Home Ports of Call Port of Call – Southeast Florida

Port of Call – Southeast Florida

by Lori Eastes
Photo Courtesy of Worth Yachts

PARADISE WITHOUT THE PASSPORT

Domestic bliss: Fluttering palms, pristine beaches, and aquamarine waters await you off the shores of southeastern Florida.

Palm tree branches gently rustling in the breeze and white sand beaches stretching forever; this is the alluring view seen from the sundeck of your yacht floating on the turquoise water. This enthralling tableau can be yours without a passport. A quick flight from pretty much anywhere in the United States, the southeastern shores of Florida offer storybook memories, picturesque backdrops, and delightful culinary diversity.

Once aboard, you depart from Fort Lauderdale and enjoy a short cruise down along Miami’s vibrant shoreline and into Elliott Key. Located within Biscayne National Park, Elliott Key was once home to pineapple plantations but now adopts a more serene atmosphere. There is something for everyone in this peaceful area of the coast. Envelop yourself in the coral reefs, islands, and mangrove forests. Dolphins, turtles, and pelicans make the Biscayne Bay Lagoon their home as well as manatees, a Florida favorite. Enjoy a dive or snorkel through the underwater Maritime Heritage Trail that links six shipwrecks of varying sizes, which have settled on the ocean floor over several centuries. For coastal views, stop over at Boca Chita Lighthouse, or take a guided tour at Convoy Point to learn more about the local ecosystems.

Moving south you will discover Key Largo, set beautifully between Everglades National Park and North America’s only living coral barrier reef. While you might not find The Beach Boys here now, Key Largo has been coined the “Diving Capital of the World” and is an ideal location for water sports. One can kayak through the mangroves or jet ski along the coast. No trip to Key Largo is complete without a visit to Pennekamp Park, a popular snorkel site famous for its underwater “Christ of the Deep” statue and surrounding reefs.

Just east of Key Largo lies Rodriguez Key, a charming and quaint island favored by gorgeous birds, who explore the protected shallow waters. The National Marine Sanctuary is full of endangered wildlife and their habitats: bird nests, feeding areas, and turtle-nesting beaches.

The next leg of your cruising itinerary will take you into the heart of the Florida Keys, Marathon Key. Known for some of the best fishing in the world, you can spend the day here catching tuna or grouper for your onboard chef to then prepare a delicious sea-to-plate meal for you and your guests.

You will be surprised waking up in this part of the U.S. as it resembles a favored part of the Exuma islands with incredibly clear water and amazingly bright fish. Let your captain cruise by the famous seven-mile bridge to Little Palm Island where your guests can utilize all the amenities that this island has to offer, including the blue lagoon pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the pristine white sand beaches. Indulge in ultimate island isolation here with dotted seashell beaches, tropical foliage, and acres of pristine paradise—the perfect day for rest and relaxation.

Rise and shine in beautiful Little Palm Island and cruise over to the southernmost point of the States, Key West. With its palm-lined streets and Caribbean air, Key West is the ultimate Florida Keys destination. Dock at Stock Island Marina and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of their three notable restaurants. One of the favored brunch spots is Blue Heaven, famous for their sky-high Key lime pie and lobster Eggs Benedict, along with the free-ranging chickens that cluck around the outdoor restaurant. Explore the town and all its gems, including Ernest Hemingway’s house that is now a museum. Admire the iconic pastel-hued, conch-style houses that populate the historic district. And as the sun goes down, you will truly understand why Key West is famous for her sunsets.

After cruising through the Marquesas Keys, a beautiful uninhabited island chain, the yacht will make its way to the Dry Tortugas, another notable point of interest. The Dry Tortugas is a series of islands 70 miles from Key West with a rich history, mostly for its military associations, but also because the national park encompasses a sea of turtles, seabirds, and turquoise fish. This is a special, isolated spot where the waves and tropical birds provide the perfect charter soundtrack.

After a serene trip south to the Tortugas, it is time to make our way back up to the northernmost part of the Florida Keys, Elliott Key. Stop for a snorkel at Sandwich Cove, Hurricane Reef, or the Mandalay Wreck. Revel in your last full day of water toys, tender rides, and snorkeling while enjoying all Miami has to offer. Cruise by Stiltsville, lined with wooden stilted houses at the edge of Biscayne Bay, and experience your last night out at Seaspice or Kiki on the River, two Miami hot spots accessible by boat.

Traveling by private yacht to this part of the United States is easy and carefree. It’s a truly memorable vacation one can enjoy with family and friends, especially aboard a vessel like the LUMIERE II seen here (more below!). Whether you are celebrating a special occasion, milestone, or just need an extended weekend away, our team can make your trip unique with a completely custom itinerary; just ask!

LUMIERE II
Available to charter from Worth Avenue Yachts, this 203’ 5” Benetti beauty was built in 2010, and then refit in 2020, sleeping 12 guests in six elegantly appointed staterooms; rates start at $345,000 per week plus expenses. For more information on chartering LUMIERE II, contact Lori Eastes at Lori@WorthAvenueYachts.com or 206.209.1920.

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