Home THE JOURNEY Boating Holidays Popular Boat Rental Destinations in Florida

Popular Boat Rental Destinations in Florida

Photo by Matt Popovich

The best thing about living on a narrow peninsula is that you can get anywhere by boat. This means that you don’t have to worry about traffic or insane heat (one of the things that Florida is renowned for). 

That’s the thing about Florida: the coast is beautiful, but the hinterlands are mostly marshes, except for the in-land jewel, like Orlando. In other words, you want to stick to the coast as much as you can.

Fortunately, this is the idea that the majority of people get when they plan to tour Florida. They go for a rental boat instead of a rental car. So, where do they go with all these boats? Well, there is no shortage of suitable locations in Florida, and here are the top 10 that you need to focus on. 

  1. Jacksonville

There’s a quote in the Evil Dead spinoff series Ash Vs. Evil Dead that goes: A place so nice they called it Jacksonville. Anyone who has visited the place knows this to be true. 

The best thing about Jacksonville is its duality. It’s not just a place that’s amazing for partying and watersports. It’s also an amazing place for sailing and fishing. In other words, regardless of your interests or proclivities, it’s not that hard to find a reason to visit Jacksonville.

The boating itinerary in Jacksonville can be an amazing way to spend a family day. A fishing itinerary can be a perfect way to spend a day alone. As we’ve already said, Jacksonville has something for everyone.

Diving and fishing reefs are some of the most beautiful in the entirety of Florida, and they’re something that you have to pay special attention to. 

Ironically enough, Jacksonville is really not that packed with tourists, which means that if you’re new to boating, you won’t have to deal with too much traffic. 

  1. St. Augustine

Boat tours in St. Augustine are a massive tourist attraction. The prices are, however, quite high, so if you just rent a boat and include a visit to St. Augustine in your itinerary, you might see a far better response.

The place offers you an amazing sample of Floridan wildlife, and it’s not that uncommon to encounter dolphins spontaneously. Let’s be completely honest and admit that this is both more exciting and more ethical than seeing them in the water.

Like in other cities on this list, all the major landmarks are coastal. The Bridge of Lions, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, and the Castillo de San Marco National Monument are just some of the landmarks that you’ll be able to see without even having to get off your boat. 

Sure, organizing yours has the advantage of actually having a guide to help you get to know the history of the place and even share some curiosities with you. The tour is also better structured, which helps you stick to the schedule. However, going on your own gives you far more freedom.

  1. Tampa

They say that if you compare Tampa boating to any other across the country, you’re not making a fair comparison. You see, once you get a boat in Tampa Bay, not only can you travel far more efficiently around the place, but you open up everything from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to the American Southeast and Central America.

It’s not just Tampa itself that’s worth exploring; its vicinity also makes it worth your while to get to know. Some of the places you should visit are Three Rooker Island, One Tree Island, Weedon Sand Bar, and Davis Island Dog Park. The list doesn’t stop there. 

Not only that but there are many incredible Treasure Island boat rentals that you’ll want to explore. The Treasure Island itself belongs to the general Tampa Bay metropolitan area, even though it’s a bit more out there. The place boasts pristine beaches and numerous seaside recreational activities you would want to explore. If you’re looking for white sand beaches and clear waters, there’s no place you should visit before Treasure Island.

  1. Anna Maria Island

While this place is renowned for its shore and Pierre fishing, trying your luck from your own boat is not a bad idea either. The local farmer’s market is supplied with fresh local produce that you can browse every Sunday.

The place is simply beaming with festivities, ranging from art classics all the way to seasonal fests, and parades. Truth be told, this is a quieter, slower type of pace (compared to other entries on this list) that you might come to appreciate. This is especially the case if you visit more of these places in a single tour. 

The beaches are sunny, the wildlife is diverse and exhausting, and there are more outdoor activities than you could ever get to try in a single visit.

  1. Miami

For a while, we were seriously considering whether to include Miami on the list to begin with. Why? Well, because if you’ve seen any of Florida, you’ve likely seen Miami. Moreover, you’ll find Miami on every list, and for a very good reason. The reason why we’ve still chosen to add it to the list was that omitting it felt somehow wrong. 

Now, there are places with bigger nightclubs, but claiming that there’s a city with a wilder nightlife than Miami is outright preposterous. Both the clubbing scene and dating scene in Miami are like nothing else in this world. Still, this is something you’ll have to check for yourself.

As for going there by boat, remember what we said about Jacksonville? If you’re new to boating, the fact that there’s little traffic is a great thing. This won’t be the case in Miami. Docking or just sailing around the place can be pretty difficult with all the traffic around. So, it’s a place that inexperienced sailors might want to avoid. 

Wrap up

Ultimately, a boat trip is always an experience. The main reason people avoid it is because they have misconceptions about it being more expensive than it really is. Why? Well, because it’s a luxurious experience by definition – this much is true. Another reason why people avoid it is because they’re scared of trying something so new and daring. Well, it may be new to you, but people have been sailing since the dawn of civilization. There’s no need to allow yourself to be governed by fear.