There is another route
that's not as good because you miss the Keys, but is a little shorter and may provide an alternative in bad weather.
Sail north along the coast to Palm Beach Inlet or St. Lucie Inlet, depending on conditions, then enter the Okeechobee Waterway, which crosses the state and comes out at Ft. Myers.
needs to be under 49 feet to get under a RR bridge.
It takes a couple of days to motorsail across the state. Bucolic, some fun with locks, a sailing trip across Lake Okeechobee, a chance to see some of the headwaters of the Everglades. I sailed past a couple of gators, which was a change from the usual dolphins
Again, not as nice as the Keys, but interesting to do once.
If weather forces you to stay inside, the ICW
is slow, 40 or 50 miles a day with a careful lookout for uncharted sandbars. Do your research
before entering or leaving an inlet; a fair number are shoaled, shallow and very tricky when the wind and seas oppose.
The outside is much better.