Miami and The Keys: Urban Chic, Natural Wonders
Florida yacht charter from Miami to Key West offers an itinerary of extremes. Embark from a glittering metropolis. Cruise southwest along the gentle arc of islands and islets, some populated, most empty. End at the southernmost point of the United States, Key West. Board your charter yacht, conveniently docked in the natural shelter of Miami Harbor. Head out into Key Biscayne, parallel a shoreline of glassy skyscrapers, gradually giving way to mangrove flats. Launch the water toys somewhere offshore, picnic on a sand spit. Hoist the anchor and navigate south, dolphins at play in your wake. Leave civilization on the horizon.
Miami is dazzling in its diversity. It is a complex city, and like all great cities, both gritty and gracious. Navigate the Intracoastal Waterway lined with elegant mansions and legendary hotels. Cruise up the New River to see an underbelly rarely viewed. Visit the exclusive shops, galleries and art museums in Wynwood and the Design District. Experience Cuban American culture in Little Havana. South Beach, with its iconic deco skyline, has shops, museums, spas, nightclubs and beautiful people on a near endless beach. Biscayne Bay National Park is a vast marine reserve that extends to the northernmost Keys. There are reefs to snorkel, sandbars to picnic on, and Stiltsville, a group of curious shacks reached only by boat.
Upper Keys –
Key Largo, Islamorada
The Ocean Reef Club is located at the top of the Keys. This members-only community has outstanding facilities, including several restaurants, a museum, a championship golf course, and an airstrip. For overnight dockage, or to spend a few hours relaxing at this high-profile retreat, request a charter yacht with membership privileges.
Dedicate a couple of hours to snorkel or dive the barrier reef running three to six miles off shore. There are shallow snorkel sites with delicate corals and colorful fish, and several sunken ships to challenge more advanced divers. Christ of the Abyss, an 8 1/2 foot, 4,000 pound bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ, stands in 25 feet of water off of Key Largo.
Just an hour’s drive from Miami, the Upper Keys are crammed with tourist attractions. Some hokey, some quirky, some both. At Jules Undersea hotel, guests dive in. The rafty steamboat from the movie “African Queen” is anchored here. If you’re a fan of Bogie and Bacall in the film Key Largo, grab a beverage at the Caribbean Club. This aged film location is festooned with memorabilia, and usually hosts an odd assortment of locals and lazy dogs.
Middle Keys – Duck, Marathon, Little Torch
There are many reasons to explore ashore, but the most powerful allure of the Keys is spectacular fishing, swimming, snorkeling and diving. Statistics from the International Game Fish Association claim more saltwater world records than any other angling destination in the world. The historic Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail winds along the coral reefs of the National Marine Sanctuary. There are nine wrecks in varied conditions vary from easy dives in shallow water to deeper dives of l00 feet or more with potentially strong currents.
On little Duck Key, Hawks Cay Marina is the place to stretch your sea legs and enjoy casual conversation with other ocean enthusiasts. This upscale retreat has bars and restaurants with lovely water views, and an award-winning spa on the premises. A laid-back ambiance makes it a popular destination for sport fishermen, divers and others who’ve exchanged Oxfords and Jimmy Choos for top siders and flip flops.
Marathon Key is a small, family-friendly town. There are several non-profit attractions that explore Keys history, marine life, flora and fauna. For an interesting look at efforts to save injured sea birds visit the Bird Sanctuary. If you have at least a couple of hours, visit the acclaimed Dolphin Research Center, the fascinating Turtle Hospital, or Crane Point Museum and Nature Trail. Just north of town, the EEA Air Museum, at the Marathon airport, has a historic collection of planes, posters, memorabilia and antiques. Visitors can climb aboard an Ozark DC3 and see the seat where Grace Kelly – before she became Princess Grace of Monaco – sat on a flight to Houston.
On Little Torch Key, discriminating travelers know Little Palm Island Resort as the retreat of presidents, celebrities and a favorite honeymoon destination. Purchase a day pass. Tender in and tie up to Sunset Dock. Stretch out on the white sand beach, luxuriate with treatments at SpaTerre, refresh with a signature cocktail, and indulge in the finest cuisine served in the most romantic setting in the Florida Keys. Zagat reviewers describe The Dining Room restaurant – “Top Décor in the Keys; words cannot do justice either to the French-Pan-Latin fare.” Advance reservations to enter the property are required.
Lower Keys – Big Pine, Key West
The Lower Keys has offbeat reasons to explore ashore. Take a bike ride through the National Key Deer Refuge to photograph miniature deer. Big Pine Key’s Blue Hole is home to alligators, turtles, fish, ducks and wading birds. This body of fresh water is what remains of a rock quarry created during the construction of the Florida East Coast Railway. Sugar Loaf Key has a huge bat tower, built in the 1929, that never appealed to bats. This architectural oddity is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Key West relishes a most eccentric identity. Locals take pride in being different: high-spirited, colorful, tolerant, extremely casual and periodically outlandish. This small town has a remarkable history and delightful architecture. Tour the homes of Hemingway, Audubon, and Truman’s Little White House. Mel Fischer’s Atocha treasures are on display in his museum, some with an option to buy. Spend the afternoon on the Jet Skis exploring islets, coves and mangrove swamps. As the sun goes down, head to Mallory Square, where jugglers, acrobats, magicians, fortunetellers, locals and tourists praise the setting sun. In Key West, this signals the start of the party.
About 25 miles west of Key West, the Marquesas are positioned where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico converge. Here the ferocious winds and raging seas of tropical storms claimed the Atocha and other galleons in the Spanish fleet loaded with silver, gold and emeralds. The remote and pristine region is protected under a marine sanctuary law, so should you find any, picking up doubloons is illegal. There is an abundance of bird life, turtles, stingrays, tarpon, and bonefish. Anchor off these islands and you may never be further from civilization.
Spend an afternoon, a weekend or a week sailing around South Florida. Here is a selection of some top yachts available for charters departing from Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Florida Keys.
PIGGYBANK 47‘ Beneteau, is an excellent sailing yacht option. Captain Jax has been sailing these waters, and throughout the Caribbean, for years. He is a wonderful instructor if guests want to learn to sail, knows the best beaches and snorkeling spots, and is a charming raconteur. Accommodates 4 guests in 2 cabins.
CALYPSO 42′ Leopard sailing catamaran, is crewed by Jon and Dania Brunold. Their background in superyacht charter insures first class service, and as parents themselves, they are absolutely superb with families. Enjoy premium snorkel gear, stand up paddleboard, fishing gear, and a glass-bottom dinghy for fish viewing. Whether it’s romance, exclusivity, or family fun, Calypso delivers. Accommodates 6 guests in 3 cabins.
Contact Select Yachts to explore your options. We have what you desire, from stately superyachts to classic sailing yachts. Charter with us. We know the ropes.