Florida is widely acknowledged as the “Boating Capital of the World”. The number of registered boats is the largest than in any other states of the United States. Apart from the registered boats, there are at least 100,000 out-of-state boats found on the waters of Florida on any given day. In fact, the Florida Keys is the most preferred destination for boaters and sailors. The Gulf and the Atlantic are among the other two boating destinations.
If a boating vacation is a top priority on your mind this year, then you must surely choose Florida for this. Here are the top five boating destinations in Florida that are worth considering. These include Pensacola Bay, Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg), The Florida Keys and Key West, Fort Lauderdale (Miami), and Jacksonville (St. Augustine). Let’s take a look into each of these destinations.
The city of Pensacola has age-old sailing tradition dating back to the days of the Spanish explorers. The neighboring towns of Fort Walton Beach and Destin are also renowned boating destinations as well. In fact, Destin is often acknowledged as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”. All these places together form the jewels of Northwest Florida. Many sailing magazines published in the U.S. have lauded Pensacola Bay area as among the best ports for cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tampa Bay is the largest estuary in the State of Florida. There are many great places for boating in Tampa Bay than any other places in Florida today. Tampa Bay is often called a boater’s paradise because of the numerous hidden bays and rivers. The Egmont Key, Shell Key, Beer Can Island, Anclote Key, Three Rooker Bar and Caladesi Island are havens for boaters.
The Florida Keys and Key West
The Florida Keys and Key West offer more fabulous opportunities for boaters than anywhere else on the earth. You can dive, fish or just simply cruise the islands round the year and all seven days of the week. Each key or island has its own distinct characteristic. The Key Largo is renowned for its shipwrecks and reefs. It is a favored destination for scuba divers. Islamorada, often called the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”, is a favorite haunt for deep-sea fishermen.
Fort Lauderdale with its above 300 miles of inland waterways is called the “Venice of America”. This place is also home to more than 40,000 yachts. Fort Lauderdale has therefore also gained fame world over as the “Yachting Capital of the World”. The city also hosts the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. This popular boat show is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.
Jacksonville is the major interior waterway in the State of Florida. It is also the gateway to the St. Johns River. This Atlantic Coast city caters well to the boating crowd with its 5-star restaurants, fine hotels, ship supply stores and first-class marinas. Ample dockage facility is available in downtown Jacksonville. Many waterfront festivals are also regularly held in the city. Jacksonville plays host to one of the biggest kingfish tournaments in Florida.
Important information for boating in Florida
All those who have been born on or after January 1, 1988, and capable to operate a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more are required to mandatorily pass an approved boater safety course and must possess a boating safety education identification card and a photographic identification duly approved and issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The visiting boaters from outside Florida who have already undergone an approved boater safety course or an equivalent examination from another state are however exempt from the above stated provision.