The beauty of the Florida Keys has nothing to do with the Keys themselves but with the surrounding waters. I collected my bag from the tiny luggage belt in the single room arrivals hall and headed to our home for the next three nights, Ibis Bay Resort, a collection of coral stone beachside bungalows on the shores of a serene bay, lined with mangroves. Happy to see the BR crew out and exploring. Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring Florida’s West Coast … from the Dry Tortugas in the Keys to Tampa Bay. “I love talking about nothing. Key Largo Beaches; Tavernier Beaches; Islamorada Beaches; Marathon Beaches, Perfect! Sailing The Great Escape – A SAILING TRAVEL BLOG, The Florida Keys | Sailing The Great Escape – A SAILING TRAVEL … | Welcome To Florida. The Florida Keys is a place with a rich history; and in this warm tropical paradise, culture is abundant. Tim was explaining to us, at our last stop on the snorkel tour, to swim out to this white buoy and drift back about 50 ft and there we would find Jesus Christ. I got the fantastic opportunity to show these beautiful islands to some Backroads Trip Leaders over three days. I stop in the Dry Tortugas, Key West & Boca Grande Key. After lunch we made the long trip down the '18 mile stretch' that connects the Keys to the mainland, a historic and scenic route that was originally developed for the Florida Overseas Railroad. Veteran Sailing Association (305) 619-3433 90791 Old Highway 1 Tavernier FL 33070 United States. We even fed the beastly tarpon that hang out under their dock. Kach had been delayed by the winter snow storm in Philadelphia and New York, so I arrived in Key West alone at around 8 o’clock at night. A special thanks to Backroads for making this all possible, to all of our great partners in the Keys, to our sponsors far and wide, and to our riders. We changed out of our riding clothes and donated 10 man hours to paint the steps and railing of their newly-raised visitor center. “At least I live in paradise”, were the words that were spoken in a self convincing tone over and over again from the transplanted locals who are trying to tell themselves that they found the happiness they were so desperately looking for. Lower Keys Beaches; Key West Beaches, Come and Visit! You may recognize it from being 'blown up' in 1994 during a chase scene in the movie True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's it like there now?" Sailing the Florida Keys is a must for anyone visiting. The spirit of rebuilding was impressive and inspiring! Sailing to the Florida Keys and back with some snorkeling and birdwatching along the way. Up to 3 full en-suite bedrooms with bathrooms, means this catamaran can comfortably sleep up to 6 guests (or more with children). The Blog. Day 2 Pedaling over beautiful aquamarine waters across the 42 bridges that connect the Keys, we arrived on Islamorada, the "Village of Islands," and visited with some of our local friends who are featured on our official Backroads Trip through the Keys. Units sail, fish and snorkel the United States’ lone barrier reef. They do things in an interesting way down here. Key West is fun and it reminds me a lot of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Eaten delectable local cuisines from recipes passed down through generations? Finally, we ended our 50-mile day by biking on to Keys Fisheries, where we caught the sunset over their marina. The cities and towns have no personality or identity, and how could they? Gone Fishing: Islamorada is the fishing mecca of the keys. And to say the Keys have no personality may not be totally correct. Captain Dave, A week ago I took the sailing classes 101, 103, and 104 with Sailing Florida and I would just like to let you know that I had a great time and that the certifications were all worth it. It is organized like a government Coast Pilot with micro detail. Here are some of our favorite anchorages. If you buy Frank Papy's Keys Chart guide, you have all the support you need for sailing the Florida Keys. Active travel is, at its heart, a way of connecting more authentically with the world. The Florida Keys are like any other destination, they are what you make of it. All Aboard A Florida Keys Yacht Charter. It offers the perfect gateway for sailing the southeast Florida coast and the renowned Florida Keys. I’m not making this up. Regardless of whether or not you were even aware that there…, Have you ever been steeped in historical lore in one of the most culturally rich areas of the United States? These are experiences you cannot have behind the wheel of a car, or on a train or a tour bus. While the effects of Hurricane Irma still linger, we all felt that it only enhanced the experience of visiting the Keys. Back onshore in Key West we took a stroll, just like the sailors of old, through the festive atmosphere on Duval Street to Santiago's Bodega where we had a top-notch dinner. The Florida Keys are like any other destination, they are what you make of it. To finish off our day, we enjoyed dinner al fresco under Seminole-style thatched chickees while accompanied by live music, conversations with some quintessential Keys characters and a truly dazzling sunset across the water. If you tuned in a few weeks ago, you saw my post about the impacts that Hurricane Irma had on the Florida Keys in September of 2017. Sailing the Florida Keys in a Catalina 42: was introduced in 1989 and was one of the first mass-produced American boats to feature both a sugar-scoop transom with a swim platform and a three-stateroom layout with two aft cabins under the cockpit. The Florida Keys are a perfect charter for both 3-day and week long sails! Adventures. 