South Florida is a hub for those who love beautiful beaches, sunny weather, good food, being surrounded by culture, and is the absolute perfect place for boating. There is water everywhere you look and boat clubs on every other corner to satisfy your boating needs year-round. Continue reading below for more on all south Florida has to offer boating lovers.
From the Intercoastal to the Atlantic Ocean and the many waterways, canals, ponds, lakes, bays, and reefs in between, South Florida is a boating enthusiast’s dream. With 365-day-a-year access to water, good weather, a picture-perfect backdrop, a plethora of yacht and boating clubs, and homes that boast private docks, the region is nautical by nature.
Water, Water Everywhere
South Florida’s landscape is comprised of mostly waterways, said Sarah Ewald of Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty.
“Multiple international ports drawing people from all around the world for a variety of salt and freshwater experiences, such as fishing and scuba diving, just scratch the surface,” she said. “It’s also a prime location when it comes to shipping and travel outside of the country to U.S. territories. You’ll see a lot of locals jump over to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and even Mexico and Cuba just for the weekend.”
“South Florida’s waterways are deep and wide, with many inlets for boaters to access the ocean in a relatively short period of time,” said Josh Dotoli, principal of the Josh Dotoli Group and real estate adviser for Compass Florida. “South Florida is also just 60 miles to Bimini, Bahamas, which is a favorite location for boating and yachting enthusiasts.”
Some of the best areas for boating include Lake Boca in Boca Raton, Haulover Inlet Sandbar in Miami, and Fort Lauderdale Sandbar, Mr. Dotoli said.
“The yachters generally hang out in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale areas to also enjoy the city life, while there’s also a lot of sportfishing going on up and down the coasts,” Ms. Ewald said. Not to mention, both of these areas host international boat shows every year. “The Keys are great as well because you can quickly get to a reef for diving or fishing or go out into the Everglades for backcountry fly fishing.”
“You can’t beat the 365-day-a-year access to the water,” said Patrick Jackson, CEO of Lekker Boats USA, the official VIP tender for the Miami Yacht Show. “There are beautiful spots everywhere to fish, cruise or beach your boat and enjoy the sunshine. Fort Lauderdale and Miami feature waterfront restaurants everywhere that have docking for customers, which makes this area perfect for our boats.”
And homes in this area are ideal for boating enthusiasts—because of location, proximity to waterways, and easy access to inlets and the ocean. “Fort Lauderdale alone is home to over 300 miles of Intracoastal waterways and navigable inland canals,” Mr. Dotoli said. Not to mention, waterfront single-family homes almost always come with dockage. “Many luxury waterfront townhome communities are selling dockage which can run about $100,000 for a 45-foot slip,” he said.
“Here in the Keys, it’s pretty common for homes to have some sort of access to the water,” Ms. Ewald said, “whether you’re located directly on the water or at least have a nearby boat ramp, it depends on your budget, time spent here and overall needs.”
Boating season is generally January through March when the average temperature is an ideal 74 degrees with just four days a month of rain, he said.
“Diving is best mostly in the summer; our winter weather tends to be a bit windy, but that’s when the sailfish bite, so it’s a big deal. Lots of big money tournaments are hosted in the winter, and the hardcore fishing teams really come out and go for it,” Ms. Ewald said. These include the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, Ladies Sailfish Tournament, Cheeca Lodge Sailfish Tournament, Poor Girls, Sailfly Tournament, Junior Sailfish Tournament, Bartender’s Tournament, just to name a few.