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

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

Summer Bucket List Part 1: 5 Must-Dos in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

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

Just a short drive from Riviera Dunes Marina lies Sarasota renowned for its beautiful beaches. However, Sarasota has much more to offer than sun and sand! From museums to lush botanical gardens, there are plenty of must-dos in Sarasota that you’ll want to add to your summer bucket list!

Here’s part one of our summer bucket list when you’re in Sarasota.

1. Sarasota Farmers Market

The summer season welcomes a bounty of bright vegetables, fruit and other specialty foods local to the Sarasota area. Discover fresh ginger, microgreens, lush beets and you guessed it—Florida oranges! In addition, the Sarasota Farmers Market features plant vendors selling everything from herbs to flowers as well as artisans offering handmade soap, artwork and more eclectic goods! When you’re done perusing the exciting vendors, stick around for lunch at one of the food vendors serving up steak, German food and burgers . . . just to name a few. The market is located at 1 N. Lemon Avenue and operates every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

2. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

One of the most unique must-dos in Sarasota is to visit Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, an animal sanctuary for large, exotic animals. In addition to caring for exotic animals in need, the sanctuary is also an educational opportunity where you can learn about animal care and habitat preservation. Some animals you might see are bears, birds, ligers, lions and tortoises! There is also a petting zoo where you can get up close with goats, llamas and chickens.

3. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Surround yourself with beauty and nature when you visit Selby Botanical Gardens. Enter the gardens’ seven acres of tropical bliss as you traverse the Children’s Rainforest Garden where visitors can learn about this unique environment. Then, in the Tropical Conservatory, this is the gardens’ public greenhouse where you will see the first blooms of the plants. Of course, you won’t want to miss the koi pond, fern garden or the Towering Bamboo garden, where bamboo can grow up to 40 inches per day! See it all for yourself and more at the botanical gardens in Sarasota.

4. The Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Antique car lovers will be mesmerized at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, the second oldest antique car museum in the country! Admire over 75 antique cars from Bentleys to Cadillacs. You’ll even get to see cars owned by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and a collection of cars owned by John and Mable Ringling. Then make sure you make a stop in the gift shop to take home a treasure and remember your visit for years to come!

5. The Beaches

Of course one of the top must-dos in Sarasota must include a visit to the beach! Popular beaches to visit are the No. 1 voted beach, Siesta Key Beach, Lido Beach, Venice beach, among other beaches and their islands. Learn more about Sarasota’s beaches and islands in this previous post

Next: 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

Summer is right around the corner, which means there’s plenty of time to take a day or more out of your schedules for a good ol’ Bradenton fishing trip. Here’s a helpful checklist to assist you when you’re ready for a day fishing out on Bradenton waters.

Your fishing license or permit

Whether you are a local or a visitor during your Bradenton fishing trip, you’ll need a fishing license or permit, which you can get on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website. However, you might not need a fishing license or permit if you meet the exemptions listed here. Make sure to do your homework before embarking on your fishing trip.

Rods and tackle box

What’s a Bradenton fishing trip without your rods and a stocked tackle box? Whether you have your single lucky rod that you always reach for or a few favorites, make sure to bring them on your trip! Then, check your tackle box to make sure you have extra fishing line, scissors, pliers to remove hooks, gloves and plenty of bait.

GPS and backup maps

Navigate your Bradenton fishing trip with ease when you have a GPS. If you don’t have a GPS within your boat, check out Google Earth on your phone in order to view a topographical map and find the best fishing spots in Bradenton. And though you might never need it, bringing the old paper map will certainly come in handy should your mobile devices fail.

First aid kit

It never hurts to be prepared in the event that there is an accident when you’re fishing. Check on your first aid kit to ensure there are bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze and adhesive tape to mend any unfortunate fishing accidents.

Stocked cooler

Even if you’re spending just a half day on the Bradenton waters for your fishing trip, you should always bring a stocked cooler. Make sure your cooler is packed with plenty of water and food. Plus, you might need a cooler if you’re fishing with live bait.

Protection from the sun

It’s likely there will be plenty of sun when you’re fishing in the Sunshine State. Don’t leave home without sunscreen, hats and polarized sunglasses to sufficiently protect yourself from the sun.

Next: 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places For Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Places for Shelling Near Riviera Dunes Marina

Did you know that when you visit Bradenton, you’ll get to take home a “piece” of it with you? That’s right! One of our most beloved pastimes—other than boating, of course—is to visit the lovely beaches near Riviera Dunes Marina in search of shells! Shelling is not only a fun activity in and of itself, but it provides built-in souvenirs for you to take home to remember your trip for years to come. Here are our three of our favorite places to go shelling near Riviera Dunes Marina:

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is brimming with shells! From lovely turkey wings to the smaller coquinas, and even sand dollars, there are plenty of treasures to discover when you visit the beaches of Anna Maria Island. Whether you’re shelling along the shores of Manatee Public Beach or at Anna Maria City Beach, it’s not uncommon to find shells that are in perfect condition. Larger shells are known to be found when you’re on North Bay Boulevard at Bayfront Park during low tide. Then when you head to the more southern end of the island, Coquina Public Beach is popular for finding both seashells and shark teeth.

Siesta Key

When you visit the beaches of Siesta Key, wonderful shelling opportunities await you! Though you are bound to find shells on all of Siesta Key’s three beaches, Turtle Beach is known to have the greatest abundance of shells among the three beaches. Plus, this beach is much less crowded, so there are always plenty of shells to take home with you!

Lido Key

Known for its two miles of pristine shoreline, the barrier island of Lido Key is also a hotspot for shells. Roam Lido Key’s beaches, whether it’s North Lido Beach, Lido Key Public Beach or South Beach, and you’re bound to find heaps of shells. However, if you want to find the most shells on Lido Key, head to the less busy northern end. With less hotels and less foot traffic, the more shelling opportunities there will be for you and your loved ones!

Next: 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

With the sun in full force and the last day of school right around the corner, we can predict that you’ll be spending much more time outside! And with the additional time outside, this of course means that you have to be even more on guard when it comes to sun protection. Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones beneath the Florida sun.

1. Dress for the occasion.

When you’re beneath the Florida sun, you don’t want to be wearing dense clothing. In order to stay cool, wear breathable clothing made out of fabrics such as linen and cotton. Items such as flowy dresses, pants and tops are preferable. Open-toed shoes or sandals are better options and preferred over sneakers.

2. Take frequent breaks from the sun.

As much as our beaches here in Bradenton are breathtaking, you stil have to make sure you’re taking a break from the sun. Too much sun could cause heat stroke or sunburn, among other issues. Whether you move to a shaded area or to an air-conditioned room, make sure to give yourself breaks from the Florida sun so that you can enjoy time at the beach!

3. You can never overdo the SPF.

Local beachgoers know that applying sunscreen has to be applied often when spending a day in the sun. Experts say that you should reapply sunscreen every two hours. In addition, you should also reapply your sunscreen after you get out of the water, as it’s washed away when swimming. It’s also important to keep in mind that sunscreen is not waterpoof or sweatproof.

4. Hydrate.

Staying properly hydrated is crucial when it comes to protecting yourself from the Florida sun. Drinking alcoholic beverages is not recommended while on the beach since these can quickly dehydrate you. Another tip to ensuring your body is getting enough fluids is to try to avoid salty or overly sweet snacks since these cause fluid loss and result in dehydration.

Next: How You Can Stay Safe at the Bradenton Beaches

How You Can Stay Safe at the Bradenton Beaches

How You Can Stay Safe at the Bradenton Beaches

How You Can Stay Safe at the Bradenton Beaches Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

How You Can Stay Safe at the Bradenton Beaches

With our state’s endless sunshine and beautiful beaches, it’s rare that you can have anything but a great day while vacationing here in Bradenton. Among collecting shark teeth to shelling and of course enjoying time in the water or on a boat, staying safe at Bradenton beaches is our top priority. Resource yourself and your loved ones with these tips for staying safe while on your vacation.

Protect yourself from the sun.

When you’re out enjoying the Bradenton beaches, this of course means you’re spending a lot of time in the sun. Make sure to regularly apply sunscreen every two hours. And if you’re taking a dip in the water, make sure to reapply it right away in order to protect your skin. If you’re going to be spending an extended time on the beach, particularly at midday when the sun is strongest, bring an umbrella, hat and sunglasses so that you can take a break from direct sun exposure.

Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated with plenty of water is key to staying safe during your beach day. While you are surely well aware of this safety tip, it never hurts to be reminded because it is so vital when spending a full day in the sun. In addition, make sure to avoid alcoholic beverages.

Pay attention to the flags.

When you arrive at one of our Bradenton beaches, you’ll notice there will be raised flags to signal the current beach conditions. Flags can be a sign of a number of water conditions including harmful marine life (such as jellyfish) to high hazard and strong current conditions. Assess the flags before you make way to your spot to ensure the water’s safe for you and your little ones.

Be wary of rip currents.

Speaking of strong currents, rip currents are channels of water that can quickly pull you away from the shore. Even though a red flag should be raised to signal for rip currents, you can identify them when you see a change in the water color, rough channel conditions or breaks occurring in the waves. If you do find yourself in a rip current, make sure that you remain calm and swim with the current’s direction parallel to the shore, not against the current as this will just pull you out further.

Pay attention to poor weather.

Before you venture to the Bradenton beaches, check the weather report so that you can be aware of any storms or other severe weather. If you’re expecting stormy weather, it might be best to reschedule your beach day. If you find yourself already at the beach, and you hear thunder, immediately exit the water and vacate the beach while you wait out the storm by retreating indoors.

Next: Get to Know the Islands ands Beaches of Sarasota

Tips for Staying on Budget During Your Bradenton Vacation

Tips for Staying on Budget During Your Bradenton Vacation

Tips for Staying on Budget During Your Bradenton Vacation Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Tips for Staying on Budget During Your Bradenton Vacation

Will you be visiting the Bradenton area for your summer vacation? Like any vacation, it can often be difficult to stay on budget when there are so many fun things to do when you’re visiting beautiful Bradenton. Here are some helpful tips for staying on budget during your Bradenton vacation.

Stay in a rental instead of a hotel.

From Airbnbs to countless vacation rental homes, there are many places you can stay at during your Bradenton vacation that are also beneficial for your budget. Rentals typically include many amenities that hotels are not equipped with. For instance, a full kitchen keeps you from not having to dine out for every meal. When it comes to doing your laundry, an in-house washer and dryer doesn’t require you to have an abundance of quarters, and you don’t need to haul your laundry to another floor. You’re also no longer reserved to the two beds and a pull out bed in a hotel room to accommodate your family of 5. With a rental, you’ll have more rooms and couches for your loved ones to sleep comfortably. Plus, you have much more privacy and maybe even a better view!

Go during the off-season.

If you can postpone your vacation to the off-season months, this is an even more opportune time to visit when it comes to staying on budget! Off-season vacations present more opportunities to enjoy Bradenton and the surrounding areas while avoiding the crowds and the inflated prices. Plus, you never have to worry about poor weather when you vacation to Bradenton because it will still be in the 70s in the middle of winter!

Take advantage of the rental’s kitchen.

As mentioned before, having a kitchen in your rental is not only convenient for storing any leftovers from our fabulous local restaurants, but the kitchen also provides more opportunities for you to cook instead of buying every meal. Even if you only cook one meal each day at your rental, this will not only save you plenty of funds over your vacation, but it helps you stay on your budget.

Seek out affordable—or even free—fun!

Though they’re definitely worth a visit, you might need a break from the sky-high expenses that come along with amusement parks. In and around Bradenton, there are many ways to have fun while staying on budget. Visit the local nature parks or comb our beaches for an assortment of shells or shark teeth! Stroll along the Bradenton Riverwalk or visit the unique museums! The list goes on for budget-friendly fun when you vacation to Bradenton.

Next: 3 Affordable Travel Destinations near Bradenton

Get to Know the Islands and Beaches of Sarasota

Get to Know the Islands and Beaches of Sarasota

Get to Know the Islands and Beaches of Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina

Get to Know the Islands and Beaches of Sarasota

With six islands and a multitude of beaches within each, it’s safe to say that there will always be a spot for you on the beautiful islands and beaches of Sarasota. When you want to island hop or settle down onto a secluded beach and get into a good book, here’s what you can expect when you visit the islands and beaches of Sarasota.

Casey Key

Casey Key, which is home to Nokomis Beach, is located on the southern end of Sarasota County. As the oldest public beach in the county, Nokomis has a wealth of activities that’s perfect for all—from the fishermen to the families. The kids will love finding shark teeth washed ashore. And don’t forget your maracas! Everyone will love to join in on the Nokomis Beach Drum Circle every Wednesday and Saturday evening around sunset. In addition there are also lifeguards year-round, picnic tables and a concession stand with everything from smoked brisket to sangria. 

Lido Key

Serene and uncrowded, Lido Beach on Lido Key is a popular destination for those looking to unwind without disturbance. Stroll along the 1-mile beachfront for a sunset walk or take a dip into the Lido Beach Community Swimming Pool to do some laps. South Lido Park Beach is another relaxing destination on Lido Key. The 100-acre park is lush with trails and waterways perfect for you to take your canoe or dip in for a swim. There are also picnic areas and a playground for the little ones.

Longboat Key

Longboat Key is another spot for some of the more private beaches of Sarasota county. Though they can be a little more difficult to reach, they offer uninterrupted afternoons of sun and sand. If you are visiting Longboat Key beaches during the summer months, you just might get to see turtles laying their eggs on the beach!

Manasota Key

On Manasota Key, you’ll find a beach for all outdoor lovers! Along Manasota Beach, a smaller beach, there are lovely dunes, mangroves and many opportunities to go wildlife or bird watching in this nature haven. Though a quieter beach, Blind Pass Beach offers uninterrupted views of the sunset and an abundance of shark teeth and shells to take home as souvenirs! Englewood Beach, also known as Middle Beach, has more beachgoers, but there are also more amenities including showers, grilling and picnic areas as well as basketball courts and a playground for the kids. Lastly, Stump Pass Beach is rich in nature in addition to their secluded beach. Take out your kayak where you might see tortoises and manatees or cast a line while you wait for your next big catch!

Siesta Key

Siesta Key is home to Siesta Beach, which is acclaimed for its No. 1 rating on Dr. Beach’s list of best beaches in America. Beachgoers love the white quartz sand, the shimmering Gulf of Mexico waters in the distance and of course the friendly dolphin, manatee and birds that can be seen during their visit. Other Siesta Key hotspots are Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach, which you’ll find are much more secluded compared to Siesta Beach. 

Venice

Soak up some sun, swim out to the coral reef or watch as the dolphins swim in the ocean at Venice Beach. After sunbathing, you can also walk along a boardwalk, spend some time in a picnic area or play a round of sand volleyball. Also located in Venice, Caspersen Beach always ensures you’ll leave with some treasure, whether it’s shark teeth or shells! Then if your furry family members are with you, head to Brohard Paw Park near Caspersen.

