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Boating in Florida 9 Places You Need to Visit

Dunedin, Florida is the best kept secret in Tampa Bay

So you think you are ready for boating in Florida? But where in the Sunshine State should you start your boating adventure?  Here are the top 9 places you need to visit to go boating in Florida.

When you're ready for boating in Florida, here are 9 places in the Sunshine State not to miss!
When you’re ready for boating in Florida, here are 9 places in the Sunshine State not to miss! Photo: Pixaby

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Boating in Florida: 9 Places You Need to Visit

Is there anything more exhilarating than boating? Whether you’re whipping through the water on a speed boat or cruising the waves with the wind in your sails, nothing beats a boat day.

And one of the best places in the country to take your boat on the water is none other than Florida. This is because there isn’t just one boating destination in the Sunshine State, Florida is packed with gorgeous waterways and adventures for boaters. To learn about some of the spots where you can find the best boating in Florida, keep reading!

Read More: Top Things to do in Florida Outside of Disney World

The Florida Keys

One of the top places for boating in Florida is Key West
One of the top places for boating in Florida is Key West. Photo: Pixabay

Key West is one of the most popular beach destinations in the country for a reason. With all sorts of exciting activities to take part in, from snorkeling in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to swimming with the dolphins, the Florida Keys offer something for everyone.

The Keys are made up of 100 miles of beautiful islands surrounded by crystal clear water. And when you’re done boating for the day, check out The Keys’ vibrant nightlife!

Palm Beach and Jupiter Island

say yes to boating in Florida and this sandy Jupiter Beach
say yes to boating in Florida and this sandy Jupiter Beach. Photo: Pixabay

On the east coast of Florida is Palm Beach and Jupiter Island. This area offers an abundance of fishing spots, both inshore and offshore, as well as being close to both the Gulf Stream and the northern Bahamas. Take a few days and hit all three!

The Jupiter Inlet is famous for its stunning scenery and historic lighthouse, constructed in 1860. If you’re wondering – yes, you can take a tour of this maritime landmark, as it’s a museum as well!

After you’ve toured the lighthouse, jet along the Palm Beach Inlet while enjoying your tower speakers for boat and taking in all the sights of the Intracostal Waterway.

Tampa Bay

Dunedin, Florida is the best kept secret in Tampa Bay
Dunedin, Florida is the best-kept secret in Tampa Bay. Photo: Pixabay

Another destination that offers a little something for everyone, Tampa Bay is home to not only some of the best boating in Florida but also one of the most lively cities in the entire state!

During your visit to Tampa, you can fish the bay or take a day cruise to a nearby city. And while you’re enjoying some of the best sailing in Florida, you can drop anchor at one of the many islands and sandbars along the coast.

Locations such as Caladesi Island and Passage Key offer privacy that can’t be obtained at one of the bigger beaches, so you can kick back and relax without the hustle and bustle of other beachgoers.

Charlotte Harbor

When ready for boating in Florida, here are 9 places to visit #boatinginflorida #boatingflorida #florida #familyvacation

Charlotte Harbor is a lesser-known Florida destination, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. This area has a similar feel to The Keys with the added benefits of fewer crowds and an untouched landscape.

Through exploring the harbor, you’ll find areas like Cabbage Key and Sanibel Island, perfect for taking a break from boating to relax on the beach or to fish from the comfort of your watercraft.

Crystal River

For boaters traveling with families, Crystal River could be the perfect destination. Crystal River offers many family-friendly activities, such as swimming and snorkeling in the cool freshwater.

Little ones might also enjoy the manatee refuges in the area, where they can swim with the manatees and learn all about these majestic creatures. When you’re done with your water activities for the day, you can venture into downtown Crystal River, where you’ll find a variety of restaurants and attractions.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami

Perhaps the most famous of all for Boating in Florida is Fort Lauderdale.
Perhaps the most famous of all for Boating in Florida is Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Pixabay

Perhaps the most popular boating destination in not only Florida but the world at large, you’ll find endless fun in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Both Fort Lauderdale and Miami have downtown areas that are can’t-miss for any vacationer.

Zip along the canal in Fort Lauderdale before docking in Miami to admire the skyline and take part in the electrifying nightlife of South Beach and Coconut Grove.


Spend the day dolphin watching on your boat in the breathtaking emerald waters off the coast of Destin. Whether you’re staying in Destin for a few days or a few months, you won’t run out of fun things to do in this fishing village.

Along with fishing and boating, Destin is home to an abundance of hiking, camping, and wildlife watching! Just be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen when spending time in the great outdoors.

St. John’s River

A classic Florida boating spot, St. John’s River is an astounding 310 miles long and packed with a variety of activities for boaters.

You’ll find both saltwater and freshwater fishing and watersports, in addition to a wealth of adorable towns to explore. Set aside a few days for St. John’s River so you can get the most out of your trip!


Between Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay lies Sarasota, one of the best boating destinations in Florida. This peaceful area boasts some fantastic fishing spots in addition to top-notch boating. The sandbars, calm waters, and undeveloped beaches of Sarasota will make for the ultimate boating trip!

Sarasota is so geared toward boaters, in fact, that you can rent a slip in downtown Sarasota and explore the city while your boat rests safely in the harbor.

These Destinations Are Must-See When Boating in Florida

Because so much of the Sunshine State is surrounded by water, there’s no shortage of opportunities for boating in Florida. For the true boating enthusiast, however, the destinations on this list cannot be passed up.

Now, these boating spots are spread all throughout Florida, so you won’t be able to do them all in one trip. But that just means you’ll have to visit more than once!

2 thoughts on “Boating in Florida 9 Places You Need to Visit”

  1. I;ve been in FL all summer, Naples area and I REALLY wanted to rent a boat. Bummed that I did not have time to 🙁 I also never even made it up to Charlotte Harbor or Sarasota – clearly I need to come back soon!

  2. When I was training as a teacher, I did a week-long experiential education boat trip in the Florida Keys. It was INCREDIBLE. Magical!!!

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