The Insider’s Guide to Boating in South Florida
No one knows Florida like a local boater.
We’ve gathered some insider info to help you optimize your time in the Sunshine State, with tips for experiencing the best of the sea and shore.We’ve also tapped into our partnership with TravelSmith—the world’s leading purveyor of travel gear, clothing and accessories—to include suggestions for what to take with you when boating in South Florida.
So this year, don’t just settle for leaving the snow behind: Instead, head off the beaten path and discover these can’t-be-missed activities scattered across the expansive area referred to locally as South Florida.
Can you say, “Best vacation ever?”
Before you take off
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Best snorkeling destinations in South Florida
The world just below the waterline offers up a new view for those willing to jump in. Snorkeling is a great way to experience the beauty of the ocean and South Florida offers a multitude of world-class snorkeling options to travelers headed south this winter.
- Biscayne National Park in Miami – Biscayne National Park, a mere hour away from Miami, offers some of the area’s best snorkeling. The park is 95% underwater and offers picturesque views below the waterline of shipwrecks and sea life aplenty.
- Drift Diving in Fort Lauderdale Beach & Lauderdale By-The-Sea – If your South Florida vacation is further north, look to the new trend of drift diving around Fort Lauderdale where you drop a dive flag and snorkel around one of the 50 shipwrecks in this easy- to- access area. (Note: you should be a strong swimmer for this activity.)
- Red Reef in Boca Raton – Red Reef is an amazing artificial reef that’s easy to access from the shore and home to a wide variety of colorful species of fish, as well as sea turtles, eels and stingrays. After the snorkeling, a stroll along the boardwalk is a must!
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Dining out Dockside—It’s the “South Florida way”
Dinner and drinks are better when you arrive by boat. In South Florida, there’s no shortage of great waterfront dining options.
- Rusty Pelican – Check out the Magic City’s skyline from this local hot spot that’s also frequented by celebrities. The Rusty Pelican is rustic and it’s Miami-casual, but the food is world-renowned. Enjoy a glass of white wine and seared scallops while watching the sunset over Biscayne Bay.
- Pelican’s Landing – Snuggled among the beautiful yachts near Fort Lauderdale’s Pier 66 is Pelican’s Landing. Upstairs from the marina with 360-degree views of the city, there’s (usually) live music.
- Sailfish Resort – West Palm Beach—on the northern side of South Florida—is where you’ll find a true slice of local flavor. A quick boat cruise from the ever-popular Peanut Island Sandbar (one of West Palm Beach’s favorite family-friendly spots to raft up and hang out), Sailfish Marina is where fish are brought in fresh from the Atlantic Ocean by local fisherman.
World-class fishing in South Florida
An angler’s paradise lies just off South Florida’s shoreline, where a two-minute cruise will take you to the famed Gulfstream. Local waters are abundant with a variety of sport fish including: sailfish, mahi-mahi, king mackerel, wahoo, tuna, barracuda, grouper, snapper, shark and blue marlin. Hot spots for fishing include the popular Hillsboro Inlet, Port Everglades and Biscayne Bay. A short boat ride from South Florida and you’re in the Florida Keys, where fishing choices are abundant.
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If you’re spending time in South Florida this winter, a boat rental is the ideal way to get out on the water. Boat sharing is a great option for travelers who want to experience their vacations to the fullest but don’t have a boat with them, are unfamiliar with the local waterways or need a different size or model of boat. Boatsetter is South Florida-based and the leader in boat sharing, allowing boat owners to “share” their pre-screened, privately-owned boats with boaters of all levels of boating experience. Boatsetter’s boat rentals include boat selections that are perfect for cruising, fishing, sailing in the bay or relaxing on a local sandbar for the afternoon. Booking boat rentals is easy, with a flexible cancellation policy as well as the option for renters to hire a licensed captain. Book your boat today and take your South Florida vacation to the next level.