Many places claim to be the boating capital. But with more registered boats than any other state, and more than 100,000 non-native boats on any given day, Florida truly IS the Boating Capital of the World.
Florida encompasses more than 2,200 miles of shoreline and 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Florida Keys. With a wide variety of stunning options to choose from, all you have to do is charter a boat and set your course!
Check Visit Florida to order print guides and maps or download a comprehensive electronic guide to help plan your Florida adventure!
Here Are Our Top 10 Picks For The Best Florida Boating Destinations:
- To reach Destin, take the East Pass into the Gulf of Mexico and sail up Santa Rosa Sound. Along the way you’ll experience majestic views of the famed Emerald Coast. Known for its stunning white beaches, sugar-white sands, and world-renowned fishing, Destin is surrounded by some of the most stunning waters in the United States.
- Water is everywhere in Jacksonville! This is one Atlantic Coast city that truly caters to boaters. The city plays host to a number of waterfront festivals along the St. Johns River, and offers first-class marinas, five-star restaurants, and numerous dining options. Jacksonville’s downtown features plenty of places to dock, including the Metropolitan Park Marina and the River City Brewing Company, where you can dock and dine on fresh seafood or delicious pasta, all while enjoying magnificent views of the St. John’s River and the Jacksonville skyline.
- Approximately 40 miles south of Jacksonville you’ll find the historic port of St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest city and original seaport. Access the city through the St. Augustine inlet and continue to the City Marina. With more than 30 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Augustine offers history buffs prime opportunity for sightseeing. Guided tours of the harbor are also available.
- With the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Boca Ciega Bay to the south, and Tampa Bay to the east, St. Petersburg is ripe with boating opportunities. Explore secluded bays, numerous marinas, and natural anchorages. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway offers many convenient passes to and from the open water, while deep residential canals offer more than 200 miles of sightseeing and fishing opportunities.
- Fort Lauderdale, often dubbed the Venice of America, features 300 miles of waterways and 40,000 resident yachts. Anglers from all over the world flock to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area for both fresh and salt water fishing. Fort Lauderdale also provides a good launching point for a weekend trip to the Bahamas.
- Surrounded by Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Miami is home to the world’s largest cruise ship port. As a premiere boating destination, Miami offers warm temperatures both above and below the water’s surface. It’s no surprise that the aquamarine waters of this subtropical paradise make for a popular boating destination year-round. Like Fort Lauderdale, Miami also provides an excellent launching point for a weekend or day trip to the Bahamas.
- South Beach may be known for its glitz and glamour, but its prime location makes it a perfect destination for boating enthusiast. Join in on the yacht scene on South Beach and enjoy picturesque views of the city. Or dock and dine at any number of local bars and restaurants, including Monty’s Sunset or The Lido Bayside Grill at The Standard Spa.
- The Florida Keys stretches nearly 200 miles from Biscayne National Park to the Dry Tortugas and is truly a boater’s paradise. Hundreds of islands, America’s only living coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and thick mangrove forests all make their home in the Florida Keys.
- The crowning jewel of the Florida Keys is inarguably Key West. As the Southernmost city and home to the most picturesque sunsets in the continental United States, Key West offers stunning vistas, world-class snorkeling, and Margaritas so good they inspire songs. No visit to Key West is complete without a stop at Jimmy Buffett’s famed Margaritaville.
- Head all the way south to Dry Tortugas National Park. Located 70 miles west of Key West and accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas National Park may be off-the-beaten-path, but it’s absolutely worth the trek. Visit the historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel among the park’s vibrant reefs, or simply coast through the impossibly clear blue waterways.
There you have it—your ultimate guide to boating in Florida! Now pack your swimsuit and get ready to set sail!
Reserve your Florida boating adventure today!
Boatsetter has fleets of private boats and a variety of sailing options available to help you embark on your Florida boating adventure. With a wide selection of powerboats and sailboats, Boatsetter has everything you need to set sail on Florida’s waterways today. Reserve now, then get ready to experience everything that boating in Florida has to offer!