West Coast of Florida Anchorages
I''ll be sailing from St. Petersburg, Florida to the Keys and then over to the Bahamas end of October and into November. I''m curious to find out what other cruisers'' favourite anchorages are on the way. My boat has a 4''10'''' draft.
Also, is there a good spot near Venice? The Nautical Trader is near there and I''d love to go shopping without having to tie up at the marina.
West Coast of Florida Anchorages
Tom Dove Home Page
The following anchorages are listed northward from the west side of the Keys
(25-19 N, 81-08 W), FL - LITTLE SHARK RIVER
Enter and anchor N of red #4. If adventurous, follow Little Shark River NE to Shark River and on to Tarpon Bay. Six foot draft OK with favorable tide. In winter you won''t want to leave. In summer you donate blood! (Windchime)
(25-48 N, 81-28 W), FL - EVERGLADES CITY
Anchor NW of green #7 in Russell Bay, Everglades National Park. Red Mangroves 60 feet high surround you. This remote anchorage WON''T be crowded! Could continue on in to Everglades City (Windchime, Luv It)
(25-58 N, 81-46 W), FL - MARCO ISLAND TO THOUSAND ISLANDS
Depth of channel after leaving Marco Island area is 4-6 foot, at one point the chart declares it 3 ft. Using the tides & local knowledge helps. There are two bridges with a 55 ft. clearance. The charts I used were freebies from Sea Tow, just called "Naples to the Everglades." At the end of this channel is Goodland FL. They have a good size marina with all the services including lift service etc.
Marco used to be a rough entrance several years ago. They have removed an island which one had to navigate around with very swift water. Today it is a straight shot and I made it in with no problem and was amazed at the changes for the better. (Nutmeg)
(25-58 N, 81-46 W), FL - MARCO ISLAND
Anchor in S end of Factory Bay. One cruiser says that the Marco Island Winn-Dixie store has a dinghy dock: "One can dinghy in and walk to the stores." Bikers will really enjoy this area. Several good marinas in the area. There is a dinghy dock at Marco Island Marina, to the right of the fuel dock, for $5/ day. The entrance to the anchorage is less than 5.7 ft at low water. (Windchime, Luv It, Nutmeg, Nina)
(26-05 N, 81-48 W), FL - NAPLES TO MARCO ISLAND
This channel is 4.5 to 6 feet throughout. There are no bridges and it''s all a preserved wildlife area. People anchor out all over the place within the preserve. (Nutmeg)
(26-05 N, 81-48 W), FL - NAPLES
Anchor NW of red #12 among beautiful homes. A favorite of ours. (Windchime)
MILE 147, FL(OKEECHOBEE CANAL) - GLOVER BIGHT
Just 2.5 miles E of MILE ZERO, FL(W) near Cape Coral. This would be a great place to hang out in high winds. Turn at R #92, follow marks in. The bottom yanked our anchor at first try. Protection from waves 360 degrees, from wind all but SW. Tarpon Point Marina is nearby. (Luv It)
MILE ZERO, FL(W) - FORT MYERS BEACH ANCHORAGE
The anchorage is crowded and busy with small boats on weekends, but not always "rude." There is the rare benefit of a free dinghy landing right behind a supermarket! Take the dinghy east through the anchorage and turn right into the last canal on the right (at red mark 4). Go to the end of the canal and tie up to a mangrove tree. You can walk one block to the beach from there as well. From the dinghy landing walk left on the main street to the library, where there is free internet access. (Windchime, Mielle, Nina)
MILE 5, FL(W) - SANIBEL ISLAND
"Ding" Darling National Wildlife Area. Anchor S of Red #16 or #18 and tuck in close to the island in 6 feet of water for protection from S to W winds. Dinghy to the wildlife refuge, through a cut into Tarpon Bay. Thousands of birds and other wildlife live here. There is a gift shop, and you can rent bicycles for $7/day. (Windchime, Luv It)
MILE 22, FL(W) - USEPPA ISLAND
Anchor E of ICW between 60 and 61. (Windchime)
MILE 24, FL(W) - PELICAN BAY
Tricky to get into but worth it when there, with incredible beauty and 360-degree protection. Go SW from #72 toward the bay and hold 75% to starboard so that you skirt the island about 100 feet offshore until you reach the anchorage off the Cayo Costa State Park dock, thus avoiding a very large shoal on the south side of the bay. Popular. Five-foot draft OK with fair tide. A pocket of somewhat deeper water is beyond the dock. Dinghy to shore and take a tram for the one-mile ride to the Gulf shore where shelling is good. The island may only be reached by boat, so it is not crowded. Or dinghy 2.5 miles south and find the "love tunnel" path to the Gulf by entering through Murdock Bayou. Be prepared to walk your dinghy at several places, including through the tunnel under a mangrove bower. Your reward will be in having a part of the island to yourselves and GREAT shelling. (Windchime, Luv It)
