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Top 15 FREE {YES FREE} Sarasota Area Activities by RVAFL
Posted by Jana Troyer | Friday, February 10, 2017

Southwest Florida has a long list of fun attractions, but many can be expensive. We know that when you go on vacation, every little bit counts so our team has compiled a list of our Top 15 Free {YES, FREE} Sarasota Area Activities allowing you to explore our beautiful sites and sounds without the added cost.

 



1.     Spend the morning, afternoon or evening at one of our world-renowned beaches! Our beaches have some of the most spectacular turquoise-blue waters and sugar-fine sand; and they rival and beach you would have to float or fly thousands of miles for. The calm waters are perfect for an afternoon of paddleboarding or cruising around in a kayak. For those looking for relaxation, bring your favorite floatation device and laze in the crystal waters while catching a glimpse of dolphins frolicking in the distance. The sunsets on Florida’s Gulf Coast are not to be missed. We like to pack our dinner (and favorite beverage) and experience all that Mother Nature has in store for us - the orange, pink and purple hues of our sunsets are photo-worthy #sunset #paradise #rvafl

2.      Drum Circles regularly form on Siesta Key beach on Sundays, and Nokomis Beach on Wednesday and Saturday and are a sight to behold. Here you can move to the rhythms of the drums while soaking up our magnificent sunsets - bring your dancing shoes!

3.      Every Monday, the John & Mable Ringling Museum is free to the public. Here you’ll glance at the circus magnet's expansive personal art collections, as well as peruse the special visiting galleries that are on display. Not in town on a Monday; the outdoor grounds area are free to the public any day of the week and include bay views, children's playgrounds, Mable Ringling's prize-worthy rose garden, exotic fountains and more!

4.      See the quaint Island of Anna Maria via the free trolley.  The trolley travels from the Anna Maria City Pier to Coquina Beach daily (exluding major holidays). The trolley makes plenty of stops along the 7-mile stretch - from local eateries (may we suggest a grouper sandwich) to delightful ice cream shops, there is something for every palate.

5.      Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota offers something for everyone. Children love to splash around at the splash fountain or burn off energy at the playground, and adults can take refuge in the beautiful scenery before them. Watch the majestic sailboats come into harbor, or catch a glimpse of a manatee floating by. Just a short walk away is the world-famous ‘Kissing Statue’.  The 26’ tall statue, officially titled “Unconditional Surrender” is the perfect place to take a #selfie.

6.      Spend an afternoon at Paw Park with your furry friend. Venice’s South Brohard beach is the only beach in the county where canines are allowed and is beloved for it. Tire your pooch out in the surf, while basking in the sun.

7.      Did you know that Venice, Florida is often referred to as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World?” Walk along the coast at Caspersen Beach and collect prehistoric sharks’ teeth. These little gems make for great souvenirs - especially for kids. Rumor has it the largest shark's tooth found along these waters was over 5 inches wide...challenge accepted.

8.      A short drive inland, the bustling local community of Lakewood Ranch has a free concert the first Friday of each month along Main Street. Listen to live music, participate in activities that dot the street or eat at one of the delicious restaurants. Either way they'll have you swaying in the streets.

9.      Bradenton Riverwalk is the perfect spot to burn off some energy and soak in some beautiful sights. Located on the Manatee River, the area boasts a skate park, splash pad and playground area as well as running paths with stopping areas to soak in the views.

10.    Take a walk out onto Anna Maria City Pier. Often you’ll find dolphins playing in the water and many different bird species at this quiet Northern section of the island. And if the day is clear, and you look hard, you can even see Tampa's Sunshine Skyway off in the distance.

11. Bike along the Legacy Bike Trail of Sarasota. The 10-mile trail offers picturesque views of waterways, as well as lush flora and fauna. Shaded benches and drinking fountains are at nearly every mile and multiple trailheads and free parking make the trail easily accessible.

12.  Have a picnic at the Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach. Located on the north side of South Lido Beach, and a local favorite, this area offers a nature trail, a canoe/kayak launch site, public restrooms and picnic areas.

