The Miami Guide to Boating and Sailing

By Lori Kahn | Apr 10, 2018
Miami Boating & Sailing
See Miami from a different perspective - the water

Set sail on Miami’s open waters with one of these boating adventures.

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 temperatures above and beautiful aquamarine water below, this subtropical paradise is always a draw for those looking to feel the salt spray. Here’s your guide to getting offshore in Miami.

Miami Marinas

Aerial view of Coconut Grove Marina

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. From party yachts like Tikki Beach, champagne catamaran charters on the Hula Girl or even sailing lessons with the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, it’s the ideal place to stop by if you love the sea. Dinner Key is also a great place to book a fishing or sailing charter before you wrap up your day at sea with a dockside happy hour by throwing back $1 oysters at Monty’s Raw Bar.

At the southern tip of South Beach, Miami Beach Marina boasts 400 slips with everything from fishing charters to dive boats and even adventure sightseeing with Ocean Force Adventures. After your day of boating why not treat yourself to a savory meal at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse or Monty’s Sunset – both right at the Marina. It’s also a short walk to Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant for some world-renowned South Beach seafood or Smith & Wollensky steakhouse for stunning views of Fisher Island and cruise ships setting sail to the Atlantic. You can even catch a water taxi to Bayside Marketplace if you want to have some mainland-based boating adventures.

Aerial view of Miamiarina at Bayside in Downtown Miami

Once you exit the water taxi, you'll find yourself at Miamarina at Bayside, the embarkation point for a number of boat tours and charters. With Bayside Marketplace overlooking the marina, you have quick access to many popular stores, shops, restaurants, and cafes. This marina is also right next door to the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the NBA's Miami Heat, and just a short Lyft away from Miami’s famous Little Havana and Wynwood neighborhoods.

Another short ride away is Crandon Marina located on Key Biscayne. This marina has an active dive boat operation within striking distance to both artificial and natural reefs in Diver’s Paradise. 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. Stop by the Rusty Pelican on your way off Key Biscayne for some delicious local seafood fare and more amazing Biscayne Bay views.

Other marinas throughout Miami include Matheson Hammock Marina in Coral Gables, Herbert Hoover Marina at Homestead Bayfront Park, Black Point Marina in Cutler Bay, Bill Bird Marina in Haulover and Pelican Harbour Marina in North Bay Village.

Sailing

Caribbean Spirit catamaran from Tropical Sailing

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 in Miami alone, 25 percent of whom have disabilities.

Tropical Sailing offers a variety of sailing excursions aboard a spacious and comfortable fleet of catamarans. Among their many outings, you can enjoy a South Beach “Sail, Splash and Snorkel” trip where you will get to see PortMiami, mansions and mega yachts along your route to an Atlantic Ocean sail with a swim stop right off South Beach’s strip. This adults-only sea adventure includes fun on the water with a giant trampoline, huge water mat and swim noodles where you can revert back to the good ol’ days when you played like a kid in the sun.

If you’re more of a night owl, Miami has plenty of options for visitors wanting to enjoy the ocean under the stars. For a relaxing and memorable two-hour twilight sunset catamaran cruise on beautiful Biscayne Bay, you’ll want to check out Playtime Watersports. They also have a moonlight trip where you can see the Miami Skyline at night from a completely different view – on the water. There is nothing more jaw-dropping than the incredible sky high buildings in Downtown Miami from Biscayne Bay at night.

Boat Tours

Island Queen sightseeing cruise departs from Bayside Marketplace

Miami has a full range of exciting and adventurous boating and sailing tours and excursions for adults as well as families to enjoy when visiting. Here are a few of the fun things to experience from the water while you’re here.

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 for a variety of tours from celebrity homes on Star Island to the historic Stiltsville houses on Biscayne Bay.

You will also want to try Boat.Me for a private pontoon party boat experience on Biscayne Bay. If you are having a family vacation, they have a family day trip where kids can playfully fool around with inflatables. Boat.Me even supplies a grill so you can have your very own BBQ right on the boat.

Real thrill-seekers searching to call the shots on their own boating tour can drive a speed boat with Speed Boat Adventures. Think of this as a tour with a twist, where you are the captain navigating the waters while following trained guides who offer interesting commentary throughout the trip with two-way communication systems in each boat.

Charter Boats

Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters

If you’d rather really 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, Tropicalboat Luxury Yacht Charters & 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. It’s like Lyft, but on the water.

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