7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Weather experts say that our area hasn’t experienced this cold of winter weather in many years! While Bradenton’s winter weather will be brief and warm up over the weekend, here are some tips for staying safe during dropping temperatures.

1. Stay inside.

This is the best way to ensure that you are keeping safe and warm in the winter weather. The same goes for your furry family members. Keep them inside if possible. If you have pets that must stay outside, ensure they have access to shelter and unfrozen water.

2. Check on your loved ones.

Ensure that your family, friends and neighbors are safe as well, especially those that are more at risk: those that have young children, are elderly or are chronically ill.

3. Bundle up!

If you must go outside, make sure to wear many lightweight layers underneath a wind-resistant coat. Gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots will help maintain your body heat.

4. Take extra precaution when outdoors.

With cold and icy conditions in this winter weather, it’s advised to walk slowly, take a buddy with you, and always make sure you have your mobile phone with you.

5. Keep your generators outside.

These should never be kept in the home—even in the garage or basement—to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This is also a good time to ensure that your CO detectors are functioning properly.

6. Don’t let your pipes burst!

To prevent your pipes from bursting, keep your faucet trickling water. You can also open the cabinet doors around your pipes in your bathroom and kitchen to allow warm air to reach your pipes, but make sure to remove any cleaning products if you have children or pets in your home.

7. Supervise your space heaters.

If using space heaters to heat your home during winter weather, make sure to keep them on a level surface and at least 3 feet away from any furniture, clothing, paper or any other flammable item. Also, make sure to turn these off before going to bed and leaving the room.

Next: Rainy Day Dun Near Riviera Dunes Marina

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

Now that you’ve–hopefully–recovered from your turkey-and-sugar-induced comas, it’s time to start gearing up for the end of 2017! From fireworks on the bay to the Pineapple Drop, there are several New Year’s Eve celebrations and events that you will not want to miss! Here’s a round-up of the best things to do on the last evening of the year:

The Annual Pineapple Drop

Head to Downtown Sarasota for their annual New Year’s Eve bash, the Pineapple Drop. Starting at 6 p.m., Main Street opens up for one of the most anticipated parties of the year. Local restaurants will have special dining deals, and you can even grab a cold one at the many beer stations downtown. Live music kicks off at 9 p.m., then at midnight, the awaited Pineapple Drop goes down at the corner of Main Street and Lemon Avenue.

New Year’s Eve Dance Party

Show off your moves at the dance party hosted at The Municipal Auditorium in Sarasota! Featuring live music by Reverend Barry and the Funk, your all-inclusive tickets will not only get you endless champagne, gourmet catered food, valet and access to an open bar, but you’ll get to see a spectacular light show! Don’t miss this New Year’s Eve dance party! Tickets are $140 until Dec. 30 and $160 on the day of the event.

7th Annual Fireworks on the Bay

What’s a New Year’s Eve celebration without fireworks on the bay? Now in its 7th year, Marina Jack hosts a dazzling way to end the year with their fireworks show and live music to benefit the Suncoast Charities for Children. The best spots to view the fireworks are Downtown Sarasota as well as Bayfront Park and Island Park. While you can surely bring your lawn chairs and blankets to view the show for free, you can also purchase dinner and entertainment packages if you wish. View a full list of the entertainment packages here

Next: Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

The holiday season is still in full force, which also means there are amazing light displays all across our area! Here are the best places to view holiday light displays near Riviera Dunes Marina.

Colonial Gables

Located at the corner of Bee Ridge and Woodmont Drive in Sarasota, the neighborhood of Colonial Gables comes alive with an assortment of magical light displays every year to spread the Christmas cheer! Grab a hot cocoa at the nearby Bee Ridge Starbucks for you to enjoy as you drive through the dreamy illuminated arches.

Enander’s Winter Wonderland

Since 1987, the Enander family has decked out their home and yard with festive lights and become a local holiday spectacle! With over 250,000 lights and over 400 illuminated figurines, visitors can take a walking tour of their property, which covers over 2 acres! Join in on the fun every night until Jan. 8, from 6–10 p.m. Their home is located at 2281 Mission Valley Boulevard in Nokomis, and there is no admission fee. Join in and get in the Christmas spirit!

Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Beginning Dec. 21 until Dec. 30, head to Selby Gardens where you can see the beloved local light displays, “Lights In Bloom.” As you stroll through the Selby Gardens, see illuminated flowers, radiating butterflies and even Santa himself. This is also a perfect outing for kids as there are arts and crafts activities and games! Then, don’t miss the live entertainment by SoulRCoaster each night. Cash bar and other refreshments will be on site, and The Selby House Cafe will make their full menu available as well.

