Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Hey boaters! There’s always a new, beautiful place to discover when boating in our Florida waters. From the lovely Shell Key in Tampa Bay to the rich culture found at our own Bradenton Beach, venture to one of these boating destinations near Palmetto, FL, and you will be in for an exciting afternoon!

Bradenton Beach

Spend some time in the sun on the gorgeous beaches of Bradenton on Anna Maria Island. First, set up your chairs for an afternoon of sunbathing and a peaceful beachside picnic. Once you’ve had your time in the sun, there is much to see and do in town. Visit specialty shops and galleries or embrace nature on a kayak paddleboard!

Tampa Bay

If you’re looking for fine dining experiences, Tampa Bay is one of the boating destinations near Palmetto, FL that you will not want to miss. In addition to the exquisite dining experiences, there are hidden gems that are only accessible by boat. One of those places is Shell Key—a prime beach for swimming, camping and fishing.

Egmont Key

For a unique experience, Egmont Key is home to a wildlife refuge as well as lovely beaches filled with shells for you to collect and bring home as souvenirs. While you can also swim, picnic and fish here, you have the opportunity to tour an 1858 lighthouse and visit other fascinating historical sites and trails as you step back in time. This park is also quite remote, so make sure to bring plenty of water and food for your visit.

Longboat Key

Along the 12 miles of pristine beaches of Longboat Key, there is much to enjoy. Gather to see the spectacle of sea turtle hatchlings march to the water. Play a round of golf with a view of the water. When you’re ready to take a break from the scenic route, there is fine dining, luxury resorts for you to relax and excellent shopping opportunities.

Manatee River

Spanning 36 miles, Manatee River has a wealth of activities for you and your boat crew to enjoy. From fishing to traversing the lovely parks, there are also many great lunch and shopping destinations nearby if you decide to go inshore during your visit to one of the top boating destinations near Palmetto, FL!

Next: 6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do Near Palmetto, FL

With Spring Break here, there’s no shortage of kid-friendly things to do near Palmetto, FL.

From museums to miniature golf, families will never run out of fun things to do!

Here are five kid-friendly things to do near Palmetto that are enjoyable for the whole family.

South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium

‪201 10th St W, Bradenton

At the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium, kids will enjoy exciting exhibits and presentations by the museum’s knowledgeable and lively staff members. There’s even a show recorded by Tom Hanks! You’ll want to make sure you leave plenty of time to visit the planetarium and view the various shows offered. Kids will also enjoy feeding the manatees and stopping by the gift shop to bring home a souvenir.

Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf

‪2000 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton

Play a round of mini golf at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf! Experience a fun, though challenging, game at their scenic course complete with 18 holes and 25 live alligators on-site! You can even feed them for an extra fee. The tropical course also features lovely waterfalls and caves for a serene afternoon for all ages.

The Ringling

‪5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

The Ringling carries on the circus legacy of brothers John and Mable Ringling, known for the “Greatest Show on Earth.” From the Bayfront gardens to the Museum of Art, a Circus Museum, an education center, exhibits and much more, there is much to explore while visiting. Don’t miss the forest of “Pathless Woods,” an exhibit made entirely from ribbons by American artist Anne Patterson. The exhibit will be on display through April 26.

Marietta Museum-Art & Whimsy

2121 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 

Gorgeous grounds await you at the Marietta Museum! The whimsical art museum is chockfull of paintings, ceramic pieces, pottery and more exciting colorful displays. Weave through the gardens as you admire the sculptures and creative artwork. Inside, view the famed Lee Family Arch embellished with beads, crystals, shells and other raw materials in honor of the museum’s founders.

Sarasota Children’s Garden

‪1670 10th Way, Sarasota

Be prepared to spend the better part of an afternoon exploring all that awaits you at Sarasota Children’s Garden! Depending on the day, the garden offers free art programs with admission where kids can learn about gardening, have storytime and explore other fun topics. In addition, there are areas where the kids can play dress-up, play with wagons and let them live out their imaginations for the day! Feel free to bring a picnic for lunch and enjoy this hidden Sarasota gem.

