I've anchored several time at Rodriguez key with no issues. Protection is not amazing if it's blowing though. The Key Largo
marina is a very decent but you won't be able to get in at low tide.
The main problem I have with that area is lack of anchorages. Basically from Miami
until Rodriguez there is nothing unless there is no swell.
And then the next anchorage is like Bahia Honda
As you approach Key West there are a few more options.
My draft is 5' 2" and there were so many places I did not feel comfortable going, I can't imagine what it would be like with a 6' 8" draft.
If you have a good dingy try to get out to some of the sand bars north east of Key West. North East of Jewfish basin. I loved it around there.
As well take a few days to go out to the dry Tortugas
On the way down from miami
, I would recommend going out past the reefs
and staying in deep water
and then coming in to see some of the reefs
. They are some of the best I have ever seen in North America. Definitely worth the time to go snorkelling or diving
From Rodriguez key you can get to Molasses Reef in about an hour and spend the day there on the mooring if the swells are not bad.
Also many like to stop to see Jesus of the Abyss. Also a decent reef to dive or snorkel on.