13.  Just outside the mall at University Town Center is a 600-acre community park known locally as Benderson Park. The park offers a 3.5 mile loop for running, picnic areas and a well-appointed playground for the children. On the weekends you can catch a glimpse of rowing events (recently boasting the Olympic Trials) and once a month the park has a free family movie night. Bring your blanket and watch a movie under the stars.

14.  Window shopping along St. Armand’s Circle - here you’ll find the latest fashion trends, local artists showcasing artwork and souvenirs for your loved ones back home. In order to make this truly free we recommend leaving the wallet at the hotel - tempations and unique treasures abound that even a seasoned shopper won't be able to resist.

15.  For a small fee, experience the natural beauty of the Myakka State Park. One of the oldest and largest state parks, hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses or take scenic lake tours on airboats.  As with all state parks, active or non-active military receive free access on certain holidays so check the website for specific dates.

 

Anna Maria Island Vacations | Longboat Key Vacations | Lido Key Vacations | Sarasota Vacations | Siesta Key Vacations


Top 10 Kid-Friendly Activities
Posted by Jana Troyer | Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Is your summer getting off to a slow start? Are the kids already crying of boredom? Check out our top 10 kid-friendly activities we think they’ll love.

TreeUmph Adventure Course
Swing like a monkey through the treetops at TreeUmph. Located in east Bradenton, this 14-acre nature adventure course provides a challenge to the most athletic adventurers and is suitable to children 7 and older. The course takes between 2 – 4 hours to complete and the guides at TreeUmph encourage you to book your adventure early in the day to beat the heat and afternoon thunderstorms.

Myakka State Park
One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state’s most diverse natural areas. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, and then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway.  Two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Grill out on the Beach
The Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach is a terrific barbeque and picnic spot. Not only does the park come complete with grills, but it also includes picnic tables and playground equipment.

Go Fishing
Grab your fishing rod and spend the afternoon casting your line. We recommend the Ken Thompson fishing pier, the Ringling Causeway Park fishing pier or the Venice fishing pier. If you have your eye on bigger fish, hit the bay or the Gulf on a charter fishing tour.

YMCA Water Park
In Florida’s heat, we are all looking for a cool spot. There is no better way to cool off than with a trip to the water park. The aquatic center at the YMCA in Sarasota, located next to the Westfield Mall in south Sarasota includes a 50-meter Olympic size pool, or the water park that includes twisting water slides or water jets.

Children’s Garden
Located in the downtown Gillespie Park neighborhood, the whimsical 2-acre garden playground includes a fairy garden, a pirate ship, a climbable dragon, maze, butterfly garden, a theatre stage with dress-up station and much more!

Mote Marine Aquarium
Spend an afternoon exploring the research institute and rehabilitation center. The marine wildlife center includes: sharks, sea turtles, manatees and dolphins. Touch pools give children a chance to get up close and personal with marine life and learn the value of marine eco-system.

Children’s Rainforest Garden at Selby Gardens
Explore and play through the nooks and crannies of the 100 year-old banyan tree around which the Rainforest Garden was based. The Garden boasts a 12’ waterfall, a forest pool filled with aquatic rainforest plants, a 27 foot-high canopy with a rope bridge and a variety of research and education stations. 

Children’s Fountain
With a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay, the Children’s Fountain allows you to cool off without getting sand in between your toes on saltwater in your mouth.

Riverwalk
Located in downtown Bradenton, on the Manatee River, Riverwalk provides play for the entire family. Little ones will enjoy the ‘splash’ zone and playground, while teenagers can cruise through the skate park.


July 4th in Paradise
Posted by Jana Troyer | Tuesday, June 14, 2016

July 4th in Paradise
 
There is no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than on Florida’s west coast. Here are some of our recommendations that take place all weekend long:
 
 
July 2, 2016 | Sarasota
Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival kicks off the festivities in the area.
 
