Just as its name suggests, Stiltsville is a unique village of charming homes built about 10 feet above water level on wood or concrete pilings. Located within Biscayne National Park one mile south of Cape Florida and Key Biscayne in southern Miami-Dade County, Stiltsville makes for a unique destination during your charter yacht vacation. At low tide the water of Biscayne Bay which surrounds Stiltsville is one to three feet deep and is comprised of several navigational channels allowing viewing of the unique and historic homes. Stiltsville began in the 1930s with a few houses on stilts including “Crawfish” Eddie Walker’s shack where he sold beer, bait and crawfish chowder. Over time, other houses were built in the water community until 1960 when there were said to be as many as 27 houses. They were not all strictly fisherman’s residences, though, as some of the more famous – including the Quarterdeck Club and the Bikini Club, attracted Miami celebrities and politicos. Movies and TV shows have featured Stiltsville’s unique character, and one of the homes was used as the cornerstone of a national ad campaign for Pittsburgh Paint.
Hurricane Donna took 20 of the houses in 1960, eight of which were rebuilt. Hurricane Betsy did damage with 120 mph winds in 1965, and in 1992, Hurricane Andrew left only seven houses standing. The houses you’ll cruise past include The Jimmy Ellenburg House, the A-Frame House, the Baldwin, Sessions, Shaw House, the Leshaw House, the Bay Chateau, the Hicks House, and a house built by the Miami Springs Power Boat Club out of a barge. In 1999, Stiltsville was in danger of demolition when the National Park Service issued a mandatory removal of all structures. After petitions were signed by 75,000 people, the Park Service reversed its decision and included Stiltsville as part of Biscayne National Park. Be sure to include this unique community in your charter yacht itinerary!
Boca Chita Key is the most popular island in Biscayne National Park, and is located in Biscayne Bay about 12 miles south of Cape Florida and Key Biscayne.
What better way to enjoy this small jewel than with a cruise on your charter yacht! Boca Chita Harbor is small, and offers space for anchorage if you are early enough. If not, anchor offshore.
Take a few hours with your charter and enjoy the half-mile hiking trail, beautiful views, sea breezes, fishing, and swimming off the beach in Boca Chita’s delightful crystal waters.
Campsites include picnic tables and barbeque grills, and an overnight stay in the campground is included in the overnight docking fee. Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 6 am. There are no sinks or showers, so bringing fresh water is a must.
The most notable site on Boca Chita is the 65-foot lighthouse on the island’s western side built in the 1930’s by the island’s original private owner. The lighthouse is not illuminated and is not an official lighthouse for navigation, but when opened by the National Park Service, provides great views of Miami and the Keys.
Enjoy Boca Chita Key and the Atlantic Ocean on your charter yacht vacation!
In the Atlantic Ocean within Biscayne National Park are the beautiful islands of the Florida Keys. With the northernmost keys lying approximately 7-8 miles east of the mainland of Miami, Florida, the Keys mark the eastern boundary of Biscayne Bay.
Kokomo Dream is our introduction to the more northern Florida Keys. You’ll travel by charter yacht to islands approximately 15 miles offshore that are only accessible by private boat. After boarding the yacht in Miami in the morning, we’ll begin by cruising south past Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.
Soldier Key is the first key south of Key Biscayne and lies almost alone. Named for the soldiers who lived there while building the lighthouse at Fowey Rock, this quiet key is a good spot for snorkeling.
The Ragged Keys will be our next encounter. This chain of six small islands is rife with numerous channels which provide outlets that keep Biscayne Bay from excessively high tides in the area.
Next we’ll arrive at Boca Chita Key, the most popular island in Biscayne National Park. Attractions include a small harbor, camping, picnicking sites, a half mile hiking trail, and the island’s 65-foot non-illuminated lighthouse.
Sands Key is the next Key south, and actually looks like a car key or house key from an aerial view. Sands Key has an undulating shoreline of coves that inspires plenty of exploration.
Your Kokomo Dream cruise will continue southward to Elliott Key. Elliott Key is Biscayne National Park’s largest island and measures a narrow seven miles long. Camp sites are available on Elliott Key, as well as picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching, fishing, hiking, and 36 boat slips. Elliott Key stands out from the previous keys because it is the only one with drinking water.
