As the warm weather starts to fade and the days get shorter in North America, the “snowbirds” start making their annual journey south. For sailors and boat enthusiasts, Florida and the Bahamas are ideal destinations for escaping the cold northern air. Enjoy the warm waters that surround the southern tip of the US and the Caribbean whether it be just for the weekend or an extended voyage aboard your own yacht. Sound like a dream? We can make it a reality. Here’s our guide to travelling from Florida to the Bahamas by boat.
The Bahamas are made up of 700 gorgeous islands located only 50 miles off the coast of Florida. With its crystal clear water, phenomenal white sandy beaches and warm climate, the Bahamas are an oasis for sailors. The tropical archipelago is the perfect place for an island hopping adventure and also has plenty of great options for anchorages, including 32 ports of entry.
Only a few hours from southern Florida, you’ll find yourself immersed in the sights and sounds of the Caribbean. Leaving from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale you’ll be riding the Gulf Stream as you make your way to Cat Cay or Bimini, the closest islands of the Bahamas. In order to avoid hurricane season and enjoy the warm Caribbean breeze while the cold winds hit the East Coast, it is recommended that November is the best time to start your sailing trip to the Caribbean.
Here are just a few of the fantastic islands within easy reach when travelling from Florida to the Bahamas by boat.
Bimini (50 miles)
Known as the Gateway to the Bahamas, Bimini is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway from southern Florida. Known for big game fishing, Bimini is also significant historically and has attracted many famous travellers including Christopher Columbus and Ernest Hemingway. It is also believed that Bimini holds many secrets and is connected to legends of The Lost City of Atlantis and the Fountain of Youth. Given the Bimini Islands’ convenient location in close proximity to Florida, they are often quite crowded on the weekends so keep this mind if you are looking for a more tranquil retreat.
Abacos (50-70 miles)
The Abacos offer some of the best sailing areas in the Bahamas and have been commonly referred to as the “boating capital” since colonial times. One of the major draws of the Abacos is the Sea of Abaco, an incredible lagoon with crystal clear waters. The Sea of Abaco also borders the famous Great Abaco Barrier Reef, home to some of the most beautiful tropical fish and corals. The protected waters are the perfect place for snorkeling whereas this area’s sheltered conditions make it an ideal spot for novice sailors.
Grand Bahama Island (55 miles from Palm Beach)
The stunning waters that surround the island of Grand Bahama and its close proximity to Florida, make it one of the most popular charter destinations. You’ll find many well-equipped and modern docking facilities, including the harbour located at the luxury resort, Old Bahama Bay. The beaches of Grand Bahama will surely not disappoint. In Freeport, the second largest city in the Bahamas, you will find many fantastic day and nighttime activities from golf courses to vibrant nightclubs.
Berry Islands (126 miles)
The serene Berry Islands are made up of several beautiful cays and make an ideal place to spend the night if sailing to Nassau from Florida. This gorgeous archipelago is surrounded by spectacular sky and electric blue waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling or fishing. Many of the cays that surround the Berry Islands are uninhabited and you will often find yourself a secluded beach. It’s the perfect destination if you are looking for a peaceful retreat on your own private little piece of paradise.
Nassau (180 miles)
Nassau is the capital and largest city of the Bahamas and is a common ending spot for a weeklong voyage to the Caribbean from Florida. Nassau and the nearby Paradise Island offer some of the most pristine and picturesque beaches in the entire Caribbean – so perfect that they have been used as backdrops for movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Casino Royal. The coral reefs that surround the shores of Nassau are also perfect for snorkelers looking for some of the Caribbean’s most diverse marine life. When not taking a swim or lounging on the powder white beaches, you’ll find many activities for the whole family on the mainland. From the Adventure Water Park at the Atlantis Resort to the charming market and shops on Nassau, you’ll find something for everyone. You may even want to try your luck at the largest casino in the Caribbean located on Paradise Island. Nassau is the perfect last stop before making your way back to the Florida.