Published: Feb 01 2019
Southwest Florida is a prime location for a boating trip, with its beautiful blue waters and wonderful weather. Florida is the boating capital of the United States and it has more registered boats than any other state in the US. The Sunshine State is almost entirely surrounded by water, making it the ideal spot for avid boaters. If you are planning a boating trip to Southwest Florida, there are plenty of destinations to tickle your fancy in the area.
Here are the top 10 boating destinations in Southwest Florida — you are sure to find one that suits your needs.
Sarasota is the perfect city to mix culture and history. Sitting 30 nautical miles south of St. Petersburg, Sarasota has a wide range of outdoor activities for the adventurous traveler. Rent a boat in Sarasota for a fun day of cruising on the water. Jet ski rentals are also popular in Sarasota. The city can be explored by hiking, or in a canoe or with a kayak rental. When you tire of the outdoor life, the city’s many museums, restaurants, and shops will be ready to entertain you.
Lying 80 nautical miles south of Sarasota, Fort Myers is a family-friendly spot for a boating holiday. Dolphin watching is a popular pastime in the region, with lots of dolphin tours available in Fort Myers. With its shallow water, the beach at Fort Myers is one of the safest in the area and a perfect spot for families to enjoy. If you're visiting with kids, book a pontoon boat rental, charter a yacht, or rent a speedboat with equipment to enjoy watersports in Fort Myers.
Known as the “crown jewel” of Southwest Florida, Naples is a key destination for any boater who wants to experience the rich culture that Florida has to offer. The untamed Everglades wilderness houses many exotic species of wildlife in its marshes. Naples is great for fishing charters, pontoon rentals, and anything out on the water.
The Florida Keys are the most southerly landmass in the Sunshine State. One of the most popular islands is Key West, a world-famous hotspot for boating trips. This tropical paradise offers biking, snorkeling, swimming, and much more. The other Florida Keys islands, which lie nearby, offer spectacular coral reefs, shipwrecks, and ideal fishing grounds. Check out our guide to boating in Key West for more detailed information on planning a vacation here.
Cape Coral offers an ideal location for enjoying fishing and nature. It's rich in coastal birds and wildlife species. The sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters of the nearby outer Barrier Islands are an ideal spot for a little swimming or snorkeling. Keep an eye open for the Sanibel Lighthouse on the east of Sanibel Island, which was constructed in 1884. Check out our boating guide to Cape Coral for more information on boat rentals and water experiences available in this city.
The protected waters in the Charlotte Harbor area are a dream for boaters. If you want to soak up the culture of the region, the Charlotte County Historical Center houses a vast collection of artifacts from seafarers down through the ages. If you are looking for some fertile fishing grounds, you can find freshwater and saltwater catches along the confluence of the Peace River and the Myakka River.
Around 70 miles west of Key West lies the Dry Tortugas National Park. The park is accessible only by seaplane, or private boat and charter boat. The park is famous as the site of Fort Jefferson, as well as for its clear, blue waters, coral reefs, and a vast array of marine and birdlife.
Big Hickory Island makes an ideal stopping point for boaters. You can rent a boat on Big Hickory Island for a quiet afternoon of cruising around beautiful beaches. The picturesque island is unspoiled and beautiful, with beaches covered in shells and driftwood. Located nearby is Little Hickory Island, which is also known as Bonita Beach.
Lying near the “crown jewel” of Naples, Keewaydin Island makes for a hidden gem of a destination. The interesting terrain of Keewaydin Island features everything from cacti to mangroves, and the island is home to loggerhead turtles and a wide array of birds. It also features miles of white, sandy beaches, and a nearby wildlife reserve called Rookery Bay.
There are so many places to choose from for boat rentals and charters in Southwest Florida, it can be hard to choose where to vacation. No matter which city you find yourself on, you'll want to get out on the water for at least one day when traveling through southwest Florida.
Need a boat rental in Southwest Florida? Download the GetMyBoat app and search through thousands of options right at your fingertips.