Sarasota Holiday Tour of Christmas Lights

Every year, Sarasota Holiday Tour of Christmas Lights is a must-see event during the holidays. Hop aboard the SRQ Trolley, and you’ll be taken on a tour of the best Christmas lights in the area, all to a festive soundtrack as well. From the gingerbread house to sparkling arches, this annual event is a local favorite. Tours continue through Dec. 31. Tour times are 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Next: Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

With Christmas nearly a week away, it’s likely that your loved ones will be visiting for the holiday festivities. This of course means there will be more kids to keep occupied while on holiday break.

Here are some free activities near Bradenton to keep the kiddos at bay during holiday break:

Holidays on Main

Now through Dec. 23, there is much to see and do on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch! Some highlights include breakfast with Santa, this Saturday, the 16th and lunch with Santa on Sunday, the 17th. Next Thursday, Dec. 21, the fun kicks off at 5 p.m. for carriage rides, strolling carolers and Santa Strolls. You can even join in on the 5K Jingle Run on Dec. 22.  

Bradenton’s Riverwalk

While you’re probably familiar with Bradenton’s Riverwalk, the holidays are a great opportunity to show your family around this fun local destination. The kids can play volleyball, use the skate park and head to the family fun zone or splash pad. There is also an impressive collection of public art and a great view of the Manatee River to enjoy while on holiday break.

Village of the Arts

You and your loved ones can certainly spend a whole day strolling the Village of the Arts! From specialty shops and bakeries to art galleries and live artwork, you’ll be mesmerized by the colorful streets. Then, return in the New Year for their monthly artwalk with live music, food and more!

Robinson Nature Preserve

Simmer down from holiday break festivities and head to Robinson Nature Preserve. With 487 acres of wooded bliss, this nature area is a local hot spot for bird lovers, trail walkers and bikers. You can even make an afternoon out of your visit and bring your own picnic and sit under the covered pavilion to replenish after the day’s hike. Of course, there’s an area for the little ones, too! Robinson Nature Preserve has a playground for the kiddos to stretch their legs.

Local beaches

Our local beaches are always a great pastime to take your loved ones during holiday break. This might be their only time of year that they get to visit the beach! Beaches like Anna Maria Beach and Manatee Beach are great places to start. Manatee Beach is also equipped with plenty of picnic tables, showers and concessions.

Next: 6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

Among all of the holiday parties and events, we hope that you’re still getting out on your boat to go fishing this month! The great thing about our area is that there are always fish biting, no matter what time of year it is. Here are five fish biting in December near Sarasota:


When you spot a buoy, channel marker or other floating objects in Sarasota waters, you’re bound to find a tripletail! Known for gravitating toward floating objects, you can specifically find tripletail in brackish water bays and estuaries. They’re also known for camouflaging, so you might need to do a double take when you see weeds or debris in the water. Depending on their surroundings, they could be black to yellow to white and spotted brown! The key to catching them? Use live shrimp on minimal tackle.

Speckled Trout

Found in concentrated areas with vegetation, speckled trout—or spotted seatrout—can be seen wading in seagrass beds, sand bottoms and mangroves. Spot them by their silver-ish bodies and black spots on their backs. These are best reeled in with free-line live shrimp or pigfish. Then, as long as they are 15–20 inches long, you can bring these home for a tasty dinner!

Red Snapper

You’re in luck because recreational season is reopening for red snapper this weekend from Dec. 8–10! Individual anglers are permitted one fish per day with no minimum size limits. As you might have guessed, red snapper’s bodies are a light reddish color with a white belly. Red snapper are best found when the waters are calm and between 60 and 300 feet deep. Your best tactic to catch them is by drifting since they are not known for moving often.


Did you know that the largest Kingfish can be 100 pounds? It’s no surprise that kingfish is also known as the King Mackerel and the largest of its kind to find in our state. Because kingfish have an appetite for schooling baitfish, blue runner, goggle eye and white mullet are known to be successful. Just make sure to hold on to your rods because they are fast and often will take up to 200 yards of your line when the fight starts! You’ll find the largest kingfish in reefs out in 300 feet of water.

Gag Grouper

Recreational gag grouper season continues through the end of the month! Another fish biting in December, you can easily spot gag grouper because of its grayish-brown body with wavy markings. One of the more aggressive striking fish, gag grouper can be successfully caught with live baitfish when drifting, trolling or still fishing. Live baitfish can include pilchards, pinfish or sand perch. Regulations state that the minimum length must be 24 inches, and anglers can only keep a maximum of two gag grouper per day.

Happy fishing!

Next: 5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota 

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

Holiday season is in full swing! From dazzling parades to photo moments with Santa, there’s an abundance of free holiday events that you and your family will not want to miss. All the yuletide fun kicks off this weekend!

Here are six free holiday events near Bradenton, FL!

Jingle Paws Jubilee

Dec. 3, Noon–5 p.m.

