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Old 06-20-2019, 09:54 AM   #1
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Winter Florida destinations?

We're in early stages of discussion about heading south for the winter again. Ideally departing earlier than we did last time, late Oct maybe. Ideally, we'd pass Charleston this time, head all the way down to Florida, hang out here or there until we decide to return north...

When we worked in Miami and lived near Ft. Lauderdale, we did most of our "exploring" from FLL south, and often down to Key West. Plus St. Augustine to the north (and central, north, and west FL by car). For marinas, we only stopped at Daytona Beach (Halifax Harbor) and maybe Indian River (or some such place?) when I brought our last boat north in 2001, so aside from St. A and various anchorages, we don't have much boating experience at various cities in between FLL and Georgia.

We could visit with snowbird relatives in New Smyrna Beach for a short while... and we can check to see whether they have space available at NAS Jax, Patrick AFB, and even NAS Boca Chica if we try to go that far... but those are special cases.

Have heard Vero Beach and Ft. Pierce are nice. Have heard a marina at Titusville is inexpensive but the place is sorta dead. West Coast isn't out of the question, although that might be a bridge too far to worry about this time.

Inexpensive is good, i.e., decent monthly rates, but decent docks (floating preferred), shorepower and ideally WiFi are important... we probably don't want to spend too much time in some backwater... and easy access to facilities (groceries, laundry, etc.) is always useful.

Who's where? Ideas? Recommendations?

-Chris
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:02 PM   #2
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I am buying a home in Palm Coast Monday. And, I won't have a big boat there until next spring; so, I will have 100' of seawall available. Short term visitors are welcome. Nearby there is an official public marina.
Still designing the power and docking provisions now; My thanksgiving project will be running 30A 240V power to the seawall, and likely a slidemoor system on tall pilings too.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:12 PM   #3
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Diver Dave....that might be a dangerous offer as there aren't many slips between St Aug and Daytona....unexpected scheduling conflicts to resolve...

I will be there in the begining of November...maybe meet up if you like.


Chris...better start calling...Ft Pierce 0800 1 July. By 0805 and you may be so far down the list all you will get is a maybe.


Patrick is a great stop...if you have a car then better...but it is kinda isolated from anything but the Commissary and Exchange.


Depending on if you are expecting to spnd time on the beach or not can be a big part too.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:25 PM   #4
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Diver Dave....that might be a dangerous offer as there aren't many slips between St Aug and Daytona....unexpected scheduling conflicts to resolve...

I will be there in the begining of November...maybe meet up if you like....
excellent; you have 4' draft about? I haven't yet sounded the canals to the edges. On my list for early July.
Sold our big house up here yesterday; such a relief NOT having a big house.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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4 foot, and sitting on bottom no issue unless rocks.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:52 PM   #6
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My only comment is make your reservations early.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:19 PM   #7
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Some places to consider:

Ortega Landing on the Ortega river just off the St Johns west of Jacksonville is very nice and extremely boater friendly. Easy walking distance of just about anything you could need.

New Smyrna Beach is very nice, although I anchor out there, so no marina recommendation


Titusville is ok. I tend to take a mooring when I stop there to visit a friend. Docks at the municipal marina are ok, but not floating. Tidal change there is measured in inches. Titusville basically fell apart when the space shuttle program ended. The area is coming back, so prices are very reasonable. Definitely want your own car or plan to use Uber a lot.

Ft. Pierce is nice for the TF rendezvous. Best of luck getting on the floating docks.

Stuart is exceptionally nice at Sunset Bay marina. Doubt you will get a slip there, always sold out. They have a large mooring field with great services and facilities for those in the mooring field. This is another area with an awful lot within walking distance. There is a large liveaboard and Snowbird community in the marina. I stop and visit friends here every year.

Ft Myers and Ft Myers Beach are good areas with a number of marina options. Some are within walking, cycling, or dinghy ride of necessities, others will require a car or Uber.

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Old 06-20-2019, 07:46 PM   #8
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Something to think about:
My wife came down to Ft Myers for 3 weeks in January. She wasn't going to be without a car (her independence) for 3 weeks. Was able to rent one from the off airport sites for around $400 for 3 weeks. Used one of the car rental search engines to find it. While you might not need one the whole time you there, you could do a lot of sightseeing in 5 days / $100. Probably will need to get it near a major airport, Jacksonville, Ft Myers, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, and West Palm Beach.

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Old 06-21-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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Thanks, all, all ideas welcome.

I know we're coming late to the planning party. Wifey has been entertaining invitations to go back to work for a project or two, and timing details are only now becoming slightly less fuzzy. The most current concept is that we're hoping to do all our southbound traveling in Nov, stay someplace Dec-Feb, then all our northbound traveling in Mar. Travel months could be fairly leisurely. Maybe.

Dave: Nice! We travel with beverages if we get a chance to visit. 30A 240V? Not 50A 240V?

PSN: We don't have commissary and BX privileges, so access to "stuff" would be a limiter. Probably means we could maybe visit Patrick for a while, but that's probably not the best 3-month target.

Ted: We like Ft. Myers, but don't know the area well. We did check out a few marinas in the area when we were down there (by air) a couple years ago. OTOH, that could be a likely furthest west coast destination if we can't get in someplace nice on the east coast. I'm holding that thought, while The Admiral does some research.

