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

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

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

Get The Downton Abbey Experience On A Yacht

Get The Downton Abbey Experience On A Yacht

In a small corner of Seattle’s quickest-growing neighborhood, an old yacht is hanging on to history. 

The M/V Lotus still resides in the waters of Lake Union, over 100 years after she was built. “It’s just so still and quiet down here. It’s lovely,” remarked steward Christian Gruye.

“[The Lotus was built in] 1909, and she’s all original,” said Gruye.

Lotus was the largest power yacht on the West Coast when she was built. She launched the same year as the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition.

Maurice McMicken was the owner.

“He built the first trolley car system in Seattle,” Gruye said.

McMicken ensured Lotus was state of the art, from installing a savvy intercom system to furnishing her with the era’s finest fittings by Tiffany and Rookwood. “The lighting downstairs in the saloon is Tiffany. There’s a working wood fireplace. And the tile is made by Rookwood, and it’s stunning. There aren’t any others. That’s ours. It was built for Lotus,” Gruye said.

Over 100 years later, the M/V Lotus is a non-profit. She’s a visiting vessel at the Center for Wooden Boats, moored at the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park, where guests can spend the night in one of five state rooms. There are double bunks, queen size beds, and a luxurious master suite with a writing desk and several windows. The master suite is where McMicken lived every summer. 

There are also public dockside “Lake History” tours every Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.

“It’s considered a ‘Seattle Historic Overnight Experience,’” Gruye said. “It’s a real immersion, because we live just like they did in 1909. We don’t have anything that they don’t have, [except] wifi.”

The staterooms are $105 – $185 a night.

Of course if you are looking for a more beach feel yacht experience, be sure to come to Riviera Dunes Marina to experience the luxury of the Gulf of Mexico. With plenty of sand, sun and good times, we are the premiere destination for yacht enthusiast in the state of Florida. Stop by the best Bradenton area marina and see why Riviera Dunes Marina is the luxury marina you have been waiting for.

Kids Living Life On The Open Water

Kids Living Life On The Open Water

Back in the spring of 2011, Eleanor was about to start cruising around the world. She was interviewed about traveling around the world and a month later, 5-year-old Frances was asked question.

Five years later, and the girls were interviewed again. This time, they’re cruising veterans. Their answers are more complex, and the perspectives are more complicated. In the same way they enjoyed reading interviews of their 7- and 5-year-old selves tonight, I hope their future 17- and 15-year-old selves appreciate these answers.

What aspect of the cruising life appeals to you most?

FRANCES: Hmm, traveling to different places and seeing new things and eating new foods and talking to different people.

ELEANOR: Umm, pretty much the same as Franny, except I also like that I get to spend a lot of time with my family.

What about cruising do you wish you could change?

ELEANOR: Umm, definitely that I never get to see my extended family or my close friends.

But don’t you see your extended family more often than you would if we were living in D.C.? Back then, we’d have only a two-week vacation each year. Since we’ve been cruising, we’ve had a lot more time with family.

ELEANOR: Yeah, that’s true, so I guess it’s more about friends.

FRANCES: I’d say the same as Eleanor.

How is the boat schooling going?



You’ve been aboard many boats now. How is Del Viento as a home? Do you wish it was bigger or smaller or laid out differently?

ELEANOR: No, I love Del Viento. I’m really glad that it’s a monohull and that it’s not too modern. Umm, sometimes I wish I had my own room. It’s just nice to have someplace to go, but, uh, I also like sharing a room with Franny.

FRANCES: Same as Eleanor, just, um, yeah, it’s like the perfect size and everything.

If you could snap your fingers and be back to living in a house, living a more typical life, would you?

FRANCES: Definitely not.


At what age do you think you’ll want to stop cruising?

ELEANOR: Umm, I don’t know, it depends. I want to go to high school, maybe in Japan, and I think that would be a good time to stop cruising.

FRANCES: Probably in my late teens.

log of del viento

Do you think you’ll want to sail around with your own family when you’re my age?

FRANCES: No, but I still would like to travel a lot.

ELEANOR: Same as Franny, but I would like to maybe do it when I’m a young adult.


Do you have a favorite place you’ve been?

FRANCES: No, I’ve loved all the places. I especially like Santa Rosalia and Juneau in Alaska.

ELEANOR: Umm, a little of every place we’ve been. Some places feel more like home to me. Some places hold a more significant memory, like Santa Rosalia, La Paz, and probably Tonga in the future. 

Is there any place we’ve traveled to that you would want to live someday?

ELEANOR: Umm, I don’t know. I love Mexico and I fantasize about living in Alaska, but I doubt it will ever happen. But, yeah, I love Mexico, I guess that would be the biggest one.

Why do you doubt you’ll ever live in Alaska?

ELEANOR: Just because I don’t think it’s something I would realistically do, but I like the idea of it.

FRANCES: I’d love to live in Alaska.

What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you since we started cruising?

FRANCES: Umm, storms comes to mind, like really bad storms where you just have to stay in. Like when we waited in Mexico for the hurricane to pass over us.


FRANCES: Yeah, Odile.

ELEANOR: Umm, yeah, hurricane Odile comes to mind, that was definitely way up there.

Of all the places we’ve been, which has been your least favorite?

ELEANOR: I’d have to think.

FRANCES: There’s really no place that I’ve went to that I hated. Some places, I’m sort of like “ick.”

Like where?

FRANCES: Hmm, I can’t think.

ELEANOR: Umm, like I know there’s bad places, but, I guess probably someplace in Mexico where there are a bunch of drunk ex-pats! I don’t know.

What is the best advice you could offer a kid your age whose parents are thinking about going cruising?

FRANCES: Oh gosh, umm, it’s not as scary as it seems, something like that.

ELEANOR: It’s not as scary as it seems, but I think that depends on the person. I don’t think I get scared that easily, but that person may. It definitely isn’t like it is in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. That’s what I was thinking of when I was first moving onto a boat.

The most surprising aspect of the girls’ responses is apparent to me only when I answer these questions for myself. Many of the questions, I would answer similarly. But some. I would answer very differently. For example, “What about cruising do you wish you could change?” They both focused on friends and extended family. I would have answered: faster internet, hot showers, and a normal-sized fridge. Also, I asked them whether there was a boat they’ve been on that they’d prefer to Del Viento. I could think of several boats they might have picked, but they both agreed Del Viento was the boat for them. And who knew Santa Rosalia was such a hit? I thought the incredible Tuamotus would have earned a mention.

Combining Basketball and a Luxury Yacht Never Looked Better

Combining Basketball and a Luxury Yacht Never Looked Better

Mark Cuban’s 288-foot luxury yacht “Fountainhead” is pretty hard to miss when looking out into the water.

Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team so of course that had to be incorporated into the yacht. There is a basketball hoop attached to the stern where the Mavs owner could clearly host his players at all times. 

Fountainhead is registered in the Cayman Islands and is said to be named after the Ayn Rand novel with the same title.

The luxury yacht has been spotted this year in Stamford, Connecticut, Miami and Charleston, S.C.

If you want to check out Cuban’s yacht for yourself, check out the pictures below!

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.53.42 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.57.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.57.35 PM

What do you think about this luxury yacht? Would you ever want one similar to Mark Cuban’s? Right in the comments below what you love about this yacht and what you would like instead on your next yacht. And of course, if you are ever in the Manatee Area, be sure to stop by Riviera Dunes Marina. Our luxury marina is the ideal spot to rent or own a slip while in the Palmetto, Bradenton and Sarasota area. With multiple 5 star reviews from our clients, just see why Riviera Dunes Marina is the Number 1 luxury marina in Florida.

Top 25 Gifts For Any Palmetto Yacht Owner

Top 25 Gifts For Any Palmetto Yacht Owner

Do you know a Palmetto yacht owner with an upcoming birthday? If you are ready to make a “splash” for their birthday, here are 25 gifts that would make every Palmetto yacht owner excited to receive.


1. Spinlock Lume-On

Once activated, these compact LEDs provide up to two hours of intense flashing light. It’s lightweight, smooth, and is very simple to attach to most lifejackets.


2. Astra esa smartwatch

The esa is the first smartwatch designed for sailing. It uses wifi to display information from onboard instruments on your wrist. The watch also offers full Android capabilities.


3. Snowlizard SLXtreme Navigator

As a sailor, you need a waterproof phone/tablet case. With more boaters using tablets for navigation, a case with a built-in GPS could be an ideal gift.


4. Lifedge Ultimate Cable

The extra long (2m/6.5ft) and durable Ultimate cable is corrosion-proof and tangle-proof, and offers waterproof phone charging.


5. Ocean Signal rescueMe MOB1

The more portable a personal rescue device is, the more likely it will be worn or carried. Ocean Signal’s new MOB1 is 30% smaller than its competitor’s devices.


6. The Nub

The Nub is a simple, lightweight, plastic design that can handles great loads with minimal friction.


7. Exposure XS-WR Torch

This compact, lightweight, double-ended torch shines a powerful white beam from one end and a red beam from the other.


8. Splash Drone

This is the first fully waterproof quadcopter, and it floats! This drone can carry and release items, such as safety gear.


9. TackingMaster

Race tactics involve decisions based on the wind direction. This Danish device helps make wind shifts quick and easy to measure using a watch-style wrist mount.


10. Restube
The Restube is a personal lifebuoy developed by a kitesurfer that fits into a small pouch. It uses a vertical or horizontal belt attachment, and a sports model is available with a harness mount.


11. Dr Sails

This fast curing epoxy can be used on sails in all conditions. It can even help patch a hole below the waterline.


12. Fizzics portable beer tap

The founders of Fizzics have really explored the science (or ‘fizzics’) of beer drinking, and created a device they say will deliver the perfect pour.


13. JIVE Bike

The JIVE is the first folding, electric, chain-less bicycle, and it only weighs 15kg. It can be cycled manually, electrically, or a combination of both.


14. TaskOne G3 case

The TaskOne G3 includes 22 tools and a mount for attaching saw blades. So, you can now use your phone to cut, saw, grip, and screw things.


15. Garmin Virb X and XE

If your choice of action camera is more defined by durability, audio and picture quality, consider Garmin’s rugged and waterproof Virb cameras.

The Best Yacht Promotion We Have Ever Seen

The Best Yacht Promotion We Have Ever Seen

A coworker visiting Australia during the holidays was surprised to see a 70-foot yacht in Sydney Harbor with the name “Visit Seattle” fixed across the hull.

The yacht is taking part in the “Clipper Round the World Yacht Race,” an adventure that will bring the yacht through 14 ports around the world in just under a year.

Visit Seattle, a public-private partnership that markets the region, launched the race last summer to promote the Puget Sound area as an international visitor destination.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR CLIPPER VENTURES. Clipper yacht LMAX Exchange is seen under sail on Sydney harbour, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (AAP For CLIPPER VENTURES/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which benefits Unicef, is the world’s longest ocean journey. The race consists of 12 teams competing against each other over 40,000 nautical miles.

“The race gives us a great opportunity to take the iconic image of our skyline across the globe and helps to position our city as an exciting, international destination,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle president and CEO.

Since the race began last summer, the yacht has already visited several ports. It will next travel to China before returning to Seattle. Then, it will head to Panama, New York, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The yacht race is only one of several strategies created by Visit Seattle, which is working to attract tourists from all over the world. How would you love to see a yacht like this around the Manatee River? Would you love to see a “Visit Bradenton” yacht sailing around the Gulf of Mexico? Here’s to hoping that we can get a glimpse of marketing like this in the near future from one of our amazing slip owners over here at Riviera Dunes Marina!

High Level Celebrities Are Buying Eachothers Yachts

High Level Celebrities Are Buying Eachothers Yachts

Have you ever wondered what the author of Harry Potter is up to in her spare time? Well, the answer might surprise you! J. K. Rowling has reportedly bought Johnny Depp’s yacht for a whopping $35 million. She’s into boating, apparently!

Rowling purchased the boat after enjoying a holiday onboard with her husband and their two children last year, reported Daily Mirror.

Rowling, 50, fell in love with the 156-foot vessel, which Depp spent more than 5 million pounds renovating. He previously named the yacht Vajoliroja after his ex-partner, Vanessa Paradis, and their two children. However, he broke up with Paradis in 2012 and he later renamed the yacht Amphitrite.

What would you do if you were able to purchase Johnny Depp’s yacht?

Top Tips When Buying Your Palmetto Boat

Top Tips When Buying Your Palmetto Boat

  1. The type of boat

You’ll first have to decide what type of Palmetto boat you want to buy. Think about if you will cruise or race or will you be day sailing or staying on board for a couple of days. Will you be taking it out on the ocean or rivers and lakes? When you decide what you want to use your boat for, you can start shopping to see what kinds of boats will meet your demands.


  1. What can you afford

After you decide what type of Palmetto boat you want, you need to decide what your budget will be. Don’t forget to consider maintenance, running costs and storage. Always allow for an unexpected expenditure because you never know when you’ll need to cover the cost of a new engine or a new set of sails. It is estimated that your boat will cost you at least 10% every year in maintenance and storage of what the purchase price was.


  1. Where to find the ideal boat

Once you have established exactly what you want and how much you are willing to spend it is time to find the ideal Palmetto boat. Nowadays the internet is the obvious first choice for many of us. Most brokers advertise online and offer thousands of boats for sale both privately and from brokers. Yachting magazines, newspapers and yacht club notice boards are also useful sources. An increasing number of boats are also sold on ebay – but make sure you follow my next tip before you commit to buy!


  1. Look at and try out the boat

Make sure you see the Palmetto boat you want to buy, you wouldn’t imagine how many people buy boats without seeing what they look like in person. You’ll also want to try it out before you buy it and buying a boat is a great time to go out and try it out before you decide to buy it.


  1. Assess the condition

Some insurance companies won’t insure a boat without knowing the condition of the boat. We recommend you have a professional survey conducted so that it can help you out with the insurance and it will also help you negotiate a price.


  1. Draw up a contract

We recommend that you have a written sale and purchase agreement when you buy any kind of boat. This will help you out if any kind of disagreements occur. 


  1. Secure the purchase with a deposit

If you make a deposit, it can act as security and prevent the seller from selling the boat to someone else. 


  1. Check the documentation and VAT status

Always check all documents of proof of ownership before you commit to buying a boat. Also check the VAT status of the boat because if it was built after 1985 then the easiest way to show this is to have the original VAT paid invoice.


  1. Completion

After the survey and all negotiations have been finished, the final transaction consists of handing over the title documents of the boat. Documents that you should receive include, the Certificate of Registry (if registered), the Bills of Sale going back at least 5 years, proof RCD compliance if required and proof of VAT status. Be sure to keep these documents in a safe place as they are not easily replaceable. 


  1. Enjoy your boat!

Don’t forget the most important part now that you have a boat…enjoy it! This is the time to plan lots of trips and maybe even join a yacht club! Invite all of your family and friends so that they can have fun with you.