Phillippi Estate Park, Sarasota

Even the furry family members get to join in on this holiday season! This Sunday, head to Phillippi Estate Park for the annual Jingle Paws Jubilee. At the jubilee, you can get your holiday shopping done as there are many exciting pet vendors as well as dogs and cats available for adoption! Then, don’t miss the Holiday Costume Parade & Contest, live DJ music, delicious food vendors, raffle prizes, demonstrations and more!

Holidays Around the Ranch

Dec. 8, 6–9 p.m.

Lakewood Main Street

Entering by a horse-drawn carriage, Santa Claus himself will make a grand appearance at Lakewood Main Street for the annual Holidays Around the Ranch. Grab some hot cocoa or eggnog as you peruse the vendors or join the carolers for a round of seasonal favorites. Kids will also enjoy the outdoor snow slide!

Poinsettia Parade and Tree Lighting & Poinsettia Festival

Dec. 9, Parade 5 p.m., Lighting and Festival 6:30–9:30 p.m.

North Port

The Poinsettia Parade is one of the free holiday events that you do not want to miss! Beginning at Sylvania Avenue, decorated vehicles and groups will join in in the Poinsettia Parade, led by North Port Fire Rescue. Of course, what’s a holiday event without St. Nick himself? Santa will of course make an appearance. Once the parade comes to a close as the tree lighting and festival kicks off! With live entertainment by Stone Krow and local school choirs, there will also be family-friendly events including face paintings and a giant slide as well as food and holiday vendors on site. Kids can meet Santa at City Hall, too! 

Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Dec. 9, 6–9 p.m.

Manatee River

Bradenton boat lovers will love the annual holiday boat parade! Volunteers from our local community join in every year to deck out their boats and ride along Manatee River for all to see. Spectators can best view the holiday boat parade from the Green Bridge Fishing Pier, Bradenton Riverwalk or Pier 22, where the judging takes place for best decorated boat!

2nd Annual Holiday Classic Movie on the Riverwalk

Dec. 15, 6–9 p.m.

Bradenton Riverwalk

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets, and don’t miss the beloved Christmas comedy, “Elf,” on Bradenton Riverwalk. Your whole family can join in to enjoy popcorn and other refreshments while you sit back and enjoy this holiday favorite. There will also be face painting fun, photo opportunities and music before the movie begins.

Main Street Live Street Party

Dec. 31, 6 p.m.–midnight

Old Main Street, Bradenton

End 2017 with a bang at the Main Street Live Street Party! Downtown Bradenton’s annual New Year’s Eve block party is back this year with folk-rock band Have Fun, Will Travel headlining the event. The street closes as vendors and local food trucks fill the streets for this fun final night of the year.

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Three Popular Birding Spots Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Three Popular Birding Spots Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Three Popular Birding Spots Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Three Popular Birding Spots Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Did you know that our area is known for fabulous birding? That’s right! Our waterways, beaches, islands, estuaries and marshes make the perfect breeding grounds and habitats for local birds. From egrets to osprey and herons to pelicans, the variety of bird species here is quite broad! Here are a few of the most popular birding spots you must visit whenever you’re near Riviera Dunes Marina.

Service Club Park

Located at the the north end of Brohard Park, you’ll find several fascinating birds here. In the boardwalk area, you’ll see our state’s scrub-jays as well as wrens, ground-doves and savannah sparrows, which can be spotted more often during the winter. Head to the shore, and you’ll spot plovers, sanderlings and willet. There are also a variety of gulls you will be sure to see here: Ring-bellied, lesser black-backed and laughing gull are a few species.

Brohard and Caspersen Beaches

Located just south of Venice, about 45 minutes from Riviera Dunes Marina, you’ll stumble upon Brohard Beach and Caspersen Beach, two great birding spots in our area. When you scan the water, be on the lookout for northern gannets. These are typically white with long beaks that curve slightly at the end. During the winter months, it’s more likely that you will see common loons and red-breasted mergansers, which is a diving duck with a long and thin bill. Here’s a fun fact: The fastest duck, a a red-breasted merganser, was recorded flying at 100 mph!

Palmer Point Park

While this Sarasota park is known for its secluded, private beach areas, you will be excited to learn that it’s another great local birding spot! From egrets to gulls and herons to black skimmers, there’s over a dozen of different species you’ll find here. When you look above, you might even spot ospreys or bald eagles waterside or spending some time in the trees.

Next: 3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

When you’re not enjoying a leisurely ride through the waters of Sarasota and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of opportunities for you to go sportfishing here! Here are five of the predominant sportish you will find in our area. 


With its lighter brown to darker brown body and whiter underside, flounder is a popular sportfish you’ll discover here. You’ll know you’ve found flounder when you see both of its eyes on the left side of its body. You can find these on sandy bottoms inshore on channel edges. However, males are typically found offshore. Live shrimp, sand fleas and pinfish are great bait to use for flounder. Look in City Island Flats, Big Pass and Tony Saprito Pier to start.

