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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys

I have an islander 36....it has a 50 foot mast give or take

Im looking for marinas in the florida panhandle, places close to or around the destin area

I have seen places like niceville with many sailboats but how do they get there? from panama city?

I heard the destin bridge is around 49 feet tall...jjaja too close to go straight in...and I heard the destin area is really expensive

what places are cheap to keep a boat?

carabelle, pensacola or panama city?

just lookin for real world info...rates, anchorages, good and bad stuff...etc...

thanks
christian:)
 

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We lived in Niceville and kept our boat in the Destin area for several years. Our vhf antenna is just a few inches over 50 ft from the water. At low tide I would rattle it on the Destin Bridge going out of the pass. The GICW runs between Choctawhatchee Bay and Panama City.

We liked Shalimar Yacht Basin. Kept our boat there for quite a while, I even lived aboard there for a year or so. Very nice owners and great staff. Sailing the bay is really nice and there is easy access outside if you can clear the bridge. A frequent weekend run for me was to duck out the Destin bridge at morning low tide and sail the Gulf down to Panama City. There is a nice city marina in Panama City. I would sail around PC area for a day or two then run the ICW back to Shalimar. Pretty spectacular weekends of sailing and fishing.

If your mast is right at 50 ft. you only need 5-10 degrees of lean to safely clear the bridge. Hang your dinghy over the side and throw some water in until it tilts then go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks so much man...yeah this was my thought

I often rubbed the fort lauderdale las olas bridge with my little 30foot ketch mast with the antenna just a little heel in order to not wait for the bridge to open worked a few times

NOT THE FIRST bang head

hmmm maybe I can sneek in straight through destin bridge and go up the bay?

I have some friends from georgia who weekend in florida in niceville

I saw many sailboats up there in the marinas in pics...

Prices? what are we talking here for a mid 30 footer?

I saw in panama city that prices were reasonable around 200-300 a month

but destin was crazy around 12-15foot minimum

thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
anybody else? I heard about carabelle as a cool hangout

thoughts

thanks
 

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Hello. Are you going to live aboard ? Either way, there is Fort Walton Beach @ 7 miles to Destin. Easy to get to the Gulf if you are going under Destin bridge.... Carrabelle(no bridge) has a small harbor/town that is the entrance to a river with IGA grocery store 200 ft, Ace hardware, post office, subway, restaurants.....RV/Marina prob has space. Others may be full. Pensacola at Perdido Key, no wake zone;6 miles to Pensacola pass.( Perdido Cove rv/marina. Holiday Harbor marina, no bugs. Oyster bar marina.) Apalachicola tourist town-restarants, bars. Piggly Wiggly, Marinas on river, 1/2 mile to Gulf tall, tall,tall bridge. No wake zone is important here, huge wakes from power boats. I would suggest to be close to Gulf if you are going to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
no no liveaboard...just need a place to keep the boat for cheap...we are planning on moving to georgia once again in columbus...it will be a 3 hour drive or so to any place in the panhandle give or take...

its actually farther away to go to the georgoa coast and I love florida, have lived in ft meyers and ft lauderdale and coral springs during different periods...

thanks for the help

thanks a lot
 
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For cheap, call the police dept in Apalachicola. They have been taking care of rent some slips. Not in the usual too shallow Municipal marina, but 100 yards away on the river.
Inexpensive and you may love Apalachicola. Boat safety may be very good from theft,etc. I'm sure Chief of police will tell you. Scippios marina in Apalac has haul out.
Carrabelle: C-Quarters real friendly. Moorings marina & motel. Haul out available. Shrimp/fishing boats in both.
 

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I have been looking at maps of hurricanes and where the eye has mad land fall and this is a Safe ?? area. I could give this area a look for long term plans. Shallow water and sand bars?? Cost of living is ??? I have a lot of home work to do but first I need to get more time sailing.
Kind Regards, Lou
 

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thanks man much appreciated...still in planning stages
Christian... Do some research in Panama City... better access to the Gulf from there... I think you will find the cost of living more reasonable than Destin... I was there on the base for 6 months and found the area closer to Destin very pricey... but also found other areas reasonable but access to the Gulf limited.

I think you'll like Panama City a better combination of real estate and marina services... and I like the name too! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks guys! some of these places are considered hurrican holes so they are relatively safe however others not so dont know that yet how well these places hold up

funny story I was looking at marinas and there was this place called guiseppies in niceville I beleive and the pic on google images shows a sunken sailboat right off the docks!

crap! wonder what happened there

too funny that was a main pic to be found
 

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Christian,

Going a little further east you will find the small town of St. Mark. You won't find a better deal than the shell island fish camp marina. 16 mile bike ride to Tallahassee on a dedicated bike trail. Dog Island, St. George Island on way to Panama City.
 

