It's a wonderful trip north. We've done it a bunch of times and just left from the Miami
Beach area in March ourselves. Here are a couple of thoughts:
- Finding ways to get your wife to love the trip is a major consideration. One thing is to find out what she really likes. OK, this will sound odd but my wife is happy when she can do laundry
. Don't ask me why because I don't get it. So I look for places with easy laundry
(even though we have a washer/dryer on the boat and she can use them at anchor). We just stayed 5 days at the Charleston Maritime Center. They have free laundry facilities. She washed every sheet and towel we had. Made her happy. Find those types of things for your wife.
- The choice of going inside or outside is a tough one. Some depends on your draft
which you didn't give but since you're a cat, I'll assume it's small. The really bad day of bridges is between Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach. There were 21 bridges of which we had to have 18 lifted. They are pretty well timed so if you can make 6-7 kts, you'll have minor waiting. You can get bridge restriction information on each bridge by looking at the details in ActiveCaptain.
For the first time, I'd go Dinner Key to Ft. Lauderdale, the Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach, Palm Beach to Peck Lake, Peck Lake to Vero Beach. In later years, go outside but for now, experience it all (even the bridges).
It's great fun to take the dinghy
and travel the canals. There are more miles of canals in Ft. Lauderdale than in Venice, Italy!
- For Palm Beach, the traditional place to anchor
is Lake Worth
There are many marinas
in the area too. We've stayed here (Old Port Cove) and found it very, very nice - there's another anchorage right outside there too
These are good anchorages
to know. Someday when you leave for the Bahamas
for the first time, you'll do it from one of these two anchorages.
- Peck Lake is a really nice stop. Take the dinghy
to the barrier beach side. It's really thin and easy to get great beach access
- Vero Beach is a must-be-at cruising destination mooring field. Plan to spend a few days. Learn the shuttle bus route
and walk to the beach section. A lot of people end up paying for a few days and then upgrading to stay a month
From there, it's your turn to explore! Read the various reviews
and look at what other people say about the different areas. There are so many incredible things to see and do - my suggestions are just a starting point. Enjoy!