Red Drum

Known for their copper-bronze bodies, large scales and spotted tails, red drum are another popular sportfish to you’ll see during your afternoon on Sarasota waters. Look to City Island Flats, San Remo Basin and Roberts Bay to begin your search. Like flounder, red drum also have an appetite for live shrimp, and you can use soft-bodied jigs or small silver spoons to increase your chance of a catch. During winter months, red drum are found in grass beds or near oyster bars.


You can easily spot a sheepshead when you see its silver body with vertical, black stripes. When you’re looking for sheepshead, you’ll have the most luck inshore near oyster bars, seawalls and near bridges and docks. Specifically, head to Ringling Causeway, San Remo Basin and the docks in Roberts Bay in Siesta Key. Sheepshead feed on live shrimp, sand fleas and fiddle crabs.


With a sloping forehead and larger lower jaw, much like an underbite, snook are one of the Florida sportfish that make our state the Fishing Capital of the World. From canals and tidal creeks to tidal pass, snook can continue to be harvested until December 1. You’ll have your best luck in the cooler months at Phillippi Creek and at New Pass Bridge when the weather is warmer. They are most likely to be caught with pinfish, shrimp or sardines as your bait.

Spotted Seatrout

Also within the drum family, spotted seatrout have a lighter underbelly with a dark gray or greenish top with round spots. Spotted seatrout are found both inshore and nearshore within seagrass beds as well as deeper waters and over oyster bars. Some local spots to find these sportfish are in Bird Key flats, City Island Flats and South Lido Park. Make sure to bring your live shrimp and pigfish for your best chances at catching this popular sportfish.

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

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend! Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

It’s that time of the year! Make sure to clear your schedules because the 8th Annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic is back again this weekend and ready to wow you with amazing sand masterpieces!

Every year, professional sand sculptors from around the world come to Sarasota to participate in this international sandsculpting festival. Luckily, for us, the event is in our own stomping grounds, and we don’t have to travel too far to be a part of this exciting and unique annual event.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic:

This year, artists hail from Canada, Czech Republic, Amsterdam, Lithuania, Singapore and various states in the U.S.

Kicking off this Friday, you can view and vote for the masterpieces crafted by master sand sculptors. For four days, there will be live music, a party tent and dining tent as well as shopping vendors. Looking to learn more about sandsculpting? There will be demonstrations and lessons for you to learn! Kids will also enjoy the Learning Curve, an art and science lab where they can expand their knowledge about Siesta Key’s own white quartz sand as well as other sand varieties from around the country.  Lastly, there will be fun competitions including a 10-minute quick sand competition and other amateur contests for your entertainment! See the full schedule here

On Sunday, the winner will be announced in an awards ceremony. Then, voting for the People’s Choice Award ends on Monday at 5 p.m., and the winner will be announced via the event’s Facebook page and website on Tuesday, the 14th. 

When: Friday, Nov. 10–Monday, Nov. 13


  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.


Admission prices are based on a daily basis.

  • Adults $10
  • Children ages 5–17 $5
  • Seniors ages 65+ and Active and Retired Military $8

To avoid the crowds when parking, hop aboard the Siesta Key Breeze Free Trolley Service!

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3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

3 Shelling Hot Spots Near Palmetto, FL

If you’re looking for shelling hot spots near Palmetto, you don’t have to go far! There are plenty of locals’ spots that you will want to visit when you’re ready to add to your collection. While veteran beachcombers might know about these spots, you never know what treasures you will discover upon your return!

Keep in mind that you’ll have your most successful shelling when either the water is at low tide or after a storm, when there are plenty of gems washing ashore. 

Here are the three best shelling hot spots when you’re in the Palmetto area.

Manatee Public Beach

If you head to end of Manatee Public Beach, you can park there for free! After combing the beaches, this is also a great area to shop for souvenirs, visit gift shops and even grab lunch or dinner at the variety of cafes there. And if you prefer to clean up before heading home, there are public showers to do so!

Coquina Public Beach

Head to South Gulf Drive, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find abundant treasures awaiting for you! Here you will find shark’s teeth! When you work up an appetite from all of your shelling, head to the concession stand for some light refreshments.

Egmont Key

Tucked away in Tampa Bay, beachcombers must travel by ferry to this area, which is home to pristine beaches and of course excellent shelling opportunities. Because this state park is so secluded, it’s best to pack plenty of drinking water and extra food as there are no stores on site. Once you’re done shelling, that doesn’t mean the fun stops! Continue to enjoy the great outdoors as you can go fishing, swimming and even wildlife watching.

Next: 4 Events for Fall Fun in the Palmetto Area