The Best Locations for Boating in Florida

The Miami Beach area highlighting a marina along the Biscayne Bay shot from an altitude of about 900 feet during a helicopter photo flight
SHARE Share on email Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on facebook

Florida has always been famous for its incredible beaches and theme parks. But the Sunshine State is home to more than just a few beaches, as many also consider it the boating capital of the world. Getting around on a boat in this state is nothing short of bliss. It features many locations where it can just be you and your boat out on large bodies of water.  

Whether you're looking for big open waters or narrow swamps to test your skills, here is a list of some of the best locations for boating in Florida.


Best Freshwater Boating and Lakes in Florida

Lake Okeechobee 

Lake Okeechobee is one of many incredible places in Florida where you can go and take your boat out on a ride. It is a large body of water, featuring beautiful scenery wherever you look. Spanning over 450,000 acres, it connects to four counties, even joining the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Aerial view of Lake Okeechobee

Despite its massive size, the water is only nine feet deep. Along with being a great place to catch all sorts of fish, the open waters are a great place to just let the breeze blow through your face as you ride past its picturesque shores. Make sure you bring your fishing equipment as well, as you might just get lucky with your next catch. 

Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Tohopekaliga is another one of many popular boating locations in the state, mainly thanks to its sheer size and location. Spanning more than 22,000 acres, it is also close to Orlando and Kissimmee, making it a popular tourist sight. 

View of the observation deck providing access to the Twin Oaks Conservation Area in Osceola County, FL - looking out to Lake Tohopekaliga

Taking your boat out is especially fun here, with the open waters allowing you to go for miles without stopping or turning. Whether you have a sports boat or a cruiser, you'll certainly have a good time here. And if you bring your fishing equipment, you can try your luck at catching some bass and other small to medium-sized game.  

Blue Cypress Lake 

The Blue Cypress Lake is an aesthetically pleasing location to cruise around in. Its defining feature are the cypress trees scattered throughout the shoreline. Their roots also stretch throughout the shore, with their branches hanging over the clear water. It allows visitors to use motorboats when exploring the vast watery wonderland. 

Cypress tree in Blue Cypress lake Yeehaw Junction Florida

Other than exploring the marshes and swamps surrounding the lake, you can even take advantage of the it's unique marine life. Bring over your fishing gear and try your luck at catching large bass and other delicious large game. Photographers can even have a good time taking pictures of the location’s diverse landscape. In terms of boating in Florida, this is a great place to go. 

Crescent Lake

Covering 15,900 acres, The Crescent Lake is a great place for anglers and boaters alike. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, making it a great place for animal spotters and birdwatchers. However, it does not allow motorboats on the water. 

Crescent Lake in a recreational park in Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA

While you can fish or canoe throughout the beautiful and expansive waters, riding a powerboat or cruiser is out of the question. Make sure you bring a pair of good binoculars with you, as you don't want to miss the chance to see the many birds and wildlife here.  

Lake Harris 

Lake Harris lies in Lake County and is absolutely massive. With over 13,800 acres of sparkling and pristine waters, it is one of the best places to relax and unwind. It is only 30 miles away from Orlando, featuring a picturesque landscape. So when you visit, be sure to pack a good camera. The view when riding here can be incredible and you want to make as many memories as you can. 

Beautiful Hicory Point Recreation park at Tavares Florida

Of course, the real reason you'll want to come here is for boating. The expansive waters will allow you to breeze past the beautiful shoreline in your cruiser or take up our fishing boat on a trip to the center. 

Lake Dora

Lake Dora is a part of the Harris Chain of Lakes but is not as big as 4,500 acres. Still, there is plenty to do throughout here, such as family-friendly water sports, fishing, and cruising. Two small towns can access the waters, with Northwest Orlando itself being a 40-minute drive away. 

Florida red maple trees at Lake Dora in Wooten Park, Tavares, Florida

Initially, this area was too polluted for most activities, including fishing. But now, the lake has been purified, as some of the fish have even returned. It's a great spot for anglers who are just out boating in Florida and can also be great for people just looking to kayak or canoe. 


Other Great Destinations for Boating in Florida

Boating offers more than just lakes and freshwater canals in the sunshine state. It is full of incredible places for you to take your boat and bring it out in the water. Some of these other destinations include: 

Fort Lauderdale 

Fort Lauderdale is one of those places that every boater has to visit at least once. The canal-front living makes for a boating experience in Florida worth remembering. Fort Lauderdale also features all of the essentials you could need to service your boat or get it repaired. However, Fort Lauderdale doesn't have a lot of exciting things to see, at least not as much as Miami, which is a quick ride away.

Fort Lauderdale is a resort city on the East coast of South Florida

Miami offers boaters access to all of the best attractions without driving out into the city. They can easily enjoy Nixon Beach, and Haulover offers incredible Sandbars that are worth visiting. But if you're looking to enjoy the city's famous nightlife, Coconut Grove and South Beach is not very far. 

Panoramic view of Coconut Grove bay with a large group of boats anchored on the shore

Tampa Bay 

The best thing about Tampa Bay is that it offers a range of activities to boaters looking to make the most of boating in Florida. Take off into one of the small neighboring beaches and soak up some sun at the shore. On the other hand, if you're just looking to take your speedboat out for a spin and test its speed, there are plenty of open waters where you can go out exploring. 

Tampa Skyline as viewed at sunset from a small dock across Tampa Bay

Of course, nothing quite compares to the energy here, as you can even dress like a pirate at the Gasparilla Weekend. The annual event sees hundreds of people taking off their boats, searching for treasure. 

Palm Beach 

If the energy of Tampa Bay is a little too much for you to handle, then maybe a relaxing cruise down Palm Beach will be more your style. Enjoy some incredible inshore and offshore fishing, along with a quick route that leads right into the Bahamas. You will get a chance to see some beautiful houses and some popular landmarks there. 

West Palm Beach, Florida, USA downtown skyline at dusk

Palm Beach also has a handful of relaxing sandbars where you can kick back and enjoy a nice drink. The beaches are also crystal clear, giving a picturesque look to people out on the water. 

Charlotte Harbor 

Charlotte Harbor is an overlooked gem when boating in Florida. But since not many people come around, you can go out for a nice relaxing trip throughout the many small islands, crystal clear waters, and untouched beaches. And if you're with a group of friends, there is no better place to hold a small party than one of the small beaches. 

Charlotte Harbor with sunset and palm trees

There is also plenty of land to cover here so that you can get plenty of time riding your boat's narrow waterways. You can even put your boating skills to the test as you weave past thin passages trying to make your way through.

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is the crown jewel of boating in Florida, thanks to its famous fishing spots and an incredible variety of islands. The 100-mile radius of The Keys is usually packed with tourists in the summer, as they go about the multitude of activities present here. Sandbars are abundant throughout the islands, which also feature fresh and clear water that you can see through. 

Florida Keys fishing boats in turquoise tropical blue water

You can even take your time to enjoy fishing in these locations, with plenty of shops around to offer the gear you need.


Best Boats for Boating in Florida

Boating in Florida is only as good as the boats you ride in. And when it comes to finding the right boats for your trip, Boatim can certainly help. Whether you're looking for a fishing boat, Motor Yacht, or a sports boat, we can offer each one. So if you're looking to make your trip to Florida special, let us help you find the perfect boat. 

Explore boats in Florida

Get Everything Boat in your inbox

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on everything you need to get on the water!