Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Why You Should Vacation to Sarasota, FL

If you’re on the fence about where your next vacation should be, look no further! When you vacation to Sarasota, you’ll have nonstop fun from the moment you arrive to the second you return home. With stunning nature parks, local events, theme parks and miles of glistening beaches, there is so much to love about a vacation to Sarasota.

In case you’re not convinced yet, here are some of the top reasons why you should vacation here:

We’re family-friendly!

Sarasota is a popular destination for all, but families will especially enjoy our area. From its sandy beaches and amusement parks to its landmarks and abundant outdoor activities, time for fun in the sun never ends when in Sarasota.

You’ll never tire of the white sandy beaches.

Spend your day among the miles and miles of white sandy beaches during your vacation to Sarasota. Did you know that Siesta Key Beach has been rated the No. 1 beach in the country multiple times? That’s right. The beaches in Sarasota are brimming with uninterrupted views of the sea, plenty of sunshine and several opportunities for beachcombing for unique shells. Just bring a picnic lunch and a towel, and you can spend your whole day—or three—on the beaches of Sarasota.

The nature areas are stunning.

From the Myakka River State Park to the 600-acre Nathan Benderson Park, there are several nature areas in Sarasota that offer a full day of fun for all ages! Bike or hike among the trails. Take your furry family member along for the day. Kayak or rowboat along our waters for a picturesque tour of Sarasota. Or you can join in on the the many recreational activities, championship events and more that our local parks offer year-round. Just visit the parks’ websites to find the latest community events.

We’re a short drive to the most fabulous theme parks.

You might already know a thing or two about the theme parks in Florida, but when you vacation to Sarasota, you’ll be in close proximity to not just one, but three! Head to Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and Disney for an action-packed afternoon of attractions, entertainment, tours and so much more one-of-a-kind fun.  

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

When you’re not enjoying a leisurely ride through the waters of Sarasota and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of opportunities for you to go sportfishing here! Here are five of the predominant sportish you will find in our area. 

Flounder

With its lighter brown to darker brown body and whiter underside, flounder is a popular sportfish you’ll discover here. You’ll know you’ve found flounder when you see both of its eyes on the left side of its body. You can find these on sandy bottoms inshore on channel edges. However, males are typically found offshore. Live shrimp, sand fleas and pinfish are great bait to use for flounder. Look in City Island Flats, Big Pass and Tony Saprito Pier to start.

Red Drum

Known for their copper-bronze bodies, large scales and spotted tails, red drum are another popular sportfish to you’ll see during your afternoon on Sarasota waters. Look to City Island Flats, San Remo Basin and Roberts Bay to begin your search. Like flounder, red drum also have an appetite for live shrimp, and you can use soft-bodied jigs or small silver spoons to increase your chance of a catch. During winter months, red drum are found in grass beds or near oyster bars.

Sheepshead

You can easily spot a sheepshead when you see its silver body with vertical, black stripes. When you’re looking for sheepshead, you’ll have the most luck inshore near oyster bars, seawalls and near bridges and docks. Specifically, head to Ringling Causeway, San Remo Basin and the docks in Roberts Bay in Siesta Key. Sheepshead feed on live shrimp, sand fleas and fiddle crabs.

Snook

With a sloping forehead and larger lower jaw, much like an underbite, snook are one of the Florida sportfish that make our state the Fishing Capital of the World. From canals and tidal creeks to tidal pass, snook can continue to be harvested until December 1. You’ll have your best luck in the cooler months at Phillippi Creek and at New Pass Bridge when the weather is warmer. They are most likely to be caught with pinfish, shrimp or sardines as your bait.

Spotted Seatrout

Also within the drum family, spotted seatrout have a lighter underbelly with a dark gray or greenish top with round spots. Spotted seatrout are found both inshore and nearshore within seagrass beds as well as deeper waters and over oyster bars. Some local spots to find these sportfish are in Bird Key flats, City Island Flats and South Lido Park. Make sure to bring your live shrimp and pigfish for your best chances at catching this popular sportfish.

Next: No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend! Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

It’s that time of the year! Make sure to clear your schedules because the 8th Annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic is back again this weekend and ready to wow you with amazing sand masterpieces!

Every year, professional sand sculptors from around the world come to Sarasota to participate in this international sandsculpting festival. Luckily, for us, the event is in our own stomping grounds, and we don’t have to travel too far to be a part of this exciting and unique annual event.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic:

This year, artists hail from Canada, Czech Republic, Amsterdam, Lithuania, Singapore and various states in the U.S.

Kicking off this Friday, you can view and vote for the masterpieces crafted by master sand sculptors. For four days, there will be live music, a party tent and dining tent as well as shopping vendors. Looking to learn more about sandsculpting? There will be demonstrations and lessons for you to learn! Kids will also enjoy the Learning Curve, an art and science lab where they can expand their knowledge about Siesta Key’s own white quartz sand as well as other sand varieties from around the country.  Lastly, there will be fun competitions including a 10-minute quick sand competition and other amateur contests for your entertainment! See the full schedule here

On Sunday, the winner will be announced in an awards ceremony. Then, voting for the People’s Choice Award ends on Monday at 5 p.m., and the winner will be announced via the event’s Facebook page and website on Tuesday, the 14th. 

