2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area Riviera Dunes Marina

2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

Fourth of July weekend is here, and you don’t want to miss all that our area has to offer. Amongst the barbecues, yard games and—of course—fireworks, join in at these exciting events! Here’s the scoop on what to do July 4th weekend in Bradenton and surrounding areas.

Tomorrow, you can begin the all-American weekend watching The Marauders play Florida at LECOM Park in Bradenton! Tickets are $6–$10, and the first 1,500 fans will receive a complimentary t-shirt! Once the game ends, make sure to stick around for a post-game fireworks show! Game begins at 6:30 p.m.

Also tomorrow, head to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota for a free Fireworks Festival complete with games, music, refreshments and fireworks, of course! The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Don’t forget your lawn chairs or blankets for this exciting event. While the event is free, parking is $5 on Regatta Island.

On July 4, head to the Sarasota Bayfront for Fireworks Spectacular over Sarasota Bay. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and maybe an umbrella in case of rain to catch the show! The fireworks show begins at dusk.

Siesta Key will join in on the celebration as well as thousands gather for the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce’s annual fireworks show on the public beach! Park at 949 Beach Road, and the show will kick off at 9:15 p.m.

If you’re in the Venice Beach area this July 4th weekend, their firework show will be sure to wow you as well! With fireworks launching from the Venice jetty, this is always another popular site on the holiday, so make sure to arrive early to get a good seat! Show begins shortly after 9 p.m.

Anna Maria Island will also be hosting their 4th annual 4th of July Parade spanning 7 miles! Join in on the fun by participating on your bike, in your golf cart or car, or sit back and enjoy the show! Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Coquina Beach and ends at 1 p.m. at the City Pier.

Next: What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017 Riviera Dunes Marina

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

Summer 2017 is officially here, school’s out, and there’s more time than ever to enjoy the sun and sand. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to our beautiful beaches, it never hurts to brush up on what to bring to the beach! We hope you use this list to ensure that you don’t leave the summer essentials behind for your beach day.

  • Spare swimsuit
  • Beach cover-up, sarong, dress, etc.
  • Appropriate footwear: sandals, crocs
  • Large waterproof bag to carry the essentials
  • Beach caddy to carry larger items, toys, etc.
  • Toys and floaties for the kids
  • Sunglasses (it’s great to bring extra in case you lose them in a rough wave!)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towels or large blankets
  • Chairs
  • Cooler packed with snacks and water bottles
  • Reading material

Now that you know what to bring to the beach for summer 2017, here are some exciting events to look forward to during the next month: 

Through July 16—Garden Music Series: Don’t miss this music series hosted by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens every third Sunday. Hear music from talented artists, then traverse the beautiful gardens for one unique event.

July 11–16—Disney’s The Little Mermaid: National Tour: Head to the Straz Center to see the beloved film come to life in this exciting Broadway hit! 

July 16—National Ice Cream Day: Indulge in this delicious day by having a sweet treat at the many delicious spots in St. Armand’s Circle. View the full list of places where you can grab a sweet treat here

Next: 5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

 5 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton FL Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

When the craving for seafood begins, there’s no stopping it until you visit one of the best seafood spots in Bradenton. From fresh oysters to steamed shrimp and more, the seafood spots in Bradenton abound, so there’s something for every palate!

Anna Maria Oyster Bar

Serving more than just a delicious selection of fresh oysters, Anna Maria Oyster Bar is also known for their award-winning seafood. When you enter the oyster bar, you’ll be welcomed into a laid-back and inviting environment that’s also perfect for families. Some of the favorite items to order are the lobster bisque, chowder and coconut shrimp. Of course the oysters are superb, too. Enjoy them raw, steamed or fried, and you can even dress them up with parmesan and garlic. The oyster bar highly recommends their Grandma Georgie’s Chipotle Oysters as well. End on the rum cake while you enjoy live music!

Riverhouse Reef & Grill

Situtated on a pier, it’s no secret that dining at Riverhouse Reef and Grill will be accompanied by picturesque views of the Manatee River. Choose to take a leisurely stroll to get to the charming restaurant or take a complimentary golf cart ride to shuttle you to the entrance. Dive into their lobster pot pie, fish and chips or butter fish. Their shrimp and mahi tacos will go perfectly with a refreshing margarita. Or, you can always come hungry for their happy hour menu offering fantastic prices on appetizers and beverages while you watch the sunset. 

Pier 22

For a creative twist on seafood, Pier 22 is one of the best seafood spots you’ll find in Bradenton. Relax on their patio where you might spot dolphins while you enjoy a delicious dozen of raw oysters or a variety of sushi items including maki rolls and tempura! And make sure you don’t miss their weekly specials! On Sundays, a dozen of oysters are only $10. Then, on Fridays and Saturdays, there’s a prime rib special beginning at 4 p.m. Of course it’s not a visit to Pier 22 without digging into their mouthwatering apple cobbler. 

Next: Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

Three Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton FL

Three Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton FL

Three Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton FL Riviera Dunes Marina.jpg

3 Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton, FL

While it’s no doubt that you and your family will have a magical time at Universal Studios or Disney World, there are some wonderful underrated theme parks nearby that you do not want to miss!

The beauty of attending lesser-known theme parks near Bradenton is that there will likely be less lines and crowds for you to trek through. This of course means there will be more fun and more chances for you and your family to ride the roller coasters while on vacation! The best of all? These theme parks are located just a couple hours away from Bradenton making this a no-sweat day trip.

Here are three underrated theme parks to visit near Bradenton.

Fun Spot America

The name clearly says it all with a title like Fun Spot America. While this theme park is located quite close to Universal Studios, Fun Spot America offers a completely unique experience. At this theme park, visit Gatorland to see live alligators, crocodiles and other wildlife. But the fun doesn’t stop there! From thrill rides to roller coasters and kiddie rides, the theme park has something for everyone! Single day tickets are typically $40.95–$45.95. However, this Saturday, the theme park is celebrating their 19th anniversary and are offering tickets for just $19, which can be used the same day or another day. These special tickets go on sale online at 12:01 a.m. until 2 p.m. on June 10. You can also purchase these special tickets at the park from 10 a.m. to noon.

Old Town

Classic Florida comes alive at Old Town, a destination that offers shopping, dining and of course amusements that are perfect for the family. Though Old Town isn’t necessarily a theme park, you’ll find an assortment of classic amusement park rides here. Get an unforgettable view of of Orlando atop the ferris wheel. Play over 50 arcade games and win tickets to redeem them for prizes at the Happy Days Family Fun Center. Enter the Mortem Manor if you dare, a two-story haunted home featuring props and live actors! Then head to The Great Magic Hall to see the art of magic in action!

The Holy Land Experience

Combining religious education with good old-fashioned fun, The Holy Land Experience is yet another one of the wonderful underrated theme parks near Bradenton, Fl. Through theatre, music and more, visitors will get to traverse through a living museum that transports you to biblical times in Jerusalem. But, there’s more fun to be had here! Head to the Smile of a Child Advenuture Land for hours of endless hours of fun. From climbing the rock wall to playing rounds of mini golf and more, a visit to the Holy Land is an opportunity you do not want to miss!

Next: 5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota's Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S. Riviera Dunes Marina

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach has been awarded the No. 1 beach in the country by Professor Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman! This is the second time that Siesta Beach has been acclaimed in the last seven years. 

It’s no surprise to us here at Riviera Dunes Marina! With its glistening white sand, Siesta Beach is a beautiful beach to visit year-round! Visitors flock to the beach every year for the crystal clear waters, fantastic shelling opportunities and much more. The beach has also been renovated recently to offer more parking opportunities as well as a free trolley for beachgoers to utilize.

Dr. Beach rates beaches from all over the country using 50 different criteria in order to score them for a total of 250 points. Siesta Beach scored a 238 out of 250 points! Some of the criteria included in the list are amenities, noise level, public safety, color of sand, number of sunny days and much more. The full criteria list can be found here

In addition to Siesta Beach, Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park and Caladesi State Park also ranked in Dr. Beach’s Top 10 U.S. Beaches of 2017 among beaches in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Are you looking for more fun things to do in Sarasota? From going snorkeling in seagrass to exploring the sandbars and taking luxury home tours, there’s much to see and do when visiting!

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto, FL

With the long weekend upon us, there’s plenty of extra time to dine on the water near Palmetto!

Our area boasts beautiful waterfront restaurants offering everything from tropical drinks to the freshest seafood entrees and more. You don’t want to miss all of the delicious places to dine on the water this Memorial Day Weekend and during the upcoming summer months!

Here are 4 restaurants that offer magnificent waterfront dining:

The Crow’s Nest

After a day on the water, pull your boat up and finish the day in the Venice Inlet at The Crow’s Nest, where you will find a casual, yet fine dining experience. Enjoy offerings from the raw bar, soups and salads, the daily fresh catch and a plethora of steaks cooked to perfection.