Next: Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Riviera Dunes Marina

Siesta Beach Ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

TripAdvisor just released their 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards and ranked our local beach No. 1 in the U.S.! Our own Siesta Beach, located just 20 minutes from Sarasota is ranked as the No. 1 beach in the country. It’s no surprise to us as Siesta Beach is a lovely destination year-round! 

Runners up in the top five spots include Ka’anapali Beach in Hawaii and Florida’s Saint Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach and the beach at Panama City.

In addition to ranking No. 1 in the U.S., Siesta Beach also ranks No. 5 best beach in the whole world!

With its white sand and nature areas nearby, Siesta Beach is a fantastic place to visit. Perfect for large families or as an intimate getaway for couples, this acclaimed beach does not disappoint. 

If you haven’t visited Siesta Beach yet, here are some perks you’ll get to enjoy:

Cool beaches: Because the sand is comprised of 99 percent pure quartz, you don’t have to worry about burning your feet (this is especially important to note for the little ones) even on the hottest summer days.

Volleyball: The beach is equipped with its own volleyball court. Just bring a ball, and let the games begin!

Safety: Lifeguards are always on duty, so you can rest assured that you and your loved ones will be safe when treading the waters. 

Pavilion: Perfect for toting your own picnic, settle under the pavilion where you can take a break from the sun and fuel up for the remainder of your afternoon at the beach. 

Beach-friendly wheelchairs: Offered year-round, travel from the parking lot to the shore with ease via their complimentary beach-friendly wheelchairs. You can find these at the concession area.

ADA beach access mats: The ADA beach access mats make it a breeze for those in wheelchairs or pedestrians with strollers or beach carts to travel the shore more easily. 

Looking for more beautiful beaches near us? Read about 6 secret islands to visit near Palmetto, FL!

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida Riviera Dunes Marina

Family-Friendly Winter Festivals in Central Florida

Don’t miss all of the wonderful family-friendly winter festivals right here in Central Florida! See a circus performance, embrace Italian culture and food, and join thousands at our local fishing village for their annual extravaganza!

Circus Sarasota Winter Performance

When: Through Sunday, March 5

  • Weeknights: 7 p.m.
  • Wednesdays & Saturdays: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Where: The Ulla Searing Big Top, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota

What: Join Circus Sarasota as they commemorate 20 years with their winter performance! This special show will feature circus legend Nik Wallenda as well as other international circus stars performing amazing acts that will surely dazzle you and the whole family! Make sure to purchase tickets ahead of time as they are known to sell out! More info here.

Admission: $15–$55

The 35th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

When: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18–19

  • 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.

Where: Cortez Fishing Village

Parking: G. T. Bray Park, Bradenton

What: Don’t miss the 35th Annual Cortez Commericial Fishing Festival honoring this year’s theme, “Fishing For Our Future.” What began as a small festival with 500 attendants is now a festival that attracts thousands of guests each February. This beloved local festival is perfect for the whole family! Enjoy nautical-themed arts and crafts, children’s activities, delectable seafood, beverages and so much more. Hear live music from Shanty Singers, Jason Haran, Karen and Jimmy Band, Eric Von and many other great artists. Be sure to snag a commemorative t-shirt as a souvenir! More info here.

Admission: Adults—$4. Children ages 12 and under—free.

29th Annual Venice Italian Festival and Carnival

When: Thursday Feb. 23–Sunday, Feb. 26

  • Thursday and Friday: 4 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Noon

Where: Venice Airport

What: The 29th Annual Venice Italian Festival and Carnival is a delicious and delightful four-day festival held in the Venice and Nokomis area. Nosh on authentic Italian cuisine paired with beer, wine and an assortment of other beverages. Then make sure you stick around for doo-wop, swing, classic rock and many more performances for a chance to let loose! The kids will enjoy carnival rides, games, face paintings, caricature artists and their own kid zone! More info here.

Admission: Free.

  • Parking: $5.
  • Prices vary for carnival rides.

Next: Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Whether you’re a rookie fisherman or a well-versed angler, our local fishing charters are enjoyable for all skill levels! Here are our top three fishing charters near Bradenton.

1. Tailing Tales Charters

 941-812-6640 | 5800 Riverview Blvd, Bradenton

Book a fishing trip with Captain Kris Winkel of Tailing Tales Charters and you won’t be disappointed! Tailing Tales Charters offers fishing trips inshore and nearshore at the best fishing spots in the area. Climb aboard the custom 1972 222 Aquasport to begin the journey to your fresh catch. No need to worry about ice or cleaning your catches. Capt. Kris takes care of that for you. Since their charters are focused on the inshore and nearshore fishing areas, it’s an ideal setting for anglers ranging all levels of experience. However, offshore trips are offered in the Tampa Bay, Sarasota and Bradenton areas.

Rates

  • Half-day (4 hours): Starting at $400
  • Three-fourths day (6 hours): Starting at $550
  • Full day (8 hours): Starting at $700

2. Bass N’ Bay Charters

941-722-2033 | Tampa, Palmetto, Sarasota 

Also known for their exciting sightseeing boat tours, Bass N’ Bay Charters offers excellent fishing trips as well! Fishing charters with Capt. Brady are very customizeable as you can choose to fish in saltwater or freshwater as well as choose between live bait or artificial bait. Novice anglers will enjoy learning casting and baiting skills, and the well-experienced anglers will get their fair share of a challenging catch. 

Rates

  • Inshore saltwater fishing: Starting at $400 for a half-day trip
  • Offshore fishing: Starting at $500 for a half-day trip
  • Freshwater fishing: Starting at $350 for a half-day

3. Five O’Clock Charlie Boat Tours

941-527-8008 | 2504 88th St Ct NW, Bradenton

Make lasting memories with a fishing trip aboard Captain John’s boat. Experience a unique fishing trip with Captain John as you can choose between a combination of fishing and/or snorkeling, shelling and other exciting excursions. Also, no need to worry about bringing supplies with you. Captain John will have you covered and can lend you a rod, fishing license, tackle and bait, and he will also clean any of your catches!

Rates

  • Day charter: Starting at $150 per person
  • Half-day inshore fishing charter: Starting at $375 for three people
  • Full day of fishing inshore or off shore (up to 9 miles): $600 for 3 people.

*Off-shore trips are dependent on the weather

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

Looking for a quick weekend getaway or a new destination for your family’s next vacation? Look no further than these six secret islands for your next adventure!

All six of these secret islands are within three hours of Palmetto, FL, so you can choose to take a quick day trip or opt for a longer weekend or week-long stay.

1. Gasparilla Island

Embrace the slower Gasparilla Island lifestyle via golf cart, like a true local. Enjoy shelling, swimming and even snorkeling here. Take a visit to the restored Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, and bring your picnic lunch for a bite in the scenic Gasparilla Island State Park.

2. Jupiter Island

Stretching less than 4 miles, Jupiter Island is a private barrier island home to celebrities including Tiger Woods and Celine Dion. Lounge on the island’s beautiful white beaches or go for a stroll through the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge where you just might meet a loggerhead sea turtle.

3. Merritt Island

Though not as “secret” per se, birders will enjoy a getaway here as they traverse the thousands of acres at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge also hosts Beginner Birder Tours that you do not want to miss! You’ll also enjoy an interactive afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and may even get to witness a rocket take off!

4. Cedar Key

If there were two words to describe Cedar Key, they would be ‘calm’ and ‘clams.’ Venture through the National Wildlife Refuge by kayak or cast a line at the local pier, but whatever you do, don’t leave without a bowl of their local clam chowder.

5. Pine Island

Cruise into Pine Island for optimal relaxation and a getaway immersed in art and local culture. Spend the day at the 300-foot-long fishing pier, peruse local art galleries, and dine at the freshest seafood spots. If you choose to stay overnight, you’ll find plenty of charming hotels and cottages with beautiful views of the water.

6. Cabbage Key

For a truly secluded and hidden getaway, enter a nature lover’s paradise at Cabbage Key in Pineland. Panoramic views of the sound and nature trails await you as you exit the ferry. That’s right, the island is only accessible by boat.

Next: Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

 

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter Riviera Dunes Marina

Why You Should Vacation to Palmetto, FL this Winter

While Palmetto, FL and the surrounding areas are great places to vacation to during any season, the winter season is especially favorable for both you and your wallet.

Though you probably don’t need to be reminded why you should vacation to Palmetto, FL, here are some of our six favorite reasons to further motivate you.

