As the traffic eases and the temperatures rise, the heat turns up on the local list of fun and adventure. From sunset cruising to fireworks and music, and from delectable dining to terrific theater and even a workout guaranteed to bring on the sweat without the sun, these summer sizzlers are just what you need to spice up the season.

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Sunsets on the Bay

Zumba your way down to The Bay. Or if that’s not your thing, take a yoga, tai chi, core or boot camp class, all free at Sarasota’s newest public park sitting on Sarasota Bay. In addition to the workouts, the park offers a Ride & Paddle Guided Kayak Tour every Saturday morning. This free, 2-hour, intermediate-level tour through The Bay’s restored mangroves and to the north and south of the park, allows paddlers to explore Sarasota Bay and learn more about the park from experienced guides. Also offered on Saturdays, the Walking in Wonder Guided Nature Tour is a free, one-hour guided tour through the park that starts at The Nest and continues through the natural beauty of the park’s mangroves, native plants and waters. With its impressive Ibis playground, Mangrove Bayou Walkway, Common Ground lawns and paddle launch, you’ll want to spend all day at The Bay and maybe even stay for the spectacular sunset views. —B.Heit   The Bay, 655 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota;

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Cruising on the Bay

There is no better way to see the true beauty of Sarasota than on the water. LeBarge Tropical Cruises brings cruising opportunities to residents and visitors throughout the summer, both in the daytime and evening hours. The Sarasota Sightseeing and Nature Cruise provides a floating view of spectacular waterfront homes and local wildlife while a narrator tells you about the fascinating history and folklore of the area–and, if you’re lucky, you might see a local bottlenose dolphin or manatee. For a beautiful sunset on the water, you might try the Scenic Sunset Cruise, featuring breathtaking views of the sun ​​as it slowly sinks into the Gulf of Mexico, live entertainment, cocktails and light-fare menu items. Whether it’s a morning, afternoon, or evening cruise, LeBarge has something for everyone.  “Take a break from the heat and enjoy our beautiful Sarasota Bay with a cool drink in hand . . . we are waiting for you,” say your friends at LeBarge Tropical Cruises. The Marina Jack II offers a relaxing lunch tour or sunset dinner cruise through the intercoastal waters and the Gulf of Mexico where guests enjoy delicious dining, outstanding views and exceptional service. Docked behind the Marina Jack restaurant, located on the Downtown Sarasota Bay front, the air-conditioned salons and open-air outside deck provide a delightful way to enjoy the waters of the Gulf of Mexico onboard a 96’ cruise vessel. On the Marina Jack II every seat has a view of the water, making it perfect for sightseeing. The Marina Jack II can be reserved online for public as well as private events.  —B.Heit    LeBarge Tropical Cruises: 941-366-6116, Marina Jack II: 941-365-4232 x 4

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Set Sail on The Open Seas

Answer the call of the ocean and partake in a sailing class or camp with Sarasota Youth Sailing and the Sarasota Yacht Club. Sarasota Youth Sailing offers eight weeks of summer camps for ages 5 through 18. Different camps for varying ages and experience levels run throughout the summer. Race clinics, Wednesday night racing for all SYS program members and a pirate day with an island treasure hunt encourage a love of the water. Campers can enroll in sailing-focused or general adventure camps highlighting other outdoor activities like kayaking and fishing. “The kids gain a great sense of independence by learning to handle a boat on the water, learn respect for nature and make friends,” says Program Director Megan Swick. On the last day of camp, participants can invite their families and show off their new skills. The Sarasota Yacht Club also provides exciting summer sailing programs for club members, their families and friends. Summer sailing camps give children ages 5-15 the opportunity to participate in the sport while learning about the marine ecosystems in which they sail. Camps for all experience levels are available, and kids get to try out other water sports. “The main goal of camp is to cultivate a love for the water, foster understanding and passion for the art of sailing and teach water safety skills while building relationships and friendships,” adds Communications & Marketing Director Emma Dodge. —D. Campbell  Sarasota Youth Sailing, 1717 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

DIY Crafting

Love arts and crafts? Try Nailed It DIY Studio, a fun and new way to beat the heat this summer in Sarasota and Venice. This fun and inspiring studio allows for artistic minds of all experience levels to gather and create their own custom designs on wood. Whether you have two people or 20, highly trained art tenders will guide you through the steps of making a beautiful piece of home décor that you will be proud to display. Voted Best Summer Camp in SRQ Magazine, Nailed It is the perfect way to help beat summer boredom. They even offer Take & Make kits to do at home on rainy days. To book a project, go online and choose from hundreds of options (or submit a custom design request). When you checkout you will be prompted to choose a day and time to come in and work on your project. It’s that simple. Participants can bring any food or beverages to enjoy while crafting. It’s also a perfect event for girls’ night out, date nights, birthday parties, and team building. —B.Heit | 5537 Palmer Crossing Circle | 941-923-6257. | 4105 S. Tamiami Trail Unit #2 | 941-493-0568

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Row it Out

Rowing is a great way to release those feel-good endorphins and stay in shape but when it’s too hot and sunny to row outside, what is a rower to do? Join the crew at RowHouse UTC, that’s what! This indoor fitness boutique offers a variety of rowing-based classes designed to burn calories, improve posture and strengthen your body from head to toe. The low-impact workouts mean a low risk of injury, and although it is gentle on your joints you will get your heart rate up, break a sweat and build muscle while rowing to uplifting music with like-minded fitness friends.  “We love our Row House UTC community,” shares franchise co-owner, Roberta Bake. “What a great way to spend 45 minutes with your friends working out 86 percent of the muscles in your body in the most intense and fun way–and coming out completely drenched without hurting yourself.”—B.Heit  RowHouse UTC, 315 North Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota, 941- 444-2010,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Take a Culinary Detour 

The Suncoast’s Largest Food Truck Festival will be held over the Fourth of July weekend at University Town Center. Beloved local food trucks, like Smokin’ Momma Lora’s BBQ Mobile, will join trucks from across the state and country.  About 75 food trucks will participate, giving attendees plenty of options. “There are trucks specializing in desserts, tacos, drinks, American classics like burgers and barbeque, seafood and pizza,” says Brett Cecere, the event manager for Florida Penguin Productions, which puts on the festival, “as well as diverse flavors from Cuba, Colombia, Greece, Poland and other countries.” Diners will also find vegan and gluten-free options. Ticket sale proceeds from each day benefit a different local charity, and fireworks will light up the festival on its final night. —L.Paquette

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Afternoon Chill

All summer long, chilled soups pack dynamic flavors and keep diners cool. At Two Chefs on Hillview, Frank Imbarlina and Mellissa Louty, both chef-owners, cook up delectable dishes throughout the hottest months. Don’t miss Louty’s vegan Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho, with notes of tomatoes, peppers and succulent watermelon. “It’s a refreshing summer gazpacho with a little kick,” she says, “but not so spicy that you can’t enjoy it. You can taste all the different flavors.” She also ladles up Chilled Corn Soup, a cool and sweet rendition of corn chowder. Louty roasts the corn on the cob, then strips the roasted kernels off the cob, which she uses to make corn stock. Mixing the kernels with the stock creates a creamy and vegetarian-friendly blend. Imbarlina dishes out Cucumber, Pear & Yogurt Soup, featuring pureed cucumber and pear and Greek yogurt. “The soup is vibrant, crisp and fresh,” he adds. He also gives a nod to the classic Vichyssoise, a cold potato and leek soup, with his Sweet Potato Vichyssoise with Duck Confit. Sweet potatoes replace the traditional white potatoes, and shallots and duck confit made by Imbarlina add richness and depth. Instead of chicken or vegetable stock, he uses duck stock to complement the sweet potato. The pair rotates out their soup selections throughout the summer, providing a welcome culinary retreat from the Sarasota heat.   —L.Paquette   Two Chefs On Hillview, 1960 Hillview St., Sarasota,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Summer in a Tote

Summer fun is in the bag! Check out the hottest bags and totes to house your summertime necessities from our editors’ favorite boutiques. This summer we are all about keeping things light. Lightweight materials such as sailcloth canvas and straw bags will be a staple accessory in your wardrobe this season. —B.Heit and M.Mitchell

Dock Side Bag $48, Sea Glass Lane, 380 St Armands Cir, Sarasota, 941-388-4646; Sunrise Sunset Tote $108, Surge Style, 1440 Main St, Sarasota,  941-552-8432;  Hammer Handbag $235, Monkee’s, 1561 Lakefront Dr Suite 104, Sarasota, 941-358-8868.

Kate Loxton Canvas Cell Bag $48, Sea Glass Lane, 380 St. Armands Cir, Sarasota, 941-388-4646. Above: Getaway Canvas Tote $44, Florida Provisions, 1561 Lakefront Dr Suite 109, Sarasota, 941-274-0470; Hallie clutch $258, Amber Small Bucket $315, Monkee’s, 1561 Lakefront Dr. Suite 104, Sarasota, 941-358-8868. Opposite page, left to right:  Sarasota Opera House presents classic films including  2001: The Space Odyssey and From Here to Eternity; surfing with the Florida Beach Horses in Bradenton just east of Robinson Preserve.

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Classic Films and Lawn Movies

Grab some popcorn and enjoy a film-filled summer. The Sarasota Opera House will play classic films like Vertigo and The Addams Family on select Fridays from May to October. “The opera house, built in 1926 as a business office, later became a movie and vaudeville theater,” says Marketing Director Stephen Baker, “so the classic film series is a perfect way to celebrate that historic tradition in the beautiful opera house.” Those looking for an outdoor film experience can swing by The Bay Park every Thursday evening for Cinema at The Bay, which rotates out classic, top-grossing and family films to appeal to all guests throughout the year. The final Friday of each month features a family-friendly movie. According to The Bay, attendees can marvel at the movies shown on a state-of-the-art 7x12 LED screen and can partake in snacks and refreshments from The Nest, the park’s concession stand, which sometimes offers refreshments based on certain films shown.  —L.Paquette     Sarasota Opera House, 61 North Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, The Bay Sarasota, The Bay, 655 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Rum it Up

Nothing says summer better than a tropical cocktail. Rum enthusiasts can experience a free tour and tasting at Siesta Key Rum and discover what makes a great rum. The 45-minute tour allows guests to explore the 16-year-old distillery. From copper tills and a wall of aging barrels to the tiki-themed tasting room, the guides strive to curate a fun and informative experience, culminating in a tasting of the company’s rums. “We infuse our rums with real food ingredients,” says Director of Operations Nicole Sullivan, “and our most popular product is the Toasted Coconut Rum.” Stop by the gift shop and fill up on this summer staple on the way out. —L.Paquette   Siesta Key Rum, 212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota,

On Ice

Beat the heat at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. With at least one public skating session every day, guests can take a temporary escape to a cooler climate. “We have a free try-it class with a skating coach every Saturday morning for people of all ages interested in learning to skate,” says General Manager Emma Chinault. Group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more. Hockey and ice skating summer camps for various experience levels give kids a chance to cool off while mastering a new sport. After hitting the ice, enjoy refreshments from the snack bar, including pretzels, hot dogs, beer and wine.  —L.Paquette   Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Back in the Saddle 

With Florida Beach Horses, the fairy-tale fantasy of riding a horse down the beach can become reality. Participants can choose to experience two different rides with horses rescued from across the country. The family-oriented Sand and Surf Ride, for ages three and up, features a horseback beach ride, horse surfing along the sandbar and horse skiing—holding onto the horse’s tail (don’t worry, this doesn’t hurt the animal) as it swims through the water. There’s also an exciting race back to the beach from the sandbar. For ages 10 and up, the Cruise Ride offers a more independent experience with many of the fun activities from the Sand and Surf sessions. “It’s like a trail ride,” says Lead Wrangler Christina Pelletier, “and the horses spend the entire time in the water.” For a romantic adventure, book the sunset option for either ride. “This is a once in a lifetime experience,” adds Pelletier. —L.Paquette   Florida Beach Horses, 8400 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

Summer Sips

There’s nothing as satisfying as sipping on a cool summer beverage by the beach, pool or a shady spot downtown. Travel the globe for tasty temptations, like the Moroccan Mint Tea from #Café. “We use real mint and green tea with sugar,” says Owner Bianca Bendraouia, “because Moroccans love tea with a lot of sugar. We serve the tea in silver pots and pour it into little decorated glasses from high up to create foam.” From across the Mediterranean Sea, try the Iced Tsai Tou Vounou, or Greek Mountain Tea with Honey, from Kefi Streetside Cafe. Co-owner Eleni Sokos sources the sideritis herb for this chamomile-like tea from her family’s town of Messini, Greece. The anti-inflammatory sideritis grows on the Taygetos mountains which slope behind the town. “The name of the herb comes from the word for iron because the tea has strengthening properties. Everyone in Greece drinks it, and it’s a great low sugar decaffeinated option,” adds Sokos. For a burst of flavor, sample the Exploding Fresh Lemonade at The George. Combining fresh-squeezed lemonade with popping boba, the beverage provides a refreshing introduction to the world of boba. “We make the lemonade to order,” says Camilla Reid, owner of The George, “and guests can customize it with different flavors.” At Ding Tea Sarasota, enjoy a Yakult Yogurt Drink, made by mixing Yakult yogurt, popular across East Asia, with fruit juice. Select from a variety of juices such as strawberry and grapefruit and customize with toppings including boba and jellies. “The Yakult drinks are light, refreshing and tangy,” adds Co-owner Patrick Luong.—L.Paquette   #Café, 2781 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota, Kefi Streetside Cafe, Walk-Up Window, 1201 6th Ave. W., Bradenton, The George, 5131 North Tamiami Trail Unit B, Sarasota, Ding Tea Sarasota, 2728 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, 

Handcrafting Art

Looking for something fun to occupy those rainy summer afternoons? Check out Shattered Glass Art Studio SRQ. Create a work of art with tumbled and shard glass in every color of the rainbow, or try your hand at a resin class. Channel those beach vibes in the ocean pour resin class, and prepare for your next backyard bash in a resin charcuterie board class. “We use non-toxic, BPA-free and food-grade resins,” say owners Nicole and Kevin Berry, both passionate artists and teachers. Students can pick up their finished products 48 hours after the class is over. —L.Paquette   Shattered Glass Art Studio SRQ, 2740 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota,