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    Summer Boating Destinations | Florida Gulf Coast

    By: | Date: July 5, 2021

    Boating season is here, and the west coast of Florida offers a multitude of remarkable destinations stretching from Key West up to the Florida panhandle. Experience a summer vacation like never before— plus, enjoy warm climates and ultimate relaxation and entertainment. Adventure through the “boating capital of the world” first hand and visit these top eight Florida Gulf Coast summer boating destinations.

    Key West | Summer Boating Destination

    Key West Boating Destinations

    The Florida Keys is this ultimate boating paradise for anglers, watersport enthusiasts, and those who like to kick back and relax. Every year, thousands of commercial, recreational, and pleasure boaters visit this ocean playground to fish, dive, snorkel, sunbathe and enjoy an abundance of activities on the water, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and a number of other watersports. In addition, Key West offers many entertainment options that will satisfy any craving for adventure. The Keys are also notorious for some of the best sunset views in the USA. As captivating as the waterways are in the Florida Keys, a visit on land is also necessary! See the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, local art galleries, the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, and the winter home of President Harry S. Truman, set within the scenic and luxuriant town.

    Fast Facts:

    • Avg. temp 91 high, 68 low
    • Eight hundred keys make up the FL Keys, and they stretch over 180 miles
    • Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States
    • Since 1981, more than 23 artificial reefs have been created in the waters off of the Keys, mostly through the sinking of ships.


    Naples | Summer Boating Destination

    Naples, FL

    Take in the breathtaking views of Naples, Florida, the perfect cruising destination for families or a romantic couple getaway. This island-hopping wonderland for boaters features private sanctuaries of fluffy white sand and calm Gulf waters perfect for shelling, picnicking, camping, and fishing. Naples, also known as paradise coast, offers an array of watersport activities such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, offshore fishing, site seeing, and much more. One of the most popular activities is adventuring through Paradise Coast Blueway. This shallow-water trail is a favorite among kayakers and paddle boarders with expeditions deep into Ten Thousand Islands, stretching from Marco Island to Everglades City.

    Additionally, popular boating destinations include the historic fishing village of Goodland Island, Coconut Island, and Collier Seminole State Park, which features an array of wildlife and vegetation of the Everglades. On land, this city is famous for its architectural inspiration and luxury lifestyle that came from Naples, Italy. Splurge a little with some high-end shopping, indulge yourself in fine dining options, play a round of golf at a beachside course, visit the Revs Institute for Classic Cars, or casually take a stroll on the endless coastline of white sand beach. The options are endless.

    Fast Facts:

    • No. 1 Retirement Spot in the Country
    • Naples was named #1 Small Arts Town in America with over 100 art galleries in the area
    • Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the top bird-watching sites in the US
    • Most Millionaires per capita in Florida


    Sanibel/Captiva | Summer Boating Destination


    The secluded beaches of Sanibel and Captiva are a must-see destination for summer cruising. Sanibel and Captiva are among the top shelling destination in the world. In addition, these two sister beaches offer some of the most notable beaches on the Gulf Coast and allow easy access to the Gulf of Mexico for offshore fishing and site seeing cruising adventures. Explore plenty of dockside dining options, 15 miles of beaches, 25 miles of bike/hike paths, and an abundance of marine life. Whether you are searching for a couple’s getaway, family trip, or nature adventure Captiva and Sanibel Island will not disappoint.

    Fast Facts:

    • 230 species of birds
    • 250 species of shells
    • Over 65% of Sanibel’s land area is a nature reserve
    • The average annual water temperature is 78 degrees


    Sarasota | Summer Boating Destination

    sarasota Boating Destinations

    Sarasota, Florida, is a boater’s paradise where beaches, sandbars, and water activities are abundant. Not to mention, Sarasota is home to the #1 beach in the United States — Siesta Key. Aside from the entertainment-rich, picturesque Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota waterways cover over 50 square miles, offering many recreational opportunities for pleasure boating and fishing, as well as water activities like wakeboarding and swimming. Popular boating destinations include Beer Can Island, Lido Key Beach, and City Island. On-land, explore all that city has to offer including, an array of art galleries, award-winning dining, plenty of quaint shops, and a vibrant nightlife.

