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Cruising Guide to the Keys

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Cruising Guide to the Keys

The Florida Keys has long been a destination for sailors, yachtsmen and boaters because it is one of the most beautiful cruising grounds on the planet. There are several ports with deep Anchored Boats at Sunset water access and a plethora of destinations for boats with shallow draft. There is an abundance of places for SCUBA diving and fishing. Several waterfront bars and restaurants are accessible by water including a few that can only be reached by boat. Some of the very best beaches in the Keys are accessible only by boat.

There are a myriad of excellent places to anchor in the back country of the lower Keys and it would be impossible to describe them all. The area has so much to offer that the best advice is to explore the area and when it is time to take a break, simply find an island or shallow bank that forms a protected lee and drop the hook.

That having been said, there are quite a few gems in the lower Keys that are genuinely worth seeking out. These locales offer something special. Perhaps it is a great beach, camping spot or party location. It could be a slice of history. It might be access to shopping or nightlife. Some places just have a compelling story. There are a few places that are well protected from all but the worst weather.

So rather than just enumerate a list of anchorages, this guide will attempt a short description of each of the better ones and try to give you a feel for the place, why you might want to visit and what to expect when you arrive.


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While the Florida Keys are classified geographically as subtropical, the climate is classified as tropical since the Keys are the only frost-free place in continental United States. There are two main seasons: Summer and Winter. Summer season is influenced mainly by tropical weather patterns, while Winter see the invasion from winter storms originating in the arctic.