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Old 06-11-2015, 10:52   #16
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

Check out
Trawler Beach House web site
They have traveled that way and have a guide you can purchase
They are also sponsors of CF
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:17   #17
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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Tampa to Fort Myers is pretty terrible the whole way except manatee river. My favorite anchorage north of the keys is Shell Island by Panama City. Favorite marina is Port St Joe. I would spend time in the pan handle and the keys, but high tail it from Apalachicola to the keys.
===

With all due respect, I couldn't disagree more. South West Florida has some wonderful cruising, especially that time of year. Here are my recommendations: Twin Dolphin Marina, Bradenton; Marina Jacks, Sarasota; Crow's Nest Marina, Venice; Boca Grande Marina, Boca Grande; Pelican Bay anchorage, Cayo Costa; South Seas Marina, North Captiva;
Tween Waters Marina, North Captiva; Pink Shell Marina, Ft Myers Beach; Sportsman's Club, Everglades City; Little Shark River anchorage, Everglades National Park.
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:41   #18
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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===

With all due respect, I couldn't disagree more. South West Florida has some wonderful cruising, especially that time of year. Here are my recommendations: Twin Dolphin Marina, Bradenton; Marina Jacks, Sarasota; Crow's Nest Marina, Venice; Boca Grande Marina, Boca Grande; Pelican Bay anchorage, Cayo Costa; South Seas Marina, North Captiva;
Tween Waters Marina, North Captiva; Pink Shell Marina, Ft Myers Beach; Sportsman's Club, Everglades City; Little Shark River anchorage, Everglades National Park.
I agree. We love cruising the west coast of Florida.
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Old 06-11-2015, 13:34   #19
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

If you are in the Abacos, don miss, " Regatta Time in the Abacos", a week of racing a ceremonies, ( note I didnt say Party !).
Leaving from "West End" in the Abacos it is a days run to Ft. Lauderdale, well worth seeing and spending a day or three. Look up the Hillsborough Inlett Sailing Club for more information.

From Lauderdale it is a straight shot outside to the Keys or inside via the ICW, A 54 Ft. mast is not a problem with the fixed bridges/causeways.

Have fun...............
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Old 06-11-2015, 13:39   #20
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

Sarasota marina is nice as well as going South through Boca Grande pass onto the inter ICW and at Pine Island are several nice marina's and great restaurants both at Bokellia at the north and St James City at the South which also has decent seawall transient parkin and great food such as the Green flash and Marker55 restaurants. Also can take a quick run through charlotte harbor and enjoy Burnt Store Marina, great food fuel and ships shore also service center. chalotte Harbor is 2nd in size only to Tampa Bay. Plenty of islands and cove for a good nights rest, well protected from the Gulf.
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Old 06-11-2015, 14:41   #21
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

I agree with the other posters about the west coast. It is awesome. South Seas Marina is way cool....I would add Moss Marine at Ft. Meyers Beach which should not be missed IMHO. Also endorse Little Shark River for an anchorage and Factory Bay at Marco Island.
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Old 06-11-2015, 14:44   #22
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

I live here so I cannot weigh in on marina life outside of my base but as far as the area:

Tarpon is worth visiting, it's not big but it has a nice feel about it. You can catch a trolley there and explore South with stops in Palm Harbor and Dunedin when it is running on the weekends, not sure if it travels further South. All are old train stops and are not far apart. It's worth the trip to Dunedin and the municipal marina is very nice and right downtown.

Outside of Tarpon you have some nice water around Anclote Key, access is easy into the river to Tarpon. Three Rooker and Honeymoon island have been mentioned.

Clearwater Beach isn't my thing, a little too touristy for me on a Disney scale but there's plenty there, different strokes for different folks, prefer Fort Desoto South, also worth visiting.

If to the North and considering Crystal river, navigation inside the river is easy up to the marinas. Springs are always a good thing to check out, although 3 sisters will be closed of for swim in in the winter. If there and you can traverse land down to Homosassa it's worth the trip, not sure on the access from the gulf into the Homosassa River it's shallow and might be dicey but this is a great and taste of old Florida stop. Go to the "Freezer" for shrimp you will not be sorry.

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Old 06-11-2015, 15:16   #23
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

St Pete continued- any number of bars and restaurants- Moon under Water for English pub food and Indian food, 400 beach for filet mignon, the Ale and the Witch for ribs and live music nightly, Ringside also for music nightly, Cassis for French cuisine, Grazzi for great Italian, Bella Brava for Pizza, Stillwaters Cafe for pub food, Trist, Hanger restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport, Parkshore Grill, Museum of Fine Arts for Sunday brunch (2 4 1 mimosas!), Crowleys Pub, The Rowdies Soccer pub, Vinoy restaurant, The Birchwood rooftop bar, just to name a few (no, I don't work for the chamber of commerce!). Then you can take the trolley up Central Ave to a host of other spots... Happy cruising!!
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Old 06-11-2015, 15:22   #24
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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I live here so I cannot weigh in on marina life outside of my base but as far as the area:

Tarpon is worth visiting, it's not big but it has a nice feel about it. You can catch a trolley there and explore South with stops in Palm Harbor and Dunedin when it is running on the weekends, not sure if it travels further South. All are old train stops and are not far apart. It's worth the trip to Dunedin and the municipal marina is very nice and right downtown.