Just on the southwest side of Elliott Key lies Adams Key. It contains a boat landing, picnic area and nature trail. Some remains indicate where homes for the wealthy stood in the 1920s and 1930s.
The last area to see before we turn and cruise back to the mainland includes Caesar’s Creek, a channel south of Elliott Key and Adams Key that connects Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Islands we’ll view just south of Caesar’s Creek include Rubicon, Reid, Porgy and Rhodes Keys.
The northernmost of the upper Florida Keys, Key Largo stretches for 33 miles north to south, providing ample opportunity for exploration on your charter yacht vacation. Three towns, North Key Largo, Key Largo and Tavernier are all part of the island which is connected to the mainland of Miami-Dade County via the Overseas Highway and also Card Sound Road. Romanticized in the classic movies “Key Largo” and “The African Queen,” as well as the inspiration for a hit pop song, Key Largo has a genuine appeal.
Though its shoreline is rocky and it has no natural sand beaches, attractions on Key Largo are plentiful. The amazing living coral reef of Key Largo has earned it the title of “Diving Capital of the World.” Not only do scuba divers and sport fishermen enjoy the stunning natural reef with its colorful underwater world of fish and sea creatures, Key Largo also offers the world’s largest artificial reef, the USS Spiegel Grove, a sunken 510-foot Navy ship. Cruise in your charter yacht to other well known dive sites including the famous Italian replica statue, Christ of the Abyss, and the 17-acre Molasses Reef. Everglades National Park, a 1.4 million-acre natural ecosystem to the west of Key Largo reachable by charter yacht, offers a wide variety of wildlife viewing including 300 species of birds, tours and fishing. Probably the most well known park is the famous John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater state park. A delicate ecosystem is preserved for nature lovers to enjoy, as well as camping, fishing, swimming, and nature tours. Other parks include the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site, and the Caribbean Shipwreck Museum and Research Institute.Love to fish? Fishing of all kinds is available on Key Largo on the ocean side as well as in the calmer waters of the bay side. Try fly fishing, bridge fishing, blue claw crabbing, or sport fishing. Key Largo’s easy personality provides relaxing enjoyment. There are several places to swim with the dolphins, take airboat rides or glass bottom boat rides, or embark on an Everglades safari. Sail away to Key Largo!
A Florida Keys yacht charter to beautiful Islamorada offers plenty to do and see. This “Village of Islands” is located halfway between Miami and Key West just south of Tavernier. Stretching for almost seven miles, Islamorada encompasses four islands just waiting for exploration by your Florida yacht rental, including Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key and Lower Matecumbe Key.
Nicknamed the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World,” Islamorada delights anglers with the best of both worlds – deep sea fishing for sailfish and tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, or back country fishing in Florida Bay for permit and tarpon.
Diving from your charter yacht in these tropical Florida waters reveals a rich marine life of eels, nurse sharks, French grunt and goatfish among the numerous coral reefs and shipwrecks. Bring your underwater camera to photograph the only tropical coral reef in the continental United States. Islamorada is also home to the History of Diving Museum.
Arriving in your Florida Keys yacht charter to the northernmost portion of Islamorada, you’ll find Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina and 40-acre Founders Park on Plantation Key. Take advantage of the public beach, nature walk, skate park, playground and pool. The marina has 88 slips. Founders Park also hosts musical performers at the TIB Amphitheater.
Cruising south on the Atlantic Ocean side, you’ll find Treasure Harbor, followed further south by Whale Harbor Restaurant and Marina, which is across from Windley Harbor on the Bay side. When you are ready to disembark from your Florida rental yacht, other attractions include the Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Park, and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, site of a former coral quarry.
Probably the most well known attraction on Islamorada is the 12.5 acre Holiday Isle Beach Resort & Marina and the Islamorada Hotel. This popular resort complex has everything for your yachting vacation, from a full service marina to lively bars, eight restaurants including the Horizon, a wedding venue, and the World Famous Tiki Bar, where the popular “rum runner” drink originated. Top off your visit to Islamorada by shopping for gifts, souvenirs or something just for yourself at the Villages’ many boutiques and galleries.
From parks to harbors to a famous watering hole, your Florida charter yacht rental vacation is a tropical pleasure in Islamorada.
One of Florida’s “Middle Keys,” Duck Key is approximately 90 miles south of Miami and makes a fun getaway on your Florida Keys yacht charter vacation. This natural island is made up of five islands including Yacht Club Island, Center Island, Harbour Island, Plantation Island and Indies Island. When the island first began to be developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, each canal was connected with an ornate Venetian style arched bridge. Duck Key is only about 0.9 square miles, or 300 acres.
Duck Key is best known as the home of the 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort and Marina, one of the Florida Keys’ premier resorts. Originally called The Indies House and then The Indies Inn, the resort was developed in the late 1960s. Presidents and celebrities have been known to visit the island with little fanfare. Cruise your rental yacht to the full service Hawks Cay Marina located near the entrance to the resort on the northwest side of the island. 85 slips are available and the marina offers full provisioning including groceries, bait and tackle, clothing and more. Scuba diving is popular here and is considered to be some of the best in the Florida Keys.
The amenities of Hawks Cay are offered to marina guests. A beautiful salt water lagoon with beach is a great place to while away the hours when you disembark from your charter yacht. Hawks Cay also offers a Dolphin Connection attraction, a fly fishing academy and other nature related activities. A TV show called The Saltwater Experience is filmed at Duck Key – maybe you can catch it live. Popular fishing tournaments for sailfish and tarpon are held on Duck Key every year. Shops and services will have anything you need to make your charter trip more pleasurable.
Your charter cruise to Duck Key is sure to be full of sparkling waters, relaxation, and some of the best attractions the Keys have to offer.
The perfect way to take in the delights of the Islands of Marathon is cruising on a luxury charter yacht. Called the Boating Destination of the Florida Keys, this 10-mile long stretch of islands located in the Middle Keys was named the “Family Destination of the Year” by the New York Times for its variety of activities and amenities. Water sports, fishing, shopping, beaches and delicious seafood dining, all set in an old Florida Keys lifestyle, make Marathon an appealing charter boat trip.
The Islands of Marathon were originally used as support towns and railroad station sites for the construction of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad. Marathon offers plenty of exploration for your yacht party as you visit its many islands including Boot Key, Knight Key, Hog Key, Vaca Key, Stirrup Key, Crawl and Little Crawl Key, East and West Sister’s Island, Deer Key and Fat Deer Key, Long Pine Key and Grassy Key.
The primary marina of Marathon is in centrally-located Boot Key Harbor and is called City Marina. It hosts 226 mooring balls that can accommodate boats up to 45’ or 60’. Dinghy dockage is also available. Another marina is Sombrero Resort & Lighthouse Marina located conveniently near Sombrero Beach, a public beach with picnic tables and a playground.
Snorkeling or diving during your rental boat trip to Marathon is a must. Only a few miles offshore is Sombrero Reef, a protected section of the only living coral barrier reef in the US. Not too far beyond, some of the best wreck diving can be found in the Florida Straits.
Are you itching for a vacation catch of snapper, grouper, tarpon, or mahi-mahi? Fishing is one of Marathon’s main attractions. Whether offshore, reef fishing, back country or flats fishing appeals, you’ll find easy access to either the Atlantic Ocean or Florida Bay.
Family attractions in the Islands of Marathon are headlined by special events including the Original Seafood Festival every March and Conchtober Fest in September. Visit the Turtle Hospital, the Dolphin Research Center, or for a day full of historical and archeological interest, enjoy Crane Point Hammock.
You can fill several days with all the activities in the Islands of Marathon, or just stretch out and relax in your luxury Florida rental yacht in the tropical Florida Keys sun.
What better way to enhance a Key West adventure than by cruising down in a luxury charter yacht! This southernmost Key is located over 100 miles from mainland Florida and is a destination that combines history, art, sunsets, water fun, food and drink all into one memorable experience. The activities in Key West can occupy at least two or three days, so you’ll want to find a hospitable marina so your floating charter boat bunk will be nearby when you wear out! City Marina at Garrison Bight on Key West’s north side offers 30 transient slips, laundry, bath and showers. Or, try A&B Marina just two blocks from Duval Street in the heart of Old Town. Other choices are the Galleon Marina at Galleon Resort, Conch Harbor Marina, or Key West Bight Marina.If fishing is your game, Key West offers an ocean-full of choices. Try flats fishing for tarpon, bonefish or permit, sport fishing for grouper or kingfish, or deep sea fishing for dolphin, tuna, wahoo, marlin or sailfish. Key West’s azure waters and the nearby living coral reef and artificial reefs tempt divers and snorkelers to go exploring. On shore, there is never a dull moment in Key West! Plenty of historical sites draw visitors, including the Hemingway House & Museum and the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Get the full tour on Key West’s Conch Train or Old Town Trolleys, or just walk the island enjoying the art galleries, Victorian homes, Key West Aquarium and Fort Zachary Taylor. Not to be missed is the sunset and live performers at Mallory Square.
Nightlife never seems to end in Key West, with no shortage of bars, including the famous Sloppy Joes, Hog’s Breath Saloon, and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Casual dining starts by the waterfront at Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, or in town at Blue Heaven with its cozy outdoor setting and live music. Stop into Camille’s for a fresh morning brunch, or try one of the best, juiciest hamburgers ever at Cheeseburger Key West. More formal dining caps off the day at A&B Lobster Bar or Grand Café Key West.This charming island has all the ingredients for a memorable trip, plus a climate that can’t be beat. Charter a yacht and grab a tropical shirt and sandals – you’re ready for Key West!
little palm island
A charter yacht getaway to Little Palm Island is one of the most unique day trips you can make from Miami. Located south of Newfound Harbor in the Lower Florida Keys, 26 miles from Key West, this isolated private retreat is the only island in the Keys that cannot be reached via the Overseas Highway, making rental yacht exploration a perfect idea.
Only five acres, Little Palm Island is known for its Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the top resorts in the world. It is pricey, and it’s obvious that no amenity has been overlooked, from the beautifully appointed spacious bungalows, pool, and Zen Garden to the full serivce spa. The islet is a popular wedding spot and is known for its fine dining – reservations required. Though the resort is private, visitors can dock at the resort’s marina and enjoy the pool, powdery white sand beach, swimming and snorkeling, and water sports equipment. Children under 16 are not permitted, and in the interest of peace and quiet, no television or telephones are allowed.
In addition to the resort marina, another nearby marina is Dolphin Marina on Little Torch Key. Fuel, bait and refreshments are available to provision your yacht.
You’ll also want to cruise in your rental boat to Looe Key National Park, where the snorkeling or scuba diving sights rival anywhere in the Florida Keys. An artificial reef created by a sunken ship adds extra exploration opportunities nearby.
Little Palm Island may be small, but this day cruise from Miami will be a big hit during your charter yacht vacation.
Seven remote islands that require a carefully provisioned charter yacht are the Dry Tortugas. Known for their natural wild life as much as for their reefs, shoals and shallow waters that have wrecked many a ship in their history, the Dry Tortugas are a cruising destination worthy of three or four days.
Located 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, the Dry Tortugas is now a national park and consists of Garden Key, Loggerhead Key, Bush Key, Long Key, East Key, Hospital Key and Middle Key. Because this cluster of islands, measuring approximately 80 square miles, lies in the area of water that connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, it was used heavily in the 1800s by the Spanish as a popular shipping channel. There is no fresh drinking water, fuel or food in the islands, and no marinas.
Your yacht charter trip should include the impressive Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, one of the largest 19th century American masonry coastal forts. A national monument, Fort Jefferson has a circa-1826 lighthouse, a moat, a campground, historic parade grounds, and picnic grounds.
Great snorkeling can be found just outside the moat. You’ll dinghy over to the dinghy beach to explore this fascinating abandoned structure because the dock at Garden Key is available to the public only at specific hours.
Loggerhead Key is only accessible by private boat or your charter yacht. A second Dry Tortugas lighthouse was built on Loggerhead Key in 1856 to help guide ships. The grounds are available for walking around but the lighthouse is not available for tours. The pier is not open for public dockage, so wading or a dinghy are in order. No jet skis are allowed.
The Dry Tortugas offers other sights as well. Boat over to Bush Key which is known as a bird sanctuary and the only US home of the sooty Tern. You may encounter the 46-square mile ecological preserve that protects the marine resources of Dry Tortugas National Park. Sport fishing for tarpon or dolphin is also popular here. And, this unique natural landscape offers sea grass beds, sea turtle and bird nesting habitats.
Your trip to the Dry Tortugas offers plenty of sights, quiet solitude and cruising opportunities for your luxury charter yacht vacation.
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