8 of the Best Boat Destinations in Florida

8 of the Best Boat Destinations in Florida

Seeing Into the Future: Can Tarot Cards Predict the Future?As of 2017, the number of boat owners in Florida began to increase again after a seven-year downturn. It’s safe to say that a little bit of economic recovery “put the wind back in their sails.”

Over the last three years, the number of boat owners has gone up, up, up. They currently stand at about 931,450 vessels.

With boat sales increasing and fuel costs lowering, now’s the perfect time to take your boat out on the water and enjoy some fun, relaxation, and maybe even catch tonight’s dinner. But with so many options in Florida, where is the best boat destination near you?

Consider your plethora of choices a good thing! In this list, we’ll highlight some of the captain’s favorite, go-to spots. Try one this weekend, and another the next.

  1. The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys has some of the best shallow-water boating a person can do, but there are plenty of places to go deep-sea boating as well. In fact, the Keys regularly hosts SCUBA diving certification courses there due to its shallow depths and fantastic visibility.

There are plenty of places in the area to launch your boat. Choose from a plethora of marinas and islands, based on your location. Go during the lobster season for some extra fun (and food).

Whether you bring your own boat or rent one there, you’re sure to have a blast. Read more now about leasing vs. buying a boat, so you’re prepared for the adventure.

  1. Destin

Destin is regularly called the Emerald Coast because of the beauty of its waters. In fact, it was once voted in the “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in America”!

Enjoy the Gulf of Mexico, bays, intercoastal waterways, and the like in this sprawling expanse of blue. There’s even an underwater party island called the Crab Island on the north side of the Destin bridge. Go here for a day of fun and maybe enjoy a drink or two with your shipmates.

  1. Crystal River

Have you ever wanted to swim near the manatees? If so, the Crystal River is the place for you.

This best boat destination is aptly named due to its see-through waters, where you’ll be able to spot everything below you—including families of manatees. Be careful when you’re boating in this area, as they’re everywhere! Take it slow through the no-wake zones, and avoid touching them (yes, even the cute ones).

There are plenty of places to put down your anchor and relax in the cold water. And while you’re in the area, be sure to drive your boat by Monkey Island, where you might be able to spot some spider monkeys doing their thing.

  1. Tampa Bay

With a name like Tampa Bay, you know you can’t go wrong.

Tampa Bay is a go-to boating destination for tourists and residents alike. You’ve got so many options with the Bay—Honeymoon Island, Beer Can Island, Egmont Key, Anclote, and much, much more. You won’t be disappointed with any of your spots, so don’t spend too much time thinking about it!

Be sure to bring your fishing poles. It takes a while to reach the deeper depths, but you can catch a variety of fish in shallower or deeper waters. Anchor your boat after fishing and enjoy the warm temps!

  1. Sarasota

Sarasota’s waterways are well-known, not only in Florida but nationwide. For the third time since 2015, Siesta Key has been voted the #1 beach in the US. Additionally, it’s been awarded the eleventh best in the world.

So, needless to say, the Sarasota area is worth a visit. You can enjoy any number of spots, from Venice to Siesta to Lido and Longboat. Enjoy snorkeling, collecting shark’s teeth, stunning sunsets, and more in Sarasota.

  1. Jacksonville

Jacksonville has more shoreline than any other city in the state of Florida! With that in mind, you can imagine that it’s a popular hot-spot for many a boater.

There are plenty of places to enjoy yourself: cruise along the 50 miles of St. John’s River, go fast through their Intracoastal waterways, or enjoy some offshore fishing. Offshore, you’ll find more than thirty gorgeous reefs full of wildlife.

  1. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale

The Miami area has plenty of marinas for you to dock or rent a boat. You can charter a sailboat, get access to plenty of waterways, or enjoy some fantastic shipping. The options in Miami are plentiful.

If you don’t have your own boat, don’t fear, as there are plenty of boat tours and charter boats for rent. Go fishing, sight-seeing, you name it, all while relaxing and letting the captain take the lead.

  1. Anna Maria Island 

Do you want to snorkel? Cruise for dolphins? Enjoy a day on the gorgeous water?

Anna Maria Island has all these perks and more.

Check out Leffis Key if you want to explore some wildlife. Try Egmont for some more secluded beaches, as it’s an area only accessible by boat, making it more private. You can also head towards the Regina Sugar Barge if you’re interested in some fun snorkeling, fit for the whole family.

These Are Some of the Best Boat Destinations in FL: Where Will You Sail?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. Florida is full of beautiful boating destinations on both coasts. Depending on where you live, you could take a day trip to one of them, or maybe pack your gear and make it a long weekend.

Regardless of where you choose to set sail, stay safe, and have fun!

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