When it comes to a boater’s paradise, you don’t need to look any further than the sunshine state of Florida. With the second longest coastline in the U.S.A, Florida boasts 1,350 miles of stunning shores and crystal-clear coves to explore. Whether you’re riding the ocean waves or floating down some of the state’s river ways, Florida is an adventure waiting to happen!
Fort Walton Beach, Panhandle
This area is known to locals as the Emerald Coast, and the town is arguably one of Florida’s top boating destinations. If you and your crew have caught the fishing bug, head towards the town of Destin, known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”. Launch your boats from the Destin Marina and join Florida’s blue-water fishermen for the adventure of a lifetime. Within 10 miles you are within reach of swarming snapper and mackerel – an anglers dream! If you’re looking for more adrenalin, skip the ocean fishing and hop on a Sea Doo to test out some tricks at sea.
Jacksonville, North Florida
If ocean boating isn’t your speed, check out the inland in Jacksonville. The city has access to the St. Johns River, which is the state’s major interior waterway. This waterway allows connectivity between you and all the potential activities during your Florida getaway. Launch and store your boat downtown at the Metropolitan Park & Marina. There are plenty of waterfront festivals put on by the city at this location.
The central location of this Jacksonville marina also offers easy access to the saltwater marshes, popular for world-class fishing. The marsh offers ideal hiding spots for the fish therefore making it a popular area for anglers. Furthermore, both locals and visitors agree that the shallow waters in the salty marsh are what fishing dreams are made of.
Tampa Bay, Central Florida
Boaters itching to spend their trip exploring undiscovered coves and bays need to be on the waters of Tampa Bay. This boating hot-spot features tons of small nooks and crannies for you and your crew to explore. There are plenty of hidden bays where you can drop anchor for the afternoon and take it the epic scenery. Hop on a wakeboard to experience the views from the back of a boat, or simply lie on the deck and relax!
Head over to Caladesi Island State Park where they have a docking facility and plenty of activities to indulge in. Hike along the nature trails, set up camp at their pristine sites and keep the younger crew members entertained with the playground. Take your camera and watch out for wildlife, you’re sure to snap a great picture of a heron or iguana on your trip!
Fort Lauderdale, South Florida
If you’re looking to explore the city from the inside out, you should consider Fort Lauderdale, which has over 300 miles of inland waterways. Boat down the Port Everglades and traverse the hidden coves and inlets while keeping your eyes out for gators and herons! Locals and visitors alike flock to Ft. Lauderdale for its prime yachting conditions. In fact this city is known as the Yachting Capital of the World.
Take the crew out to the Gulf Stream, which is a few miles inland and runs parallel to the shore. The clear waters provide ideal conditions for scuba divers to explore the nearby coral reefs. Since the stream flows alongside the shoreline, many marine animals use it as an ocean highway. Everything from sea turtles and tuna to manta rays and whales have been spotted travelling the waters of the Gulf Stream.
The Florida Keys
In the Florida Keys, you will never run out of boating activities to try – no matter what time of year it is. Boaters can enjoy diving, fishing, or simply cruising the islands. One of the local favourites is Islamorada which is known to be the sport-fishing capital of the world. Lovers of marine life will love Key Largo and Fort Jefferson for their world-class snorkelling. Dive on in and come face to face with sea turtles and dolphins!
From the stunning ocean views to the endless adventure on the waterways across the Sunshine State, you won’t be disappointed. Finally, if you do plan on going boating anywhere in Florida, you’ll need to be a certified captain. Take the BOATsmart! course and become a certified boat operator in the state of Florida. Now get out there and start your adventure!