1. The winter season goes easier on your wallet.

Yes, it’s true. There are much lower rental rates for beach houses and condominiums in Palmetto, FL during winter. Come stay for a great deal, and you’ll have more allowance to enjoy all of the fun activities, delicious dining and more.

2. There’s always an exciting event happening!

Just because the temperatures are milder doesn’t mean the fun is compromised. Next month, the Bradenton Area River Regatta will amaze you with thrilling boat races. Then, make sure you don’t miss the Circus Sarasota Winter Performance beginning on Feb. 10 through March 5. Fisherman and water lovers alike will of course enjoy the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival held Feb. 18–19 in nearby Bradenton. As you can see, there is much to see and do during winter near Palmetto, FL.

3. You don’t have to fight the crowds.

While it’s certainly popular to visit during the summer, this of course makes for more lines for you and your family to wait in. Save your precious vacation time and visit us during the winter for shorter lines and more time to enjoy yourself!

4. Snag a deal when dining.

During the off-season, there are fewer visitors to local restaurants. This is why many will often offer more happy hours, winter specials and other dining deals to entice more customers. It’s better for their business and for your wallet—a win-win situation, if you ask us!

5. The outdoor fun never stops.

From boat tours to hikes, there’s plenty of adventure to be had in Palmetto, FL during the winter season. Check out some of our favorite nature areas and boat tours, and explore all that our beautiful area has to offer!

6. Dock your boat at the most luxurious marina in town!

Here at Riviera Dunes Marina, you have the luxury of storing your boat while you’re out exploring the sights. Whether it’s for the day or week while you’re visiting, our marina is equipped with top-notch services including free pumpouts, 50-amp electrical services and much more. Call us today at 941-730-9806 to learn more about our boating amenities and more!

We hope you enjoy your stay here in the Palmetto, FL area!

Next: Where to Eat, Shop & Play in Sarasota, FL

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta Riviera Dunes Marina

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

Attention, thrill-seekers: Prepare to be amazed at boats racing more than 120 mph! Witness daring events like this and so much more when you join in for the 3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta just a few weeks away on Feb. 4.

If you haven’t been to the Bradenton Area River Regatta previously, you’re in for a real treat! The schedule is still not concrete, but there are many exciting surprises in store for all of the Bradenton and Palmetto locals.

Head to the Manatee River for thrilling events including the Powerboat Super League Formula 2 events and the XHydro Cross Jet Skis and Disc Connect K9 show. You’ll also get to hear from the Nashville Yacht Club, Tampa’s own Soul Circus Cowboys and the ZBTB, the No. 1 Zac Brown tribute band, as the headliner. One thing’s for certain, the Powerboat Super Leagues will return for another spectacular performance that you do not want to miss. Other exciting events include extreme sports stunt shows, a family fun zone, a 5K river race and so much more!

Of course, don’t leave the kiddos at home! All ages will enjoy an art activity at the art center, activities at the South Florida Museum, the Little Anglers Fishing Tournament and more.

This free, family fun premiere event will also feature a variety of food vendors for you to refuel throughout the day. Then, make sure you stick around for the fireworks show and awards ceremony in Bradenton.

The Bradenton Area River Regatta will be held rain or shine. New this year will be the two Sarasota trolleys that will transport guest from Bradenton to Palmetto throughout the day.

Stay tuned as more details will be released. Visit BradentonAreaRegatta.com for the latest information.

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Top 5 Places to Spend New Year’s Eve Near Bradenton

Top 5 Places to Spend New Year’s Eve Near Bradenton

top-5-places-to-spend-new-years-eve-near-bradenton-riviera-dunes-marina-blog

Top 5 Places to Spend New Year’s Eve Near Bradenton

Still looking for the most exciting place to spend New Year’s Eve that’s near Bradenton? We’ve got you covered here at Riviera Dunes Marina. Let’s ring in the New Year near Bradenton at one of these fabulous parties.

1. The Seafood Shack Marina Bar & Grill in Cortez

Head to the Neptune Room at The Seafood Shack Marina Bar & Grill for a New Year’s Eve party with country music performances and more! The Eric Von Band will be bringing the tunes. Opening for country music stars including Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert, Eric Von is also a native of Cortez. Other features of the party include cash bars, drink specials and a special menu.

