Departing from Fort Lauderdale, discover Miami and the Florida Keys with this 7-day yacht charter itinerary.
Embark on your charter from Fort Lauderdale at one of the many marinas in this city, built around its canals. Fort Lauderdale has some of the best marinas, stores, beaches, and nightclubs on the Gold Coast. From Fort Lauderdale, head south to the southern tip of Miami Beach, also known as South Beach. The nearby Art Deco district is famous for its lovingly restored hotels and pastel-colored architecture. Stroll along Ocean Drive and dine at a beach café. Or take a detour to the pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road, where a colorful mix of stores, art galleries, restaurants, and live music reflects a mix of Latin American, Caribbean, and European cultures. Spend the night anchored in Biscayne Bay.
After breakfast, head south of Miami Beach where you will have lunch. Dinner Key is a great area to anchor and enjoy a meal alfresco on the upper deck of your yacht while surrounded by spectacular views. Coconut Grove, South Miami's most popular restaurant and shopping district, is just a short walk away. Some of the most creative chefs have their restaurants here, ranging from Floribbean and Cuban cuisine to Southwestern and Japanese fare. Villa Vizcaya, a turn-of-the-century coral mansion, and the Planetarium are a short cab ride away and certainly worth a visit. Across from Coconut Grove, on the islands of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, you can visit the Miami Seaquarium and Crandon Park. At the southern tip of Key Biscayne is Cape Florida Park, a great destination with beautiful beaches, and an interesting lighthouse. From there you have a great view of Stiltsville - a group of stilt houses strung along canals on the flats off Key Biscayne.
After breakfast, you'll travel to Key Largo via the Hawk Channel. Soak up the sun and snorkel or dive in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This 25-mile protected area was created to protect the only living coral reef in the continental United States. It's the diving capital of the world, so be sure to explore some of the many dive sites, including Carysfort Reef, The Elbow, and Grecian Rocks with the 13-foot underwater bronze statue "Christ of the Deep", a beautiful and impressive sight. One of the best dolphin swimming programs in the world is offered by Dolphins Plus (please register in time). You will then dock in Port Largo Harbor. For those who prefer anchorage, your charter yacht can anchor on the leeward side of Rodriguez Key.
After a tropical breakfast and an early morning swim, you head south to Islamorada and Duck Key. Take time to snorkel along the way, as there are several beautiful reefs to snorkel, such as Conch, Davis, Pickles, Alligator, and Molasses Reefs. Not far away is the Theatre of the Sea, which hosts dolphin and sea lion exhibits and is always a hit with the kids! A good anchorage for lunch (only on calm days) is just off of Indian Key, one of the first settlements in the Keys with interesting shore excursions. If you have time, use the yacht’s dinghy/tender to Lignumvitae Key, the hikes are beautiful, especially during the winter months. Spend the night at Duck Key or Marathon. Or anchor in Boot Key Harbor, away from the crowds.
Early in the morning, begin cruising to Key West and Little Palm Island near Newfound Harbor, which is a beautiful private resort. (Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner). Along the way, enjoy snorkeling at Looe Key National Park, one of the most colorful and vibrant reefs in the entire Keys, or explore beautiful Bahia Honda with its lovely beaches and scenic trails. Enjoy the sunset and stage at Mallory Square in Key West, then dine at one of the many excellent restaurants. Visit Hemingway's home, the old neighborhoods, museums, historic buildings, Victorian homes, marine aquariums and old turtle craals. Your yacht can dock at Galleon Marina in the heart of the Duval District or at a number of other marinas.
Enjoy a morning stroll through Key West before heading to Dry Tortugas. This is a rarely visited place, only accessible from the sea. If you have the time and the desire for adventure, you can visit the Marquesas and Woman's Key or even go to Fort Jefferson and Loggerhead Key in Dry Tortugas. Here the fishing and snorkeling opportunities are excellent and waiting to be explored. Rays, tarpon, and dolphins frolic in the shallow waters. The crystal clear emerald green waters are home to lobsters, corals, and other marine life. Fort Jefferson is a national monument and park as well as a wildlife sanctuary. You can still visit by land the abandoned fort where President Lincoln's assassin was once held or snorkel outside the fort's pit.
After Breakfast, head north towards the port in Fort Lauderdale. This is a great opportunity to stop at your favorite place that you visited during the trip, before making your way back to the Marina.