MILE 37, FL(W) - CAPE HAZE
A beautiful residential lagoon east of the ICW. Anchor anywhere in the lagoon. (Windchime)
MILE 43, FL(W) - ENGLEWOOD BEACH
When S of bridge, turn SW and follow charted water to the park area. Check www.markwebhost.com/IRIE for excellent detail. (Windchime)
MILE 58, FL(W) - VENICE
S of R #14 is a free City Dock in Higel Park. Good for four or five boats. Walk to town and restaurants. (Windchime)
MILE 85, FL(W) - LONG BEACH
A favorite. Go W from G #39 and then S to anchorage off the restaurants. (Windchime)
MILE 95, FL(W) - MANATEE RIVER
Anchor behind Desoto Point. We rode out the "Storm of the Century" here. (Windchime)
MILE ---, FL(W) - ST. PETERSBURG
Just a few miles from the ICW, there is a nice anchorage right downtown in front of the Vinoy Hotel ("North Yacht Basin" on the chart) . A one-week limit is reportedly enforced. You can land a dink on a little beach in the SE corner of the anchorage. (Mielle)
MILE 116, FL(W) - GULFPORT
Follow the marked channel. Anchor off the City fishing pier. (Windchime)
MILE 133, FL(W) - CLEARWATER
Anchor E of Red #8 along the shore. Good place to await good weather for crossing to Apalachicola. (Windchime)
---- FL(W) - TARPON SPRINGS AREA
The channel going up to Tarpon Springs can be tricky to get into in the dark. Beware -- don''t try it -- I''d been there a couple of time and thought I knew it well enough, only to sit high and dry overnight until the tide came up. In the daytime follow the charts up the river; there is plenty of water if one stays in the channel and it''s well marked. There is an anchorage off on the left that has good water and a park but it''s far from town. I''ve always gone up into the town and used a marina for a night. Great place to visit, can walk to the stores and many restaurants, mostly Greek foods. (Nutmeg)
MILE150, FL(W) - ANCLOTE KEY
Anchor E of key. Another good waiting spot to cross (but not in a blow). (Windchime)
MILE 150, FL(W) - NAVIGATION NOTE
There is no ICW from Anclote to Carabelle. You have a choice of a 130-mile offshore trip or a series of shallow anchorages along the "Big Bend." I always get into trouble in the Big Bend so I avoid it. (Windchime)
---- FL(W) - GULF HARBORS
About 3 miles N of Anclote River Entrance. Controlling depth of about 5 feet ends at a protected basin with a good restaurant. Either anchor or dock and eat at the restaurant. (Duette)
---- FL(W) - CRYSTAL RIVER
45 miles N of Anclote River. Controlling depth is 4 feet at low tide just before the entrance to the channel. Area S of #23 is protected and good holding if you don''t anchor in the shells too close to Shell Island. Follow the markers up river to Kings Bay. Well protected, poor holding. (Duette)
---- FL(W) - WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER
50 miles N of Anclote River; good water all the way in. Watch markers closely. Commercial traffic restricts anchoring due to wakes until you reach the residential and manatee area 2 miles up the river. Tie up to the trees on the south bank. (Duette)
---- FL(W) - CEDAR KEY
60 miles N of Anclote River. Good holding ground, protection from N only. Anchor 300 yards E of the city dock just off the boat ramp. DO NOT TIE UP TO THE CITY DOCK. Strong currents and rough water with any opposing winds. (Duette)
---- FL(W) - STEINHATCHEE RIVER
90 miles N of Anclote River. Deep water all the way in; anchor on south side of river channel. (Duette)
---- FL(W) - CARABELLE, DOG ISLAND
Beginning of the Gulf ICW. Anchor N of western tip of island.
MILE 352, FL(W) - APALACHICOLA
Anchor E of #4 and #6. (Windchime)
MILE 345, FL(W) - SAUL CREEK
A favorite gunkhole and hurricane hole. Turn NE into Saul Creek then NW at first fork. Cross 50 foot deep water and anchor in eight feet. Wildlife! (Windchime)
MILE 291, FL(W) - PANAMA CITY
(1) SW from G #19 into Smack Bayou. Storm hole and popular. (2) NE from G #17 into Massalina Bayou through drawbridge. Moderate holding but protected. (3) North shore of Shell Island. Popular. (Windchime)
West Coast of Florida Anchorages
Thank you, Gord. That''s great help.
West Coast of Florida Anchorages
Look forward to seeing your upcoming contributions to the guide. It''s cruisers who keep it up to date, accurate, and useful.
After having spent the better part of last week on vacation on the "left coast" - this is truly a treasure trove of anchorages. Sanibel is a gem...its like you leave reality and enter into the 1950's when you get on that causeway ($6 toll...ouch)...its just across from nasty touristy Fort Myers beach, which seems to be the new "Fort Liquordale" of Florida.
I cant wait to go back on Jendai next time rather than staying on land.
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