Dockside Waterfront Grill

The name says it all at Dockside Waterfront Grill! A local gem, enjoy views of the bay while dining in the open air atmosphere. For lighter fare, try their succulent lobster rolls, salads or tacos. Or if you have a grander appetite from being on the water all afternoon, perhaps the pasta dishes and seafood entrees are more suitable. Whatever you choose, you certainly won’t leave hungry!

The Old Salty Dog

Dine on the water at an old Florida favorite, The Old Salty dog has three locations in City Island, Siesta Key and Venice Island. Start with their delicious and spicy housemade crab dip or conch fritters. Order from the raw or steamed bar, or go the burger and fish taco route while you enjoy the mesmerizing waterfront views.

Ophelia’s On the Bay

Get front row seats to Little Sarasota Bay as you dine on the water seated at their open air patio. At Ophelia’s, savor the flavors of classic American cuisine with an international twist. The menu changes daily, so you’re always in for a surprise! On a given night you may have steak tartare, eggplant crepes or escargot! Of course there are plenty of seafood entrees and salads if you have a more traditional palate.

Next: 5 Unique Things to Do on the Water in Sarasota, FL

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area Riviera Dunes Marina.jpg

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

Whether you have a love for theatre or are just looking for an exciting thing to do when taking a pause from the water, there are a variety of theaters here! Take a break from the sun this summer by seeing exciting productions at one of the many theaters we have here in the Sarasota area.

Asolo Repertory Theater

Every season, Asolo Repertory Theater presents up to 15 extraordinary productions ranging from classical to contemporary.

Upcoming shows:

  • Beatsville, through May 27
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, June 7–July 1

Dog Days Theatre

Visit Dog Days Theatre in its inaugural season this summer! Dog Days Theatre will produce modern plays featuring professional actors from the Sarasota area and the country as well as students from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Upcoming plays:

  • Relatively Speaking
  • Double Indemnity 

Florida Studio Theatre

Known for its hip and contemporary productions, Florida Studio Theatre is actually a campus of multiple, intimate theaters. Each of the theaters are small, but they create the perfect setting for you to fully immerse yourself in the productions. 

Upcoming plays:


  • Burt & Me, May 31–June 18 at 
  • The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, July 5–Aug. 6
  • Doublewide, Aug. 2–20 

Summer Cabaret

  • The Jersey Tenors, June 13–July 16
  • The Blue Eyed Bettys, July 18–Aug. 20
  • Roar! The Music of the 1920’s and Beyond, Aug. 22–Sept. 24

Winter Mainstage

  • Rich Girl, through May 26 

Winter Cabaret

  • Older Than Dirt, through June 4

FST Improv

  • 17 Improv Festival, July 13–15

Children’s Theatre

  • Just For Laughs, June and July

McCurdy’s Comedy Theater

For the stand-up comedian lovers, this downtown spot is for you! See topnotch performances in a state-of-the-art facility featuring nationally renowned acts. You can also enjoy great food and drinks in the showroom before or after the show. 

Upcoming shows:

  • Dwight Slade, May 19–21
  • Following Jesus with a Rock n Roll Heart, May 23 and June 20
  • Ken Miller, May 24–28
  • Rob Little, May 31–June 4
  • La Hardy, June 7–11
  • And so much more! 

Players Centre for Performing Arts

Watch educational and enriching theatrical performances at the Players Centre. Though The Players Centre categorizes themselves as a non-professional community theatre, there is a variety of exceptional actors from students to those with lengthy resumes. 

Upcoming shows:

  • Beau Jest, June 14–25
  • The Marvelous Wonderettes, July 12–23
  • Arsenic and Old Lace, Aug. 9–20
  • Mammoth Bones, Aug. 22–27

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

5 Unique Things to Do on the Water in Sarasota, FL

5 Unique Things to Do on the Water in Sarasota, FL

5 Unique Things to Do on the Water in Sarasota, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Unique Things to Do on the Water in Sarasota, FL

In beautiful Sarasota, FL, it’s easy to spend the whole afternoon on the boat cruising the glistening waters while simply enjoying the views. Though, there are also the days you may be looking for new activities and ways to enjoy our area by boat. Here are five unique things to do on the water in Sarasota, FL that include more than fishing and cruising—though those activities are just fine with us!

Go snorkeling in seagrass.

