Flying Fish Fleet Tours
The Florida Maritime Museum and Flying Fish Fleet offer multiple fishing charters during the month of January. Each trip departs at 9 a.m. and allows three hours of fishing time about 12 miles offshore and returns at 3 p.m. The six-hour charter leaves from and returns to Marina Jacks on Sarasota Bay in downtown Sarasota. All fares are rod and reel, bait, and your fishing license. A 50 cent charge per fish applies for cleaning fish. Tickets are $75 of which $25 will go towards The Folk School at the museum. For reservations and information call Kristin Sweeting at 941-708-6121. Fishing charter dates are Jan. 15, 18, 21, 25 and 28.
American Littoral Society
Society offers the following nature tours and kayak trips at various locations:
▪ Bay Life Safari at Lemon Bay Park, Englewood, nature tour, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Jan. 14; no charge.
▪ Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, North Port, kayak trip, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Jan. 15.
▪ Little Manatee River, Parrish, kayak trip, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Jan. 19; $30 members, $35 nonmembers.
▪ Little Sarasota Bay to Palmer Point Beach, Sarasota, kayak trip, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 21.
▪ Myakka Estuary from Deer Prairie Creek, North Port, kayak trip, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 22.
▪ Caspersen Beach, Lemon Bay, Englewood, kayak trip, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 27.
▪ Don Pedro State Park, Lemon Bay, Englewood, kayak trip, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Jan. 29; $25 members, $30 nonmembers.
▪ Apollo Beach, Tampa Bay Warm Water Refuge, kayak trip, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 31; $35, plus kayak launch fee to boat ramp.
All kayak equipment is provided and is included in the cost of the trip. A short training session will be given. Participants are encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring drinking water. Unless otherwise noted, all trips are $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. 941-966-7308.
Guided Bird Walks
The Manatee County Audubon Society will sponsor the following guided bird walks:
▪ Lettuce Lake Park, 6920 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, 9 a.m. Jan. 14. Lunch optional. Reservations: Scott Niblick at 757-613-3948.
▪ Carlton Reserve (car birding), 1800 Mabry Carlton Pkwy., Venice, 8 a.m. Jan. 21. Reservations: Dee Hanny at 941-745-1553.
▪ Perico and Neel Preserves, Manatee County, 8 a.m. Jan. 28. Reservations: Lucette Wombacher, 941-776-8424.
The organization hosts guided bird walks 9:30 a.m. every first Saturday of each month at Felts Preserve, through April. Rescheduling due to weather may occur. Free will donation. Reservations are required for all bird walks and may require a fee. 4600 24th Ave. E. Palmetto, 941-729-222 or manateeaudubon.org.
Monthly garden tours
Manatee County Agriculture and Extension Service
The University of Florida/IFAS Extension Manatee County Master Gardeners will host free guided tours of their educational demonstration gardens. The one-hour tours are designed to illustrate a variety of garden styles and techniques, demonstrate Florida-friendly landscaping principles and educate residents about plants that perform well in Florida landscapes. Visitors will walk through greenhouse, vegetable, butterfly, sensory and children’s gardens. 1303 17th St. W., Palmetto, 941-722-4524. 10 a.m. every third Tuesday of the month.
Frog Creek RV Resort
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. 8515 Bayshore Road, Palmetto 800-771-3764 or frogcreek.us.com.
Top Gun Flyboards
Top Gun Flyboards brings the excitement of flight to Bradenton and offers flyboarding instruction and rentals for all who want to fly high or low, fast of slow, aggressive or mellow. The company, provides flyboard certified instructors. 8400 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, 941-565-1727 or topgunflyboards.com.10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays.
Emerson Point Preserve Nature Tours
Master Gardeners conduct free tours at 9 a.m. on at least one Saturday and one Sunday each month. Tours are limited to 12 people, and reservations must be made through the Master Gardener office. A portion of the tour is handicap accessible. Emerson Point Preserve, Snead Island. 941-722-4524. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Sarasota Bay Explorers
Now offering a new eco-tour, Nature Safari, with in-depth looks into the ecosystems of southwest Florida. View bird nests and watch for creatures of the bay. Observe bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea turtles up close. Mote Aquarium on City Island, Sarasota. $26 adults, $22 children ages 4-12. Aquarium admission not included. 941-388-4200. Cruises run daily at 11 a.m., and 1:30 and 4 p.m.
