OUTDOORS: Fun things to do
American Littoral Society: various locations
Society offers the following nature tours and kayak trips:
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. Information: 941-966-7308.
Manasota Sarasota Sierra Club: The Sierra Club will sponsor a botanical morning walk May 7, exploring one of the most biological diverse county parks. Participants may encounter three species of pine native to Sarasota and some of the early summer wildflowers. Group size is limited, reservations are required with Bill Lewis at 941-355-2156.
Monthly garden tours: Manatee County Agriculture and Extension Service, 1303 17th St. W., Palmetto
The University of Florida/IFAS Extension Manatee County Master Gardeners will host free guided tours of their educational demonstration gardens 10 a.m. May 17 and every third Tuesday of the month. 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. Tour reservations and information: 941-722-4524.
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 frogcreek.us.com.
Top Gun Flyboards: 8400 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
Top Gun Flyboards brings the excitement of flight to Bradenton and offers flyboarding instruction and rentals 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays for all who want to fly high or low, fast of slow, aggressive or mellow. The company, provides flyboard certified instructors. Appointments and information: 941-565-1727 or topgunflyboards.com.
Emerson Point Preserve Nature Tours: Emerson Point Preserve, Snead Island
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. The office is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Information: 941-722-4524.
Sarasota Bay Explorers: Mote Aquarium on City Island, Sarasota
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. Cruises run daily at 11 a.m., and 1:30 and 4 p.m. Regular tour rate is $26 adults, $22 children ages 4-12. Aquarium admission not included. Information: 941-388-4200.
Walk on the Wild Side Eco-Tours: 629 41st St., Sarasota
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. Tours start at $30 a person and are available 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Information: 941-351-6500.
Boat rides and charters: Captain Kim's, South Coquina Boat Ramp, Bradenton Beach
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. Hourly rates: $15 per person. Reservations and information: 941-920-3307 or kimscharters.com.
Anna Maria Island Segway Tours: Anna Maria Island
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. Call 941-565-2082, visit Zegwaybythebay.com or stop in at the Paradise Bagel Cafe, 3220 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach.
Segs by the Sea: 119 C Bridge St., Bradenton Beach
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. Reservations are 8 a.m.-sunset. Information: 941-209-5970 or segsbythesea.com.
Florida Ever-Glides: The Ritz Carlton, Sarasota
Segway Tours of downtown Sarasota and through St. Armands Circle are offered by Florida Ever-Glides Inc. The three-hour guided tours are $85 a person and are limited to six riders. Tours are offered daily 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Ages 12-70-plus are welcome. Reservations are required. Information: 941-363-9556 or floridaever-glides.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.
Freedom Boat Club: 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
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: 888-781-7363.
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 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 oakhavenriverretreat.com.
Paradise Boat Tours: 200 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach
Paradise Boat Tours offers daily tours, including Sundays, of the Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Sound 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 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 are available. Information: Capt. Sherman Baldwin at 941-465-8624 or seedolphins.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: 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 RegattaPointeMarina.com.
Riverside Cruises: Regatta Pointe Marina, 1005 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
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 price per person is $30. The company is U.S. Coast Guard certified, licensed and insured. Information and reservations: 941-779-3606 or riversidetoursinc.
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 wavesboatclub.com.