'We pressed on along the beautiful Old Cutler Road and Biscayne bike trails, perfect cycling routes where we made sure to stop for some great Cuban food at Mario's Family Restaurant in Homestead, the town where Hurricane Andrew made landfall. She stopped following them at that point. This fish chomps on small critters attached to the coral reefs. All contents & photography © 2020 Backroads | Sitemap | Privacy Policy, The first time I traveled Italy was by bike. In short, this place is as beautiful as ever, full of amazing sights, scenery, wildlife and people who have channeled their love of this corner of America into restoring it to its charming and historic self. At Backroads we're lucky to admire the world from a wide range of elevations. As a six-time winner of American Sailing Association’s Best Instructor and Sailing School Awards and twenty years in business, Sunshine Coast Adventures is the premiere sailing school in the Florida Keys. Our day ended with some of their famous lobster reubens, conch salad, and the best key lime pie in the Keys. Any fishing boat charter captain will tell you! Looks like quite the adventure. In addition to mile-by-mile coverage and interpretive vignettes, their guide also includes a Land & Sea Navigation chapter with 90 pages of annotated NOAA charts mated with annotated County land maps. There are more bars and tiki huts than you can count and everybody makes a fantastic cheeseburger. Courses Offered: ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing, ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising, ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising, ASA 105, Coastal Navigation. My husband and I will be cruising from Fort Lauderdale through the Florida Keys this winter as we adjust to our new cruising life before any long jumps. This old bridge was the greatest achievement of the Overseas Railroad and has withstood every hurricane since its completion in 1912. We can't wait to do it again in December on our Backroads Florida Keys Biking Tour! Partook in energizing cycling rides, sunset boat sails, and languid kayaking excursions in wild nature? Florida: West Side of the Florida Keys “I always put the fear of God into people that this is the world’s third-largest barrier reef,” says Capt. The largest island of the Florida Keys, it boasts a landscape of tropical hardwoods, winding creeks and spectacular underwater scenery which has drawn the attention of both Hollywood and the cream of society. Despite the fact that it is still March, the newest attraction on the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk left the dock at Key Sailing with a full load of excited adults and children. It was a good first day's ride, and we all felt lucky to be here in the Keys. I couldn’t help but think that a lot of people are looking for Jesus, maybe Tim should blog about this. We cruised past US1 Mile Marker 0, parked our bike, shared some hugs and celebrated the conclusion of our journey with a sunset cruise out on the water with Floridays, another highlight of our Florida Keys Trip. So I recently recruited some fellow Backroads Trip Leaders and we set out for a three-day adventure to bike 165 miles from Miami to Key West to see for ourselves what local recovery has accomplished, exploring the heart of the Florida Keys along the way. There are various sizes and types of boats available if you want to try out Key West on brooch sailing. New construction was a theme we saw many places in the Keys - I saw more new construction in our 3 days of biking than in the 15 preceding years of visiting the area. There are things you learn in life that you wish you didn’t know. We loved snorkeling in key largo but couldn’t find Jesus that day as snorkeling in that area was not advised ….go figure? It's referred to by many as the "Diving Capital of the World" due to the beautiful offshore reef that attracts scuba divers and fishing enthusiasts from around the world. SAILING LOCATION: Keys Fisheries & Marina 35th St Gulfside, MM 49 Marathon, FL 33050; By Mail: Florida Keys Sailing 5171 Overseas Hwy #504407 Marathon, FL 33050; By E-Mail: gdub@sailflkeys.com; By Telephone: 305-619-0140 Check out my  previous blog post about Hurricane Irma here! So the next time you are relaxing on a nice beach on a beautiful day, just remember, you’re sitting on a large pile of parrotfish shit. The snorkeling, diving and shore fishing in Florida are fantastic. Paradise does not exist here. Here is our story. Having grown up in the Florida Keys, I've been asked many times over the past six months "How are the Keys doing after Hurricane Irma? The Florida Keys are a string of coral islands that stretch southwest from the end of the state. What a special region to visit! Over the loud speaker you could hear them call out the titles to classics like Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and an older couple would stand to get their food. Sailing the Keys is like living in a Jimmy Buffet song. We recently took a sailing trip to the Florida Keys. Located in the Upper Keys area world-class fishing charter captains are just itching to be on the water… so this is your chance to join them. Without the man-made attractions that aren’t wrecks… we’re in sympathy with your feelings about A/C as well, whenever the breeze dies and the bugs come a-feasting or the rain pours down and it’s 88+ in the boat, using our A/C in a marina seems like a great place to be! I’m back to tell you about the recovery. The Doyles are the authors of a cruising guide to the Florida Keys, titled Managing the Waterway: Biscayne Bay, FL to Dry Tortugas, FL. Just a cleaner and much safer version. Search through over a hundred unique adventures. An undeserved reputation for being paradise that is propagated by the overworked battalions of American workers who dream of the good life. While in Tampa, expect … For any boat enthusiast, sailing through the Florida Keys will give you an experience like none other and it will be a dream come true. Made famous