Florida Keys Marinas

Florida Keys marinasFlorida Keys marinas from Key Largo to Key West range from tiny public boat launches to full service marinas with rentals and sales. Whether you need to find dockage with full services like utilities and showers, or you just need to know where you can launch your boat for a weekend trip in the Keys, our guide to Florida Keys marinas can get you headed in the right direction.

Marinas in the Upper Keys

Starting in Key Largo, we have Garden Cove Marina located at 21 Garden Cove Drive. For boaters, it’s on the ocean side just north of Pennekamp State Park. Here you can have them launch your boat on the lift for $40, buy gas, and get engine service. They also have dry storage, some wet slips with utilities, and a restaurant on the premises. You can drive up by boat for lunch or dinner at The Buzzard’s Roost.

Up the road just a bit, after the center of Key Largo if you’re driving, is Rock Key Marina. This place resembles a construction site, and offers a ramp for launching your own boat, plus dry storage on a dusty lot. For friendly service, Garden Cove Marina can’t be beat.

Continuing west, in Tavernier there is Tavernier Creek Marina. This is a large, full-service marina offering sales, service, gas, wet and dry slips, and boat sales. It’s on the bay side, and if you’re driving it is hard to miss. In Tavernier, which is between Key Largo and Islamorada, there’s a stoplight, then an overpass bridge. Go over the bridge and take an immediate right into the marina. There’s also a dive company out of this marina, as well as charter fishing guides and a marina store behind the fuel dock.

In Islamorada there is Bud & Mary’s Marina, on the ocean side at Mile Marker 79.8. It’s got fishing charters, transient dockage, a party fishing boat, fuel, marina store, bait, and rentals. If you’re looking to launch a boat, head over to the Sea Bird Marina at Mile Marker 69.5 on the bay side. The have a boat ramp. Sea Bird Marina also features wet and dry slips, gas & diesel, boat rentals, bait & tackle, and vacation rentals.

Marinas in the Middle Keys

In Marathon, lots of the boating activity centers around Boot Key Harbor. It’s a protected area (from the weather, not environmentally) with lots of various services for boaters. The city of Marathon has its liveaboard buoys located here, and such there is a rather large liveaboard community here. There are dinghy docks, showers, pumpout, laundry, and slips too. There’s a water taxi service. Anchor lights are required here For liveaboards, Boot Key Harbor offers just about everything you’d need, including two grocery stores nearby.

There are several restaurants on the water in Boot Key Harbor, (Burdine’s and Dockside) which offer parking for boaters who pull up for a meal. And there are several fuel docks here too. For boats with a tall mast, you can enter via the Sister Creek entrance to the harbor, which has no overhead obstructions. But at low tide there’s only four feet depth. There’s also an entrance under the bridge, which can be raised by calling on channel 09, 6am to 10pm or after hours by phone. There is a depth guage here.

Marinas in the Lower Keys

Right in Key Westthere is the city of Key West’s marina and boat ramp. For $5 you can launch in and out same day at their ramp. This is quite a deal! It’s $6 for one day of trailer and vehicle storage. They have showers and slips, security, power, and trash removal. There is no dry storage here.

For dry storage in or near Key West, go to Stock Island, just over the bridge heading north from Key West. There are several marinas on Stock Island offering wet and dry slips. In Key West Harbor, there are plenty of marinas and resorts with dockage as well. It’s just a matter of choosing one.

Public Boat Ramps

  • Blackwater Sound MM 110 on the Bayside
  • Harry Harris Park MM 92 on the Oceanside
  • Indian Key Fill MM 79 on the Bayside
  • Marathon MM 54 on the Bayside
  • Marathon Yacht Club MM 49 on the Bayside
  • West of 7 Mile Bridge on the Bayside
  • Cannon Marine & Boat Ramp. For small boats. In Marathon, in back of Home Depot.
  • Spanish Harbor on the Bayside
  • Shark Key Fill on rhw Oceanside
  • Cudjoe Key on the Bayside
  • Stock Island Ramp MM 7
  • Key West End of A1A
  • Key West End of Simonton St.
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Florida Keys Kayaking

Florida Keys kayakingIf you haven’t tried Florida Keys kayaking and you love the outdoors, then you’re in for a real discovery. Kayaking through mangrove channels, or out on the flats, you will experience the water in an intimate way that is never possible in a power boat. If you love hiking, then chances are you’ll like kayaking too. It’s a very different activity, but the sense of treading a pathway, open to discovery, never knowing what’s around the next corner or the next mangrove, is the same idea. Traversing a mountain or the backcountry flats, it’s the same feeling of testing your body, how far will it take you. Can you reach your destination, your summit, before your arms give out? Just as in hiking, you can always stop and rest while kayaking as well. Just stop paddling for a minute or two, and enjoy the silence of the natural world around you. Let your arms rest, sit back, adjust your seating, sip some water, or take some pictures. Then continue on your way once you’re rested. It’s Florida Keys kayaking…not a race!

Types of Kayaks

FIrst of all, there are two types of kayaks: sit on top and traditional kayaks. In a sit on top kayak, you sit higher and water runs through scuppers, or holes in the bottom, when a wave washes over you. With the other type of kayak, you sit down inside the shell, and sometimes you see these types of kayaks with a seal, which goes around the paddler’s waist and attaches to the rim of the cockpit, sealing the cockpit from water. In the Florida Keys, you will find both types of rental kayaks with the outfitters, and often you can choose which type you want.

