With winter coming upon us quickly, the thoughts of many in the North turn towards dreams of warm climates, blue skies and  calm waters. With more registered boats than any other state in the country, there is no denying that Florida is the boating capital of the US.  Not only do the residents love the boating lifestyle, but nearly 100,000 out-of-state boats are exploring Florida waters every single day. They have plenty of places to set sail; with over 2,200 miles of shoreline and 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways – so where will you go? Here are some suggestions.

Pensacola/Destin – Known as the Emerald Coast, this paradise in the Florida panhandle is known for its fishing – in fact, Destin is known colloquially as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”. With pristine beaches, protected harbors and boasting arguably the state’s best deep sea fishing, there is no wonder the area is home to Florida’s largest fishing fleet.

St. Augustine/ Jacksonville – Located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Jacksonville is home to the gateway of the St. John’s River, Florida’s main inland waterway. The town was built with boaters in mind, with top notch marinas and supply stores; not to mention plenty of places to get a great meal. Because of the sheer number of waterfront festivals held yearly, you’ll find plenty of places for dockage; get there in July  for the famous Kingfish tournament; if you miss it, plan on fishing the shallow salt marshes.

Fort Lauderdale – With 300 miles of inland waterways, Ft. Lauderdale offers plenty of boating opportunities. With over 40,000 yachts in residence, and the yearly Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, this is the place for luxury boat owners. Coral reefs are close by and accessible, making snorkeling an alluring pastime;.

The Florida Keys and Key West

Spanning 125 miles, the Key’s 1700+ islands (most inaccessible by car,) offer a year-round lifestyle, so prepare for endless summers. Highlights include the shipwrecks off Key Largo, and Islamorada, the Sportfishing Capital of the World.. Of course, no trip to the Keys is complete without visiting Key West.  As the inspiration for Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise, Key West also offers unparalleled sunsets, snorkeling and deep sea fishing.

Tampa/St. Petersburg

You might not think of Tampa as a boating destination, but the bustling town belies the true gem of the area – the state’s largest estuary, and all its hidden bays and rivers. Beer Can Island and Shell Key are popular mooring spots; Caladesi Island is one of a few state parks that has docking facilities. Just a short journey away are two additional natural and wild hidden treasures – Three Rooker Bar and Anclote Key. Gorgeous Sarasota, with its gleaming Bayfront and inland waterways, is only 50 miles south.

North to south, there is no question that Florida is a desired destination for boaters, no matter how they like to spend their time on the water.. Make sure you have coverage from Sign and Glide that includes Florida, and then prepare for the trip of a lifetime.