original article here

Escape the hustle and bustle!  Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

Escape the hustle and bustle! Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

If you’re looking for a hideaway from the excitement of Southwest Florida for the day, Cayo Costa Island State Park is the perfect oasis. This barrier island, accessible by boat or ferry, is tucked away near Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers, making it the ideal private retreat. This remarkable Gulf Coast location, renowned for the white sand beaches and shelling, is a seclusive and relaxing getaway.

Getting to Cayo Costa Island

Cayo Costa Island lies at the entrance of Charlotte Harbor, nestled between North Captiva Island and Boca Grande, and is reached by boat or ferry. If you don’t have a boat to visit this breathtaking island, Captiva Cruises, the official state park concessionaire, has you covered! The ferry accommodates all kinds of family fun, offering private cruises for special events and conveniently running from several locations including: Captiva Island, Punta Gorda, Boca Grande, and Pine Island.

Cayo Costa State Park Features

The ferry docks at the State Park and from there it is a short walk (a free tram service is also offered) to the captivating white sand beaches and shelling. Booking your trip in advance is encouraged and can be done by phone (239) 472-5100 or on the Cayo Costa Ferry website.

When you get to the island, you will certainly see some aquatic life, as the beaches are a sea turtle nesting area from May-September. These nests are marked with wooden sticks, so be sure to get some pictures, but not to disturb the nests, as they are protected by law.

What To Do On Cayo Costa Island

Once you dock on the island, you will see 9 miles of sparkling and immaculate white sand beach, untouched and ready to be explored. This island features sand dunes and peaceful pine forests with tranquil oak-palm hammocks tucked in with the mangroves. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot, the island is full of grassy spots hidden under the shade of palms or pine trees.

Cayo Costa Island has gems tucked all over and is considered to be one of the best beaches for shells in the world, so if you want a unique and memorable souvenir, look no further. The island  ends in over six miles of trails, which are perfect to enjoy fishing, biking, birdwatching or snorkeling.

If you want more time on this tranquil island, you can rent a cabin with bunk beds or bring your own camping gear for the full island experience and enjoy your fresh catch on the grills at the campsites.

Castaway For The Day!
Castaway For The Day!

McCarthy’s Marina in Captiva is your last stop on your way to Cayo Costa Island, so be sure to have picked up all of your essentials before you become a castaway for the day!

Original article here

3 Date Night Ideas Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Date Night Ideas Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Date Night Ideas Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Date Night Ideas Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Looking for date night ideas near Riviera Dunes Marina? Look no further than Sarasota, where there are plenty of activities for couples! Whether you and your special someone want to catch a sunset, enjoy a great meal or create a masterpiece, Sarasota is brimming with unique date night ideas. Here are three date night activities near Riviera Dunes Marina.

Sunset Cruise

While the sunsets around Sarasota are captivating on their own, see them from a whole new perspective aboard a boat! Pure Florida Sunset Cruises offers a front row seat to the sunset overlooking the Caloosahatchee River. Bring your own picnic and non-alcoholic beverages as you catch views of Fort Myers, mangroves and more! If you’re looking for sunset with dinner and drinks included, book a sunset cruise with the Naples Princess yacht. When you reserve their romantic sunset dinner cruises, rest assured you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views and a gourmet meal.

Food Tour

Speaking of gourmet food, Sarasota is chock-full of delicious dining spots where food lovers’ dreams will come true! If you head to St. Armands Circle, discover fine dining restaurants offering Italian and Greek fare, then make sure to save room for dessert! St. Armands Circle has a creperie, French macaron shop and even a gourmet popcorn company! And if you visit on the right night, you can catch some live jazz music! There are also plenty of restaurants in Downtown Sarasota that not only offer a romantic atmosphere, but they are known for their exquisite bites.

Sips and Artmaking

Perhaps you’re interested in approaching your date night with a creative spin. Create art while imbibing! Local businesses like Painting with a Twist and Paint Nite Sarasota offer a unique way for you to spend your date night near Riviera Dunes Marina. The best part about these experiences is that the classes are led by an instructor, so all levels of expertise will be able to enjoy them, all while indulging in their beverage of choice! All you have to do is head to their website, choose what you’d like to paint from their list of masterpieces and reserve your spot online. From painting your pet to capturing our lovely Florida sunsets on canvas, you’re guaranteed to end your date night with a true work of art and a fun night out with your loved one!

Next: Summer Bucket List Part 1: 5 Must-Dos in Sarasota

4 Boating Adventures in Sarasota, FL

4 Boating Adventures in Sarasota, FL

4 Boating Adventures in Sarasota, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

4 Boating Adventures in Sarasota, FL

If you’re not on a boat as a resident or visitor in Sarasota, you’re missing out on plenty of fun adventures on the water! From snorkeling to exploring the wildlife and luxury waterfront homes here, there are far more boating adventures than just coasting along Sarasota Bay. If you don’t own a boat, there are plenty of facilities where you can rent a boat, too. And if you’d rather not travel by boat, take out your kayak or canoe to enjoy these boating adventures in Sarasota.

