By: Shayne Benowitz
Here’s your guide to getting offshore in Miami.
Home to the world’s largest cruise ship port and surrounded by Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Miami is a premiere destination for boating and sailing. With warm temps above and below the water year round and tranquil seas, the aquamarine waters of this subtropical paradise are always a draw. Here’s your guide to boating and sailing in Miami.
Part of Coconut Grove’s picturesque panorama, Dinner Key Marina is the city’s largest wet slip marina at 582 berths with an additional 225 moorings just offshore. It’s the ideal place to book a fishing or sailing charter, or simply enjoy the views over a dockside meal at Monty’s Raw Bar.
At the southern tip of South Beach, Miami Beach Marina boasts 400 slips with everything from luxury yacht charters to dive boats. With Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse and another outpost of Monty’s Raw Bar onsite, it’s also a short walk to Smith & Wollensky steakhouse for stunning views of Fisher Island and cruise ships setting sail to the Atlantic.
In the heart of Downtown Miami with 130 slips, Miamarina at Bayside is the embarkation point for a number of boat tours and charters. With Bayside Marketplace overlooking the marina, it’s a hub of activity in the city center.
Crandon Marina located on Key Biscayne has an active dive boat operation and is striking distance to both artificial and natural reefs. It’s also a great spot for fishing charters or simply strolling the docks at sunset for beautiful views of the bay and the city skyline.
Other marinas throughout Miami include Matheson Hammock Marina in Coral Gables, Herbert Hoover Marina at Homestead Bayfront Park, Black Point Marina in Homestead, Bill Bird Marina in Haulover and Pelican Harbour Marina in North Bay Village.
Whether you want to learn to sail or simply charter a sailboat, Shake-A-Leg is Miami’s premiere community boating center in Coconut Grove, offering everything from learn to sail courses to group charters aboard 20-foot keelboats. Over the last two decades, they’ve been devoted to bringing sailing to the disabled and have served more than 10,000 children and adults, 25 percent of whom have disabilities.
For bareboat charters, The Moorings is a worldwide network for traveling sailors, with a South Beach location at the Miami Beach Marina. The well-respected outfit offers a variety of both sail and powerboat rentals.
Miami’s premiere sightseeing tours are aboard Island Queen Cruises where you can embark on a variety of trips from Miamarina, including Millionaire’s Row and Miami Skyline cruises.
For a high-octane adventure, step aboard Thriller Miami’s 42-foot vessel and zoom past sites like PortMiami, Star Island, Monument Island, Fisher Island and South Beach from Biscayne Bay to the open Atlantic Ocean, at speeds of up to 50 mph.
For a different kind of thrill, Ocean Force Adventures sets out from the Miami Beach Marina aboard six passenger, high speed Zodiacs on a variety of tours from celebrity homes on Star Island to the historic Stiltsville homes on Biscayne Bay.
Tropical Sailing boasts a fleet of sailing and power catamarans docked at Miamarina with daily trips and watersports activities, ranging from snorkeling to sunset sailing.
Whether it’s the Lady Windridge or the Windridge K, Windridge Yacht Charters hosts special event private dinner cruises for parties of 100 to 500 people.
If you’d rather be the captain of your own ship or you’d like to hire a captain for a private charter, many companies provide everything from fishing boats to mega yachts. Check out Y Charter Miami, Tropical Boat Charters, Boat Miami, Miami Charters, Yolo Boat Rentals and Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters.
For the tech forward boater, on demand services like the Boatday app or Sailo.com offer charter options tied to the sharing economy.
Of course, there’s perhaps no more exciting boating adventure than a Caribbean cruise from PortMiami. As the world’s largest cruise terminal, PortMiami is home to all of the major cruise lines and some of the largest cruise ships. Just be sure to spend at least a day discovering Miami before or after your cruise to get the most out of your vacation.
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