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We believe life should be filled with adventures and those adventures should be shared with our family. We enjoy sharing our family travels with everyone in hopes that our real life experiences will inspire other families to get out and create adventures of their own! If you are looking for something specific, check out our main topics: Cruises, Hotels, Family Trips, Kid Picks, Mom & Dad Getaways, or City Series. If you are looking for travel products we are constantly trying out new things! And if you just want to look around for travel inspiration, our recent family travel blog posts are below. 

Recent Family Travel Blog Posts:

Longboat Key Dining: Viento at Zota Beach Resort

Zota Beach Resort Dining: Breakfast, lunch & dinner served at Viento Kitchen & Bar

Longboat Key now has a wonderful full service restaurant with a beautiful view of the gulf. Led by Executive Chef Jason Pellet, Viento Kitchen & Bar is located on the second floor of the Zota Beach Resort. The open-air lounge sets the atmosphere for one of the refreshing cocktails while the dramatic floating wine wall hints at an impressive wine selection. The overall menu has a combined culinary influence of Florida, Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors. You can view the full menus here.

The Viento Kitchen & Bar is located in the new Zota Beach Resort. Read all about my visit to the new Zota Beach Resort

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation | Sarasota restaurants with a view | Viento restaurant | Longboat Key Dining

Breakfast on Longboat Key

The breakfast menu at Viento Kitchen & Bar is appealing to everyone. Whether you want to start your day with something light and healthy or need some extra sweetness to get going, this menu will satisfy. I am usually not one to be impressed with breakfast nor care to elaborate on a morning meal but Zota Beach Resort has such a variety of healthy options, I want to share.

Here are all the breakfast menu items I tried during my visit at Zota Beach Resort. I can honestly say that they were all delicious. My favorite was the smoked salmon, so I enjoyed it twice!

  • Mini Viento Parfait – orange scented ricotta, golden honey quinoa granola, fresh berry compote
  • Seasonal Fruit & Berries: – vanilla yogurt, crunchy granola
  • Smoked Salmon: served with red onion, tomato, hard-boiled egg, capers, toasted bagel, cream cheese (the second time I opted to have it on a fresh croissant)
  • Greek Flatbread: fried egg, arugula, avocado, roma tomatoes, scallions, feta cheese
  • Viento Muffin: fried egg, grilled Italian sausage, roasted tomato basil sauce, mozzarella cheese, griddled English muffin
  • Viento Omelet: three eggs, Italian sausage, tomato compote, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese
  • Sunrise Bowl two eggs, sunny side up, grilled sausage, roasted grape tomatoes, quinoa, kale, spicy chili aioli
  • Roy’s Hash two eggs, any style, crispy fingerling potatoes, Applewood smoked bacon, sausage, onions, fontina cream sauce

Lunch on Longboat Key at Cascades Pool Bar & Cabanas

The infinity edge pool at the Zota Beach Resort is not only beautiful, it is relaxing. You can spend an entire day here and not have to move because of the wonderful service from the Cascades Pool Bar. Better yet, rent one of the cabanas. There are eight cabanas total. We had the corner cabana for lunch with delicious strawberry margaritas. So not only did we dine out of the shade on comfy lounge furniture, we had a nice breezy view.

The Cascades Pool Bar menu is small but tasty and exactly the lunch you are probably looking for when sitting at the pool on a sunny Florida day. Here are the items I enjoyed from the menu:

  • Grilled Alaskan Salmon Salad blend of romaine, field greens, tomatoes, asparagus, crumbled feta, shoestring potatoes, balsamic dressing
  • Grilled Steak Salad crisp iceberg wedge, cucumbers, roasted grape tomatoes, scallions, crumbled gorgonzola, creamy horseradish dressing
  • Maine Lobster Sliders crispy pancetta, pickled fennel, mango, arugula, warm challah rolls
  • Luau Grouper blackened, caramelized onions, shredded iceberg, tomatoes, key lime remoulade, griddled pina colada bread
  • The Club roasted chicken, candied bacon, heirloom tomatoes, crisp iceberg, aged provolone, avocado aioli, whole wheat toast
  • Bison Gone Wild natural bison burger, candied Applewood smoked bacon, pickled shallots, fontina cheese, ciabatta roll

(The Club roasted chicken, candied bacon, heirloom tomatoes, crisp iceberg, aged provolone, avocado aioli, whole wheat toast)

Dinner on Longboat Key at Viento

I had the opportunity to try a number of appetizers from the Viento Kitchen & Bar menu. Some starters I reccommend are the Grass-Fed Beef Carpaccio, Maine Lobster Sliders, Calamari Fritto, Burrata Bruchetta, and Chicken Quesadilla Bites.

(Burrata Bruschetta- parma prosciutto, creamy burrata cheese, tomato basil compote, toasted ciabatta bread)

(Maine Lobster Sliders- crispy pancetta, pickled fennel, mango, arugula, warm challah rolls)


The dinner menu at Viento offers everything from scallops to lamb. I enjoyed a wine pairing menu with bites from 8 main dishes. The Espresso Bone-In Ribeye and Seared Sea Scallops were my two favorites.

(Seared U-10 Sea Scallops served ontop creamy ratatouille parmesan risottond perfectly paired with a White Blend, Conundrum, from California.)

(Veal Chop al Forno lightly breaded, heirloom tomatoes, melted mozzarella, and herbed riscossa spaghettini served with Caymus a Cabernet Sauvignon of Napa Valley.)


I am not a huge fan of desserts with exception to two things: creme brulee, tarty pies and anything nut flavored. So I was delighted to see a mix of these flavors. But the pistachio gelato was by far my favorite. So much I ordered it from room service the last night!


Restaurant Information

The Viento Kitchen & Bar is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Valet and self parking is available at the hotel.

at the Zota Beach Resort
4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive,
Longboat Key, Florida 34228
For Reservations: 855.335.1102


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Disclosure: The meals at Viento Kitchen & Bar was complimentary but the opinions and deliciousness expressed are all my own. This is not a sponsored post.


Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida

Longboat Key is a beautiful stretch of the Gulf Coast of Florida offering unspoiled beaches with turquoise water and soft white sand. The weather is beautiful year-round, making it a great travel destination if you are looking for sun and warmth. If you stay on Longboat Key you will have a variety of attractions nearby to fill your days with history, shopping, adventure, sports or nature. 

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

Zota Beach Resort

The Zota Beach Resort is the newest addition to Ocean Properties OPAL collection. This new Gulf Coast Boutique resort opened on June 23, 2016. I recently had the opportunity to take a first peek at this new beachfront hotel located on Longboat Key in Sarasota County. This relaxing, family friendly boutique hotel combines luxury with low key all in a beautiful location.

The Rooms

The Zota Beach Resort accommodations are comfortable, spacious and contemporary. The 187 room hotel provides three view options from the balcony: pool, resort and beachfront. Each room has plush beds, 50″ flat screen TV’s mini refrigerators, work station with extra outlets, a safe and a coffee maker. The suites give extra space with a separate bedroom and living room with a sofa sleeper. Room service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Viento Kitchen & Bar.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation | florida travel blogger

The Pool

The infinitey-edge pool is surrounded by palm trees and cushioned lounge chairs. There is a 21 person hot tub, firepit, oversized chess board for added outdoor activity. If you plan to spend an entire day outside at the pool I highly reccomend reserving one of the eight private cabanas. These cabanas are ideal outdoor living space with lounge furniture, refrigerator and eating space.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

The Beach

The beachfront location of Zota Beach Resort is a prime spot on Longboat Key with beach chairs, umbrellas, sand toys, games, and towels complimentary for guests.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

The Food

Zota Beach Resort offers two dining options led by Executive Chef Jason Pellet. Viento Kitchen & Bar features hand-crafted cocktails, an expansive wine list and menu options that perfectly combine carribean and mediterranean flavors. The restaurant is located on the second floor with an open air bar, impressive floating wine wall and outdoor dining  that overlooks the hotel pool while also providing a spectacular view of the ocean. Cascades pool bar provides a quick bite when soaking up the sun. Food and bar service is also available throughout the pool deck and within the private cabanas. 

Read a full review + photos of my meals (breakfast, lunch and dinners) here.

Hotel Specifics

Zota Beach Resort
4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Longboat Key, FL 34228
instagram: @Zotabeachresortlk
facebook: Zota Beach Resort

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I don’t want this weather to end! A refreshing cheers to the sunny day at the @opal_collection @zotabeachresortlk. Time for the infinity pool☀️ on Longboat Key in @visitsarasotacounty. Read all about this new hotel on my blog –> link in bio <– and take advantage of the grand opening promotions taking place until Dec 24th! #h2opalphotocontest . . .. … #zotafirstpeek #zotabeachresprt #sarasota #visitsarasota #visitflorida #loveFl #iamtb #SeeAllofFlorida #travellife #pooldayeveryday #cheers #pooltime #luxurytravel #drinkup #happyhour #itsfiveoclocksomewhere #refreshingdrink #vodkalove #luxuryhotel #sunshine #enjoythelittlethings #lifeisgreat #hostedby @themayfieldgroup #zotabeachresort

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Disclosure: All photos are owned by Mandy Carter. Images cannot be used without permission. Opinions of hotels, attractions, or products on this blog are always my own. A big thank you to The Mayfield Group for having me as a guest and providing a hosted stay to help execute this post! This is not a sponsored post.

Family Road Trip Tips: Safety First, Fun Second

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripOil #CollectiveBias

Summer is in full force, which means lots of road trips for me! Some are solo and some are with the family. There are two goals in common on all road trips: stay safe and have fun exploring! When it comes to preparing for a roadtrip, Walmart is my one-stop shop– from picking up suncreeen and healthy snacks to getting the car ready! Here are some simple tips to make sure your next road trip is not only fun but also safe while exploring a new destination.

Stay Safe

Share the Details– It is important to share all the details of your trip with family and friends that are not traveling with you. Tell them your dates, the route youplan to take, your hotel accomodations and any special outings that may take you off the beaten path or out past normal hours.

Car Maintenance- Before leaving on a roadtrip, make sure your car gets a checkup and is current on the oil change. It definitely makes my life easier to let the experts at Walmart’s Automotive Care Center give my car a Pennzoil® oil change while I shop for my trip necessities. I select Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil because my car has 103,000 miles on it. The Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle motor oil helps clean out the sludge lesser oils leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage engines. It’s a motor oil specifically designed for new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles, with the mission of keeping engines running clean and going strong.

Great News: Pennzoil’s High mileage is on Rollback – $4 off (39.88 to 35.88)

I just returned from St. Augustine and will be leaving for Longboat Key Beach soon, so I headed to my local Walmart Automotive Care Center and was thrilled to see the Pennzoil High Mileage oil change on rollback on my recent roadtrip preparation visit.

Have Fun

Road trips can be a challenge at times, but it’s important to remember to have fun with whatever may come your way.

Create Car Games: Depending on the length of the drive, passengers may get bored. So create games to keep everyone entertained.

Make Playlists: We all know how fun it is to have your favorite songs come on the radio. So let each person on the trip add their choice of songs to the roadtrip playlist.

Explore Your Destination

You didn’t drive all this way to stay at the hotel! Your car has a fresh Pennzoil Oil Change and is ready to roll. So make sure you take full advantage of having a car in your destination. 

Eat Locally- You are in a new city, don’t pick a restaurant you can eat at anywhere you go. Pick up a local magazine, read reviews on Yelp, or better yet as a local where the best place to eat it, then take that advice! Some of the best places I have eaten are local gems that barely advertise. 

Find Picnic spots and playgrounds- Sometimes it’s just good to take some time to enjoy the outdoors of the destination. Finding a picnic area gives you a great chance to slow down and relax in the surroundings while a finding a local playground is perfect when roadtripping with young kids because they can run off some energy and meet some local kids!

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