Family-Friendly Adventures to Complete Your 2019 Vacation Checklist: Part 1

Family-Friendly Adventures to Complete Your 2019 Vacation Checklist: Part 1

Family-Friendly Adventures to Complete Your 2019 Vacation Checklist: Part 1

By Hannah M.

family friendly

Are you looking for an adventure to intrigue the entire family on vacation this year? Southwest Florida has endless fun in store for all!

 

10 Ways to Have Fun with The Whole Family This Year:

  1. Explore Beyond Florida

One of the most refreshing and fun ways to spend your summer this year is exploring one of the many novel parks in Southwest Florida. From rainforests, circus events, and train rides, there’s endless fun to be had!

  1.  Smuggler’s Cove

Get ready for the perfect putt putt adventure! Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Golf courses offer plenty of exciting ventures for the family. Lay the course through caves, pirate ships, and waterfalls. End the day in a unique way and feed the live alligators at Smuggler’s Cove Alligator exhibit.

  1. Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex

Looking for a break from fun in the sun? Southwest Florida has an array of adventures beyond the beautiful beaches. Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex provides a groovy diversion from the heat with DJ skate sessions and more!

  1. Shark Teeth Shakedown

Breathtaking scenery and swimming through sparkling waters isn’t the only alluring attraction of Florida’s gleaming white sand beaches. Venice Beach is the perfect place to hunt for shark’s teeth!

  1. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Explore the secrets of the sea and pet the sharks and stingrays at the Mote Aquarium!

  1. Search For Sea Critters

Gear up with your water shoes and nets and search the Sarasota Bay! There’s no shortage of unique sea life to observe to here.

  1. Summer Beach Fun Run

Running from June through August, this one-mile excursion along Siesta Beach is the perfect family outing – create your own friendly competition and see who can make it to the finish line first! All participants get a ribbon and popsicle at the end.

  1. Siesta Key Drum Circle

Sunday evenings in Siesta are full of entertaining things to do; the Siesta Key Drum Circle being just some of the fun! This is a year-round event, so be sure to stop by and check out this lively crowd on your vacation!

  1. Downtown Farmer’s Market

Downtown Sarasota’s Farmer’s Market has tons of tasty treats to enjoy! Explore Sarasota’s artisan culture with the hand-crafted goodies and live music events found here.

  1. Circus Arts Conservatory

Be sure to squeeze in a spot on your adventure checklist for the circus! Sit back and watch the splendor or for an extra twist of excitement for the kids, they can join in on the fun in the kids-only Sailor Circus.

 

Explore Southwest Florida

The whole family is in for memorable trip with these exciting excursions added to your itinerary. No matter when or where you choose to spend your vacation this year, Southwest Florida brings unforgettable adventures!

Original Article Here

 

Festive Florida Events: A New Year’s Eve to Remember!

Festive Florida Events: A New Year’s Eve to Remember!

Festive Florida Events: A New Year’s Eve to Remember!

By Hannah M.

Festive Florida Events: A New Year's Eve to Remember!

New Year’s Eve Events in Sarasota and Bradenton

Are you looking for festive, fun ways to celebrate The New Year? Check out these coastal celebrations in Sarasota and Bradenton!

 

Fireworks Cruises and Displays

One of the many exciting ways to ring in The New Year on the West Florida Coast is by watching the dazzling firework displays. There are many options to experience the extravagant exhibits, including from the water! It’s the perfect time of year to board a New Year’s Eve firework cruise; the pleasant tropical climate paired with dazzling lights against the Florida night sky will bring an unforgettable evening.

Marina Jack Dinner and Dancing Cruise

One of the top dining destinations in West Florida, this celebration cruise promises an exquisite evening of entertainment. Included in your ticket will be live music, dancing, a delicious buffet, and a champagne toast to finish the night under the fireworks. Don’t forget to call ahead at 941-955-9488 to make your reservation!

La Barge Tropical Sunset Cruise

This sunset cruise is a tropical dream! Watch the dolphins while the sun goes down over the gulf of Mexico. This cruise will feature an array of cocktails and live music. Call ahead of time at (941)-366-6116 to reserve your spot for this memorable celebration under the fireworks and stars.

Sarasota Bay Explorers

If you’re looking for an activity for the whole family to enjoy, Sarasota Bay Explorers takes you to all of the best aquatic life spots; an adventure with fun to be had by all! This two-hour sea life tour finishes off with a flashy show of fireworks over the bay.

New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks Display

The complete celebration with every festive activity you can think of starts at 6 p.m., Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda. This free and family-friendly event gives you the full festive Florida experience with live music, magic shows, face painting and more! Head down to the west dock around midnight to start the New Year with a breathtaking show of fireworks.

Sarasota New Year’s Eve Pineapple Drop

https://www.paragonartevents.com/S-87-Sarasota+New+Year%27s+Eve+Pineapple.html

Party under the stars in the balmy Florida night! A twelve-hour long occasion with fun for the whole family, Sarasota’s New Year’s Eve Pineapple Drop is a holiday experience you do not want to miss! Starting off the festivities with food, live music, and performances, the fun continues into the night and well after the pineapple drops at midnight! The New Year is celebrated with a dazzling display of fireworks directly after the pineapple drops.

 

Main Street Live

Old Main Street is bustling and bright this New Year’s, with a end of year celebration starting at 5 p.m. and continuing through midnight. Live music, local vendors with food and drinks, this holiday hotspot will be an exciting event. Explore Main Street and view all of the festive attractions while waiting for fireworks!

 

Riviera Dunes Dockside Social Bar and Grill

Don’t forget to stop in at Riviera Dunes Dockside Social Bar and Grill this New Year’s Eve to see Glass Onion, the area’s best Beatles cover band! This is a great start or end to your evening; Riviera Dunes Dockside Social Bar and Grill will be open until 1 a.m. and starts the fun again the next day, opening regular hours on New Year’s Day.

 

Ring In The New Year With These Memorable Sarasota and Bradenton Events!

Complete your Florida stay with these festive, fun holiday ventures! Following this complete New Year’s Eve Event Extravaganza, you’re sure to have an unforgettable celebration!

 

Original Article Here

Sarasota’s Best Locations for Fresh Produce and More!

Sarasota’s Best Locations for Fresh Produce and More!

Sarasota’s Best Locations for Fresh Produce and More!

By Hannah M.

Sarasota's Best Locations for Fresh Produce and More!

Navigate Sunny Sarasota’s Farmers Markets Like a Pro

If you’re looking for ideal activities to make your vacation unforgettable, there’s no end to the possibilities in Sunny Sarasota! The Sunshine State is known for the abundance of fresh produce. One great way to experience Florida’s tasty local fruits is by visiting one of the nearby farmers markets. Not only will you get your fill of fresh fruit, but the fun doesn’t end there at Florida’s farmers markets! Here you’ll find many different creatives and skills sets unique to this region.

Keep this advice in mind for the most memorable experience of captivating Sarasota!

  • The early bird gets the worm! The earlier you are, the wider your selection will be!
  • Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen for your Sunshine State adventure.
  • Pack snacks and drinks – you’ll want to stay refreshed and bringing a small cooler is a great way to do so.
  • Talk to the sellers about their products! You’ll learn plenty of interesting tidbits about Sarasota by chatting with vendors.

Here are some of Sarasota’s best farmers markets to visit:

Central Sarasota Farmers Market

Open Saturdays (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) from October through June, Central Sarasota Farmers Market has the freshest fruit around! Chat with the vendors, who are all local growers, while sipping on your coffee and browsing local honey selections.

Dearborn Street Market

Do you love pairing a bottle of wine with fine cheese? Make sure to add Dearborn Street Market to your list! Open October through May on Thursdays, their selection of artisan cheeses, food from local bakers, and local artists shouldn’t be missed!

Englewood Farmers Market

If you consider yourself a foodie, add this one to your must visit list! Another exciting mid-week event, Englewood Farmers Market is open on Thursday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) from October through May. Endless local bakery selections along with fresh produce make yummy stop essential to experiencing Florida!

Newtown Farmers Market

Newtown Farmers Market is open Fridays (12-6 p.m.) year-round, so no matter when your vacation is planned, they will be open with a great selection of fresh local fruits! You can also expect to see a nice variety of local art, as this market is right near The Ringling College of Art and Design.

North Port Farmers Market

Another market that kicks off the weekend early is North Port, open October to April on Friday morning. Food from local bakers, local art vendors and much more makes this farmers market worth your while.

Siesta Key Farmers Market

This farmers market is such a relaxing way to start your beach day! Open year-round (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Siesta Key Farmers Market is located right near Siesta Key’s dazzling white sand beaches. The pottery and art found at this market is unlike any other!

Venice Farmers Market

Looking for the perfect way to start of your day of family fun? Head over to Venice Farmers Market, open Saturdays (8 a.m.-12 p.m.) year-round. With plenty of activities for the kids and chef demonstrations, this market is sure to keep the whole family engaged and having fun!

Enjoy Florida’s Fresh Fruits

Sunny Sarasota’s attractions are endless, their farmers markets being just one of their hidden gems. Whether you’re gearing up for some family fun or looking forward to a serene vacation in solitude, you’ll want to check out some of these markets! With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to fully explore Sunny Sarasota’s local art and fresh food.

Original Article Here

Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

By Hannah M.

Island Living in Historic Matlacha, Florida

A historic gem with an abundance of Seminole culture, Matlacha (Mat-la-SHAY) is a prismatic and peaceful paradise. The legacy left by the Seminole tribe is scattered throughout the tiny town, making Matlacha a historical hotspot full of fun adventures. This matured fishing village, nestled on a small island between Cape Coral and Pine Island, brings a charismatic charm unlike anywhere in the world and promises a serene stay.

What to do in Matlacha

  • Bridge at Matlacha Pass

Not only is this historic utopia full of fascinating culture, it is a fisherman’s dream! The bridge over Matlacha Pass (nicknamed the “World’s Fishing-est Bridge”) is famed for the abundance of aquatic life. The currents sweeping under the bridge brings an array of fish that draw in locals and visitors alike. Take in Matlacha’s aesthetic with a peaceful stroll down the bridge lined with local anglers casting their lines in “Matlacha Reeboks”; these tall white rubber boots are an essential part of the coastal lifestyle here.

  • Shopping and More

This vibrant and cheerful island gives you a sunny welcome to their tasteful art community. Matlacha is scattered with vintage Floridian style homes, fishing boats moored just outside the doors, art galleries, shops, and a tranquil atmosphere throughout. The serene seaside experience is reminiscent of Florida Keys without the hustle and bustle. If you were searching for the perfect peaceful getaway, Matlacha is the place to be!

Matlacha home to a variety of creatives and artists, including international artist Leoma Lovegrove. You can observe her dazzling and unique paintings in Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens; her vibrant Impressionist-Expressionist style paintings are just the start of the artwork you must see while in Matlacha!

A Historic Slice of Heaven

This historic, colorful town is a tropical slice of heaven and a must-see when visiting Florida. Matlacha Cottages has a variety of places you can stay, most located directly on the water. An artist’s paradise, Matlacha’s tranquil and exquisite landscapes draw you in the second you step foot on this island; you won’t want to leave this historical heaven-on-earth!

Original Article Here

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

By Hannah M.

 

Reel in The Big One!

Are you getting ready for your fishing trip on the sparkling waters of St. John’s River or Lake George? Whether you’re a new angler or “reel” expert, good fishermen are always looking for new tricks to help lure the best catch. Reeling in the big one can be fishy business, but fear no fish! Here are some great tips that will have you ready to tackle anything!

Got Bait?

When choosing what kind of bait to bring for the ultimate catch, live bait is always preferred! Worms and smaller fish are most commonly used and proven to be most successful. Freshwater fishing? Here’s a basic beginner tackle box guide to start with!

Location is Key

Today there are many tools available to aid your fishing needs! Electronic fish finders are widely used and a certain way of leading you directly to the best fishing spots. If you’re new to the game, make sure you bring a topographical map to keep track of water depths and an electronic fish finder.

Keep An Eye on The Skies

Seasoned fishermen know that the weather affects fish habits. Cloudy days are preferred for fishing, as your catch is more likely to be lured by your bait. Sunny Florida doesn’t see too many of those days, however; just cruise to some darker waters for the optimal catch. Planning a night fishing excursion? Paying attention to the moon and its phases is key for night fishing – full moons are prime time for the best catch, while moonless nights are the least favorable for fishing. The brighter the moon, the better!

Stay Safe

Practice, practice, practice! Ensure you can confidently tie knots and handle the sharp hooks prior to departing on your fishing adventures. There’s so little time and so many fish – you don’t want to lose any time due to injuries! Keep your fishing trip fun and make sure you’re comfortable with your equipment.

What’s Your Catch?

You’re almost ready for the complete fishing trip! Make sure you’re familiar with the fish in the spot you choose! Here’s a list of fish found in the St. John’s River. Looking for the best bass in the state? Head to Lake George for some fantastic fishing.

Fishing is a Reel Tough Job – You’re Ready to Tackle It!

Reeling in the big one is no easy feat, but with these excellent fishing tips, it’s sure to be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. For a catchy fishing trip of a lifetime, rent a cabin or boat at Castaways on the River and get ready for your best adventure yet!

Original Article Here

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

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

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

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish Riviera Dunes Marina

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Don’t think that you have to be an expert angler to love boating! There are many other reasons to love a day out on the boat, from spending time with your loved ones in a new way to simply enjoying time on the water. Here are some of the top reasons to love boating even if you don’t fish:

1. More access to waterways

One of the No. 1 reasons you will love boating is that you’ll have much more access to our hidden waterways. There are severals areas near Riviera Dunes Marina that are only accessible by boat, which means there is much territory you have yet to discover.

2. It’s a unique, affordable activity 

When you want to break up your beach routine, a day on the boat is a great way to mix it up here in Palmetto. If you don’t own a boat, you can always rent a boat for a set amount of time at an affordable rate. While we love owning boats here at Riviera Dunes Marina, renting can be a great option if you’re visiting or are only a casual boater and don’t want to worry about its upkeep.

3. New way to spend time with loved ones

Are you vacationing here? You’ll love boating because it’s a fun experience for the whole family and a new way to explore our area! From going on a sunset boat cruise to attaching a water float at the end for the kids—and even adults—to enjoy, there are several ways to enjoy the boat for the afternoon. Make sure to pack your picnic lunch if you plan to spend the whole day on the boat, then you can even bring your furry friends to join in on the fun. Plus, you can take the boat to stretch your legs in new places! Go hiking, lower the anchor for a swim or simply explore our local nature areas and its wildlife.

Next: Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

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