Tour Sarasota’s fabulous luxury homes.

Sarasota has some beautiful mansions that you can see when boating along the Intracoastal Waterway! From luxury tiki huts to grandiose artwork in the backyard, if you go at a slower speed, you’ll get to take in all of your surroundings. Look to Bird Key and Northern Siesta Key to begin this unique boating adventure!

Cast a line at the Middle Grounds.

The Middle Grounds are one of fishermens’ favorite fishing spots in Sarasota, and it’s also a sort of hidden gem. Just head to the New Pass area in Sarasota Bay, and you will find an area brimming with spotted seatrout, pompano and cobia, just to name a few! Use shrimp as bait or try fly fishing to capture these fabulous game fish. If you need more bait, there are several bait shops nearby carrying the best in bait and any other fishing supplies you might need.

Explore the underwater communities

Anchor your boat, canoe or kayak in a sandy spot adjacent to one of Sarasota’s seagrass beds to do some exploring! You’ll likely find these these seagrass beds when you snorkel in water that’s within 7 feet deep. From underwater landscapes, spotted seatrout or even manatees, snorkeling is one of the most thrilling boating adventures you’ll want to carve out time for while in Sarasota. Just be mindful when you’re snorkeling as to not disturb these beautiful underwater communities.

Capture the natural surroundings and wildlife.

When you’re boating in Sarasota, you’ll come across a plethora of unforgettable nature views and wildlife. Capture these moments by taking your professional camera on your boating adventure and waiting for the perfect shot! Watch as dolphins come to the surface, and don’t forget to look up to see great blue herons in flight!

Next: 5 Boating Etiquette Guidelines to Follow

Travel Tips: Hurricane Preparedness for the 2018 Season

Travel Tips: Hurricane Preparedness for the 2018 Season

Travel Tips: Hurricane Preparedness for the 2018 Season Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Travel Tips: Hurricane Preparedness for the 2018 Season

Will you be traveling to Bradenton, FL during hurricane season? Hurricane season runs through the end of November, so if you are planning to vacation here during the next few months, here are some hurricane preparedness tips to keep in mind.

Make sure you have travel insurance.

If you don’t typically have travel insurance, it’s a vital part of hurricane preparedness when you’re vacationing to Bradenton this summer. Travel insurance is great because most plans will cover the cancellation or delay of your trip, lost baggage, flight insurance, medical coverage and most other trip interruptions. Consult your travel insurance company to see if they have hurricane travel insurance as well.

Be mindful of the local weather reports.

When you’re days out from your vacation to Bradenton, FL, make sure that you’re being mindful of the local weather reports so that you can be aware of any approaching storms. Weather apps and local news sites can be very helpful when trying to prepare for your vacation and for hurricane preparedness.

Consult your rental office for their hurricane policies before your trip.

Before you even confirm your hotel room or other rental, reach out to the rental office or host to find out their policies for hurricane cancellations. In the event that you either have to delay or cancel your trip altogether, you’ll have much more peace of mind knowing this information ahead of time.

Don’t forget to pack hurricane season essentials.

Should you find yourself in a hurricane or in a bad storm, in general, and end up losing power, making sure you have the essentials will get you one step closer to hurricane preparedness. Essentials should include flashlights, external batteries (to charge cell phones), bottled water, copies of your travel documents (flight information, IDs, etc.), nonperishable food, can-opener for these items, first aid kit, extra batteries, as well as moist towelettes and plastic bags for personal sanitation use. Even if you forget to pack these items, you can always visit a local convenience store when you arrive here in Bradenton.

Next: A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

Summer is prime time for fishing trips here around Riviera Dunes Marina, which means you have to know how to dress for the season and the climbing temperatures! The thing about dressing for summer is that you want to wear breathable, comfortable clothing, but you also want to make sure you’re protected from the sun. Whether you’re taking your boat out for your summer fishing trip or you’re going boatless and heading to the shores, here’s what you should wear so that you can have a great time catching our local fish!

Sunscreen

First things first, you want to protect your skin with plenty of sunscreen, especially during your summer fishing trip. Choose sunscreen that not only has a high SPF, but it is also sweatproof and waterproof! Of course if you have sensitive skin, make sure that you find a hypoallergenic formula that also fits the aforementioned requirements. Then, when you’re out fishing, reapply your sunscreen every couple hours.

Base layer

When choosing your base layer, find a shirt that contains 100 percent polyester and a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of at least 50, this way the sun will have a much more difficult time getting to your skin when you’re out on the water or in the sun all day. And if the shirt is water repellent, this is crucial so that when you sweat, it won’t be able to linger on your skin.

Top layer

Now that you’ve found your base layer, it’s time to get the perfect shirt for your summer fishing trip. You’ll do well with a 100 percent nylon shirt that will dry quickly, since this fabric is lightweight and more ventilated allowing you to have great breathability when you’re fishing. Some shirts even have insect repellent built into them, which is a bonus when it comes to fishing!

