OUTDOORS: Fun things to do
Manatee County Audubon Society: Group offers the following nature tours, field trips and meetings:
n Field trips are free to members, $3 nonmembers. Unless otherwise noted, for location information and reservations, call 941-729-2222.
American Littoral Society: Group offers the following guided kayak and nature tours:
n Myakka Daze, Myakka River State Park, full day kayak trip, Nov. 10; $50, plus entrance fee to the park.
Reservations for all kayak trips are required. All kayak equipment will be provided and is included in the cost of the trip. A short training session will be provided before the trip. Participants are requested to bring insect repellent, sunscreen and water. Reservations: 941-966-7308.
Camping at Crowley: 16405 Myakka Road, Sarasota
Tent and hammock camping is now available at Crowley's new Indian Field Primitive Camping Area and Camping. Campsites are available per night and amenities include a solar shower, bathrooms, fire pit, and a large screen room with electricity and a kitchen area. Reservations are required. Cost per night: $8 adults, $4 children ages 5 and older. Camping classes are available through Not a Clue Adventures. Information: 941-322-1000 or visit www.crowleyfl.org.
Frog Creek RV Resort: 8515 Bayshore Road, Palmetto
Frog Creek RV Resort, on historic Frog Creek just north of Palmetto, offers a special summer rate of $25 a day, plus electricity, for a family of four at their resort. The resort features a swimming pool and kayaking and canoeing. Call for package pricing: 800-771-3764 or visit www.frogcreek.us.com.
Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures: Bradenton/Sarasota area
Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures offers trips to Anna Maria, Braden River, Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Don Pedro Island, Egmont Key, Fisheating Creek, Hillsborough River, Little Manatee River, Longboat Key, Myakka River, Peace River, Rainbow Springs, Siesta Key/Turtle Beach and South Lido Beach. Rentals and lessons also available. Information: 941-504-6296 or kayakfl.com.
AMI Parasail: Anna Maria Island
Parasail over the Gulf of Mexico with the area's oldest parasail operator. Dry takes-offs and landings for 2-3 people at a time. Information and reservations: 941-778-5000.
Beach Bum Billy's: 427 Pine Ave., Anna Maria
Charter or rent a boat at Beach Bum Billy's, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Information: 941-778-3316.
Capt. Mark's Watertaxi at the Cortez Kitchen: 4528 119th St. W., Cortez
Boat rides and dolphin cruises daily. Take the whole family, up to 16 passengers, on a cruise visiting sandbars or see the dolphins at sunset. Take the water taxi and stop at Bridge Street or the Mar Vista Restaurant or stay aboard and watch the sunset, or join us on the beach for some great shelling. Half-day charters for picnics are available on select days for office parties or family outings; the boat is equipped with a bathroom and gas grill. Cost: $20 a person; no charge for kids younger than 3. Call for times and reservations: 941-228-3504 or www.scatteratsea.com.
Freedom Boat Club: 1000 First St. W., Suite B
Club offers use of 30 boats of various sizes, and members have unlimited use of boats. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., daily. Information: 941-714-0673 or 941-922-1292.
Hughy's Kayak Rentals and Tours: 12507 Cortez Road
Explore the bay area of historic Cortez and Anna Maria Island on a kayak. Rent a kayak and explore on your own or take our guided eco-tour that allows you to get up close to dolphins, manatees and many types of sea birds and sea life. Tours daily during the summer and weekends during fall and winter. Information and reservations: 941-321-0233.
Kathleen D Sailing Catamaran: 1000 First Ave. W., Bradenton
Kathleen D Sailing Catamaran offers cruises to Egmont Key 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays departing from the Seafood Shack in Cortez. The 6-hour sail costs $79 per adult, $59 per child ages 11 and younger. Snorkel equipment, lunch, water and soft drinks will be provided. Information and reservations: 941-870-4349.
Manatee River Boat Tours: Manatee River, Manatee County
Manatee River Boat Tours is offering boat trips daily. Boat tour times vary and each tour lasts approximately one hour and capacity is a maximum of six people. Tours are $20 a person, and reservations are required 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information: 941-721-4230 or www.manateeriverboattours.com.
Manatee Sailing Association: Various locations in Bradenton
The Manatee Sailing Association is a club with programs to give members information, experience and events for fun and safe boating. The MSA meets the second Tuesday of each month. Membership information: Sandee at 941-729-3573.
Native Rentals: 5416 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach
Free kayak eco-tours and dealer tryouts, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., every Saturday through Perico Estuary at the northeast base of the Manatee Bridge. No experience necessary; kids welcome. Kayaks and all gear provided. Free for the first half hour and only $10/hour extensions and is deductible from kayak purchase. Information: 941-778-7757.
Oak Haven River Retreat: 12143 Riverhills Drive, Tampa
Oak Haven River Retreat offers guided sunrise canoe/kayak tours 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturdays. Experience the excitement of an early-morning paddle along the river, surrounded by majestic cypress trees and shaded oak hammocks as you enter into 16,000 acres of parks and wilderness areas. Canoe and kayak rentals are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Rentals are available by the hour, half-day or full day. Rates per canoe/kayak: $12 an hour; $28 for a half-day and $38 for a full day. Information: 813-988-4580 or www.oakhavenriverretreat.com.
Ray's Canoe Hideaway: 1247 Hagle Park Road, Bradenton
Canoe or kayak the Upper Manatee River. Enjoy paddling, picnicking, swimming and the scenery. Rentals are $23-$35 per boat. Half- or full-day rentals are available. Hours: Open dawn to dusk six days a week. Closed Wednesdays. Information: 941-747-3909.
Regatta Pointe Marina Freedom Boat Club: 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
The world's largest members-only boating club is a simple alternative to boat ownership. Boats of all shapes and sizes are fueled up and ready to go. Information: Charlene Graeber at 888-781-7363.
Regatta Pointe Marina Tours, Cruises and Charters: 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
Regatta Pointe Marina offers tours, fishing trips for all ages, river excursions and sightseeing tours, sunset cruises, lunch and dinner cruises and charters, and sailing adventures on the Windancer seven days a week. Information and schedules: 941-729-6021 or www.RegattaPointeMarina.com.
Riverside Tours: Regatta Pointe Marina, 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
Riverside Tours offers daily cruises on the Manatee River, Terra Ceia Bay and Gamble Creek, and narrated morning trips or romantic sunset cruises on Tampa Bay. Catered lunch is provided for day cruises, optional dinner inside the restaurant before the cruise. For schedule, pricing and reservations: 941-779-3606.
Schooner/kayak: Seafood Shack Marina, Cortez
Sail the Gulf aboard a sleek and stable catamaran or Tallship Schooner. Dolphin sails, sunset sails, Egmont Key, overnight adventures and more. Information and prices: 761-4779. Nature tours are given by sailboat or kayak to remote mangrove islands or take a day on Egmont Key. Reservations and prices: 941-713-8000.
Waves Boat and Social Club: 4110 127th St. W., Cortez
Waves is a customer-focused boat club offering the unlimited use of a brand new fleet of boats as well as a full social calendar packed with fun things to do. With two convenient locations in Bradenton and Sarasota. Information and tour reservations: 941-795-1600 or www.wavesboatclub.com.