by the 1948 film Key Largo starring Humphrey Bogart, it provides an exotic escape just hours from Miami airport. So I'm here to share with you some insight into what a bike ride through the Florida Keys is like, and why you should definitely come experience this place for yourself! We truly wanted to learn sailing as we are considering a life style change, my husband did some research and found captain GDub we drove from Charleston SC to Florida Keys. And just like that, our journey was over. Several of us Trip Leaders feel it's one of the best meals offered on any Backroads trip, which is saying a lot! Tampa. Joe Dyll of the western Florida Keys, which have long been one of his favorite cruising grounds. Whether you are a new sailor or experienced, our expert sailing instructors will help make you feel relaxed and at home while on board. The yacht is new, great outdoor living space, and is equipped for the perfect sailing vacation. We get enough of that on land. If you are sailing from Miami to Key West, there are two different, equally delightful routes you can take. Roxanne witnessed this first hand. The snorkeling, fishing and diving are fantastic. I wish these guys wrote guides for more sailing areas. With a little care, you can avoid damaging valuable Keys habitat (and your boat) and avoid fines, fees, and other costs associated with running aground. Great article. “It starts in Miami and goes all the way down to Key West. SAILING LOCATION: Keys Fisheries & Marina 35th St Gulfside, MM 49 Marathon, FL 33050; By Mail: Florida Keys Sailing 5171 Overseas Hwy #504407 Marathon, FL 33050; By E-Mail: gdub@sailflkeys.com; By Telephone: 305-619-0140 Sail. Today you can actually find wild flocks of parrots in the trees of greater Miami. With 100s of islands that stretch a 100 miles out into the ocean, it is a paradise for those who are willing to jump on a boat and toss off the lines and leave the islands behind to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding waters. I learned that tidbit of information from Tim the dive master. If you…. Join us aboard Makara, our 47-foot catamaran, to enjoy your private sailing charter for a few hours or join us under the stars for a multi-day, offshore adventure among the Florida Keys. Pingback: The Florida Keys | Sailing The Great Escape – A SAILING TRAVEL … | Welcome To Florida. Having biked 65 miles in our first day, we settled into our hotel in Key Largo, one of the northernmost islands of the Florida Keys. I was curious so I had to ask, “Jesus is underwater?”  Tim replied in a strong Jamaican accent, “Yea mon, but don’t worry Jesus can hold his breath for a long time.”. All the beauty and charm is as apparent as ever, while the welcoming embrace of the locals and their inspiring efforts to rebuild made for a truly special experience. You might want to start by exploring Key West, the most southern point in the continental USA. I had to laugh when I heard the loud speaker blare out, “Baby Got Back, your order is ready.”  It occurred to me that my wife’s name is also the name of a song, so I simply told them, “Roxanne”, though I wish I used Rusty McHugh’s song, “She Put a Louisiana Lip Lock On My Alabama Pork Chop.”. But they were not happy and the thin veil of their words could not hide their deep and utter disappointment. An excellent and exciting way to explore the Florida Keys. After ordering our lunch at the counter the lady asked for my favorite song. It is a very protected anchorage right by the inlet. It's no secret that the Cuban food here is some of the best in the world! Take in the former residence of Ernest Hemingway , enjoy the sunset celebrations in Mallory Square, visit Smathers Beach and tour the Key West Lighthouse. Arriving in the lower Keys, we saw the greatest hurricane destruction but a good amount of new construction as well. I've surveyed the Backroads Trip Leader community and reflected on m... We're Leading a new revolution in Cuba! Tampa’s claim to fame is being the largest estuary in Florida State. Sure, Backroads provides amazing leaders, superb accommodations and meals, and opportunities you could never arrange on your own. Great day for a dolphin cruise on the Pelican, our comfortable kid-friendly 49 passenger catamaran! The bike trails were clear and a delight to cruise along in the sunshine, soaking in the continued friendly vibe of the Keys . ~Oscar Wilde. And sadly, much like the first time you heard your parents having sex, you can’t erase it from your brain. Florida Keys sailing: Arrive at the Florida Keys, board your vessel and set sail in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Sailing Florida is St. Petersburg & Tampa Bay's premier sailing yacht and fishing charter company offering cruises, ASA Training & Team Building activities. Day 1 Our ride took us through downtown Miami and past the historic entrance of what was once Parrot Jungle, where I remember holding and feeding birds there as a child. Keys Beaches. Red or Green? Refueled on smoothies and caffeine, we made the last push along the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail to Key West. Our first stop was Lake Boca. The Florida Keys can deliver with good sailing but don’t forget it specializes in picturesque sunsets. Just finished a week of sailing with Captain GDub ASA10,103,104. Our catamaran, 'Sailing SummerCamp', starts in Key Largo & can sail to Key West, or closer (Marathon or Plantation). We'd love to hear thoughts on must-sees or best day and overnight anchorages along the way. Day 3 On our final morning, we headed out early to cross the historic pedestrian and bicycle bridge that parallels the newer vehicle bridge, known as the 7 Mile Bridge, at the end of Marathon. Below we have a few sample itineraries for you to plan your next sailing adventure. 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