Labor Day weekend is coming and you may be planning some special activities for you and your family to enjoy. For many parts of the nation, summer is coming to an end, but here in Florida, this time of year is great for boating and related water activities. We have found a couple spots to help you come up with ideas for a wonderful holiday weekend.
State Parks Accessible Only by Boat
Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge
Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge is a must see park located at the mouth of Tampa bay and is accessible only by boat. This island refuge was once the site of the former United States Army Fort Dade Military Reservation, and abundant reminders of this unique military past can be found scattered throughout the island today.
Cayo Costa State Park
This barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise and is also accessible only by private boat. You may see manatees and pods of dolphins in the waters around the park, as well as a spectacular assortment of birds. You can throw a line out into the surf from your boat. On the island, you can swim or snorkel in the surf, enjoy the sun, and picnic in the shade. Nature trails provide opportunities for hiking and off-road bicycling. An amphitheater provides educational programs about the island’s ecology and history.
Historical Boating Journey
Located to the southeast of the Tampa Bay, Manatee County is known as the spot where Hernando DeSoto landed in Florida in 1539. Fishing in Bradenton, the tarpon capital of the world, has been popular for generations. After a day of fishing Bradenton, you can experience some of Florida’s past at:
- South Florida Museum
- Parker Aquarium (home of Snooty the Manatee)
- Emerson Point (lost Indian tribes and 1200 year-old temple mound)
- Gamble Plantation (oldest Antebellum Plantation)
- Manatee Historical Village
Bed & Breakfast? No, think again. If above activities are not exciting enough for you, I have to talk about Beer & Boating. Last year, boaters enjoy the 2011 Labor Day holiday anchored just off Peanut Island, an eighty acre tropical park operated by Palm Beach County and tucked between the Sailfish and Riviera Beach marinas, just south of the Blue Heron Bridge. Starting May 18, 2012, drinking alcohol on the Island is restricted to permit campgrounds only, though anyone on boats anchored off shore would still be allowed to drink legally. It’s a very popular spot for people to enjoy themselves on boats as long as they are acting responsibly.