When: Friday, Nov. 10–Monday, Nov. 13

Hours:

  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission:

Admission prices are based on a daily basis.

  • Adults $10
  • Children ages 5–17 $5
  • Seniors ages 65+ and Active and Retired Military $8

To avoid the crowds when parking, hop aboard the Siesta Key Breeze Free Trolley Service!

Next: Don’t Miss these 4 Breweries near Sarasota

August 2017: Fun Things to Do in Sarasota

August 2017: Fun Things to Do in Sarasota

August 2017: Fun Things to Do in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina

August 2017: Fun Things to Do in Sarasota

Looking for fun things to do this month? While summer is nearly over, there are still plenty of things to do in the Sarasota area! Here’s your guide for weekend fun in the Sarasota area for August 2017.

This weekend, Aug. 11–13, head to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey for a docent-guided walking tour! During this enriching tour, you’ll get to experience the history, architecture and nature of Old Florida.

For home goods lovers, you’ll enjoy perusing the vintage and antique goods at Vintiquity Lane’s European-style, monthly market on Aug. 19–20. It’s also important to note that this market opens every third weekend of the month in Sarasota’s Design District, which is located at 1540 N. Lime Ave. At the market, you will discover repurposed, kitschy home treasures, clothing and other unique artifacts from yesteryear. Here are the upcoming market hours:

  • Saturday—8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday—10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you haven’t heard by now, Venice, FL is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” In addition to the vintage market, you’ll also have a better chance to find shark teeth in Venice since the kids will be back in school. Shark teeth are often found near the beach accesses that are south of the jetty. All you need is your shovel and strainer, and you’ll be equipped to find these local treasures. Happy searching!

End the month of August 2017 at Friday Fest on Aug. 25! Friday Fest is a family-friendly, outdoor music series held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. This month, groove to the R&B and funky tunes from local band Jah Movement Reggae Band as you enjoy a view of the Sarasota Bay. The show begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Food and beverage vendors will also be on site, and the event will take place rain or shine! So, bring your beach towels or chairs and join in for this fun evening on the bayfront!

Next: Free Things to Do Near Bradenton in Summer 2017

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

7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

7 Things We Love About Sarasota FL Riviera Dunes Marina

7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

From secret shops to manatees, what’s not to love about Sarasota, FL? Whether it’s your first visit to Sarasota or your fiftieth, there are many things to discover about this beloved county.

Here are our top seven things we love about Sarasota:

1. Foodie paradise

Catering to everyone from the vegans to the meat lovers, Sarasota has it all. If you’re looking for the freshest vegetables in season, there are also plenty of local farmers markets where you can find delicious, artisanal goods. Our local Sarasota Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 7 a.m.–1 p.m. at Main Street and Lemon Avenue.

2. Scenic adventures at the river

The Manatee River is the perfect place to embrace nature and get up-close with wildlife for the afternoon. Go on nature tours, swim with manatees and have a picnic, among many more exciting opportunities to get some fresh, Florida air while at the river.

3. The boat life

One of our top things to love about Sarasota, FL is the boater’s lifestyle. Feast at waterfront restaurants beneath the night sky, hop aboard your boat to reel in your dinner, or take a sunrise cruise. These are just a few things to love about the boat life in Sarasota, FL. 

4. The state park

The Myakka River State Park offers another fantastic opportunity to explore wildlife and the great outdoors. Traverse the trails, go fishing and kayaking, then end the day in one of the park’s log cabins!

5. The arts

At The Ringling museum, live music events, exhibits and a step back into history await you. Don’t miss the lovely gardens and of course the circus museum! It’s truly a marvelous place that all ages will be able to enjoy.

6. Secret shops

The Sarasota area boasts a wealth of pop-up shops and dining spots that you will not find anywhere else. The pop-up shops here are certainly one of the many aspects that set our area apart from others.

7. Local events

From Sarasota to nearby Bradenton and Palmetto, there’s always a fun local event to attend. Taste exotic wines at wine festivals, head to an outdoor concert or attend a sporting event. The local events here celebrate every interest you could imagine! 

Next: Where to Eat, Shop & Play in Sarasota, FL

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Do you know about the bonito fish? Let’s learn about this feisty game fish that you may encounter this winter.

The bonito fish is a game fish that is known to frequent the Sarasota area. You may hear these fish referred to as ‘bonita’ or even ‘bonehead.’ Bonito fish, named for their aesthetically pleasing exterior, are speedy and powerful game fish. Their speed and power often causes spools to empty very quickly since they put up quite a fight when you’ve hooked them.

Bonito often travel in schools and will remain in our waters much longer after most pelagics have migrated. You’ll find that seabirds easily spot them when an underwater commotion arises while they’re feeding on small baitfish.

