As the yachting capital of the world, Miami and its surroundings are pretty much perfect for hitting the water. Great weather, beautiful surroundings and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore make Miami something special for yachting enthusiasts. Realistically, Miami lends it best to free exploration, though we’ve decided to highlight a few of the best spots to take a yacht in and around the city. These spots are specifically aimed at visitors renting a yacht, so both time and ease of access have been taken into account here. Essentially, these are the can’t-miss experiences of Miami and around.
Let’s start with the obvious: the beautiful stretch off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as a Mecca for yachting is well and truly deserved, with stunning clear water and the allure of the Caribbean always tugging at the mind of the adventurer. Just a few miles off shore, you’ll find the Gulf Stream brings in blue-water anglers, while the smattering of coral reefs just beg for your attention. On top of this, the Greater Fort Lauderdale region boasts over 300 miles of inland waterways, making its moniker “The Venice of America” well deserved. The best time of year to visit is in November, when the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show draws thousands of yachting enthusiasts from across the globe.
Miami River District
If you prefer the high life to the high seas, then you’d better hit up the Miami River District. Easily navigable by yacht, this area offers some of Miami’s best restaurants, alongside shopping and bars. If you’re hungry, don’t miss Sea Spice, which is arguably Florida’s best seafood restaurant. On top of this, the entire district is known as a haven for the rich and famous, so there’s a good chance you’ll run into a celebrity or two.
If you really want to get decadent, then don’t miss the Haulover Sandbar. Located just near the Haulover Marina, yachting enthusiasts flock here on weekends to soak up the sun and enjoy a day on the water. It’s perfect for the whole family, with kayaks and other water toys up for hire. On Saturdays and Sundays the floating restaurants are out in force, dishing up surprisingly good grub and delivering it straight to your yacht.
For the budding adventurer, Florida Keys is unmissable. This string of Caribbean islands is somewhat further afield than the other destinations listed here, and can be found around 120 miles off the southern-most tip of Florida. The islands just scream to be explored, and offer great fishing. If you’re a scuba diver, then you better plan some extra time here. The real explorers could even push out further, and head all the way to the Bahamas.
Closer to home, Tampa Bay has a serious reputation to uphold. As the largest estuary anywhere in Florida, this little slice of paradise is a magnet for yachts. One of the highlights of the area is Egmont Key, where you can explore the ruins of an impressive 19th Century Fort Dade. The fort played a key role in the Spanish-American War, and makes for a great half day excursion. Another good option is the nearby Caladesi Island, a national park replete with docking facilities. Finally, if you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to St. Petersburg, where you can find a good mix of upmarket and casual dining.