Bottoms

For your bottoms, it’s recommended to wear shorts. However, if you plan to spend a long day out fishing, with changing temperatures throughout the day, you could even wear pants that can be converted into shorts. Look for pants that have UPF 50+, are quick-drying, moisture-wicking and lightweight, yet durable, to withstand a full day on the water. Of course, the more pockets the better, so that you can hold any fishing tools if you’re in the water or away from your boat.

Shoes

There are two types of shoes you should wear when fishing this summer: flip flops and water shoes. You’ll want both types to be waterproof, comfortable and easily formed to your feet. Just like your bottoms, you want your shoes to be lightweight enough so that they are flexible and comfortable, but you also them to be durable enough to grip to wherever you’re standing when you get your big catch!

Hats and sunglasses

When it comes to hats and sunglasses, you’re providing an extra layer of sun protection from the sun. This of course doesn’t mean that you should forego sunscreen. Look for a wide-brimmed hat made with a waterproof material that will also protect your neck, face and ears from too much sun exposure. For sunglasses, wear those with 100 percent polarized lens but are also high-quality to ensure the best protection.

Gloves

Lastly, protect your hands with gloves during your summer fishing trip. While you might not wear these during the entire duration of your fishing trip, they are good to have should the weather grow colder or if it’s a particularly sunny day.

Next: What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

5 Tips for Stress-Free Traveling to Palmetto, FL

5 Tips for Stress-Free Traveling to Palmetto, FL

5 Tips for Stress-Free Traveling to Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Tips for Stress-Free Traveling to Palmetto, FL

Ready to vacation to Palmetto, FL? Vacations are certainly a time for relaxation, however it’s not uncommon to return home realizing we need a vacation from our vacation! Don’t let that be the case this summer as your travel to Palmetto, FL. Here are our top five tips to ensure you have a stress-free and fun vacation this summer.

Make a list.

Among the kids toys, bottles of sunscreen and beach towels, in can be hard to maintain peace of mind when it comes to making sure you’ve packed everything you need for your vacation. The key to stress-free traveling? Make a list of everything you’ll need. From your beach essentials to the trip essentials, including important documents and chargers for your electronics, a list will maintain stress-free traveling for the whole family. Not sure where to start? Look to our list of top seven beach essentials here.

Make an itinerary.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the fun activities to be had here and in neighboring areas, Sarasota and Bradenton. Instead of arriving here and winging it, do a little research and make an itinerary of activities for the whole family. This way, you can choose your favorite things to do and not be at the end of your vacation feeling like you’ve missed out.

Be strategic with your carry-on.

Baggage can get lost or left behind between plane transfers. Pack a carry on with the essentials including a change of clothes, toiletries and other necessities just in case this happens to you while traveling. Of course, don’t forget to pack an extra swimsuit so that you can just make your way to the beach and leave your lost baggage worries behind.

Notify your bank of your upcoming travels.

The last thing you want happening during your vacation to Palmetto, FL is for your funds to be halted due to your bank being unaware of your travels. Save yourself from the headache, and contact your bank to let them know you’re going to be traveling. Nowadays it’s quite easy to do this and can be done online within minutes.

Be flexible.

At the end of the day, sometimes our best planned vacations encounter unforeseen circumstances. Instead of sulking in the unplanned situation and getting down in a rut, remain calm and just head to the beach.

Next: Summer Bucket List Part 1: 5 Must-Dos in Sarasota

5 Boating Etiquette Guidelines to Follow

5 Boating Etiquette Guidelines to Follow

5 Boating Etiquette Guidelines to Follow Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Boating Etiquette Guidelines to Follow

Even if you’ve been boating for decades, it never hurts to brush up on your boating etiquette. Yes, like manners for the table—Don’t slouch! Chew with your mouth closed!—there are even manners for when you’re boating. Here are some boating etiquette guidelines to abide by when you’re enjoying your day out on Bradenton waters.

Maintain a low speed when entering and exiting.

Whether it’s your neighborhood or a marina, keeping a low speed when you’re entering or exiting either is not only respectful to your neighbors and marina, but it keeps the noise level down, too.

With respect to noise levels, keep the music down, as well.

While boaters and their loved ones like to enjoy their time on the water with their favorite tunes, some boaters would prefer to hear nature and the hum of the waters and their boat while they enjoy the sunset instead. Neither are wrong, but you should be respectful to both to practice boating etiquette.

Abide all the signage.

In general, one of the easiest ways to remain courteous and follow boating etiquette is to simply obey the signage when on the water. Though just as important as being courteous, is protecting the species that live in the waters. For instance, areas with manatees will tell you to boat at a slow speed to ensure they have ample amount of time to exit your path.

Decrease your wake when passing other boats.

Though there’s not typically a sign for decreasing your speed or wake when you’re around other boats, this is common courtesy when out on the water. Too much wake could either cause damage to other boats or cause unwanted rocking. Be respectful of other boaters and slow down when passing them.

Don’t be shy, and say, “Hello!”

Though you don’t have to necessarily strike up a full-on conversation when boating on Bradenton waters, a friendly wave is often all that’s needed to upkeep boating etiquette. Plus, you never know when you might get the latest scoop on the best fishing spots!

Next: A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather