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Old 06-02-2019, 14:37   #16
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

You are coming from Jacksonville right?


Most of the FL E coast isnt very interesting, but at Biscayne Bay that changes. From Biscayne Bay all the way around the tip of FL and up to Tarpon Springs is an awesome cruising ground.

Along that route, and most of the Gulf, you will need to chose "inside" or "outside" (ICW or just off the coast). Weather, logistics, and where you want to visit will make that decision for you most of the time.

Thru the Keys to Tarpon Springs there are enough passes that you can sail almost all of it on the outside and duck inside for the night (day sails).

Once you get to Tarpon Springs the ICW ends and you will have to jump the big bend of Florida on an overnight sail. Port St Joe is a popular destination for this jump.

Though, if you really want to do ALL of it there are places you can get into, like Crystal River, along the big bend/Appalachee Bay area...but its typically a long haul in via a narrow channel thru miles of shoal water.

From St Joe to Louisiana is great cruising, again making the inside/outside choice, but there is great inside sailing on this section in the Mississippi Sound....all the way from just W of Mobile Bay to the Rigolets.

From LA thru TX its typically motoring in the "ditch" (ICW...and long expanses of it here do literally look like a ditch) or sailing outside, but with longer distances between viable passes. This section is HEAVILY industrialized with lots of commercial traffic, lots of oil patch hazards, and minimal services for yachts. FL thru Mississippi is the oppossite, lots of recreational traffic and plenty of small boat services.
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Old 06-02-2019, 14:45   #17
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Iím willing to buy more than one book
For an all encompassing Gulf tour I would put the WWG at the top, then get all of the older guides you can (they are dated, but the basic nav info is still relevant). Since much of the Gulf Coast is industrialized, or at least has commercial ports, even the info in Coast Pilot is useful. It includes descriptions of port facilities written for commercial vessels, but you can still glean some good tid bits from it...and its free!

Download links here:

https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/uni...through-96293b
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Old 06-02-2019, 14:48   #18
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Another oldie, but goodie:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...sv0Jca150gzN1_
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Old 06-02-2019, 15:00   #19
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Maybe I havenít been clear

Iím more interested in sights and places worth seeing and things worth doing along the way

Navigation is the easy part by far
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Old 06-02-2019, 15:27   #20
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Clear.
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:51   #21
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

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Maybe I havenít been clear

Iím more interested in sights and places worth seeing and things worth doing along the way
Cayo Costa State Park (Pelican Bay Anchorage): Good protection with a dinghy dock and cold water showers in the campground. Take the dinghy down to Cabbage Key for dinner and climb the observation tower to watch the sunset.

Venice: A good place to stop if you want to get a slip. Nowhere to anchor but good access to grocery/hardware/auto parts stores from fishermans wharf marina. Good restaraunts also nearby. The inlet is somewhat narrow and can be sketchy on opposing wind/tide.

Bradenton (Desoto Point Anchorage): Good protection from the north. Dinghy dock on the north side of the river (county park) or south side has a beach (national monument). Landing a dinghy on beach is allowed just don't tie to the bushes (according to ranger last time I was there). You can catch an uber from either park and get to town easily. Farther up the river are a few marinas if you don't want to anchor. The national monument has a small muesem and some exibits.

Gulfport: Has a new mooring field for the municipal marina. Relatively easy access via pass-a-grille Good dinghy dock right in front of a row of restaraunts. Grocery access via uber or bike.

St Pete: Two large marinas (one private/one municipal) with any type of marine related service you could want. Great access to everything but you are in a packed highrise type downtown area.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:48   #22
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

It would helpful if you could tell us what your interests are?

Restaurants, bars, nightlife, parks, museums, art, resorts, marinas or anchoring.

The west coast has all of that and probably a bit more. When we go down to the Keys, we day hop from one anchorage to the next, but also have stopped at a few marinas and resorts along the way.

A few notable places starting in the south heading north,

Stan's Idle Hour, Goodland, FL (only go here if your air draft will allow to pass under the bridges that head to Marco Island.)

Marco Island, anchor in Smokehouse Bay. Winn Dixie has a dinghy dock. (current coming and going at the entrance to the canals can be unnerving, but never had a problem)

Naples, some of the most expensive real estate in all of Florida

Fort Myers Beach, tourist town, a few interesting things to do and see. You can anchor west of the bridge, or pick up a city mooring on the east side. There are also a few marinas, We've stayed at Salty Sam's a few times, two restaurants/bars. Pirate cruise leaves from there, as well as the Key West Express ferry.

Tween Waters Island resort, Captiva Island

South Seas Resort

As Mentioned Cayo Costa State Park. Also Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant. You can anchor SW of Useppa Island.

Someone mentioned Venice, you can actually anchor out in front of Higel Park and land a dinghy there. However, the holding there can sometimes make it difficult to get a good nights sleep. We have also stayed at the Crows Nest and also Fisherman's Wharf.

Marina Jack, Sarasota, St Armands Circle, Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium, Ringling Museum. Siesta Key Beach.

Egmont Key, Passage Key (if want to see nudists), Desoto point, Gulfport.

Downtown St Petersburg.

Clearwater, two Muni marinas, interesting stuff always happening in that area. Lots of tourists and touristy stuff, Cleawater Aquarium.

I could keep going but this post would way to long to read..............
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:35   #23
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

BTW - since people are going to give specific things to consider seeing, I draft 6.4' and have a 59' mast height.

I'm going to have to look up at lot of mentioned places as I have no idea where they are. But thanks to all suggestions as I will consider all of them.
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Old 28-04-2019, 16:07   #24
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Well since I'm now in Ft Myers Beach I'm back looking into this. Turned out I had a Waterway Guide and I have a Claiborne Young guide, and a Skipper Bob.

One thing so far they all have in common is that their draft viewpoint appears to be 4.5'

If people have any specific suggests of good things to see along the west side of Florida and the Gulf coast all the way to San Padres Island let me know and I'll figure out how to get there.
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Old 28-04-2019, 16:14   #25
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Hey, if you find yourself staying over in the Bradenton area for a few nights, drop us a PM.
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Old 28-04-2019, 16:31   #26
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

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Hey, if you find yourself staying over in the Bradenton area for a few nights, drop us a PM.

is that the St Pete "area"?
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Old 28-04-2019, 16:33   #27
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Re: Gulf Coast Cruising Guides

Yep. Between Sarasota and St Pete.
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