Boating is the most fun way to get around in Florida. The state has 2,300 miles of tidal shorelines and 4,500 islands that are larger than 10 acres to visit by boat. Let’s weigh anchor and sail off to the Florida´s sunset.
By: Claudia Repsold
Cayo Costa State Park
Cayo Costa State Park is a preserved island, west of North Fort Meyers on the Gulf of Mexico. The rumors are wrong. The best shelling beach in the U.S. is not Captiva or Sanibel, the barrier islands on the south end of Cayo Costa. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset with plenty of recreational activities. Take advantage of 14 boat slips to camp on the water or trek inland to the primitive campground.
Isolated by the Gulf of Mexico, 68 nautical miles west of Key West is located the Garden Key. The island is the site of the Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress built to protect American ships. It is the largest masonry structure in America. The Garden Key, is part of seven islands that make up Dry Tortugas National Park. You can snorkel, fish or bird-watch on the Fort’s grounds. Boat anchorage is OK in a designated area from dusk-to-dawn.
Located at Tampa Bay, the state’s largest estuary, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history. From the moment you dock, you’re already looking at steeped history as the lighthouse is over 150 years old. Each side of the northern tip of the key features a different 19th century fort. No matter which part of the island you’re on, large turtles make their way around you. They’re gopher tortoises so they’re shy and non-threatening.
As one of the few completely natural islands along Florida ´s Gulf Coast, Caladesi ´s white sand beaches were rated as America ´s Best Beach few years ago. On pristine Caladesi, quiet paths leads along the dunes, palms stand against the warm coastal breezes, and shore birds and sea turtles live without interference from people. Gopher tortoises burrow behind the dunes and water laps against beaches sprinkled with scallops and sand dollars. Furthermore, the park has a marina with electric and water hookups.
Claudia Repsold is the Editor-in-Chief of Brazil & USA Biz. She is a Brazilian international award-winning journalist with twenty years of experience in editing, research, coordination, production and reporting news on Brazil and U.S.