A sit on top kayak, or SOT, is going be easier to get in and out of, which makes beginners feel more comfortable. When you learn to use a traditional kayak, you must learn to do an Eskimo Roll, which is very scary for most people. The sit-on-top kayak is also mroe open and less confining than the traditional kayak, so it’s more comfortable for beginners.

The wider the kayak, the more stable it will be. That makes beginners feel much more confident, since one of the scariest things about learning to use a kayak is the tippiness you feel at first in the water. The only drawback of the wider, stable kayak is that it will be harder to paddle, since it doesn’t cut through the water as sharply. They even make really wide kayaks that you can stand up in, for fishing or just to get a good look around you. These will cut through the water like a bathtub, however, so you have to think about what you’re going to be doing in your kayak, where you will go.

Getting Ready for Your Florida Keys Kayaking Adventure

Bring lots of water. Most kayaks have cup holders, and if there isn’t one, you can stash water at your feet. Wear a hat that won’t blow off. Wear sunscreen. Consider wearing longer shorts, since the tops of your thighs will be laid up facing the hot sun all the time you’re kayaking, especially if you rent a sit-on-top kayak, where there’s no inside cockpit. For Florida Keys kayakingwear a shirt or rashguard because your shoulders will be facing the sun for hours, and the sun’s rays get magnified because you’re inches from the water, and water acts as a magnifying glass. Plus, this is Florida and the sun is probably stronger than where you’re from.

If you bring a camera, get a waterproof camera bag or case, because sometimes you get wet, and every once in a while, people tip their kayaks over while holding onto a mangrove branch, for example, and the current takes the kayak from under you and whoops. If you have them with you on vacation, bring our binocs if you like spotting birds. Chances are, you’ll be kayaking through some backcountry where birds like to hang around either fishing in the flat water, or resting in the mangrove branches. Last but not least, have fun, keep your wits about you, and enjoy discovering the Florida Keys by kayak.

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Florida Keys Jet Ski Rental

Have You Tried Jet Skis?


If not, then now’s the time for a Florida Keys jet ski rental! It’s a fun way to enjoy the beautiful weather and warm sub-tropical ocean temperatures we have here in the Florida Keys. It’s a very exiting way to be on the water and explore the islands and backcountry. Be your own guide or join a tour group on jet skis and let the local guide take you to special spots around the Florida Keys. Imagine zipping down mangrove trails or over the backcountry to see remote areas not usually visited by most tourists. A Florida Keys jet ski rental will make your day amazing and beautiful, and so much fun!

A Florida Keys Jet Ski Rental is So Easy!


What could be easier than just showing up at the dock and hopping on your personal watercraft? There’s no loading of your vessel-they are parked right at the dock in the water and ready to go. No waiting, no lines. Wear bathing suit or t-shirt or rash guard. You will get wet! Your Florida Keys Jet Ski rental outfitter will provide you with a personal flotation device, which is absolutely necessary. Then just hop on, start the engine and take off!

Jet Skis are Safe and Totally Fun!

Today’s wave runenrs and jet skis are made for a smooth, stable ride. They are top of the line machines and can turn on a very small radius as well. Expert handling and stable ride means a safer trip for you and your friends. Whether you are out for a smooth ride in the backcountry on calm waters, or out on the ocean side for some thrill-seeking adventure jumping boat wakes, you will appreciate late-model equipment and superior handling.

Florida Keys Boat Rentals

Florida Keys Boat RentalsFlorida Keys boat rentals should be part of your vacation plans if you love to fish, snorkel, or dive. For many, spending a week in the Florida Keys is a dream come true, a chance to fish, snorkel or dive all week long under sunny skies and perfect weather. For those on a budget, the cost of hiring a charter fisherman every day is just too much. With prices from $500 for a half day, up to one thousand dollars for a full day trip offshore, the bill can add up pretty quickly. That’s why Florida Keys boat rentals are great for fishing or diving enthusiasts. With a boat rental, you can go out fishing or snorkeling or whatever, every day when you want to go.

Florida Keys boat rentals mean you can also go anywhere you want too. If you love snorkeling, then going out on a party snorkel boat every day of your vacation means you will go to the same spot or same two or three spots over and over again, and only for 45 minutes at a time. With a Keys boat rental, you can find your own corner of the reef and explore it yourself, away from the crowds. Usually the party snorkel boats, the cheaper ones, the big catamarans, take dozens of people out at a time and everyone swims around in a crowd on the same patch of reef. It’s the best thing in the world for your first time out snorkeling on the coral reef in the Florida Keys. However, if you want to explore more and go out more often, a Florida Keys boat rental will fit your needs and save you money.

 

Florida Keys boat rentals are usually found at local marinas or by looking in the local yellow pages, either in the book or online, for the term Boat Rentals. Small operators will have a tiny fleet of boats, usually ranging from 11 up to around 30 feet or so, for you to rent. If you have your own hand-held GPS, bring it because more often than not, Florida Keys boat rentals do not come with GPS equipment or sonar. There will be a radio and perhaps a compass but that’s about it in the way of electronics. Boat rental staff will send you out with a schematic map of the water in that area of the Keys, with some tips on where to go for whatever it is that you’re doing. If you want to go snorkeling, then they will point out some good patch reefs, usually close to shore. Good luck if you don’t have a GPS system. The staff will pretend it’s easy to get to the patches using your eyesight or the stars or something like that but you won’t even know you’re on the actual patch reef you’re trying to get to if you don’t have the GPS equipment.