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Old 01-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #1
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South Florida recommendations?

We are leaving Ft Lauderdale at the end of the month and were headed in the general direction of the keys. Any recommendations for the keys or Key Biscayne area. Will probably get a slip for a month then back to the hook. Looking for a big active marina with families.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:37 PM   #2
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Daddyo,

Take a look at Dinner Key Marina. It is in town at Coconut Grove with restaurants and shopping. It is large, but I don't know about kids. Plenty of livaboards. Healjustler and Hopcar will probably have other suggestions.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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We much prefer Crandon Park Marina to Dinner Key. It's on Key Biscayne and away from the nightlife of Miami. You are near Biscayne Park. The bus runs by so you can get to anyplace you want for the day. Last time we were there it was cheaper than Dinner Key and much more protected. Chuck
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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Both previous suggestions are good. Right now there is a problem with the bridge across Bear Cut that leads to Crandon Marina. They've closed some lanes so I expect car traffic will be bad for the next few months.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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Check out Founders Park Marina in Islamorada. Excellent dockage by the month;
swimming pool, lovely beach, dog park
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:03 PM   #6
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We enjoyed Dinner Key Marina a couple of years ago,l nice area with parks, transportation and stores nearby. The anchorage looks nice also.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:32 AM   #7
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Wish I could add something, but everyone has covered the marinas that I would recommend, other than the Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Marina near Key Largo, which offered everything, but was the most unaffordable overnight I've ever had.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:42 AM   #8
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Daddyo, there was a post about a month or two ago about several places to visit in the upper keys. There was a lot of good info on that thread, do a search.

We're headed that way in May. From Tampa we'll go through the Okeechobee waterway to Stuart then head south finally ending up in Key West, the admirals favorite. I hope to spend several days on Biscayne Bay. Dinner Key is huge with lots to do in Coconut Grove.
Enjoy!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:04 AM   #9
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When you are ready for the hook Marathon is a great winter floating community.

Choice of your hook , or the citys mooring ball.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
When you are ready for the hook Marathon is a great winter floating community.

Choice of your hook , or the citys mooring ball.
Agreed a great protected anchorage/mooring, but I found little to do there. Lots of boats moored for the winter, but except for the safety of the basin, I see no reason to stay there and will avoid on my next cruise.
Just my opinion.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:15 AM   #11
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The name of the marina in Islamorada at Founder's Park is Plantation Yacht Harbor. As mentioned, great place for the family and central Keys location. I don't know what you gain going to Miami and Key Biscayne that you can't already access by car from Ft. Lauderdale. On your way down to the Keys, anchoring in, or outside of No Name Harbor is a highly recommended experience. Good dinghy exploration available from there plus Billy Baggs state park and good Caribbean food at the Boaters Grill in the harbor. You can dinghy through Stiltsville or meander through there in the big boat on your way south/west.

Thence to Eliott Key anchorage, take the dinghy to Eliott Key (there is a small boat "marina" there for good hiking and exploration. Also dinghy to Boca Chita, worth seeing, and if not the weekend you could dare to take the big boat to Boca Chita and tie up in the basin. Not our bag but we always enjoyed an hour or so at Boca Chita itself.

Thence to Pumpkin Key to anchor out and take the dinghy to explore Ocean Reef club and environs. Here is your last chance for awhile to go outside via Angelfish Creek. If you head inside, Tarpon Basin presents another good anchorage with land access.

The ICW starts getting a little skinny for deeper draft boats, after Islamorada though we did it all the way to Marathon once, sanding the bottom 3 or 4 inches of our 5 ft deep keel a bit. If inside and not staying at Plantation/Islamorada or taking a transient slip there, anchor out in the bight and dinghy to Lorelis and or World Wide Sportsman and hang out, eat, drink. Shell Key and Lingnum Vitae Key are fun state park explorations as well, I think they still have free moorings off them but haven't been by that way in a few years. You can then go out Channel 5 to avoid the skinny water.

We loved staying in the mooring field at Marathon, did so for a couple months one year and a few weeks another. We like the community, and dinghying to the beach and around the area. If you don't have a car (we did shuttle one of our cars down there), you can take a nice cheap bus to Key West which I far preferred to taking the boat there; we'd anchor off Fleming Key when we did. We also enjoyed the week or so we spent at Marathon Marina which has a good cruiser community as well. Using Marathon as a base, we'd occasionally take the big boat to anchor in Bahia Honda, another fun spot to explore via dinghy ( make an adventure to Big Pine/No Name key and the perfunctory lunch at No Name tavern for good pizza)with the best beach in the Keys.

A lot more, but that's a capsule.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #12
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Wow great info everyone, thanks!
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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"Looking for a big active marina with families."
I think Dinner Key best fits this requirement.

No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne is a nice overnight on the hook. Avoid the weekend. Eat in the restaurant, walk to the light house and enjoy the ocean side beach. Did you know that the Cape Florida Light house was burned by the Seminole Indians? One of the keepers was killed and the other was trapped outside at the top while the fire raged inside. He tried to kill himself by throwing a keg of powder into the fire but it put the fire out. He was trapped at the top until the next day when a ship came to investigate.

Caltexflanc has some very good suggestions for further south.

A little south of Plantation Yacht Harbor you'll come to Lignumviate State Park.
If you like to learn the history of the area you're traveling through, this is worth a stop: Welcome to Florida State Parks
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