No disrespect to the other 49 states, but with continual perfect boating weather, tons of sun, and endless salt and fresh water boating locations, not many destinations in the United States compare to Florida! And, with year-round boating, it’s the best place to get the most out of your boat.
Of course, we can’t forget that the Florida coast, all 1,350 glorious miles of it, loves its boaters and always has. And, wherever there’s lots of sun and lots of water, there are lots of boaters. But there’s more, with 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers, and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in Florida, there’s no shortage of alluring and hospitable boating destinations.
The real question is; “Where do you start?” That’s where we can help. From the East Coast, down through the Keys, and back up the Gulf Coast, we’ve discovered some of the very best places to boat in Southern Florida. And, every amazing destination has an equally amazing selection of marinas. We’re excited to share these boating sweet spots and the marinas that keep all those boats and boaters humming.
Southern Florida Destinations and Marinas
Many boaters believe that one of the nicest places on the east coast of Florida to boat is the Jupiter/Palm Beach area. This is because it has just the right mix of everything, from crystal clear water and close proximity to the Gulf Stream to awesome offshore and inshore fishing. And many enjoy easy access to the northern Bahamas. There are also inviting stretches of sandbars for relaxing or rafting up. Sightseeing is another favorite pastime all along the Intracoastal Waterway, especially along Palm Beach and Jupiter Island. And make time to cruise the Palm Beach Inlet, one of the safest passages on the east coast, as well as the picture-worthy Jupiter Inlet, with its crystal-clear water and the famous lighthouse.
Blowing Rocks Marina – Jupiter, Florida
Blowing Rocks Marina is a boater’s oasis with a pleasant, casual setting and breathtaking view of Jupiter Island. Shimmering blue water, calm breezes, and an overall relaxed atmosphere are just a few of the things that make this marina perfect for the entire family. Located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway, it has easy access to the Jupiter Inlet that can be found via a quick cruise South. The marina also has its own entertainment and nightlife, so you never have to venture far from your slip. The on-site Tiki 52 tiki bar serves up delicious cocktails while you dance the night away to live music Tuesday-Sunday during on-season.
JIB Yacht Club and Marina – Tequesta, Florida
If you’re searching for palm trees and relaxation under the Florida sun, you should make your way to the only public marina on Jupiter Island, the JIB Yacht Club and Marina. Just north of the Jupiter Inlet on the East side of the Intracoastal Waterway, this marina provides easy access to other cruising locations. This Florida Certified Clean Marina (green and clean) offers resort style amenities, including a beautiful pool with a surrounding sundeck and chairs – perfect for catching up on a good book and cooling off with a dip! Guests also have use of a shower and bath house on site. A short walk across Cato’s Bridge will bring you to restaurants, bars, lodging, and shopping. This impressive facility can accommodate transient vessels up to 70′ LOA along their seawall for overnight dockage.
Palm Beach Yacht Center – Lake Worth, Florida
In South Palm beach you’ll find the Palm Beach Yacht Center has everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay. There’s a Snack Shop and a Ship’s Store, where you can grab a quick bite, then enjoy it in the picnic area overlooking the marina. There are also pristine bath and shower facilities for guests. And, should you want to have a special event during your stay, you are welcome to rent out Tiki Dacheze. The marina also has a full-service yacht yard, complete with a travel lift, where you can get your boat tuned up for your next adventure on the water. They offer a variety of other services as well, including everything from painting and touch-ups to fixing little dings. The marina conveniently has both gas and diesel available, as well as a full pump-out station.
The Florida Keys
If you haven’t cruised down to the Florida Keys, you absolutely have to take the trip – every boater should. The climate and environment will lead you to believe you’ve left Florida and arrived on a Caribbean Island. With its amazing aqua-blue waters, laid-back feel and friendly residents, the Keys are a true treasure. And fishing Key West is like no other fishing trip you’ve ever been on. You may not know this, but there have been more saltwater fishing records set here than anywhere else on Earth. But as far as boating goes, it is a paradise of variety. Within this 100-mile-long stretch of islands, you’ll find reefs and wrecks for snorkeling and diving, tropical sandbars, crystal clear water and world-class offshore and inshore fishing. Plus, when you’re ready to go ashore, you’ll be greeted with a wonderful variety of waterfront restaurants and watering holes, uniquely reflecting the beauty and culture of each community.