Next: Don’t Forget These Top 7 Beach Essentials

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

Dog-Friendly Beaches and Parks near Sarasota

Dog-Friendly Beaches and Parks near Sarasota

Dog-Friendly Beaches and Parks near Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina

Dog-Friendly Beaches and Parks near Sarasota

Wondering if you can bring your pups to the beach? Here’s a list of the dog-friendly beaches and parks near Sarasota so that your furry family members can join you for some fun in the sun.

Brohard Paw Park and Beach

Your pups will love cooling off at the Brohard Paw Park and Beach! With plenty of space for your dogs to roam freely, the Paw Park and Beach is the perfect spot for the whole family! Clean, welcoming and fenced-in, your pup will get plenty of exercise and have tons of fun stretching their legs in the park area. Then, head to the dog-friendly beach for more fun! The park is also equipped with picnic tables, on-site parking, restroom facilities, drinking fountains and water bowls for the pups. After your fun at the beach, there are complimentary hoses for you to rinse off yourself and your pups so they don’t track sand into your vehicle.

17th Street Paw Park

For a spot that’s solely for your pups, check out 17th Street Paw Park in Sarasota. There are two areas for your dogs: an area for larger dogs and an area for dogs that are 20 pounds or less. At this dog-friendly area, pups have it all. There’s plenty of nice grass, shaded areas and access to water. Plus, there are benches and picnic tables so that you and your loved ones can enjoy your lunch while your pup is having fun!

Bird Key Park

For another scenic spot in Sarasota, head to Bird Key Park, which also has a dog-friendly beach area! While your pup has to remain on a leash, they’ll still get to enjoy the scenery walking along the water where you can not only enjoy the sunset, but you also see the moonrise! When you’re ready to take a pause from your visit, take a seat on one of the many benches while you enjoy the spectacular water views.

Sarasota’s BayFront Park

Situated along Sarasota Bay is Sarasota’s Bayfront Park. Boasting a lovely panoramic view of the bay and soaring palm trees, the bayfront park has a green space where you can take your dogs as long as they are on a leash. There is also a nice walking path and easy access to the bay for you and your pup. When you want a bite to eat, just a few steps away is Oleary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, a dog-friendly restaurant. Bring a frisbee for your pup and an appetite for an enjoyable afternoon out for the whole family.

Next: 8 Tips for Boating with Your Pups

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Take a Day Trip: Warm Mineral Springs near Bradenton

Did you know that our Sunshine State is home to the largest mineral spring in the entire world? After you let that soak in, did you know that Warm Mineral Springs is the only one of its kind in the whole state? It’s also just a short drive from Riviera Dunes Marina. After just 51 minutes via I-75 S, you’ll be able to swim in the only warm mineral springs in the entire state, making this a one-of-a-kind experience during your visit.  

For those cooler, spring days, why not take a day trip to North Port’s Warm Mineral Springs for a nice, warming soak in this naturally warm spring! Remaining at a constant temperature of 87 F, the spring is also surrounded by a resort and day spa. Admission to the spring is $20 for adults and $10 for those ages 10 and under.

If you’ve never been to a mineral spring before, here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting:

  • To avoid the crowds, visit the Warm Mineral Springs either during the week or earlier in the day if you visit on the weekend.
  • From fish to turtles, you never know what kind of wildlife you may encounter when swimming in the springs. Keep a watchful eye out for wildlife. After all, you’re a guest in their home.
  • In addition to wildlife, be wary of the vegetation on the bottom of the spring. Though Warm Mineral Springs gets up to 250 feet deep at its center, be careful not to stir up sediment or disturb the ecosystem when in the more shallow areas.
  • While this might be a no-brainer, make sure you don’t forget your essentials. Take a advantage of the clear waters by bringing your snorkel and mask to view the wildlife beneath you. Then in your waterproof bag, make sure to pack multiple towels, snacks and water and even water shoes if you prefer.
  • Lastly, please do not leave any trash behind. Dispose of your trash to not only clean up after yourself but also to protect the wildlife and their home.

Next: 3 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Vacation Near Our Marina