Florida is a world-class vacation destination. You can find everything from famous family-friendly theme parks to deep sea fishing and relaxing beaches. However, did you know that the state is also one of the premier destinations in the United States for boating? Within the borders of the Sunshine State, you’ll find some of the finest marinas, diving areas, supply stores, restaurants, and hotels you’ll ever experience. Snorkeling in the reefs, sailing, and fishing for fresh and saltwater game are just a few of the activities available to you in the boating lifestyle of the state.
Check out the five destinations below that are favored by locals and tourists alike, and experience some of the best boating that Florida has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a big party or a quiet, secluded cruise, you’ll find it in Florida.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Located south of Clearwater, Anna Maria Island is a good choice if you want a small town feel. Despite the seven miles of white sand beaches and blue water, tourists don’t overwhelm the little town. Drift along, enjoying the Gulf Coast and let your worries float away when you have nowhere to be and no need to watch the clock.
You may think of Miami as a hot party spot, but it’s also a wonderful place for boating. You’ll find nine marinas in the city, including the Miami Beach Marina, which has an impressive capacity and a reputation for excellent service. Fishing enthusiasts can search for marlin and amberjack, while scuba divers and snorkelers can explore the coral reefs. This is also a convenient place from which to launch if you’re headed out to the Bahamas.
Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg, Florida
If you prefer calmer waters of the bays and rivers, the Tampa/St. Petersburg area may be for you. History buffs can spend hours exploring the army fort from the 19th century at Egmont Key. For an added bonus, cruise out past the white sand beaches and take advantage of the docks at Caladesi Island state park. The restaurants and other amenities in this area cater to boaters as well, so you’ll find capable service staff who can help you with whatever you need.
Pensacola Bay, Florida
For those who prefer the snap of the sails to the roar of an engine, sailing a boat in Florida on the Pensacola Bay area holds the promise of adventure. If you’re new to sailing, you can even get lessons from the sailing academy here. Rent a kayak and paddle your way through all that Mother Nature has to show you, or if speed is more your style, try out a jet ski or motor boat. When it’s time to take a break from the water, you’ll find amazing food and golfing ashore.
The Florida Keys
Spanning 160 miles and 800 islands, the Florida Keys are a mecca for boaters. The weather is pleasant year-round, thanks to a warm climate. If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can rent one, along with all the equipment you need from one of many rental businesses. Almost 300 square miles of ocean awaits you, filled with fish, beaches, and some of the most beautiful sunsets that Florida has to offer.
Plan Your Florida Boat Trip
No matter where you plan to start your adventure in Florida, remember that anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, must pass an approved boater safety course to operate a boat with ten horsepower or more. You’ll want to take care of that before you hit the water. If you’re from outside Florida and you completed your course in another state, bring proof of that with you. You may also need a fishing license if you plan to do that in Florida waters. Once you have those things taken care of, pack your fishing and scuba gear, and head to Nautical Ventures to find your dream craft today!