 
July 2nd & 3rd, 2016 | Bradenton
Marauder’s Baseball Game and Fireworks:  It doesn’t get more ‘American’ than baseball and fireworks. The Marauder’s take the field at 6:30 with the post-game fireworks show immediately following. Tickets rage from $6 – $10.
 
 
July 3, 2016 | Anna Maria Island, dusk
Fireworks will be on display at The Beach House: 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Longboat Key
Annual Freedom Fest Parade at 9 AM: Commissioners, police and fire rescue personnel are in the parade along with children who wish to dress up and walk their pets. Parade line up begins at 8:30 a.m. on Bay Isles Road. Activities, food and drinks and children’s game will take place in Bicentennial Park, next to the Town Hall.
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Anna Maria Island
Privateers Annual 4th of July Parade, 10 AM to Noon: The parade route will take place from Coquinia Beach (south entrance) to City Pier at Anna Maria.
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Venice
3rd Annual Myakka Kayaka 4th of July Jam Blast, 11 AM to 4 PM: Featuring live music and craft beers. Free admission. Kayak launch starts at 8 AM.
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Siesta Key
26th annual 4th of July Fireworks Display, 9 PM: Fireworks over Siesta Key are blasted off just north of the volleyball courts, making viewing good from anywhere south and along Crescent Beach (south of Siesta Public Beach), out on the Gulf or from the Intracoastal waterway.
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Sarasota
All American Barbeque and Independence Day Celebration on the ground of Selby Gardens, 6 – 10 PM: Four premier barbecue pit master vendors, live music from the Lauren Mitchell Band and family activities are all part of the celebration, plus enjoy the fireworks over Sarasota Bay. $30 for members, $35 non-members, 11 and under are free.
 
 
July 4, 2016 | Fireworks Spectacular over Sarasota Bay, 9 PM
Part of the Suncoast Offshore Festival, viewing is free from anywhere downtown, including Bayfront Park and Island Park. The display is an awesome sight from a boat anchored on Sarasota Bay.

Rainy Day Activities in Southwest Florida
Posted by RVA, Resort Vacations | Thursday, January 9, 2014


Rainrain go away. We want to go to the beach today! If you're looking for drier activities on a wet Florida day, we've complied some options below on local activities guaranteed to keep you entertained and out of the rain. Contact your check-in office for directions or information; or call (888) 532-9014 to speak with one of our Vacation Planners.


 




 

The Kids are Out of School, Now What am I Supposed to do?
Posted by RVA, Resort Vacations | Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Were all faced with dreaded questions or statement: What are we doing today? Can we go somewhere new? Or the all too familiar, Im bored! Summer is an enjoyable time for kids, but can be somewhat stressful for parents. This summer, escape to Southwest Floridaand allow us to guide you through some of our favorite kid-friendly activities along the Gulf coast.

Its safe to assume you know about our gorgeous beaches that dot the coast, but do you know about our family-friendly (and not to mention free) splash parks? Sarasotas Bayfront Parkis located at One Marina Plazaand offers fountains to splash in and a huge playground zone. Pack and lunch and laze away the afternoons, all while watching boats come into port.  Bradentonboasts the newly revamped 1.5 mile Riverwalk, located at 452 3rd Avenue West, along the Manatee River. The large park area features a huge playground area, Splash Park, plenty of benches and lush green grass. For those with a sense of adventure, ride on down to the skatepark and watch your child perfect his/her ollie.   

Rainy days generate a whole new predicament when trying to entertain your kids. We recommend heading over to Mote Marine Aquarium, located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. Here kids can explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable working labs and interactive exhibits. See sharks, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life. Engage your child in the world of science at G. Wiz Science Museum located at 1001 Blvd. of the Arts in Sarasota. G. Wiz makes science relevant, technology understandable and learning an interactive experience for your child.

All children have heaps of vigor. In order to tire out those energy-filled kiddos we recommend the following activities: kayaking adventures, Stand Up Paddleboarding, fishing or tennis.


To learn more about the fun activities that dot the Gulf coast of Floridavisit our activities page. We hope you have a summer filled with creating awesome memories that last a lifetime.

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