Wondering how to catch them? You’ll be successful with small jigs, spoons and flies, which are often used by sportsmen. Try going to nearshore reefs and catching them by way of bottom fishing; you’ll be surprised when they’re suddenly hooked with a light tackle. The force of the bonito will quickly clue you in that you’ve caught this spirited species.

Though the bonito fish are cousins of the tuna, you’ll want to save these as bait for shark instead of for the dinner table.

Where to Fish Now

The Tampa Bay and Bradenton Area is currently brimming with flounder, large mackerels, black sea bass, grouper, pompano and bluefish.

Sarasota is where you’ll find trout, snook, ladyfish, sea trout and redfish, and bluefish are present as well.

When you’re in the Venice and Nokomis Beach area, expect grouper, snapper, speckled trout and more snook.

The Lemon Bay and Englewood area is bountiful with sea trout, snook, redfish, barracuda and cobia.

There’s much to catch this winter. Happy Fishing!

Learn more about snook here.

 

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and
Bradenton

Whether you’re vacationing here in Sarasota and Bradenton or a local to the area, knowing where to find free fun activities is always beneficial. Here are 10 free fun activities you’ll enjoy in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.

1. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Bayfront Park in Sarasota. In addition to the breeze you’ll encounter from the Sarasota Bay, the whole family will enjoy fishing, a play fountain and a fitness walking area. Bring a picnic, and settle in for a serene afternoon at the park.

2. Groove with the drum circles on the beach. Did you know that drum circles regularly gather on Siesta Key Beach and Nokomis Beach? On Sunday evenings at Siesta Key and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Nokomis, sit back and enjoy this unique show. 

3. Brush up on your skills at North Port Skate Park. If you have a skateboard, bike or inline skates, you won’t want to miss our local skate park complete with jumps, rails, ramps and bowls.

4. Dive into the Florida Maritime Museum. The past comes alive in this 1912 Schoolhouse, where you can learn about those who lived in Cortez, a historic fishing village. The museum’s hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

5. Picnic along the beaches of “old Florida.” Guarded by tall pine trees, a trip to Coquina Beach is like stepping back in time. Picture-esque and serene, it’s the perfect place for a simple picnic or grilling out; just bring your supplies in a cooler, and you’re set to dine in a piece of paradise.

6. Channel your inner artist in Bradenton. In the Village of the Arts, immerse yourself in this creative community during their monthly Artwalk. Hosted on the first Friday evening and Saturday afternoon of each month, enjoy live music, galleries and other free fun surprises.

7. Take your pups to the only pet-friendly beach in the county. At Brohard Paw Park in Venice, your pup can freely roam the beach. You’ll be happy to know there are also dog-friendly drinking fountains and showers as well as leash posts. The park’s hours are 7 a.m. to dusk, daily.

8. Search for prehistoric sharks’ teeth. Did you know that Venice is known as the “shark’s tooth capital of the world”? Local or not, visitors flood to Caspersen Beach for these fossilized treasures on its shores.

9. Live music on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Groove to the tunes of live music at Music on Main, held on the first Friday of every month from 6–9 p.m. From 60s to Motown, your ears will always be in for a surprise! Don’t forget your lawn chairs and leashed furry friends.

10. Get outside and bike through nature. Both scenic and rural, bikers will enjoy the Legacy Trail full of foliage and pastureland, as well as local neighborhoods. From its beginning at Sarasota to Venice, it’s about a 10-mile adventure.

Next: Fall Events Near Bradenton

The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

the-best-freshwater-fishing-in-bradenton-riviera-dunes-marina

The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

Wondering where the best freshwater fishing can be found in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas? The secret’s out! Benderson Park Lake is just the spot.

Located off of I-75 and Cattlemen Road in the 600-acre Benderson Park, the lake has been kept a secret by local fisherman and other outdoorsmen.

At Benderson Park Lake, anglers will be in heaven as they’ll discover plenty of bluegill, shellcracker, speckled perch, catfish, largemouth black bass and many other treasured species.

The most lively area of the lake is the eastern side of the lake, where you’ll find that catfish, specifically, like to dwell. The best lures to use for these are Rattle Traps Tiny Trap and beetlespin lures. Fly casters will have good luck using nymphs, wooly buggers, sponge spiders and panfish poppers.

Along with the plentiful freshwater fishing, guests will benefit from the park’s fishing pier, picnic areas, bathrooms and a launching facility when on-site. You are also welcome to bring your non-motorized boats along for the fun!

Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from now through the winter season. Keep in mind that a Florida freshwater license is required for all participating anglers.

If you have additional questions, call the park at 941-861-5000.

For other freshwater fishing opportunities, it has been reported that there are mackerel, speckled trout and snook in the Tampa Bay area. Other fisherman have found that there are also bluefish and mangrove snapper in the Tampa Bay and Bradenton areas.

In Sarasota, sea trout, jack crevalle, bluegill, shellcracker and channel catfish are very prominent in this area.

When you find yourself in the Venice or Nokomis Beach areas, snook and trout are doing plenty well there.

One thing’s for certain; it’s a good time to cast a line in and around Bradenton!

Next: Snook Harvest Season has Began