Outside of Tarpon you have some nice water around Anclote Key, access is easy into the river to Tarpon. Three Rooker and Honeymoon island have been mentioned.

Clearwater Beach isn't my thing, a little too touristy for me on a Disney scale but there's plenty there, different strokes for different folks, prefer Fort Desoto South, also worth visiting.

If to the North and considering Crystal river, navigation inside the river is easy up to the marinas. Springs are always a good thing to check out, although 3 sisters will be closed of for swim in in the winter. If there and you can traverse land down to Homosassa it's worth the trip, not sure on the access from the gulf into the Homosassa River it's shallow and might be dicey but this is a great and taste of old Florida stop. Go to the "Freezer" for shrimp you will not be sorry.

.
I agree about Homosassa, it's our favorite river. It's like going back in time. The channel is tricky so you might want anchor at the mouth & take your dinghy up river. You can tie up in front of Monkey Island & eat at the restaurant. I guarantee you'll see manatees on this river. Most cruisers miss everything north of Tarpon due to the shallow water but this part of Florida is really beautiful.
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Old 06-11-2015, 16:03   #25
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

I guess the locals call it "Tarpon". I was puzzled for a bit because I'm from the Florida Atlantic side and we only know it as Tarpon Springs, but it is a favorite cruising stop for us!
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Old 06-11-2015, 16:25   #26
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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I guess the locals call it "Tarpon". I was puzzled for a bit because I'm from the Florida Atlantic side and we only know it as Tarpon Springs, but it is a favorite cruising stop for us!
Just lazy I guess. St Pete is another one. The "Cotee" River just south of us is actually the Pithlachascotee River. Too much work.
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Old 06-11-2015, 17:17   #27
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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Another vote for Venice and the Crow's Nest Marina. Love their restaurant. Call ahead for dockage, like many marinas they don't have too many spots for cats.
....
Yum, awesome stop.

Manatee River...another great stop, used to live there.

St. Pete. Havent been there in years, but always enjoyed Central Ave in St. Pete.

Tarpon Springs...great Greek food.

Egmont Key...fun exploring, but choose weather carefully...can get ugly if wind blows down Tampa Bay.

Pine Island Sound area...lots of great stops, like Cabbage Key.

...
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Old 06-11-2015, 17:20   #28
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
===

With all due respect, I couldn't disagree more. South West Florida has some wonderful cruising, especially that time of year. Here are my recommendations: Twin Dolphin Marina, Bradenton; Marina Jacks, Sarasota; Crow's Nest Marina, Venice; Boca Grande Marina, Boca Grande; Pelican Bay anchorage, Cayo Costa; South Seas Marina, North Captiva;
Tween Waters Marina, North Captiva; Pink Shell Marina, Ft Myers Beach; Sportsman's Club, Everglades City; Little Shark River anchorage, Everglades National Park.
+1. Used to live on SW FL. Loved it. Great cruising ground.

Almost forgot about Tween Waters & Captiva...cool places.
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Old 06-11-2015, 20:13   #29
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

I would say that all the comments so far have been good and you may not be able to hit them all. Tarpon Springs is a must stop. Dunedin is also very good.

When I sail to the Keys from Ft Myers Beach I stop for over nights a Smoke House Bay in Marco Island then Little Shark River. Little has no nothing unless you like bugs that fly. It just happens to be a day sail from Marco and Marathon. I usually go into Boot Key Harbor for a mooring ball. If you want a trip to Key West the bus is very reasonable. You can drink what you want and have an hour bus ride back.

Up the Keys from Marathon there are plenty of options. Key Largo has a decent anchorage by Rodriguez Key and there is a great place to snorkel just off the waterway. Underwater Jesus is a good stop. After that Biscayne Bay has really good anchorages West of Key Biscayne.

A cruising guide is a must.
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Old 06-11-2015, 22:04   #30
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Re: Best Stops In Florida

[QUOTE=sailjumanji;1955082]Wife and I are newly-retired as of November 1, with plans to do some extended cruising thru Florida and the Bahamas next year. We moved the Seawind from Texas to Orange Beach, Alabama last month, where it will be for the winter. We plan to come back in late February and spend month of March working our way down and around Florida, and meet some friends on the east coast around April 1 to cross over into the Bahamas.

SNIPQUOTE]

Looks like part of your trip will be in the season. One post mentioned getting a ball at Boot Key which I agree with assuming one is available; sometimes there is a waiting list. The same may be true for many of the other locations listed. I would suggest you get this cruising guide.

It mentions cruising in some of the less traveled areas, especially in the Big Bend area of Florida. Places from Panama City to the St. Pete area that are often overlooked. Not saying you should, or should not, spend time there instead of heading across the Gulf and missing the area; just that places like Apalachicola, St. Marks, Suwannee River, Cedar Key, and Crystal River are some of my favorite places all of which you would miss by heading straight from PC to St. Pete.

I have a Seawind and would also mention it is possible to lower the mast more easily than you may think which would allow you to use the canal and locks to travel from the East Coast of Florida to the West Coast to Ft. Myers crossing Lake Okeechobee which is quite an interesting trip.

As you must have noticed by now you could easily spend a lot longer than your planned just cruising in Florida waters. I have lived in Florida since the 1950s and recently increased my bucket list to include taking my Seawind up the Peace River to search for megalodon teeth.
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