We’re spoiled here in Florida. When summertime comes, there’s no shortage of incredible boating destinations. In no time, we can be out on the water with family and friends. As Terry Tomalin of Visit Florida reminds us, Florida remains the boating capital of the world. It’s not surprising that there are more registered boats here than any other state in the country. Whether you pick somewhere on the Atlantic, the Gulf, or in the Keys, you’re certain to enjoy all of what Florida has to offer. In this blog post, we will go over some of the boating spots that you must try sooner rather than later.

  1. Jacksonville – There’s no doubt that the marinas, ship supply stores, fine hotels, and five-star restaurants grab the attention of boaters. In addition to being the gateway to the St. Johns River, Jacksonville boasts plenty of dockage space, including the Metropolitan Park Marina. If you’re looking for more of a staycation this summer but still want to get away, Jacksonville makes a great choice. Fishers and anglers, in particular, will fall in love with the city, as nothing quite compares to the area’s shallow-water fishing.
  2. Miami – Tomalin explains that Fort Lauderdale has been called the Yachting Capital of the World. Keep in mind that the Gulf Stream will pique your interest if you’re blue-water angler. Not to mention, the coral reefs in Fort Lauderdale essentially serve as a magnet for scuba divers.
  3. Key West and the Florida Keys – Look no further than the Florida Keys for boating fun this summer! Especially if you have a large group with you, it’s important to have different opportunities for everyone. The Keys has you covered with fishing, diving, or just hanging out around the islands. Tomalin mentions that each island or key has its own personality. For example, scuba divers tend to lean toward Key Largo for its reefs and shipwrecks. Deep sea fishermen, on the other hand, love to head to Islamorada. Key West, meanwhile, features some of the most postcard-perfect sunsets in the U.S. Following a day of snorkeling, be sure to make your way to the world famous Margaritaville for “a cheeseburger in paradise.”
  4. Tampa Bay – Longtime Florida boaters know that Tampa offers some of the best boating in the state. But don’t be hesitant to explore some of the region’s hidden bays and rivers. Tomalin recommends Beer Can Island, Shell Key, or Egmont Key, to name a few.
  5. Pensacola – Going back to the times of Spanish explorers, Pensacola has maintained a strong identity of sailing. Along with the nearby towns of Fort Walton Beach and Destin, the trio makes up what’s referred to as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” You can’t help but relax on the beautiful beaches and sheltered harbors. Plus, if you ask any serious deep sea fisher about their go-to spots, chances are that they’ll mention this as a top destination.  

Before you schedule your next boating excursion, keep in mind the following as you make your preparations:

  • Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved safety course.
  • In addition to the safety course, you must also have photo identification card to go with a boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • Are you a non-resident looking to enjoy your time boating in Florida? Then you are exempt as long as you have taken an approved safety course from another state.

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