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You can and maybe should Anchor in the middle of Destin harbor. No wakes, beautiful blue water, great sandy beaches, lots & lots of people, high rise buildings, lots & lots of boats coming & going. All this Squeezed into a little harbor with lots of jet skis, power boats, Charter fishing boats, night noise-music from bars.---It makes the beach from the movie Jaws look empty. Car traffic you wouldn't believe for a small area.
.....You can anchor in Destin and go out the "pass" to Gulf in 10 to 15 minutes. No bridge to get out. I have anchored for All of the above reasons and departed for all the above reasons.
Apalachicola; you can head up the river to Hurricane holes, & Panama city
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks guys....

well see what happens in these next planning months stage
 

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Destin, like so many other places in FL, has changed much over the years. Been going down for many years and remember when J Villa was the only motel in town. Still beautiful at Crab Island but way too many people for our liking. The traffic is terrible except in the winter.

Destin Pass can be a real bear with a sea running and is shifting constantly, and the bridge which is 48' to 49', depending on who you ask, will force you to the pass if your stick is too tall to re-enter the ICW. One could become trapped there under some conditions as it does, at times, become impossible to run the pass.
 

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Panama City is less expensive. The Bay sailing is better and Gulf access is much better. However, Panama City itself is nasty. Urban blight for as far as the eye can see. Some nice folks, but also a great many freaks who look like they are out on probation. That said, Bay Point Marina is the best marina in the area.
 

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Panama City is less expensive. The Bay sailing is better and Gulf access is much better. However, Panama City itself is nasty. Urban blight for as far as the eye can see. Some nice folks, but also a great many freaks who look like they are out on probation. That said, Bay Point Marina is the best marina in the area.
I'm not out on probation, just got the ankle bracelet off last week! :laugher
I assume you are talking about the tourists?
I'm in St. Andrew's marina and the price is nice and relatively quiet. Prices are good. Bay Point would likely be much more expensive (no argument about how nice it is). Plenty of access to materials if working on boat, with no huhu if working on it in the marina. As others say, bay sailing is nice and close to deep water access to Gulf, and no bridges between the marinas and Gulf.
 

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You need to look at Niceville. Good marinas on both Boggy Bayou and Rocky Bayou and a great deep water bay to sail in. Contrary to the previous posts, you cannot get under the Ft. Walton or Destin bridges with a 50 foot mast. You get to Niceville via entrance from the gulf via Panama City and then westward thru the intercoastal (locals call it the ditch) to Choctawhatchee Bay. The Hathaway bridge in Panama City and Mid-Bay bridge on the Choctawatchee Bay are both 65 foot bridges. There are also numerous private docks for rent in the area.
 

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I really think that if you looked at every place you could be in a sailboat between Carrabelle and Pensacola, Destin would be the worst, for access and for costs.

Places I like.
1. Carrabelle - Great little marina on the right as you come up the river. Even has a cruisers lounge area that is really nice to relax in.

2. Apalachicola - Lots of places to stay and tie up, some city owned, but most private. Great little town that easy to walk to and through from a boat.

3. Port St. Joe - Not much to see there, but they have a great marina there that is walking distance to marine hardware store and grocery store, plus a decent bar and grill at the marina.

4. Panama City - Great destination. Two really nice city marinas, plus a million places to anchor. The westernmost city marina is my favorite. Lots of cool stuff withing walking distance and a good store at the marina.

5. Pensacola - Another great destination. Tons of places to anchor. My favorite place is always Little Sabine Bay. There area couple of places to anchor there, but I always take a slip (usually at the Yacht Club, I don't think it's a real yacht club but that's what they call it) and then walk over to all of the really close stuff. You can also head west on the ICW from there and see some really beautiful anchorages all the way to Mobile Bay.

Destin has a horrible inlet, lots of shoals, and the bridge is only 48-49 feet high. A friend of mine let someone borrow his Tartan 34, who tried to sail it under that bridge. It can now be said with authority, that a Tartan 34 will not go under that bridge. :)

I'm guessing you don't want to just run the ICW from Apalachicola to Mobile Bay, because with your air-draft, you could easily do it. I've done it in the past (can't now with a 62 foot air draft) and it is mostly a pretty fun and scenic trip. You might want to at least do it one way. You could easily anchor out the entire way (on the panhandle, they haven't developed the cruiser hate yet that more southern Florida has and you can anchor anywhere normal navigation regulations allow, just be mindful of tugs and barges coming through, which you will see a lot of).
 
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I'm guessing you don't want to just run the ICW from Apalachicola to Mobile Bay, because with your air-draft, you could easily do it.
No, he can't, well… I wouldn't. The Brooks Bridge at Ft Walton is 50 (officially, it's actually less according to the scuttlebutt and I was always nervous with my 45' trimaran through there), and the Navarre Bridge is 50. I would not take a 50' stick through either one unless I were DAMNED sure of a very low tide.

And although the Pensacola bridge says it's 65' I knocked my antenna which is 61'...
 
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