No other boating experience delivers quite as much fun as a great raft up!
Rafting up, or roping a number of boats together in a raft-life structure, is as much about playing on the water as it is about community and making new friends.
Boaters generally raft up at sandbars, small islands, or other pristine locations that are only accessible by boat. A raft up party is a perfect way to spend a day on the water relaxing, socializing and enjoying the salt life.
Check Florida Fish & Wildlife’s Boating Education guide for safety tips and important boating regulations.
Read ahead for the best raft up destinations in Florida. But first, how to raft up:
The heaviest boat in the “raft” will likely have the heaviest anchor. When tying up, be sure to use dock lines rated for the largest boat. Once the host is in line, deploy fenders and heave the bow and stern lines.
Alternately, toss the bowline from a 45 degree angle in relation to the bow. Then allow your boat to settle in beside the host. Arriving boats should alternate sides so that the anchored boat remains in the middle. Ideally, line up the sterns across all vessels, making it easy to move from boat to boat without having to climb over bow rails.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are our top 10 raft-up destinations in Florida!
- Haulover Sandbar in North Miami
Known as the Margaritaville of the boating community, Haulover Sandbar is easily one of the hottest destinations in Florida. Raft up and join the sandbar party. The white sand, crystal clear waters and boisterous atmosphere will soon have you singing along to Jimmy Buffet’s classic tune.
- Whale Harbor Sand Bar in Islamorada
Located just off the channel in Whale Harbor, this sandbar is a popular party spot and fun raft-up destination.
- Loxahatchee River Sandbar in Jupiter
Consistently rated as a top destination for local boaters, the Loxahatchee River Sandbar is long enough to accommodate hundreds of partygoers. Conveniently located near the Jupiter Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway, the sandbar also offers plenty of opportunity for snorkeling and swimming.
- Peanut Island in Palm Beach
Aside from being a great raft up destination, Peanut Island also features great snorkeling, camping, swimming, hiking trails, picnic areas, a museum, and even a bomb shelter. The nearby Lake Worth Inlet provides crystal clear waters and picturesque sights.
- Three Rooker Key in Clearwater
The clear blue waters and sugar white sands of Three Rooker Key are only part of the attraction for boaters. The party scene here is truly legendary. Perhaps the only way to describe the atmosphere is to say it’s on par with the best tailgating party you’ve ever been to, only better because you’re on the water!
- Silver Glen Springs in Lake George
Looking for a more relaxing day on the water? Head over to Silver Glen Springs, one of only two freshwater springs located just off Lake George in Central Florida. Silver Glen Springs offers clear cool waters surrounded by the stunning beauty of Ocala National Forest.
- Crab Island in Destin
Popular among locals and visitors alike, Crab Island offers a perfect place to dock and play in the water. As you might’ve guessed, hermit crabs are popular in this area. Crab Island is one of Destin’s top attractions, and its stunning waters have been featured extensively in media publications across the globe.
- Disappearing Island on Ponce Inlet
Disappearing Island, as you may have deduced from its name, likes to play hide and seek. During low tide, the island appears as the water recedes. During high tide, you’d never guess it was ever there. The stunning sandbar offers picturesque views of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. Just over a half mile long, it is the perfect place to raft up and spend a day on the water.
- Fort George Island in Jacksonville
Located off the Intracoastal Waterway, Fort George Island offers both a perfect sandbar and a private beach. Those looking for a more secluded location will appreciate the remote sandbar, which is rarely ever crowded and is also dog friendly. Bring your furry best friend and spend a perfect day on the water overlooking the state park.
- Ski Island on the Banana River in Port Canaveral
Located just minutes from Kelly Park and the Barge Canal, the tiny sandbar of Ski Island is a popular raft up spot for recreational boaters. A variety of boats in all shapes and sizes gather here to play on the water, socialize, and make new friends.
Get ready to experience the ultimate raft up party. Reserve your boating adventure today!
Boatsetter has fleets of boats available to help you experience the ultimate raft up party. With a variety of boating options, Boatsetter has everything you need to raft up and spend a fun-filled day on the water. Reserve today, then pack your swimsuit and get ready for the hottest raft up boating experience!