Florida Yacht Charter Guide
The “sunshine state” of Florida provides an alternative cruising ground for those looking for a cosmopolitan charter
Famed for its year-round balmy temperatures, there is much more to the “Sunshine State” of Florida than Mickey and Minnie. The stunning coastline boasts long stretches of sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and elegant palm-lined boulevards that are home to an array of restaurants and bars. The large peninsula is a great place to berth your yacht and step ashore to explore the chic cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, before cruising to the Florida Keys for a cosmopolitan charter with an islandy feel.
Spend a day soaking up Fort Lauderdale’s vibrant atmosphere ashore before embarking on your luxury yacht charter through the easy paced Florida Keys. The city’s 23 miles of coastline plays host to some of the best beaches in Florida, while the city itself boasts a wealth of galleries and museums to discover by day, and chic bars and restaurants for an early evening aperitif or dinner ashore.
FORT LAUDERDALE TO MIAMI (25 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise on to the cosmopolitan city of Miami and step ashore to discover the fast-paced, high-energy, high-fashion city that parties hard and lives life to the fullest. More than half the locals boast a Latin American heritage, ensuring that here you will find the best Cuban coffee and Latin food in the US.
MIAMI TO ELLIOT KEY (20 NAUTICAL MILES)
Early morning head to South Beach, famous for its pastel-painted Art Deco hotels, neon signs and pavement cafes on Ocean Drive then on to the ritzy Bal Harbour Shops, just north of Miami Beach, for a little upscale retail therapy. Cruise past the Art-Deco beachfront properties to Biscayne Bay and the quiet anchorage of Elliott Key. Slowly acclimatize to Keys time, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins along the way.
ELLIOT KEY TO KEY LARGO (27 NAUTICAL MILES)
Surrounded by perfect waters for diving and fishing, Key Largo is bustling with bars and restaurants. Step ashore to The Fish House, recommended as one of the best seafood restaurants in the Keys. Relive the memory of Bogart and Bacall 1948 film noir “Key Largo.”
KEY LARGO TO ISLAMORADA (15 NAUTICAL MILES)
Drop anchor in the waters surrounding the Islamorada archipelago. The self-proclaimed Sportfishing Capital of the World, cast a line for sailfish offshore or bonefish along the Atlantic shallows. Even if you are not an avid angler, it’s worth stepping ashore to check out the replica of Ernest Hemingway’s sportfishing boat and the huge selection of fishing gear and apparel on Islamorada.
ISLAMORADA TO NEWFOUND HARBOR (52 NAUTICAL MILES)
As you cruise south through the Keys the water gets bluer and the views across coral reefs and white sand ever more spectacular. Step ashore at Duck Key to stroll through the canals and over pretty Venetian-style bridges before heading to anchor off Hawk’s Cay for lunch. Early afternoon cruise through Newfound Harbor and anchor off Grass Key. Spend the afternoon snorkeling, fishing or tendering to one of the sandbars.
NEWFOUND HARBOR TO KEY WEST (25 NAUTICAL MILES)
Snorkel through the Looe Key Marine Sanctuary before heading to the end of the peninsula and Key West. Here you are closer to Cuba than mainland USA. For the full flavor of what the locals call the Conch Republic, while away a few hours wandering around Ernest Hemingway’s home, sipping a cold beer at his old hangout, Sloppy Joe’s (now called Captain Tony’s Saloon), and watching the sun set from Mallory Square.
From gazing at epic sunsets in laidback Key West to relaxing on Miami’s uber-cool South Beach to riding an airboat through the wild Everglades, the “Sunshine State,” Florida, offers a plethora of attractions both aboard and ashore for anyone looking for a cosmopolitan yacht charter. Well known in yachting circles for the chain of 42 islands known as the Florida Keys, the coastline is famous for its long sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and the cosmopolitan cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The latter provides an impressive array of galleries, entertainment and nightlife, while the Florida Keys are a haven for sailing, diving and sun-worshippers with their balmy waters and warm breezes.
A great way to spend a week on the water is to begin in Palm Beach, easing into the charter with a gentle cruise south passing Delray Beach and Boca Raton, stepping ashore to Fort Lauderdale, before hitting Miami and on to the easy-paced Florida Keys. Extend your charter heading back up the Florida Keys, discovering new anchorages and revisiting old favorites along the way.
- Snorkel and fish in the waters around Bache Shoal, Elliot Key
- Explore pastel-colored Art Deco buildings, Miami
- Cool off on deck with a Rum Runner punch in Windley Key
- Dive the replica of Christ of the Abyss in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
- Dine on local conch at Key West Bight
- Drive inland to the Everglades National Park
- Watch street performers as the sun sets on Mallory Square
- Take a self-guided “Duval pub crawl” on Duval Street
Spend an extra day in Miami to take time out to drive inland to the Everglades National Park and explore the swampy river of grass that is the Everglades. A true wildlife haven, take a flat bottom airboat ride, spotting alligators and flamingos on the riverbank and bald eagles perched on towering cypress trees.