Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

By Hannah M.

Safari Wilderness

Have you been looking for the ideal vacation spot with endless adventures? Sarasota, Florida has many fascinating attractions, but perhaps one of the most exciting is the Safari Wilderness less than two hours away! Located in Lakeland, Florida, this ranch is home to over 500 unique animals with breathtaking Florida landscapes. An array of species that reside here, originating from South America, Africa, and Asia in beautiful natural habitats will take your from the perfect Florida day trip to an unforgettable global adventure!

The Adventure Begins!

Entering this wonderful wilderness paradise, a short boardwalk will take you over Florida’s second largest wetlands area, the Green Swamp. While waiting for your safari to begin (be sure to make reservations!) you will see a number of furry friends roaming – the sister Calico cats are the sweetest friends! You’ll even be able to see magnificent peacocks, with other birds in the aviary.

Animal Lover’s Paradise

Be sure to bring some treats along for the friendly ostriches, antelope, swamp deer and the others! There are a number of animals in this pet paradise which you will be allowed to feed – one of the most captivating are the gentle water buffalo. The llamas are especially friendly, so be prepared to have some sweet furry friends come right up to you for more treats. Nothing beats the ostriches need for treats, however; they have been known the chase after the safari bus in hopes of more treats – they don’t give up easily! As long as you have some food to offer, these gentle animals will want to be friends “fur”ever! With the wide array of different species residing here, it will be hard to pick a favorite, but once you meet the charming zebra you will be instantly infatuated. You may even see a baby zebra or two hiding behind their mother! These absolutely endearing and sweet-tempered creatures will steal your heart right away.

Don’t Forget!

On your Safari Adventure, you’ll want to have a few things on your list for your best adventure yet! Closed-toed shoes are highly recommended, even if you’re planning on taking the safari bus – you will find many grassy areas with dirt, so to avoid any unwanted accidents that may shorten your adventure, close-toed shoes should be number one on your list!

Have your camera or phone on hand and ready, you won’t want to miss any of the amazing animals you encounter.

This is going to be an unforgettable day adventure, so make sure you bring some snacks along for the journey!

Endless Adventure in Florida’s Wilderness Safari

When your two-hour safari adventures ends, be sure to stop by the gift shop area to memorialize your adventure. But before you head there, meet the casual camels, who are very photogenic and love to take photos when you say cheese. Don’t forget to get a shot of the mesmerizing peacocks and other birds in the aviary. Still craving more adventures in nature? The tour guides recommend returning, because of migration and weather, each tour is highly specialized and you will always be in for a new adventure.

If you’re looking for a different adventure deeper in nature, Safari Wilderness not only offers two safari tours a day, but camel voyages, a kayak safari, a sunset safari and unique personal encounters with the lemurs and guinea pigs. Are you a nature lover looking for the perfect place to party? Safari Wilderness has endless adventure options, including offering The Safari Lodge to be rented for special events. Buckle in and get your cameras ready for the nature lover’s retreat of a lifetime!

Original Article Here

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

By Hannah M.

 

Reel in The Big One!

Are you getting ready for your fishing trip on the sparkling waters of St. John’s River or Lake George? Whether you’re a new angler or “reel” expert, good fishermen are always looking for new tricks to help lure the best catch. Reeling in the big one can be fishy business, but fear no fish! Here are some great tips that will have you ready to tackle anything!

Got Bait?

When choosing what kind of bait to bring for the ultimate catch, live bait is always preferred! Worms and smaller fish are most commonly used and proven to be most successful. Freshwater fishing? Here’s a basic beginner tackle box guide to start with!

Location is Key

Today there are many tools available to aid your fishing needs! Electronic fish finders are widely used and a certain way of leading you directly to the best fishing spots. If you’re new to the game, make sure you bring a topographical map to keep track of water depths and an electronic fish finder.

Keep An Eye on The Skies

Seasoned fishermen know that the weather affects fish habits. Cloudy days are preferred for fishing, as your catch is more likely to be lured by your bait. Sunny Florida doesn’t see too many of those days, however; just cruise to some darker waters for the optimal catch. Planning a night fishing excursion? Paying attention to the moon and its phases is key for night fishing – full moons are prime time for the best catch, while moonless nights are the least favorable for fishing. The brighter the moon, the better!

Stay Safe

Practice, practice, practice! Ensure you can confidently tie knots and handle the sharp hooks prior to departing on your fishing adventures. There’s so little time and so many fish – you don’t want to lose any time due to injuries! Keep your fishing trip fun and make sure you’re comfortable with your equipment.

What’s Your Catch?

You’re almost ready for the complete fishing trip! Make sure you’re familiar with the fish in the spot you choose! Here’s a list of fish found in the St. John’s River. Looking for the best bass in the state? Head to Lake George for some fantastic fishing.

Fishing is a Reel Tough Job – You’re Ready to Tackle It!

Reeling in the big one is no easy feat, but with these excellent fishing tips, it’s sure to be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. For a catchy fishing trip of a lifetime, rent a cabin or boat at Castaways on the River and get ready for your best adventure yet!

Original Article Here

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

The fun never ends in Sarasota!

Sarasota, the endless adventure and ideal vacation! If you’re looking to wind down after a day in Sunny Sarasota on the sparkling white sand beaches, there’s plenty of nighttime shenanigans to get in to. The combination of restaurants and bars offering happy hour and seafood specials with a breathtaking waterview makes Sarasota the place to be on The Gulf Coast! Mix in some live music from local artists and you’re sure to have a time to remember. The only dilemma you may face is deciding where go for the night. Below are Sarasota nightlife essentials, and regardless of where you choose, you’re sure to be in for a cool coastal time!

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar  

Live music, over a dozen frozen daiquiri options, happy hour specials, and an amazing tree top view, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar is a MUST DO! A deck overlooking The Gulf of Mexico and Lido Beach, with stunning sunset views from the second floor makes this an essential stop for your vacation.

Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon

A more traditional way to wind down is Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon. South Siesta Key Bar features nightly entertainment, plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite sporting event, pinball and foosball for entertainment and much more! Bingo Sunday’s are a sure way to have some fun with prizes offered all night long. Come relax with an ice-cold beer in Captain Curt’s warm and homey atmosphere!

Sharky’s on the Pier

Sharky’s, voted Florida’s #1 Beach Bar, is also a necessary experience. Directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Venice, Florida, Sharky’s offers dancing and live music on a large wrap-around deck. Finish the night with a cold one from the Tropical Tiki Bar and a walk down the pier.  

The Gator Club

If you want a place that features music and dancing, The Gator Club is the place to be. Nightly entertainment, Sarasota’s best known DJ, Ladies Night every Tuesday, The Gator Club promises to be an enjoyable evening.

Marina Jack

For a more sophisticated evening on the town, head over to Marina Jack, featuring a lounge and piano bar, with plenty of drink and food specials. This exclusive restaurant is a sure to be good time for the whole family- including your furry friends! Marina’s Jack patio is dog-friendly. Marina Jack also offers lunch and dinner time cruises for an unforgettable experience over the open water on their cruise ship, Marina Jack II.

So with these Sarasota nightlife essentials, you’re geared up for your most memorable vacation yet! There’s no end to the unique ways to spend your time in Sunny Sarasota, where the fun never ends.

Original Article Here

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.

 

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