  • Price: $15 (includes cover, fees and taxes).
  • Time: 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Band begins at 9 p.m.
  • Where: The Seafood Shack Marina Bar & Grill, Cortez.

2. Fishermen’s Village

For a family-friendly environment, head to Fisherman’s Village! Enjoy music and dancing with Gator DJ in Center Court as well as with singer and guitarist Michael Hirst. Visit with Pamela, the radio host of “Tropical Tarot & Beyond” for a tarot reading. Get festive with hair glitter designs from Brian and Lori. Then, the kids will enjoy magic shows, balloon art, face paintings by MaryRose, a photo booth and so much more.

  • Price: Free parking and admission.
  • Time: 5 p.m. to midnight; Michael Hirst at 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
  • Where: Fishermen’s Village, Punta Gorda.

3. Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town

New Year’s Eve is your last chance to galavant around Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. Though nearly an hour from Bradenton, Christmas town is the perfect place to end the year with a bang! Marvel at the two million festive lights and decorations and enjoy holiday entertainment that’s fit for all ages! Visit with Rudolph and Santa and hear live performances featuring holiday classics!

  • Price: $92.99 and up.
  • Time: 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Where: Busch Gardens, Tampa.

4. Sarasota Pineapple Drop

If you’re in Downtown Sarasota, head to their annual New Year’s Eve party, the Sarasota Pineapple Drop! Hear live music from Big Night Out on the Mattison’s Stage, beginning at 8 p.m. Jah Movement Reggae Band will be on the east stage near Evie’s at 8 p.m. Then, hear DJs on the Lemon Avenue stage. There’s also plenty of kids entertainment including carnival rides and games beginning at 1:30 p.m.! At midnight, head to the intersection of Lemon Avenue and Main Street for the Pineapple Drop countdown into 2017!

  • Price: Free admission.
  • Time: 1 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Where: Downtown Sarasota.

5. Main Street Live in Downtown Bradenton

Our area’s most popular street party, you won’t want to miss Main Street Live for hours of live music. Bands include The Dram from 6–10 p.m. and Have Gun, Will Travel playing from 10 p.m.–midnight. You’ll also get to the opportunity to peruse a variety of vendors for a festive end to 2016!

  • Price: Free.
  • Time: 6 p.m. to midnight.
  • Where: Old Main Street, Bradenton.

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

With the weather forecast looking beautiful and sunny for the next week, it’s the perfect time to take a boat or water tour in Palmetto, FL! Here are the three best boat and water tours our area has to offer.

1. Riverside Tours Inc

1005 Riverside Dr., Palmetto. | 941-779-3606

At Riverside Tours Inc, get the chance to cruise the Historic Manatee River! There are a variety of cruises to choose from. Their day cruises will take you to see mansions along the river, and you’ll even get to learn about the history of the thriving mangrove islands. Evening cruises are perfect for date night or a night out with friends since these are adult-only. In addition, you are welcome to bring your own libations and picnic to enjoy while cruising. The boats are also weather-protected and are equipped with an on-board restroom facility to ensure the most comfortable ride.

2. Bass N’ Bay Charters

752 Manatee Ave W., Holmes Beach. | 941-722-2033

If you’re looking for an exciting fishing trip, then you’ve come to the right place at Bass N’ Bay Charters! Captain Brady Nelson will take you on a saltwater or freshwater fishing excursion that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Brady’s boat is equipped with top-of-the-line fishing and safety equipment, so you can always be in for a smooth ride. Fishing trips are very customizable. View the full list here. There’s also a special running right now! If you choose to book a saltwater trip for two, you can bring one additional guest for free.

3. Captain Rachel’s Charter

Hop aboard Captain Rachel’s Charter, where you can fish and have a wonderful time outdoors during an eco water tour! Her 22′ Bayrider can seat up to six guests. With Captain Rachel, you’ll take a trip to Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve, a beautiful area that’s thriving with wildlife, a wide variety of fish and the occasional manatee or porpoise sighting! Because her fishing trips are so flexible and customizable, she is able to take her guests to local restaurants if they wish. Choose fishing trips ranging from four to eight hours. Then depending on the amount of passengers prices range from $350 to $800. Eco tours will run for either two or four hours, with prices ranging from $250–$250.

Next: Live Shrimp: The Best Bait During a Florida Winter

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