Snorkeling in seagrass is a beautiful and exciting way to spend your day on the water in Sarasota, FL. See if you spy spotted seatrout, pinfish or sea turtles having their lunch. Then, you may see majestic ospreys and pelicans while hovering over the water. Whatever neat creature you are lucky to spot, snorkeling is a special way to spend your afternoon in Sarasota.

Explore the many sandbars nearby.

Take your adventures out to the sandbars during low tide where you can see the water from a new perspective. Pull up your boat, park your beach chairs, and hang in the “middle” of the ocean. Sandbars are also a great place for your furry friends to exercise their legs since it’s particularly shallow.

Take a luxury home tour.

Be amazed at the grandiose homes that are on the water in Sarasota, FL. From gorgeous architecture to ornate guesthouses and boat docks, the homes are always a spectacle to see! Waterfront homes also take it up a notch in terms of lawn art. See a life-sized statue of Michael Jordan or original masterpieces grazing in the yard.

Have a waterfront picnic.

Sure, picnics on land are just fine, but when you’re on the water in Sarasota, there are ever-changing backdrops for you to enjoy while dining. Cling your forks to the sunset or sunrise, or you may even get front row seats to a dolphin show!

Locate the area’s spoil islands.

Spend the afternoon looking for secret spoil islands! Spoil islands were created when the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was being completed. These dredged areas, or spoil islands, now create an environment for visitors to anchor their boats, swim and explore their surroundings. The spoil islands were formed in all shapes and sizes, so there’s always a new one to explore. On spoil islands, you’ll also see an assortment of interesting creatures from raccoons to salamanders.

Next: Things to Do on the Water Near Palmetto, FL

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Bradenton anglers, get ready for red snapper season kicking off this weekend!

At the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s April meeting, they announced the beginning of a 78-day recreational red snapper season in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico waters.

The parameters for red snapper fishing stretch from the shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf state waters.

Here are some guidelines when fishing for red snapper in our Florida gulf waters:

  • The 78-day red snapper season begins this Saturday, May 6.
  • Snapper fishing will continue on Saturdays and Sundays through May 27, then it will be permitted daily through July 9.
  • In September and October, anglers can fish for red snapper on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus Labor Day.
  • Sixteen inches is the minimum total length required in order to keep a red snapper.
  • Two bags of red snappers are permitted per day, per person.

Earlier this week, it was announced that recreational anglers from privately owned boats can participate in red snapper season within federal waters for three days from June 1–3. In addition, charter boats and headboats with federal permits are permitted to fish for red snapper from June 1 through July 19.

Interested in helping out the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute with their gulf red snapper research? Print out a catch card here and fill out the data to assist the institute in finding out the number of red snappers that are harvested and released by anglers. You can also fill out this data online here.

Happy fishing!

Next: Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Day Trip: 3 Best Bike Trails Near Our Marina

Day Trip: 3 Best Bike Trails Near Our Marina

Day Trip: 3 Best Bike Trails Near Our Marina Riviera Dunes Marina

Day Trip: 3 Best Bike Trails Near Our Marina

Looking for a scenic day trip idea? Just a short drive away from our marina are some of the best bike trails in all of Florida. 

From breathtaking panoramic views to the changing, exciting terrain, it’s a no-brainer that the bike trails near our marina are some of the best that our sunshine state has to offer.

So when you’re yearning for a breath of fresh air, lace up your shoes, grab your water bottle, and head to three of the best bike trails near our marina.

Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway Park 

Beginning in Sarasota, enjoy an interruption-free ride (for 6 miles) along the Legacy Trail. This scenic trail dotted with waterways, forestry and parks continues into Venetian Waterway Park for a grand total of 21 miles. There are also access points to beaches, shops and restaurants, so there are a variety of places that will appeal to all interests. However, there is little shade, so you may prefer to go on a cloudier day.

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

Spanish moss and ancient live oaks are just a couple of the many reasons why trailblazers will surely enjoy riding along the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail. With an average of 70,000 visitors monthly, it’s a popular trail in the area spanning 47 miles. What’s great about this trail is that bikers can travel through some of the busiest parts of the city safely with the help of the over- and underpasses at trafficky intersections. Trail amenities include bike racks, rest stops, restaurants and much more.

Boca Grande Bike Path

For optimal views of the water, traverse the 6-mile, paved Boca Grande Bike Path. In your scenic ride, witness the Gasparilla Island and all of its beauty. See marinas, wave at passing boats, or just bask in the wonder of the white beaches. Should you decide to take a break from biking, grab a bucket to collect some gorgeous shells, admire the local waterfowl or take a dip in the water to cool off.

Next: Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto