Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

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

Bradenton Beach

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

Tampa Bay

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

Egmont Key

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

Longboat Key

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

Manatee River

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

Next: 6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

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

6 Secret Islands to Visit Near Palmetto, FL

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

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

1. Gasparilla Island

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

2. Jupiter Island

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

3. Merritt Island

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

4. Cedar Key

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

5. Pine Island

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

6. Cabbage Key

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

Next: Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

 

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta Riviera Dunes Marina

3rd Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Riverside Tours Inc

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

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

2. Bass N’ Bay Charters

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

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

3. Captain Rachel’s Charter

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

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

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

Do you have plans for the weekend? Why not head to Bayfest, one of our area’s best music, crafts and food festivals of the season!

Now that the weather is channeling the crisper, fall temperatures (at least for now), there’s no other place you’ll want to be this Saturday, Oct. 15 than at Bayfest. You don’t want to miss this exciting, annual celebration on our beautiful Anna Maria Island. Now in its 16th year, Bayfest is back to bring you performances, delectable vendors, crafts and even a car show!

Important details you’ll want to know before attending:

  • Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Location: 401 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria Island. This street will be closed for the duration of the festival.
  • Price: Free

Who to Hear

Featuring emcee Mike Sales, you’ll also get the treat of hearing from Bradenton’s favorite ensembles. Check out the schedule below.

  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. — KoKo Ray & The Keepers
  • 1–3 p.m. — Whiskey Blind
  • 3:30–5 p.m. — the Billy Rice Band
  • 5:30–7:30 p.m. — soulRcoaster
  • 8–10 p.m. — The Karen and Jimmy Band

What to Eat

From pizza to kettle corn and subs, there will be a great variety of food offerings to try this weekend. Here are a few restaurants that will be there, among others:

Coastal Crab, Feast Restaurant, Corky’s Hot Dogs, Joey’s Italian Ice, Hahn’s Kettle Corn, Tropi-coco Sarasota-Bradenton, T&L Bar-B-Q, Waterfront Restaurant, Village Idiot Pizzeria, Anna Maria Island Privateers, Joey D’s, Riverside Rollin Smoke, Subs N Grubz and Ellas

Where to Park

In addition to public parking on Manatee Beach, Cross Pointe Fellowship Church will have parking available as well. Once you park at the church, take a free trolley to Pine Avenue, where Bayfest will be held. You’ll find there are several other trolley stops along the way to take you to the festival. The trolley stops running at 10:30 p.m.

More Fun to Expect

  • Car show with 100+ classic and muscle cars
  • Kids zone with games, a bounce house and more exciting surprises
  • Arts and craft vendors
Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

top-5-nature-areas-near-palmetto-riviera-dunes-marina-blog

Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

The cooler weather welcomes more opportunities to get outside and explore all of the wonderful nature areas near Palmetto. So, take your bike out or throw on your hiking shoes, and let’s venture through the top five nature areas near Palmetto.

1. Emerson Point Reserve

 5801 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

If you’re yearning for panoramic views of Anna Maria Island and Sunshine Skyway Bridge, then Emerson Point Reserve is for you. Serene with family-friendly walking trails and off-road biking trails, this nature area also offers areas to launch your kayak, canoe or paddle board. Stay for the sunset or bring a picnic lunch to complete one unforgettable visit.

2. Felts Audubon Preserve

4600 24th Ave E, Palmetto, FL 34221

Avid bird watchers will be in heaven at the 27 acres of Felts Audobon Preserve. Both educational and a mesmerizing sight, the preserve’s bird viewing room is perfect for the whole family. Take a couple hours to truly enjoy all that’s offered at this relaxing preserve complete with a variety of habitats along the walking trails. Depending on the day, you may spot cardinals, buntings or doves.

3. Riverwalk

Waterfront Dr, Bradenton, FL 34205

For optimal water views, stroll Riverwalk along the Manatee River as you watch the boats traverse through. Whether you’re interested in an active afternoon of biking or a more tranquil visit of nature watching, there’s an endless day of fun waiting at this downtown park. The younger ones will enjoy the playground and skateboard area as well. 

4. Robinson Nature Preserve

1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209

There’s much to do and see at Robinson Nature Preserve! Climb the lookout tower to get a stunning view of Anna Maria Island, paddle the waterways, or hike the preserve’s trails. Many of the trails are paved, so bikers and hikers can travel through with ease. Bring your favorite book of the moment, your furry friend and an appetite for utter relaxation.

5. Saw Palmetto Natural Area

4950 N.W. 71st Place, Coconut Creek, FL 33073

Did you know that 59 species of wildlife have been documented at Saw Palmetto Natural Area? In addition, there have also been 33 species of birds spotted in Saw Palmetto. During your visit, enjoy a serene walk along the paved nature trail through the woods, which leads to a neat observation area. Additional amenities include bike racks, benches and picnic tables, so don’t forget to pack your lunch for this visit!

Next: Top Things to Do in Bradenton, FL

Snook Harvest Season has Began

Snook Harvest Season has Began

Snook Harvest Season has Began

snook-harvest-season-has-began-riviera-dunes-marina-blog

Did you know it’s snook harvest season? The recreational harvest season began statewide on Sept. 1 and will continue through the beginning of December.

While there are an abundance of unique fish here in Florida, snook is another reason why the state is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World.”

Due to a 2010 cold kill, gulf snook numbers significantly dropped, but now their numbers meet Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC goals. So, anglers, when you do take advantage of snook harvest season, please handle these fish with care and use moderation when harvesting; the FWC is still trying to reach the population numbers before the cold kill.

Important Information For Snook Harvest Season

  • You must have a snook permit and a recreational saltwater license (unless the angler is exempt from the license).
  • The daily bag limit is one fish per person.
  • No snagging. Snook can only be harvested with hook and line gear.
  • When harvesting from the Atlantic, the minimum length requirement is 28 inches, and the maximum length is 32 inches. Measure from the most forward point of the head when the mouth is closed to the tip of the tail when it’s compressed while the snook is on its side.
  • When harvesting from the Gulf, the minimum is also 28 inches, and the maximum is 33 inches.
  • If your snook does not meet the length requirements, release it with care to ensure its survival. You can view tips for the best catch-and-release method here

Snook harvesting season is closed during these times:

For Gulf state and federal waters (including Monroe County and Everglades National Park):

  • Dec. 1–end of February
  • May 1–Aug. 1

For Atlantic state and federal waters (including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River):

  • Dec. 15–Jan. 31
  • June 1–Aug. 31

The FWC asks that carcasses be donated at a local participating bait and tackle store to assist them with research. A detailed county-by-county list of participating stores as well as the guidelines for carcass donations can be found on the FWC website here

Next: Florida is Number 1 for Fishing and Boating Spots