-Chris
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:07 AM   #10
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One nice thing if you can get into The Vero to Stuart area...

As far as I know though the end of the year there is free bus routes to make sightseeing and shopping easier and cheap. It may be extended...Vero has had it for years, Ft Pierce the last 2 that I know of.

Though most things in Ft Pierce can be walked to or bicycled to in a pinch.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:29 PM   #11
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X2.
30A/240 is kind of odd. Two 30A/125 or single 50A/250 is common.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:30 PM   #12
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Thanks, all, all ideas welcome.

I know we're coming late to the planning party. Wifey has been entertaining invitations to go back to work for a project or two, and timing details are only now becoming slightly less fuzzy. The most current concept is that we're hoping to do all our southbound traveling in Nov, stay someplace Dec-Feb, then all our northbound traveling in Mar. Travel months could be fairly leisurely. Maybe.

Dave: Nice! We travel with beverages if we get a chance to visit. 30A 240V? Not 50A 240V?

PSN: We don't have commissary and BX privileges, so access to "stuff" would be a limiter. Probably means we could maybe visit Patrick for a while, but that's probably not the best 3-month target.

Ted: We like Ft. Myers, but don't know the area well. We did check out a few marinas in the area when we were down there (by air) a couple years ago. OTOH, that could be a likely furthest west coast destination if we can't get in someplace nice on the east coast. I'm holding that thought, while The Admiral does some research.

-Chris
Is staying on a mooring a possibility?
Sunset bay in Stuart is around $400 a month. You might have to move to the fuel dock once a week for pump out and freshwater fill, but all in it's a great facility with lots of amenities and a protected dinghy dock.

If you want more information on marinas or the mooring fields in Fort Myers or FM Beach, just ask. I've stayed in 4 or 5 of them including Cape Coral. You probably wouldn't like the yacht club I stay at, simply because there is absolutely nothing within walking distance, otherwise it's great. Slips in the FM area are Musical Chairs. More boats than slips. Other than the mooring fields, all the good stuff is reserved by Labor day for the winter.

Ted
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:31 PM   #13
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X2.
30A/240 is kind of odd. Two 30A/125 or single 50A/240 is common.
Yes, U R correct. It will be 240/120 @ 50A. Still haven't bought the wire yet.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:40 PM   #14
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excellent; you have 4' draft about? I haven't yet sounded the canals to the edges. On my list for early July.
Sold our big house up here yesterday; such a relief NOT having a big house.
So when is the dredging going to happen, I need 4.5'. A 50 amp 240 volt plug on 30 amp service works for me. Is the dockage schedule on the web yet? While I don't stock the hard stuff, I'm known for my craft beer selection and do buy dinner provided you're driving.

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Old 06-21-2019, 12:46 PM   #15
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Wifey B: As pointed out by Diver, Florida has the cheapest car rentals in the nation. Just search.

St. Augustine. Wonderful place to be and great municipal marina with mooring and great service to the moored boats. Nowhere better.

Palm Coast is pleasant and free dock is great plus Donna lives there and fave marina is Marina at Hammock Beach Resort. All the amenities and still reasonably priced.

Ft. Pierce is a fave and lots around it.

You have to decide what you want as south is still where the action is. Are you going to go to the Bahamas on your trip? If not, sad. And aren't the keys worth the extra trip?
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:48 PM   #16
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Holy work expansion batman. Pump outs, extra washer dryers, patio tiki bar (honor system). loaner bicycles and SUVs'; loaner 17' skiff; fuel polishing; and printouts for directions to Matanzas fort.
did I forget anything?
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:56 PM   #17
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Holy work expansion batman. Pump outs, extra washer dryers, patio tiki bar (honor system). loaner bicycles and SUVs'; loaner 17' skiff; fuel polishing; and printouts for directions to Matanzas fort.
did I forget anything?
Charter jet flights in and out....
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:58 PM   #18
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my .3 acres won't support turbine traffic. I'm thinking more of this:

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Old 06-21-2019, 01:03 PM   #19
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Holy work expansion batman. Pump outs, extra washer dryers, patio tiki bar (honor system). loaner bicycles and SUVs'; loaner 17' skiff; fuel polishing; and printouts for directions to Matanzas fort.
did I forget anything?
Hmmm... I didn't see any mention of the 6' wide concrete decked floating dock.

Ted
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:36 PM   #20
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Is staying on a mooring a possibility?
Sunset bay in Stuart is around $400 a month. You might have to move to the fuel dock once a week for pump out and freshwater fill, but all in it's a great facility with lots of amenities and a protected dinghy dock.

If you want more information on marinas or the mooring fields in Fort Myers or FM Beach, just ask. I've stayed in 4 or 5 of them including Cape Coral. You probably wouldn't like the yacht club I stay at, simply because there is absolutely nothing within walking distance, otherwise it's great. Slips in the FM area are Musical Chairs. More boats than slips. Other than the mooring fields, all the good stuff is reserved by Labor day for the winter.

Ted
Stuart has a free pumpout boat paid for by the city. Call them and they just show up and pump: no fuss and no charge. Also a big sign that says “No Tipping” which should please the sailors.......
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