Walk on the Wild Side Eco-Tours
Guided canoeing, kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing tours throughout west central Florida. Half-day, full-day, moonlight and overnight trips. All equipment and transportation is provided and instruction is available. 629 41st St., Sarasota, $30, 941-351-6500. 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
Anna Maria Island Segway Tours
AMI Segway Tours takes visitors along the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway, exploring Historic Bridge Street, Anna Maria City Pier, Bean Point, and more. Tours, which are offered seven days a week, are limited to six guests and start at $40 a person. Ticket includes training, helmet, water and photo opportunities. Reservations suggested. 941-565-2082 or Zegwaybythebay.com or stop by Paradise Bagel Cafe, 3220 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, for tickets.
Segs by the Sea
Segs by the Sea offers scenic Segway tours of Anna Maria Island and the surrounding beaches including Longboat Key and their newest addition, the Heritage History Tour. Tour options include one hour, 90 minutes, and two hours and cost between $40-$60. Segway rentals are also available, including rentals of bikes, electric bikes, and stand-up paddle boards. Training and helmets are included in all tours and rentals. 119 C Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-209-5970 or segsbythesea.com. Reservations are 8 a.m.-sunset.
Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures
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. 941-504-6296 or kayakfl.com.
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. Anna Maria Island, 941-778-5000.
Beach Bum Billy’s
Charter or rent a boat at Beach Bum Billy’s, 427 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, 941-778-3316. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
Captain Kim’s Boat Rides and Charters offers dolphin tours, historical tours, bird watching tours, sea shelling tours, hands-on eco tours, sightseeing rides, sand bar hopping, boat rides and charters. South Coquina Boat Ramp, Bradenton Beach. $15 per person. 941-920-3307 or kimscharters.com.
Freedom Boat Club
Club offers use of 30 boats of various sizes, and members have unlimited use of boats. 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto, 888-781-7363. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., daily.
Hughy’s Kayak Rentals and Tours
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.12507 Cortez Road, 941-321-0233.Tours daily during the summer, and weekends during fall and winter.
Kathleen D Sailing Catamaran
Kathleen D Sailing Catamaran offers cruises to Egmont Key departing from the Seafood Shack in Cortez. 1000 First Ave. W., Bradenton, 6-hour sail costs $79 per adult, $59 per child ages 11 and younger. Snorkel equipment, lunch, water and soft drinks provided. 941-870-4349. 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays.
Manatee River Boat Tours
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. $20 a person, and reservations are required. 941-721-4230 or manateeriverboattours.com. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Manatee Sailing Association
The Manatee Sailing Association is a club with programs to give members information, experience and events for fun and safe boating. Various locations in Bradenton, 941-729-3573. The MSA meets the second Tuesday of each month.
Free kayak eco-tours and dealer tryouts through Perico Estuary at the northeast base of the Manatee Bridge. No experience necessary; kids welcome. Kayaks and all gear provided. 5416 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Free for the first half hour and only $10/hour extensions and is deductible from kayak purchase. 941-778-7757. 9 a.m.-2 p.m., every Saturday.
Oak Haven River Retreat
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. 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. 12143 Riverhills Drive, Tampa, 813-988-4580. Canoe and kayak rentals are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Paradise Boat Tours
Paradise Boat Tours offers daily tours, including Sundays, of the Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Sound on a 30-passenger wind protected Coast Guard inspected power Catamaran with covered seating and a forward observation area in the sun, offering guests amazing nature and wildlife sights on water. Sunset tours available. 200 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-465-8624 or seedolphins.com. Daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and a sunset tour at 4:30 p.m.
Ray’s Canoe Hideaway
Canoe or kayak the Upper Manatee River. Enjoy paddling, picnicking, swimming and the scenery. 1247 Hagle Park Road, Bradenton, $23-$35 per boat, 941-747-3909. Half- or full-day rentals are available. Dawn to dusk six days a week. Closed Wednesdays.
Regatta Pointe Marina Freedom Boat Club
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. 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto. 888-781-7363.
Regatta Pointe Marina Tours, Cruises and Charters
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. 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto, 941-729-6021 or RegattaPointeMarina.com. Seven days a week.
Riverside Tours offers daily morning, afternoon and evening cruises on board a 45’ River Skipper 2 and are narrated by a Florida Master Naturalist. Tours leave from 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks. Maximum capacity is 44 and $30 per person. 941-779-3606 or riversidetoursinc. The company is U.S. Coast Guard certified, licensed and insured.
Sail the Gulf aboard a sleek and stable catamaran or Tallship Schooner. Dolphin sails, sunset sails, Egmont Key, overnight adventures and more. 941-761-4779. Nature tours are given by sailboat or kayak to remote mangrove islands or take a day on Egmont Key. Seafood Shack Marina, Cortez, 941-713-8000.
Waves Boat and Social Club
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. 941-795-1600 or wavesboatclub.com.