    Fast Facts:

    • Over 35 miles of shoreline
    • This city welcomes 4 million visitors every year
    • Sarasota County is made up of over 42% water
    • Within a 20-mile radius, there are more Zagat-rated restaurants than anywhere else in Florida


    Tampa Bay | Summer Boating Destination

    st.pete fl

    Experience some of the best boating spots on the Gulf Coast in the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay is the state’s largest estuary that offers hidden bays and rivers that make this destination a true treasure. Anchor up near Shell Key and Three Rooker Island or cruise your way to Egmont Key, where you can explore the ruins of a 19th Century army fort. Tampa Bay is also home to over 200 species of fish— making the area a diverse wildlife region popular with anglers of all types.

    Once docked, tour St. Petersburg, where you will find entertainment options such as the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection, Sunken Gardens, Clearwater Marine Aquarium as well as the Great Expectations Children’s Museum. In the Tampa area, be sure to check out the Busch Gardens theme park, Tampa Riverwalk, Lowry Park Zoo, and Ybor City State Museum. Tampa is also abundant in top-rated dining options, diverse shops, and plenty of five-star activities and attractions.

    Fast Facts:

    • Tampa is home to the world’s longest continuous sidewalk
    • Ybor City is said to be one of the most haunted places in the world
    • Tampa is home to Florida’s oldest restaurant— The Columbia
    • The Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a large festival celebrating the legend of pirate Jose Gaspar, dates back over 100 years.


    Tarpon Springs | Summer Boating Destination

    tarpon springs summer boating destination

    Known as the sponge capital of the world, Tarpon Springs is not only famous for some of the world’s most exquisite sponges but is also a popular yachting destination. Boaters will find several remarkable beaches that are great for swimming, windsurfing, cruising, and other watersports along the coast of Tarpon Springs. One of the most sought out activities is visiting Anclote Key— a State Park Preserve with a historic lighthouse, bird nesting colonies, and pristine beaches.

    Additionally, shallow barrier islands form offshore over time with the waves and storms. They are accessible by boat and are especially ideal for shelling and watching marine life, especially dolphins at play. On land, visit some of the best Greek restaurants, markets, and bakeries in the country. Eat and shop your way around town on Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Dock District of Tarpon Springs. This quaint street thrives as both a historic and current tourist attraction.

    Fast Facts:

    • The coast is abundant with the Tarpon fish, hence the name of the city
    • Tarpon Springs offers 51 miles of waterfront
    • Incorporated in 1887, it is the oldest city in Pinellas County


    Crystal River | Summer Boating Destination

    Crystal River

    The gem of Florida’s nature coast is designated as an outstanding world-class fishery and hotspot for top watersport activities and adventuring. Some notable highlights of Crystal River include King’s Bay, a 600-acre oasis for kayaking, jet skiing, boating, snorkeling, and much more, located six miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Another popular attraction is Three Sisters Springs, home for wintering manatees that migrate each winter. Speaking of manatees, Nature Coast is also one of the few places where you can swim with them.

    Cruise over to Fort Island Gulf Beach for a picnic on the beach or catch the stunning sunset views. Inland you can explore the downtown area, where you will find plenty of delicious restaurants, boutiques, museums, and live entertainment.

    Fast Facts:

    • There is a Crystal River in Crystal River, Florida. It is a six-mile-long winding waterway fed by 30 spring
    • Manatees flourish in Crystal River from November through March
    • There are nine area golf courses near Crystal River
    • Historians have claimed Crystal River to be one of the richest phosphate deposits in the world


    Destin | Summer Boating Destination


    People travel from all over the world to visit this formerly known fishing town called Destin. Now a popular tourist destination, this town is said to have some of the prettiest beaches in America with remarkable sunset landscapes. Destin has 13 beach access points, and a surfeit of water activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, and fishing. Destin’s waterways offer something for everybody. It’s not unusual to find families playing on Noriega Point, young adults and singles gathering on Crab Island sandbar, and families and couples pulling up to dine in one of the many restaurants on Destin’s harbor.

    Inland, Destin offers multiple shopping areas, golf courses, mouthwatering restaurants, and plenty of entertainment on the Destin boardwalk. It would be impossible to fit all of the attractions into one weekend, so be sure to plan accordingly.

    Fast Facts:

    • The Most Visited City on the Emerald Coast
    • Destin Has the Largest Fleet of Fishing Vessels in Florida
    • Destin’s Beautiful White Sand Comes from the Appalachian Mountains
    • The town was named after a fisherman


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