Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities  near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

With spring break just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your trip to the Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto areas! In addition to our area’s pristine beaches, you’ll quickly discover that our area accommodates all ages. Family-friendly activities abound near Riviera Dunes Marina, from fishing trips to nature obstacle courses and much more. Here’s a snapshot of some fabulous activities that are perfect for your family this spring break.

Spend a day in the trees.

If your family loves being outside, but they want to take a break from the beach, everyone will enjoy a day in the trees as they traverse unique obstacle courses at TreeUmph! Adventure Course! If you’re new to ziplining, TreeUmph! has guides that not only monitor you to ensure you are safe, but they also train you to best navigate the courses. Of course, you are always clicked in with their belay systems to keep you secure during your adventure. Zipline among the trees or sit back and watch your loved ones for one unforgettable experience during your vacation! 

Cast a line.

If you don’t already know, the folks here love to spend a day fishing! You can choose from a shorter excursion at one of our local piers, or you can seek out a local fishing charter where a captain takes you out for a longer fishing trip. Depending on the day, you might catch red grouper, flounder or king mackerel, among several other species. Do you love deep sea fishing? There are trips here just for you! There are even special sunset fishing trips, too. The best thing about local fishing charters is that they are often customizable. You could take a private charter to accommodate a small group of people or join in on a trip with a few dozen other people. 

Tour our area in a new, unique way!

Perhaps you visit the Gulf Coast for spring break every year, but you’re looking to get a fresh taste of our region this year. There are food tours that take you through Downtown Sarasota as you sample our area’s best in fine dining, global fare and more delightful delicacies! Eco tours are another unique way to tour the area. Whether your vessel is a bike or a kayak, there’s always something new to discover about our area’s natural history.

Have a beach day.

Of course, it’s not a visit to the Bradenton area without a day spent at the beach during your spring break vacation. From lounging on the beach to playing a round of frisbee, to shelling and looking for unique birds, our many beaches are a great way to relax and spend time with your loved ones.

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

Anglers love pontoon boat fishing as they’re comfortable, can accommodate a group of people and are sturdy, which is especially true during rougher water conditions when a small boat would typically rock in the Sarasota waterways.

If you’re a boating novice or looking to learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a quick guide in order to help you have a successful fishing day on your pontoon boat. 

Remove or lower your bimini top.

If you don’t have much experience fishing on a pontoon boat, then you don’t want to make the mistake of having your boat’s bimini or canopy top interfering with your cast. Before you set sail on your fishing trip, remove or lower your bimini tops to ensure your hooks don’t catch on them.

Bring a second anchor.

While pontoon boats are sturdy, they can be a bit hard to keep still when fishing if the wind begins to pick up its pace. To make your afternoon of pontoon boat fishing a successful one, bring more than one anchor. Release one at each end of the boat. By using two anchors, this will prevent the boat—and you—from spinning while you’re fishing. As you learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you may choose to add more anchors for your next trip if the weather is particularly windy.

Pack multiple towels.

In order to protect your boat’s seats, packing multiple towels for your trip is a wise idea. From baiting your hooks to gutting the fish, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your seats, especially if they are cloth seats. Vinyl seats tend to be more forgiving, but you should still take precautions and make the clean-up process much easier for yourself. It’s also helpful to have another towel available for you to clean your hands throughout the day.

Rod holders are a good idea.

Due to the finite amount of space on your pontoon boat, creating a place where you can rest your rods can be especially helpful during your fishing trip. You can easily purchase mounted pontoon rod holders that are not only helpful but are convenient to stow away when you’re not fishing. Look for rod holders that have a wide adjustment angle in the event that you need more flexibility.

Bring an extra container for your fish.

While this seems like a no-brainer, you will thank yourself later when you’re having a successful day pontoon boat fishing, and you want to keep fishing longer. Bring an extra container, such as a cooler, in order to store your fish until you’re ready to clean them.

Next: Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

You love our local area in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto for its pristine beaches, but it’s also known for its wonderful marine species, especially sea turtles and manatees. Though, it’s important to remember that these local beaches are home to these endangered species as well. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure we’re protecting our local marine species:

1. Obey the waterway signs.

Waterway signs do not solely exist for boaters’ safety, but they are for the manatees’ safety, too. Obeying the speed limit ensures that you slow down when necessary so that you have a clear view of the water and do not see any manatees before proceeding.

2. Steer clear from shallow waters when possible.

When boating, remain in deep waterways because manatees tend to feed in shallow seagrass beds. In addition, try not to anchor your boats in these areas and in coral reefs because these areas are often habitats for sea turtles.

3. Do not offer food to manatees.

When you see manatees, do not feed them or try to lure them to you. When you lure manatees to you, this increases the chance that they will get caught in watercraft traffic, which could put them at risk.

4. Pick up after yourself before leaving the beach.

Trash is one of the major threats to local marine species since they can mistake floating trash in the water for food, which can block their intestines. Make sure your bring a bag with you so that you can collect all of your trash.

5. The same goes for fishing.

Do not leave any stray fishing lines or nets behind as local marine species as well as birds can get entangled and trapped.

6. Pack a red or yellow flashlight when taking an evening beach stroll.

In the evenings, this is prime nesting time for sea turtles. Lights that are too bright can disturb this process and cause them to be deterred from going to the ocean. This also goes without saying that you should not disturb turtles, especially baby sea turtles because our hands carry chemicals than are poisonous to them.

Next: Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to start planning this special day with your special someone (or with your best gals for your own Galentine’s Day).

From local wineries to the beach, Bradenton and the surrounding areas make it easy for you to mix it up this Valentine’s Day. Here are a few unique ways to spend this holiday with your special someone.

Visit a winery.

There are plenty of local wineries that you can visit to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Besides their fabulous red, white and rose wines, Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery is also known for being a “green” winery because all of their bottles are recycled. While they are not open on Valentine’s Day, this makes visiting a winery a perfect excuse for extending this celebration of love well into the weekend. Fiorelli Winery boasts Old World dry whites and dry reds—all of which are Italian-inspired. Fiorelli Winery is open on Valentine’s Day until 5 p.m. However, if you are interested in going on a vineyard tour, these are only available on the weekend.

Catch a beach sunset.

Just because watching a beach sunset for Valentine’s Day is completely free doesn’t mean that it’s any less special! Make the evening more special by packing a picnic with dinner, blanket and beverages as you sit back and relax under the moonlight.

Take it to the ice!

To mix things up, head to a local ice skating rink, such as Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. Located in nearby Ellenton, their 115,000-square-foot ice and sports complex is open to the public daily and welcomes all levels. Listen to music while you skate with your sweetie in the arena for a truly unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

Head to the Riverwalk.

The best part about Bradenton’s Riverwalk is that there is truly something for everyone here. From the skate park to the fishing pier, the 1.5-mile park is complete with public art, places to shop and delicious restaurants for you to enjoy a hearty meal. Stroll the boardwalk for its array of activities, or simply enjoy a walk after your sunset picnic on the beach.

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Don’t let the recent colder weather discourage you from your wintertime fishing adventures! You might not think that fish will be biting when it’s cold out, but certain fish, such as sheepshead, black drum and redfish, actually thrive in the cooler temperatures. Here are a few tips for fishing during colder weather:

Dress appropriately.

First, make sure you have proper gear when wintertime fishing in Palmetto and the surrounding areas. The winter months can bring some rain, which can cause more spraying than usual when you’re on your boat. Pack your raincoat and bring your rubber boots so that you’re guaranteed to stay warm during your excursion.

Keep an eye on the cold fronts.

Wintertime fishing also brings the cold fronts to the Palmetto area. Be patient and wait for the cold fronts and accompanying stormy weather and windy weather to pass through. After a few days, the water becomes more calm and warm. This is the best time to get out on the water since the fish are very active! While monitoring the cold fronts, you can also check a barometer for water pressure levels. Increasing pressure levels also make for a great time to fish during the winter months. When the water pressure is decreasing or stagnant, you won’t have the best luck fishing.

Know where to look.

Due to the colder weather, fish like to gather in deep holes or shallow flats where the water temperature is warmer. Sheepshead, in particular, prefer to congregate around reefs, piers and docks, while you’ll have more luck finding black drum in private canals.

Bring the right bait.

Live shrimp are known for attracting the most fish during colder temperatures. To entice the fish to come out of their warm water nooks, clip the tails of your shrimp to release a stronger scent in the water. Artificial bait can work as well, just make sure you are being patient when reeling in as any abrupt movement might scare them off.

Next: 7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

While our area is brimming with beautiful beaches and other entertaining spots, there are even more unconventional and fun ways to explore the area to truly get a taste of the local culture. Whether you’re a lover of food, natural history or sightseeing among our fabulous waterways, there are several unique ways to tour Bradenton and Sarasota. The great thing about these tours is that even if you are a local or have vacationed here several times, you can explore the area in a new way and discover hidden gems along the way. Here are a few unique ways to tour our beautiful area!

Food Tours

There is an abundance of tasty food tours here to make your experience here a palatable one. If you’re available for lunch, try the International Flavors of Sarasota Tour where you get to venture around Downtown Sarasota to taste the local food spots that offer global fare! Then, the St. Armands Stroll & Taste Tour is also offered during lunch and takes you downtown to experience the area’s fine cuisine offerings, all while learning about our area’s rich history. Lastly, imbibe with Happy Tours as you learn more about Florida’s Prohibition-era history and sample specially selected spirits and light nosh to accompany them.

Eco and Adventure Tours

When you’re on the hunt for unique ways to tour the Bradenton and Sarasota, and you’re craving a day of adventure, look no further than the local eco tours! From backwoods bike trails to kayaking, hiking and biking tours among the mangrove tunnels, discovering the area’s natural history is a breeze with the many local tours available to you. Some places that offer nature tours are Around the Bend Nature Tours, ((ecko)) Eco Tours, Biotica Eco Tours and so many more. The area’s eco tours are also very customizable. You can choose among full-day and half-day tours, low–medium gear tours, birding tours and the list goes on.

Sailing Tours

When you just can’t get enough of the glistening Florida Gulf Coast waters (We don’t blame you!), there are tours for you, too! Kathleen D Sailing Catamarans offers dolphin watch tours, sunset sails and adventure sailing tours, which include sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, shelling and even lunch! Depending on your schedule and interest, the duration of their tours can be 2 hours to half a day. Tours take off from Downtown Sarasota and also offer complimentary bottled water and parking for your convenience. All you have to do is bring your own picnic, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Next: 3 Best Bike Trails Near Our Marina

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Weather experts say that our area hasn’t experienced this cold of winter weather in many years! While Bradenton’s winter weather will be brief and warm up over the weekend, here are some tips for staying safe during dropping temperatures.

1. Stay inside.

This is the best way to ensure that you are keeping safe and warm in the winter weather. The same goes for your furry family members. Keep them inside if possible. If you have pets that must stay outside, ensure they have access to shelter and unfrozen water.

2. Check on your loved ones.

Ensure that your family, friends and neighbors are safe as well, especially those that are more at risk: those that have young children, are elderly or are chronically ill.

3. Bundle up!

If you must go outside, make sure to wear many lightweight layers underneath a wind-resistant coat. Gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots will help maintain your body heat.

4. Take extra precaution when outdoors.

With cold and icy conditions in this winter weather, it’s advised to walk slowly, take a buddy with you, and always make sure you have your mobile phone with you.

5. Keep your generators outside.

These should never be kept in the home—even in the garage or basement—to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This is also a good time to ensure that your CO detectors are functioning properly.

6. Don’t let your pipes burst!

To prevent your pipes from bursting, keep your faucet trickling water. You can also open the cabinet doors around your pipes in your bathroom and kitchen to allow warm air to reach your pipes, but make sure to remove any cleaning products if you have children or pets in your home.

7. Supervise your space heaters.

If using space heaters to heat your home during winter weather, make sure to keep them on a level surface and at least 3 feet away from any furniture, clothing, paper or any other flammable item. Also, make sure to turn these off before going to bed and leaving the room.

Next: Rainy Day Dun Near Riviera Dunes Marina

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

New Year’s Eve 2017: Top Local Events and Parties

Now that you’ve–hopefully–recovered from your turkey-and-sugar-induced comas, it’s time to start gearing up for the end of 2017! From fireworks on the bay to the Pineapple Drop, there are several New Year’s Eve celebrations and events that you will not want to miss! Here’s a round-up of the best things to do on the last evening of the year:

The Annual Pineapple Drop

Head to Downtown Sarasota for their annual New Year’s Eve bash, the Pineapple Drop. Starting at 6 p.m., Main Street opens up for one of the most anticipated parties of the year. Local restaurants will have special dining deals, and you can even grab a cold one at the many beer stations downtown. Live music kicks off at 9 p.m., then at midnight, the awaited Pineapple Drop goes down at the corner of Main Street and Lemon Avenue.

New Year’s Eve Dance Party

Show off your moves at the dance party hosted at The Municipal Auditorium in Sarasota! Featuring live music by Reverend Barry and the Funk, your all-inclusive tickets will not only get you endless champagne, gourmet catered food, valet and access to an open bar, but you’ll get to see a spectacular light show! Don’t miss this New Year’s Eve dance party! Tickets are $140 until Dec. 30 and $160 on the day of the event.

7th Annual Fireworks on the Bay

What’s a New Year’s Eve celebration without fireworks on the bay? Now in its 7th year, Marina Jack hosts a dazzling way to end the year with their fireworks show and live music to benefit the Suncoast Charities for Children. The best spots to view the fireworks are Downtown Sarasota as well as Bayfront Park and Island Park. While you can surely bring your lawn chairs and blankets to view the show for free, you can also purchase dinner and entertainment packages if you wish. View a full list of the entertainment packages here

Next: Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

4 Top Light Displays Near Riviera Dunes Marina

The holiday season is still in full force, which also means there are amazing light displays all across our area! Here are the best places to view holiday light displays near Riviera Dunes Marina.

Colonial Gables

Located at the corner of Bee Ridge and Woodmont Drive in Sarasota, the neighborhood of Colonial Gables comes alive with an assortment of magical light displays every year to spread the Christmas cheer! Grab a hot cocoa at the nearby Bee Ridge Starbucks for you to enjoy as you drive through the dreamy illuminated arches.

Enander’s Winter Wonderland

Since 1987, the Enander family has decked out their home and yard with festive lights and become a local holiday spectacle! With over 250,000 lights and over 400 illuminated figurines, visitors can take a walking tour of their property, which covers over 2 acres! Join in on the fun every night until Jan. 8, from 6–10 p.m. Their home is located at 2281 Mission Valley Boulevard in Nokomis, and there is no admission fee. Join in and get in the Christmas spirit!

Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Beginning Dec. 21 until Dec. 30, head to Selby Gardens where you can see the beloved local light displays, “Lights In Bloom.” As you stroll through the Selby Gardens, see illuminated flowers, radiating butterflies and even Santa himself. This is also a perfect outing for kids as there are arts and crafts activities and games! Then, don’t miss the live entertainment by SoulRCoaster each night. Cash bar and other refreshments will be on site, and The Selby House Cafe will make their full menu available as well.

Sarasota Holiday Tour of Christmas Lights

Every year, Sarasota Holiday Tour of Christmas Lights is a must-see event during the holidays. Hop aboard the SRQ Trolley, and you’ll be taken on a tour of the best Christmas lights in the area, all to a festive soundtrack as well. From the gingerbread house to sparkling arches, this annual event is a local favorite. Tours continue through Dec. 31. Tour times are 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Next: Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Fun Free Activities for Holiday Break Near Bradenton

With Christmas nearly a week away, it’s likely that your loved ones will be visiting for the holiday festivities. This of course means there will be more kids to keep occupied while on holiday break.

Here are some free activities near Bradenton to keep the kiddos at bay during holiday break:

Holidays on Main

Now through Dec. 23, there is much to see and do on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch! Some highlights include breakfast with Santa, this Saturday, the 16th and lunch with Santa on Sunday, the 17th. Next Thursday, Dec. 21, the fun kicks off at 5 p.m. for carriage rides, strolling carolers and Santa Strolls. You can even join in on the 5K Jingle Run on Dec. 22.  

Bradenton’s Riverwalk

While you’re probably familiar with Bradenton’s Riverwalk, the holidays are a great opportunity to show your family around this fun local destination. The kids can play volleyball, use the skate park and head to the family fun zone or splash pad. There is also an impressive collection of public art and a great view of the Manatee River to enjoy while on holiday break.

Village of the Arts

You and your loved ones can certainly spend a whole day strolling the Village of the Arts! From specialty shops and bakeries to art galleries and live artwork, you’ll be mesmerized by the colorful streets. Then, return in the New Year for their monthly artwalk with live music, food and more!

Robinson Nature Preserve

Simmer down from holiday break festivities and head to Robinson Nature Preserve. With 487 acres of wooded bliss, this nature area is a local hot spot for bird lovers, trail walkers and bikers. You can even make an afternoon out of your visit and bring your own picnic and sit under the covered pavilion to replenish after the day’s hike. Of course, there’s an area for the little ones, too! Robinson Nature Preserve has a playground for the kiddos to stretch their legs.

Local beaches

Our local beaches are always a great pastime to take your loved ones during holiday break. This might be their only time of year that they get to visit the beach! Beaches like Anna Maria Beach and Manatee Beach are great places to start. Manatee Beach is also equipped with plenty of picnic tables, showers and concessions.

Next: 6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL