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Sheltered by the only coral reef in the USA, the Florida Keys offer splendid sailing conditions year round.

Often called "America's Caribbean Islands" the Keys are warmed by the Gulf Stream, a swift flowing river in the ocean. The Florida Keys are known for their spectacular coral reefs, excellent marina facilities and quiet restful anchorages.

With its extensive system of canals, Fort Lauderdale is sometimes called the Venice of America. It is an ideal location for your Florida yacht charter, with the exciting sights and sounds of South Beach Miami just a day sail away. Stretching beyond that is the natural beauty of the famous Florida Keys and Key West.

The islands of the Florida Keys run south from Miami and are connected by bridges carrying Highway 1 to Key West. Sail down-island along Hawk Channel or Florida Bay on "the inside". At the southernmost end, is the historic seafaring town of Key West, laid-back and friendly. Walk the beach and watch a beautiful sunset or check out the Old Town at Key West, with restaurants, Hemingway's haunts and the famous nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square.

Florida Keys Yacht Charter

  • Overview
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    Miami Marina

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    Aerial of Keys

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    Key West

    Sailing holidays in Florida Keys

    • BA & Virgin-direct flights to Miami
    • Over 125 miles of islands warmed by the Gulf stream
    • Learn about the dolphins at Hawks Cay Dolphin Connections
    • Enjoy delicious seafood at Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant
    • Don't miss the varied sunset celebrations on Key West's Mallory Dock
    • Level 1 sailing
    • Temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees
    • Average winds force 2-5
    • Flexible start and finish dates possible. Best to visit December-June
  • 1 Wk Itinerary

    Suggested 1 week sailing itinerary from Fort Lauderdale

    DAY 1 : Miami (18nm)

    Provision in the morning so you can board and depart by 2pm. Sail to Miami and spend the night at Dinner Key Marina, Bay Side Marina, Miami Beach Marina or anchor in “No Name Harbor” at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. If staying at anchor at No Name Harbor be sure to take time the next morning to check out the nature trails, visit a top 10 beach in the USA and climb the historic Cape Florida Light House.

    DAY 2 : Pumpkin Key (17nm)

    Depart from the Miami area and sail south down Biscayne Bay, anchor on the inside of Elliott Key (Swim, Snorkel, Beach). Spend the afternoon there and then sail a little further south to spend the night behind Pumpkin Key.

    DAY 3 : Marina del Mar (26nm)

    Sail out through Angel Fish Creek to Hawk’s Channel. Sail to Little Grecian Rock Reef. This is where you will find the Christ of Abyss Statue under water. The statue’s spread arms seem to welcome you to the reefs of the Florida Keys. After a great day on the reef, sail to Key Largo and pull into Marina Del Mar.

    DAY 4 : Post Card Marina (14nm)

    Sail southwest in Hawks Channel to Hen’s and Chickens Reef, a very shallow reef, great for kids and conditions are always calmer than the outer reef. After lunch, sail the short distance to Post Card Marina at Holiday Isle Resort where you will find a great beach, watersports and wonderful restaurants. The Theatre Of The Sea is very close by and has performances for the family or a longer cab ride can take you to the Florida Keys Dolphin Research Center, where you can swim with the dolphins.

    DAY 5 : Rodriguez Key (24nm)

    Depart Holiday Isle early and sail the short distance to Indian Key. Pick up a mooring ball at the Indian Key Anchorage. Historic Indian Key is a small island and a state park. There are no services on the island other than ruins from an early 1800’s settlement and a self guided tour explaining the rich history of the Wrecker’s who settled on the island and were overrun by the native Indians. After a short visit, sail northeast on the outside of the reef allowing the Gulfstream to help you along. If you are making good time you can always stop at one of the many reefs along the way as they all have recreational day mooring balls open to the public. Sail all the way back up to Rodriguez Key.

    DAY 6 : Upper Biscayne Bay (50nm)

    A Full day's sail on the outside up to Government Cut and into Miami or Old Biscayne Channel and into Upper Biscayne Bay. Sailing with the Gulf Stream will make for a very fast sail. Keep your eyes open for wildlife such as sea turtles, flying fish, and dolphin. Once you get to Upper Biscayne Bay or the Miami area choose from the many marinas, moorings, and anchorages to spend the night.

    DAY 7 : Fort Lauderdale (18nm)

    Sail on the outside up to Port Everglades and back to marina

    Florida Keys 1 week sailing holiday itinerary

  • Sailing Conditions

    Sailing conditions in the Florida Keys

    Winds are light to moderate and temperatures rarely drop below 20oC. Best time to visit is December to June, but the weather is great for sailing year round.

    We have rated this destination a 'Level 2-3' (levels info)

  • Getting There

    Getting There

    Flights to Miami

    Bonded for your financial protection under ATOL 3016British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have direct flights to Miami.

    Yacht charter rates are shown WITHOUT flights giving you the flexibility to book your own flights. If you would prefer a flight-inclusive holiday then Nautilus Yachting is a fully bonded ATOL tour operator and can book flights from the UK to fit your sailing holiday. Choose from a wide choice of airlines - we are not tied to any particular airline. All flight-inclusive holidays are fully bonded for your financial protection under our ATOL 3016.


    We recommend all clients pre-book transfers from the airport to the base. We can arrange these transfers for you with the base in Fort Lauderdale. A transfer from Miami airport to Fort Lauderdale marina takes approximately 40 minutes. Please ask a member of staff for pricing.

"A very enjoyable and relaxing fortnight’s charter in the Abacos. A beautiful and tranquil archipelago of sand-fringed islands. Sailing was in the Sea of Abaco, a large lagoon, often with only 2m below our keels, so we were very glad that we had chosen a catamaran! We were very lucky in chartering Odin, a new Lagoon 42 Luxe. She was spacious and really well equipped, with several very useful mod cons such as air-con and a water-maker. A lovely catamaran! There were several picturesque and well sheltered harbours with a couple of restaurants, though we spent most nights in anchorages, often on our own. We only ate out 3 times, but those meals were good. The conch is the local speciality! On several of the Cays, golf buggies replaced cars and we had lots of offers of lifts from friendly residents. There were some good snorkelling spots and we had several close encounters with delightful turtles! All in all, a really good holiday! Thank you, Nautilus!"

Bahamas 2018 - V.M.

Florida Keys Yacht Charter prices

Contact us for the latest prices

Mandatory 6% Florida Sales Tax


Refundable deposit. Non refundable deposit on request.


End Cleaning, Starter Pack and fees:

Fuel used (fill up on return)
Optional extras: (i.e SUP's, Kayaks etc) available on request.
SKIPPER: on request

Sailing Qualifications

To skipper a bareboat charter or flotilla yacht, you need to hold a practical sailing certificate equivalent to RYA Day Skipper Practical qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC). For charters in Greece, you must now have the ICC certificate. You must also be assisted by at least one competent crew member over the age of 18.

For charters in Croatia, Malta and the Canaries, at least one member of the crew or the skipper will also need a VHF licence.

RYA qualifications can be obtained by RYA sailing schools in the UK or alternatively choose from one of our overseas centres in Gibraltar, Greece or Turkey.

For Caribbean and Tropical charters, formal qualifications are not compulsory, however, you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew. A brief sailing resume should be provided to outline your experience.

If you don't hold the relevant qualifications then why not add a skipper?

Sailing Levels

Level 1

Winds force 2-3 (4-11 Knots)combined with generally shorter distances. Good for beginner or intermediate sailors. Line-of-sight navigation but basic knowledge of charts and ability to plot your position required.

Level 2

Winds force 3-5 (7-21 Knots) with approximately 15-20nm per day. Intermediate experience required. Predominately line of sight navigation but an understanding of how to sail in open water.

Level 3

Winds force 4-6 (11-27 Knots) with mileage of approximately 20nm+ per day. Ideal for experienced skippers looking to venture out to new destinations. Day skipper standard but with experienced crew would be recommended.