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Old 18-05-2020, 14:36   #1
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Question Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!...

Going to replace one of our Bahamas trips with a Florida west coast and panhandle trip... would love to hear a few "not to miss" stops for snorkeling, beaches, on-land trips, etc...

A few "must do" on the list already like McRee on schedule to see Blue Angels... and I'd love to do Crystal River (unless there's better) for some crystal clear water.

Thinking about a kayak rental down the Rainbow River...

But we're wide open.

32' power catamaran. We prefer spending our nights on the hook, but also enjoy the occasional marina, dining, etc.

Unless we return for a second trip, we will not be there for scallop season.

Let's hear all the great ideas from the seasoned folks here. This will be our first time beyond Fort Myers (From SE Florida... we've traveled the locks before... will hit Lollypop...)
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Old 20-05-2020, 04:08   #2
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

Anyone.
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Old 20-05-2020, 07:33   #3
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

The Destin area is great and if you can get into the bay there is a lot to see. The St. Pete beaches and Fort Desoto is a nice area. Not sure on details for anchoring so will need another source for that.
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Old 20-05-2020, 10:58   #4
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

Loads of great stops on this route! Just to name a few: Pine Island Sound (several great spots), Venice, Manatee River, St Pete is fun, Tarpon Springs...yum, Greek food! North of Tarpon Springs the waters off the Big Bend area get very shallow and these shoal waters extend far off the coast. This makes for a long uninteresting run in via narrow marked channels...so most cruisers skip this area entirely and make landfall somewhere on the Pan Handle, like Port St Joe. However, both Crystal River and Rainbow river are cool places to dive/snorkel. Rainbow River's clarity is amazing...like clean clear air. From Port St Joe all the way west to NOLA is an awesome cruising ground. South of NOLA you get into true Cajun country in areas like Barataria...great food & music!

Pick up a Waterway Guide for an overview of much of this area. Claiborn Young wrote a good W Florida cruising guide...its old now, but the basic overview and navigation are still relevant. Lots of user comments on Active Captain.

http://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/aut...sin=B000APLCP2
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Old 20-05-2020, 13:14   #5
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Loads of great stops on this route! Just to name a few: Pine Island Sound (several great spots), Venice, Manatee River, St Pete is fun, Tarpon Springs...yum, Greek food! North of Tarpon Springs the waters off the Big Bend area get very shallow and these shoal waters extend far off the coast. This makes for a long uninteresting run in via narrow marked channels...so most cruisers skip this area entirely and make landfall somewhere on the Pan Handle, like Port St Joe. However, both Crystal River and Rainbow river are cool places to dive/snorkel. Rainbow River's clarity is amazing...like clean clear air. From Port St Joe all the way west to NOLA is an awesome cruising ground. South of NOLA you get into true Cajun country in areas like Barataria...great food & music!

Pick up a Waterway Guide for an overview of much of this area. Claiborn Young wrote a good W Florida cruising guide...its old now, but the basic overview and navigation are still relevant. Lots of user comments on Active Captain.

http://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/aut...sin=B000APLCP2
Thanks for the info! Yes. I have the WW book... has some great spots. Some of those spots are on our list, others I will read up. And, also, yes on ActiveCaptain.

Keep it coming!

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 20-05-2020, 15:27   #6
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

Apalachicola is a great stop in the Panhandle, old oyster town turned tourist stop. I wouldn't suggest Destin due to the crowds and the many, many, many inexperienced boaters coming in and out of the Destin Pass. A true cluster.
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Old 27-07-2020, 19:01   #7
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

Following....we are making this trip in the spring except we are coming from Tennessee down to Sarasota!

There are 3 places we already have on our list.
1. Sarasota - Kayaking through the mangroves
2. SanDestin - Baytowne Wharf Marina
3. Orange Beach - The Wharf Marina

We have been to all these places before and love them!

Hope more respond with other great places to see!
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Old 03-08-2020, 10:15   #8
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Re: Stops along a new route... Fort Myers, Florida, up the Gulf coast to Mobile Bay!.

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Following....we are making this trip in the spring except we are coming from Tennessee down to Sarasota!
Sounds like the original poster probably made this trip already, but I'll list a few notable places. I'll keep the descriptions short, because the list could get quite long, you can google them.

As noted by belizesailor, Tarpon Springs is unique. From there:

1) Three Rooker Bar, interesting place but very shallow. May have to anchor off and dinghy in.

2) Caladesi Island State Park. Be sure to follow the route from the causeway to the park entrance. Also, be sure to have bug screens or be able to close up....
There are more bugs here than the Little Shark River in the Everglades....

3) Clearwater Municipal Marinas, either one. There is a ferry that runs from the harbor side to the beach side. If you like fine dining, visit Bob Heilman's Beachcomber.

4) If you happen by Clearwater on the weekend or especially a holiday, anchor off Shephard's Beach Resort........ Nothing like you've seen....

5) Want a Big Mac or fish sandwich, stop by the McDonalds in Maderia Beach, they have a dock for your fast food cravings....

6) Farther south, you have St Pete Beach and Gulfport. Gulfport is kinda of a mini Key West.

7) Of course Egmont Key, and if you want to get naked, (not kidding), Passage Key.

8) One of my favorite spots. Longboat Pass. Mar Vista restuarant and now the Shore both have docks and you can pull up and beach a dinghy.

9) In Sarasota Otter Key has great kayaking.

I could go on...... but you shouldn't miss some of these places. Have fun.
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