Key Largo Harbor Marina – Key Largo, Florida
Right on the Port Largo canal, Key Largo Harbor Marina is a cozy, quiet marina that will feel like home from the moment you arrive. But don’t let the comfortable atmosphere fool you. The marina is committed to providing high-quality services, and can accommodate boats up to 65 feet. Guests are welcome to enjoy a variety of amenities including restrooms and showers, TV, laundry room, fishing supplies, boat rentals, fuel station, convenience store, outdoor lounges, WIFI and more. Should you find that you’re in need of maintenance, the marina offers a variety of services from boat storage and repairs to bottom painting and more. Whether you’re stopping in for the day or tying up for a week, this marina is a perfect place to stay.
Sea Bird Marina – Long Key, Florida
Family owned and operated for 20 years, Sea Bird Marina is a full-service marina with 30 boat slips that can accommodate vessels up to 40′ LOA, 15′ Beam, and 6′ draft. This well maintained and welcoming facility is pet and family friendly. Guests can enjoy the on-site restroom and shower facilities, laundry, WIFI, and a shop where they can find necessities like ice, as well as bait and tackle. There is also a convenient fuel station and boat services. The friendly staff is educated and eager to assist. And if you’re having guests, or just feel like spending some time on land, the marina also offers a two-bedroom vacation rental on site.
Stock Island Yacht Club – Key West, Florida
Five-star luxury is what awaits you at Stock Island Yacht Club, formerly Key West Harbor Marina. This marina has just about every amenity to ensure a memorable stay, including a sparkling pool where you can float around as you enjoy a frozen drink from the Tiki Bar. For lunch and dinner, you have your choice of grilling out in the picnic area or grabbing a seat at the on-site restaurant overlooking the harbor. Additionally, the marina offers over 100 wet slips accommodating vessels up to 110 feet in length on two sets of docks – fixed docks on the inner harbor, and floating docks on the outer harbor. There is also a health club with lockers, showers, and laundry. And this dog-friendly marina is nearby plenty of outdoor walking trails and sidewalks, so you can enjoy some extra cardio and fresh air with your pooch. Plus, there’s both a provisions store and snack shop, so you can load up your belly and your boat.
The warmer, calmer waters of Florida’s west coast are home to dozens of extraordinary boating and fishing locations, and Tampa Bay has more than its fair share of options. You can visit a number of spectacular islands and spend the day relaxing on the beach or raft up with friends. Places like Caladesi Island, Egmont Key, Passage Key, or Beer Can Island (inside Tampa Bay) offer lots of choices and miles of soft sand shoreline and anchoring fun. The fact is, you can boat for years and still have new places in and on Tampa Bay to visit and explore. And if you want to try something new, you can venture up and down the Intracoastal waterway. You can even don your pirate attire and join hundreds of other boaters as they invade Tampa during the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival. This festival, a tradition since 1904, hosts a wide selection of community events for pirates from 5 to 105.
Marriott Tampa Water Street Marina – Tampa, Florida
The Marriott Tampa Water Street Marina is a boater’s joy, located on the Garrison Channel of Tampa Bay. The marina features 39 full-service slips right in front of the gorgeous, waterfront Tampa Marriott Water Street Hotel. It’s also adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center in downtown. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s great amenities including a rooftop pool, fitness center, water activities, and more. There’s also a restaurant on site, as well as a lounge where you can relish local drinks and fare. And don’t leave your furry crew members home, this marina is pet friendly. Finally, when you’re ready to explore, just steps from the marina, you’ll find the beautiful Tampa Riverwalk, Florida Aquarium, Amalie Arena, and the Sparkman Wharf.
Shell Point Marina – Ruskin, Florida
Shell Point Marina, located off the Little Manatee River, is the perfect marina for any boating trip. With so many popular destinations nearby, like Tampa, St. Petersburg, the Skyway Bridge, and the Gulf of Mexico, this marina is in the ideal spot. With 44 slips it can accommodate vessels up to 70ft with an 8ft draft. It’s equipped with new synthetic docks with fresh water and power for each slip. The grounds feature restrooms and shower facilities as well as a picnic area to have meals by the water. Plus, the nearby town has plenty of restaurants and shops. And if your boat needs a little work done, services include fiberglass, bottom jobs, detailing, canvas/upholstery work, boat painting, and transport loading.
Westshore Yacht Club – Tampa, Florida
Just north of Port Tampa and MacDill Air Force Base sits the Westshore Yacht Club. This popular marina features 149 slips and can accommodate vessels up to 108’ LOA. It also has everything you need and could possibly want. On site is a salon/spa, swimming pool, fitness center, and health club. You can grab a bite to eat at the Tiki Bar or venture to one of the nearby restaurants including Hula Bay Club which boasts a taste of Hawaii on the waterfront, or Salt Shack On The Bay, an open-air restaurant and bar on the water. Also nearby, are the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay History Center, and Glazer Children’s Museum. There’s certainly something for every crew member – even the four-legged ones at this pet-friendly marina.