Browsing: Destinations

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U.S. Issues Warnings for Bahamas, Jamaica

The State Department has issued travel advisories for the Bahamas and Jamaica, warning about crime and water safety in the islands. The advisory for the Bahamas was Level 2, meaning “exercise Increased caution.” The advisory for Jamaica ratcheted up to Level 3, meaning “reconsider travel.” The top level is 4, which basically means don‘t go there. The Bahamas advisory mentioned gang-on-gang violence, but said that “violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assaults occurs in both tourist and non-tourist areas.” It said travelers should “be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do…

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Miami: Beyond the Show

For years and years, Miami has been one of the most vibrant, lively and warm of all American cities, with people coming from all over the world for its culture, water, beaches and, in the middle of February, the boat show. But Miami is a great place to visit at any time. For cruising boat owners, it’s a destination in its own right or a waypoint on the Great Loop or the starting point of a cruise to the Bahamas,  Caribbean or the Keys. Miami’s wide choice of restaurants will make you want to stay a while. For a waterfront…

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Manatees Return to Crystal River, Florida

The manatees are back in Crystal River, Florida, offering a treat for anyone cruising on the Gulf Coast. The peak season is from now through February when as may as 600 manatees migrate there for the warm water, and Crystal River has more than 45 permitted guides who can help you enjoy them there. Crystal River, which calls itself the manatee capital of the world, is the only place in Florida where it’s legal to swim with the gentle sea cows. Crystal River is about 70 miles north of Tampa, on a seven-mile long waterway that connects Kings Bay with…

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Belize: A Diver’s Paradise

Tucked into the western edge of the Caribbean between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a bit out of the way. But whether you head there on your own boat or arrive by air, it offers some of the best water, and most inviting diving spots, in the world. Indeed, Belize has more than 450 islands, plus the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four coral atolls in the Western hemisphere. It’s a diver’s paradise, with drop sites inside and outside the reef for both new and certified divers. The cerulean water is clear and warm;…

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Longboat Key Marina: Voted #1

The large and luxurious Longboat Key Moorings marina in Sarasota has been a favorite for cruising boat owners for years, and it recently was named the number one marina in the U.S. by readers of Southern Boating magazine. The largest resort marina on the west coast of Florida, Longboat Key offers deep-water access to the Gulf as well as a protected location with first-class amenities. The marina has 291 slips, including many for transients; it can handle vessels up to 150 feet. Transient docking is $5.75 a foot, plus a $45 fee, both per night. You’ll be safe there, behind…

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Lauderdale: Much More than FLIBS

If you’re one of the 100,000 or so people heading for the big Fort Lauderdale boat show starting Oct. 25, or if you’re just going to Lauderdale at any other time, do yourself a favor. Stay a while. Lauderdale, in my opinion, is one of the most relaxed, enjoyable cities on the cruising boat circuit. The fact that it’s also one of the world’s major boating centers, virtually filled with marinas, boatyards and boating service operations, is just extra icing on the cake. Fort Lauderdale is often called the Venice of America, for good reason. It has 165 miles of…

Charter
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Explore the Beautiful Waters of Palau

If you want to see some of the most beautiful water in the world, head for Palau in the western Pacific. An archipelago with 340 islands, Palau is a nation in Micronesia, east of the Philippines and north of New Guinea. If that’s a bit far for your own boat, you can book one of the 11 cabins on the 129-foot Four Seasons Explorer catamaran. It has a draft of just 5’ 2” so it can reach a lot of the diving spots that larger boats can’t, and it has two tenders and a dive boat that can go just…

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Baltimore: History Plus Much More

If you’re in Annapolis for the show, or cruising on the Chesapeake at any other time at all, you can broaden your horizons by making a stop in Baltimore. The scene there is very different from the one in Annapolis, or in the little gems of St. Michaels or Oxford on the Eastern Shore. After all, Baltimore (pop. 576,498) is a major urban center; it’s also one of the largest working seaports on the east coast. But Baltimore also has great facilities for recreational boats, and it has a lot of nautical history to offer, all in or within walking…

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Charleston: Still a Visitors’ Favorite

Historic, charming and boater-friendly Charleston, South Carolina, was just voted the number one city to visit in the United States by readers of Travel + Leisure – again. Charleston won the top spot in the magazine’s 2023 World’s Best Awards competition this year, for the 11th year on a row. For anyone who’s been there, Charleston’s repeat performance is easy to understand. It offers a mixture of history, Southern charm, great restaurants, hotels, and antebellum homes almost all within walking distance of each other. And it’s always been a favorite stopping point for anyone cruising on the ICW on the…

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Saba Rock: A Little Gem in the BVI

It’s small, and a bit off the beaten path, but Saba Rock Resort is emerging as one of the most popular cruising and chartering destinations in the British Virgin Islands. Saba Rock is on North Sound, just above the more well-known Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, so that getting there is half the fun. But once you’re there, you can tie up or pick up a mooring ball and go ashore for a great lunch or dinner. If you spend the night, you’ll enjoy one of the best places to watch a sunset in the entire BVI. Saba…

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