3 Affordable Travel Destinations Near Bradenton

3 Affordable Travel Destinations Near Bradenton

3 Affordable Travel Destinations Near Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Affordable Travel Destinations Near Bradenton

Are you on a budget this summer? While there is much to see and do in the Bradenton area, there are many affordable travel destinations nearby!

In fact, three cities in Florida were named among the Top 10 Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the country by AOL! Orlando ranked at No. 1 for the second consecutive year, Fort Lauderdale came in at No. 3, and Jacksonville ranked at No. 9.

For a family of four, the total vacation costs for three days and nights are $2,284 in Orlando, $2,560 in Fort Lauderdale and $2,852 in Jacksonville.

To find the most affordable travel destinations, AOL considered the average cost for a family of four and individuals using these four key factors: roundtrip airfare, hotel rates, car rental rates and dining.

If you’re on a budget and looking for an affordable getaway for you and your family, learn more about these cities near Bradenton: 

When in Orlando, located just a couple hours from Bradenton, you’ll certainly find extraordinary theme parks. But, that’s not all there is to do while visiting. Families will love seeing dinosaur fossils at the Orlando Science Center or stars at the Crosby Observatory. Golfers will also have their fair share of stunning courses when they’re looking to play a round.

In Fort Lauderdale, boat lovers—yacht lovers, especially—will relish in the Florida sunshine. The city is also home to major annual boat shows, museums and lovely beaches. However, Fort Lauderdale is nearly 4 hours away from Bradenton, so you may want to take this factor in consideration before traveling.

Lastly, Jacksonville is also a mere 4 hours away, but it is certainly worth the trip, especially when considering affordability. Take a day to kayak throughout the city, where you will experience the area’s breathtaking nature and gardens. On another day, you might rent some snokelling gear and explore Blackmar’s Reef.

Next: Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

Free Things to do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017 Riviera Dunes Marina

Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

From gazing at unique artwork to admiring national memorials and parks, there are several free things to do near Bradenton this summer! Whether you’re on a budget or are just searching for some fun things to do to give your wallet a break, the fun never stops near Bradenton!

Visit the Cortez Historic Fishing Village.

Immerse yourself in history as you enter the charming fishing village of Cortez. Traverse through Cortez’s Florida Maritime Museum offering free admission every day! Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t miss the latest exhibit, Florida Through the Lens, which displays the work of nature photographer Richard Estabrook. This exhibit continues through July 28. In addition to the museum, you can take a stroll through charming, old fish houses!

Admire the Riverwalk’s public art collection.

Stroll Bradenton’s Riverwalk to view 19 pieces of public art. From acoustic sculptures to the drum yard, the public art is enjoyable for all ages! Kids will especially love cooling down at the Riverwalk’s Splash Pad making this one of the best free things to do near Bradenton when the heat keeps climbing this summer.

Take a nature hike at the De Soto National Memorial.

Get up close and personal with the beautiful nature that our area has to offer. The park at the De Soto National Memorial offers a nature trail, picnic tables and opportunities for bird watching and fishing. The best of all is that the entire experience is free!

Experience island history.  

You can truly spend an entire day when at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., see the museum’s many exhibits and even a historical cottage that uniquely shows you what it was like living on the island. Originally an icehouse, the museum’s exhibits take you through fishing and baseball history with their collection of newspaper archives. Then, stroll through Mangrove Walk to learn about plants that are native to our area.

Go to the beach.

At the end of the day, one of the greatest free activities to take advantage of while near Bradenton is relaxing at the beach! Comb the local beaches for shells, take a tranquil walk, or simply enjoy the relaxing environment of a day spent at the beach.

Next: Top Fun and Free Things to Do in Sarasota

4 Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach

4 Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach

4 Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach

Whether you’re a seasoned beachgoer in Bradenton or traveling here for your annual vacation, staying safe at the beach should always be your top priority.

Here are four simple tips to make sure you’re safe at the beach this summer!

1. Don’t overestimate your swimming abilities.

Since you know how skilled you are in swimming, it’s best to keep within your abilities in order to stay safe at the beach this summer. For instance, if you’re a novice swimmer, it’s certainly not wise to be swimming in the deeper areas where you can’t touch the bottom. Don’t find yourself in trouble by overestimating your swimming abilities this summer. 

In addition, there are often stronger currents or rip tides in the water that are much more difficult to escape. So be sure to not attempt to swim during these conditions if you are not equipped to handle them.

2. Be aware of drop-off points in the water.

Make sure to identify where the deeper areas are in the water, and avoid drop-off points, small holes or where sandbars end in the water. This is especially important to pinpoint for your small children whom might be swimming on their own.

3. Keep a careful watch on your kids.

While parents do their best to supervise their children when at the beach, lifeguards emphasize that this is often the No. 1 thing you can do to ensure your kids’ safety. A lack of parental supervision is often the top reason for children’s near-drownings.

4. Stay within view of the lifeguards.

Lifeguards are on the beaches to protect and keep you safe, but they cannot do so if you’re out of sight. Often times there are designated areas that are monitored by lifeguards. However, beachgoers will sit further away out of those areas and eventually swim out in an unguarded area. Stay close to lifeguards, especially if swimming is not your greatest strength.

Now that you know to stay safe at the beach this summer, enjoy your time in the sun!

Next: What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area Riviera Dunes Marina

2017 July 4th Weekend in the Bradenton Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

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

What to Bring to the Beach for Summer 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

 5 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton FL Riviera Dunes Marina

3 Best Seafood Spots in Bradenton, FL

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

Anna Maria Oyster Bar

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

Riverhouse Reef & Grill

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

Pier 22

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

Next: Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

Three Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton FL

Three Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton FL

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

3 Underrated Theme Parks Near Bradenton, FL

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

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

Here are three underrated theme parks to visit near Bradenton.

Fun Spot America

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

Old Town

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

The Holy Land Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto

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

Where to Dine on the Water Near Palmetto, FL

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

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

Here are 4 restaurants that offer magnificent waterfront dining:

The Crow’s Nest

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

Dockside Waterfront Grill

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

The Old Salty Dog

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

Ophelia’s On the Bay

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

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

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

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

5 Theaters to Visit in the Sarasota Area

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

Asolo Repertory Theater

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

Upcoming shows:

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

Dog Days Theatre

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

Upcoming plays:

  • Relatively Speaking
  • Double Indemnity 

Florida Studio Theatre

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

Upcoming plays:

Mainstage

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

Summer Cabaret

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

Winter Mainstage

  • Rich Girl, through May 26 

Winter Cabaret

  • Older Than Dirt, through June 4

FST Improv

  • 17 Improv Festival, July 13–15

Children’s Theatre

  • Just For Laughs, June and July

McCurdy’s Comedy Theater

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

Upcoming shows:

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

Players Centre for Performing Arts

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

Upcoming shows:

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

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL