|Places to sail on
the USA East Coast /
IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW).
This page updated: December 2004
(but I last cruised north of
Miami in 2002, so most of the
info dates from then)
General ICW section
New England (and NJ and NY) section
Delaware Bay section
Chesapeake Bay section
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina section
Note: I don't repeat information you can find on charts or
in guidebooks. And I do focus on things that fit my cruising
style: I anchor out, use libraries for internet, don't go to restaurants and bars.
CoastalGuide by ICW-NET
Article by Tom Neale in May/June 2006 issue of PassageMaker magazine
From McRory's Logbook,
about southern half of ICW:
Draft and mast height are the two primary constraints.
A reasonable draft is five feet or less.
Few boats drawing seven feet get by.
All of the fixed bridges are 64 feet at high tide.
We have talked to the owners of two boats that have 64-foot masts.
They wait for the tides. ...
From Norfolk to Oriental the anchorages are dismal. Typically very small and shallow.
[I disagree; near and in Elizabeth City and Belhaven are fine anchorages.
Maybe he means on the Virginia Cut route ?]
From the Oriental area down there are a lot more options. The anchoring bottoms are
typically mud and soft mud. Georgia and Florida is soft mud and silt.
South of Titusville, Florida, many communities do not like
boats anchoring in "their backyard." ...
South from Long Island to Ft Lauderdale,
from BobG on Cruising World message board:
... Sail down East River and stay outside until you reach Chesapeake Bay.
There are places to stop for the night on this leg, if you don't want
to sail around the clock. Staten Island, Sandy Hook, Shark River,
Atlantic City ... there are more ... use a current guide.
Enter the Intracoastal WW at mile 0, Norfolk, VA.
Make sure you have a recent guide to the Intracoastal that shows
bridge opening schedule and fixed bridge locations and clearance.
Your 65 ft mast height is marginal for fixed bridges, as 65 ft is
the posted maximum clearance. I would try to go outside just
before a fixed bridge and come back in after you pass the bridge.
Once you are past Beaufort NC or Morehead City, spend more
time outside, ocean sailing ... it is generally faster. You can
still come in for a good night's sleep. Don't attempt to move
thru the ditch after dark. Once you reach the northern border
of FL, stay outside during the day, as the number of bridges
increases greatly as you go south in FL. If you try to stay
inside all the way to Ft. Lauderdale you will lose much time.
If you prefer to stay at a marina for the night, call ahead
for a reservation, but plan on getting there early.
There are places to anchor out, all the way down the ditch.
The guides generally don't discuss them, but they are obvious
on the chart. Stop each day before dark, if you are in the ditch.
Obviously, if you are out in the ocean you can sail around
the clock, if you have adequate crew.
Expect to go aground in the ditch. Everybody does.
The bottom tends to shoal up near the inlets from the ocean.
Mostly, the bottom is soft mud and not too difficult to get off,
if you use your head. If you power off and stir up the bottom,
which is unavoidable, check your salt water intake filter/trap,
once you are free. They can get clogged with the muck you stir up.
If possible, leave plenty of time to enjoy the trip.
There is lots to see and enjoy along the way.
If you just rush thru on a tight schedule, it can get stressful and tiring.
Study the guides and charts in advance.
Follow a daily plan and you will have a memorable trip.
South from Long Island to Ft Lauderdale,
from Swamp on Cruising World message board:
Outside from Sandy Hook to Cape May.
Don't stop overnight in Cape May; it sucks.
Stay inside to Beaufort NC. Once you pass Locks
at Great Bridge no tidal variation all wind-driven watch bridges
they are close for 65' mast. My mast is 64'3". VHF whip always touches.
Try route from Norfolk-Manteo-Ocracoke-Beaufort.
65' will clear under bridge between Manteo and Nags Head
if 3rd horizontal stringer on bridge fenders clears water surface.
No bridge problems from there to Beaufort, tide helps.
Many of the bridges do not have gauges.
Water skinny going into Manteo.
Avoid Shallowbag Bay; it is aptly named.
The bridge on the Alligator River near Belhaven is iffy.
I made it under but would never try it again.
Go out at Beaufort to Charlestown, Savannah, Jacksonville,
St Augustine etc. Pick your poison.
[5 1/2 foot] Draft no problem.
If you go aground and you probably will but so what.
From BobG on Cruising World message board,
Where the ICW makes sharp bends the silt that is carried
along in the current gets hung up on the inside corners
of bends, creating shallow spots.
When rounding a bend, stay to the outside to avoid the shoaling.
From B King on Cruising World message board,
Don't hug the buoys, stay a couple boat lengths away and
don't cut them short. You must use charts as well as cruising guides,
chartkit or NOAA, trust your headings and check the markers
for the little yellow squares and triangles, I also used
the Waterway Guide by Primedia. In 9 days I ran aground
about as many times. Don't panic, just work your way off.
It's best to have someone along. I did several days alone,
have everything you would need for the day in the cockpit
with you or you'll have to anchor for lunch or breaks.
... don't crowd the markers, the water is deepest about 2 boat
lengths from the markers. Don't cut corners keep 2 boat lengths away.
Do your headings the night before and trust them.
Don't panic if you run aground, take your time and work your way off,
I hit bottom at least 6 times and made two wrong turns.
Should have followed my headings. Anchor out as much as possible,
it's better than trying to get into marinas that have limited depth.
From Gary Elder:
While you consider this sort of coastal cruise, remember my friend who just
came down the Intracoastal from NY [to Florida] ... He told me that he can remember at
least 20 locations where the water was less than 4.7' deep.
From Mitch on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
Re: Heading south from New York in mid-November
Don't do it. It's too cold, you will have to wait for bad weather too much
which will keep you too far north - always.
You can't really run at night in the ditch, so your daily travel will be
limited to hull speed plus stops. Figure on 50 miles or so per day. The
math won't work well.
You gotta get south of NC by late November, otherwise it is pretty cold and
wet. It really doesn't get "nice" until you reach FLA. You may have an
occasional nice day or two even up in MD, but when you're actually cruising,
you can't make enough time on just those few nice days. Plus, you are
probably so tired of pushing ahead in rain, that when a nice day comes, you
want to kick back and soak it up or explore onland. It doesn't work that
late in the year.
I know. I've done it. Bumped into a late hurricane which stirs up the
great Atlantic low and shoots back cold air from the Arctic. We had snow on
the decks sailing into Cape May, NJ in October! It can be done, but it
ruins the trip.
From Tom O'Meara on The Live-Aboard List:
The Ditch. First off, we are rather glad we did it. Everyone should do
this. Once. I have to say up front that we determined to "Do The Ditch,
The Whole Ditch", from the very start, just because we had never done the
whole thing before. If we had not been so single-minded, I would never
have stayed at it. Meandering about in that gully is not my idea of cruising.
This is not to say we did not enjoy our stops. We did. When, and if, we
go north again, we will plan some stops along the way to revisit some of
the great places we found on the way down. It is just the interminable
motoring through the maze of markers that seems so depressing. The scenery
changed, the methodology of travel did not. I feel as if we had walked the
whole way. I would rather have my teeth drilled than to repeat that route.
High points: Dismal Swamp Canal, Elizabeth City (be sure to have breakfast
at Stalks), tiny little Oriental NC, Bucksport SC (You MUST STOP HERE and
get some of the local country sausage and some Blenheim Ginger Ale. Do not
miss this. Beautifully constructed new docks and Mr Weaver is a fine,
welcoming host.), Charleston SC (Another great aquarium. Not on the scale
of the National Aquarium in Baltimore but well worth a visit. Studying the
Charleston architecture alone would take weeks.)
Low points: Beaufort NC. What a lousy tourist trap. This place is only
good for inbound/outbound access to the Atlantic for running
offshore. Stay away and save your money otherwise. [Someone else says:
do not eat at The Charthouse or Clawsons.] St Simons Island
GA. Ditto. Rip-off cab drivers want 20 bucks each way for a 5 minute ride
into "town". We declined.
From Ed Schwerin on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
Go outside as soon as possible in southern Fla. Too many bridges and traffic
and manatees. Remember that you are very near the Gulf Stream and winds from
the North will cause short chop that is not comfortable. Fort Pierce is a good
place to come in and rest, as is St. Augustine and Fernandina. There are many
others, but I like those.
Georgia is a slow meander thru the marsh inside.
Savannah and Charleston are good places to visit or come in to if you are
outside. If it is hot in the summer, the bugs in the ditch are bad. If you
are inside stop at Isle of Hope. SC is pretty in the ditch and I recommend
coming inside at Southport, NC if you are outside. A good place to rest and
saves time going around Cape Fear/Frying Pan shoals. You can stay in the
ditch or go back out at Maisonboro Inlet (Wrightsville Beach). If you are
outside come back in at Beaufort NC to avoid the Cape Lookout bar and Cape
Hatteras (Grave Yard of the Atlantic). The Sounds are quicker and more comfy
to Norfolk and then you are into the Chessey and that's a good place to stay,
if it isn't winter.
From Chris on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
... downtown Hampton has great
people at the public pier and good eating, drinking, entertainment just a
block away. After April 22nd they'll start the Saturday night Block Party
(free) with live music on the waterfront and downtown. ...
From John Reynolds on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
... There is also a good little anchorage just
S of the Fort Pierce N Bridge. Don't anchor near the S bridge unless
you want to be treated to the perfume of the sewage treatment plant
with the prevailing E wind.
If you are looking for a little more seclusion head N of the N
Bridge. About 1 1/2 nm N of the bridge you will see a small sign on
the E side with markers for the channel into Queens Cove development.
Just S of this marker is an island you can tuck in fairly close to
it's W shore. On weekends you may see campers on shore of the islands
as these are all State Park. Other than campers and fisherman you
will be alone. If you have gone as far N as Harbor Branch Marin
Institute you've gone too far N.
Another nice anchorage a few miles south is on the S side of the
Jensen Beach bridge. As long as you don't get too far W near the shore
there is plenty of water. Just tuck yourself in amongst the
assortment of derelict vessels. There is a city park right there at
shore to tie up your dinghy. Jensen beach has a bit more character
within walking distance. There is a big Publix grocery easy walking
distance and many shops and restaurants along shore. The main part of
town is about 4 blocks S of the bridge. If you can find a place to
tie up there it would be more convenient to dinghy there rather than
beach your dinghy in the park. There is a big Boat Yard there along
with bait and tackle shops so you should be able to find a spot. Sorry
I left before I checked everything out. I will be back though. It
looked like a fun place. A few good looking pubs right there.
At the risk of overcrowding a favorite spot, don't miss an overnight
anchorage at Peck Lake. Basically it's a wide spot on the ICW just S of
the St. Lucie Inlet. Beautiful little anchorage with a narrow strand
of State Park beach between you and the Ocean. Wonderful long strand
of beach that goes all the way to the inlet. Across the inlet from
the point is some of the most expensive real estate in FL. If you
want to walk an empty beach this is a pretty good spot. There are
always a few sunbathers near the access point but walk a little ways
and you'll be by yourself. Just on the W side of Peck Lake is a very
fancy development that has a little store with limited supplies but
ice. You'll see their little shuttle pontoon boat taking people back
and forth to the beach.
From writeups by Mel Neale:
- Best to run inlets at slack water or with a favorable
tidal current, and with wind matching current.
Long and/or narrow inlets are bad.
- Gulf Stream is close to shore in east Florida, until
north of Lake Worth inlet. But shoals there may force you
From "US East Coast - Fort Lauderdale to New York" by Liza Copeland in 1/2001 issue of Blue Water Sailing magazine:
- Coastal: In summer, prevailing winds are southwesterly.
Often strong by day, calm at night.
- Currents in ICW are tide-driven and can be quite strong,
especially in Georgia and Carolinas.
- Lower section of Miami-to-Norfolk stretch contains most bridges;
55 of 92 opening bridges are in southern 285 miles.
- Deep water is found on outside of a bend.
- Red markers are on west side, green on east side (most places).
- Lots of convenience stores but few supermarkets; hard to get basic foods.
From article by Tom Neale in May/June 2006 issue of PassageMaker magazine:
- ... in earlier days, we usually knew what to expect ahead of time.
Today, every trip we take is like a roll of the dice. Channels are choked
by shoaling. Many navigation aids either aren't there or are almost useless
because of recent changes. (Bridge openings are restricted.) Some anchorages
are no longer available. Tall condos tower over more and more marinas - marinas
whose slips are no longer open to transients.
- Some shoaling areas: near R32 in St Andrew Sound in Georgia,
Jekyll Creek behind Jekyll Island in Georgia, many cuts between rivers
south of Charleston and in Georgia (especially mile 518 north of Beaufort SC),
at Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge in NC, Lockwoods Folly Inlet Crossing in NC,
New River Crossing in NC, and more.
- Florida waters seem to be well maintained, but Georgia and SC's ICW (miles 552-713)
- We're finding we have to wait for the tide more often each year.
- Drawbridges continue to have more restricted opening schedules.
- More and more localities are trying to regulate anchoring.
- Every hurricane and major storm leaves sunken boats and underwater debris.
When you enter any anchorage area recently ravaged by a storm - for example,
Maule Lake in North Miami Beach, outside channel in Indian River FL, and in the Keys - do so
very cautiously. (Also St Augustine, and Inlet Creek anchorage north of Charleston.)
From Grandma Rosalie on The Live-Aboard List:
Reasons for taking the ICW instead of going offshore:
1) Because the weather out at sea is nasty at that particular moment
and you don't feel like waiting for the weather nor do you
particularly want to get beat up.
1a) Or because there's no wind or the wind is in the wrong direction
for the direction you want to go.
2) Because of not having enough crew to stand watches and not wanting
to go without sleep or not be able to talk to/sleep with your
2a) Because you like to anchor or go into a marina at night.
3) Because of hazards offshore like Cape Hatteras, Frying Pan Shoals, etc.
4) Because you don't have a sailboat and you have to motor [and refuel].
4a) Because you have a small motorboat and you can go under the
bridges without asking them to open.
4b) Because you have a shallow draft vessel and so the shoally bits
don't bother you.
5) Because there's nothing to see out there - boring. Some people like
to go to marinas and go ashore and see the local sights and eat at the
local restaurants. Some people can afford to do that - not everyone on
a boat is cheap or poor. It is still cheaper than traveling by land.
5a) Because some people don't like to cook and want to eat out every
6) Because there's no place to hide in event bad weather comes up
7) Because your boat is not equipped to generate its own power and you
have to plug in to the grid fairly frequently - no genset, no solar
panels, not much battery bank, and stuff that runs off 110 such as a
Reasons NOT to do the ICW:
1) Because you have a very deep draft or a very tall mast (over 64
2) Because you are in a hurry.
3) Because it stresses you out to deal with bridges, shoals and
4) Because you like solitude.
5) Because you don't like a particular section of the ICW, or there
are things that you don't want to deal with there (like shoals,
[6) Because you want to sail instead of motoring.]
From Robert Doty on The Live-Aboard List:
I live in Jacksonville, and often head down south ...
I've gone both outside and inside ... all
the way from Jax to Miami. The ICW through Palm Coast is really, really
neat! Lots of things to see (golf courses, mansions, shacks, falling-apart
marinas, water-front restaurants ... it seems to have just about everything!).
I will offer a word of caution about Mantanzas Inlet. This inlet is maybe
6-7 miles south of St. Augustine, and it is pure evil! ;-) The problem is
that sand builds up and shifts constantly. You'll see that they have
permanent dredging equipment there, and also temporary channel markers. You
need to pay VERY close attention to those markers. The last time I went
through, I was told to stay very close to the huge mountain of sand that the
dredging equipment has piled up over the years. I could nearly touch the
wall of sand from my cockpit, and yet we still bounced along the bottom
(Candide draws 6 feet). Your best bet is to see if you can find another
boat that's been through on the same day (maybe heading south). Radio them,
and ask what the conditions are at the sand hill. They'll know what you're
From John Dunsmoor:
The plan usually is to head north by early April.
The trip is quicker north than it is coming back since you can
run outside most of the distance. The norm is to go from
South Florida to Southport, run the ICW cutting off going around Cape Fear.
Then outside again at Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort, once again
cutting off Cape Hatteras. Then you run the ICW to Norfolk,
up the Chesapeake to the C & D Canal, then the Delaware River ...
This will be a cool trip.
Coming back the rule of thumb is to make Norfolk no later than
Thanksgiving. It is a good rule, the last delivery I did from
Annapolis we picked the boat up Christmas day and fought ice
the entire way. We were actually frozen to the dock with five
feet of snow on the deck at Wrightsville Beach. If it were
not for the Red Dot store we would have abandoned the boat,
but that's another story.
From Rick Kennerly on The Live-Aboard List:
> best (short) coastal legs from St Augustine FL to Norfolk ?
I'd go in at Charleston and again Morehead City, NC. From there, I'd rather
run the ICW up to Norfolk than chance Cape Hatteras any day, unless, that
is, you're committed to going way, way offshore.
If you didn't do the Dismal Swamp Canal on the way down, going in at
Morehead City would be a good opportunity see it (assuming, of course, that
the Dismal Swamp Canal is full and that it's open -- big assumptions this year
with the drought and all, I'm afraid).
From Stefan Mochnacki on The Live-Aboard List:
Two years ago, Louise Shekter and I sailed her 29-footer offshore from Ft.
Pierce to Beaufort/Morehead City NC. It was a delightful 4-day trip (we
timed the weather right), as much as 120 miles offshore. We did it in mid-late
May. For a single-hander, this is probably too much unless you've got that
cat-nap cycle mastered. Incidentally, we received the VHF weather reports
all the way out and didn't have to rely on the SSB receiver I brought along.
One lesson we learned: don't head out from an entrance into an on-shore wind
with an ebbing tide. Nasty, nasty waves. And even with two or more aboard,
you really do need a reliable autopilot.
After entering the ICW at Beaufort and resting, we did the Dismal Swamp
route to Norfolk, VA. Another delightful experience (we've already discussed
Elizabeth City). You can even sail quite a bit in the sounds, but beware the
CRAB POTS! (Actually, even offshore the crab pots are a menace). Also, be
prepared to slither through some mud if your keel is deep: parts of the
Dismal Swamp Canal are silted up even with high water. The lockmasters are
an interesting bunch, especially at the north end. I recall coffee and
donuts; perhaps Louise will remind me who provided those. Don't try to rush
too much; when we did it the bridge at Elizabeth City was under repair and
was opened only once or twice a day. ... We took about four days to do Beaufort to
From Grandma Rosalie on The Live-Aboard List:
The Gulf Stream is various distances. It may be only a mile off Ft
Lauderdale or Cape Hatteras, but it is 70 miles off GA.
Inlets - Do not recommend St Augustine without local knowledge.
St Johns to St Marys is a good short hop,
and St Mary's is a good inlet. St Mary's to St Simons is also good but is
39 miles outside and 34 inside and there are good anchorages north and
south of the St Marys inlet and no particular reason to avoid this stretch
St Simons to Hilton Head is shorter outside (85 miles), but there are no
bridges, nor many marinas there inside. I have used neither inlet. I have
used Brunswick and do not recommend it.
Hilton Head to Charleston is 93 miles outside, 82 miles inside. You could
come in Port Royal Sound to Beaufort SC, but this is a long way in, and
then it would be crazy to go back out to Charleston because the inlet
These distances BTW are all out to the sea bouy, to the next sea bouy and
then in. If the configuration makes it unnecessary to go all the way out
to the sea bouy, the distance would be shorter.
Charleston to Georgetown is much farther outside (81 vs 56) due to the
distance out from Charleston (14 miles).
Other possibles are Georgetown to Southport. We have done the stretch Lee
mentioned, but in the other direction - out Little River and in Cape Fear.
We did it faster than the ICW because the pontoon bridge was closed at low
tide. We also didn't go to Southport, but stopped at Bald Head, which I
would not recommend doing.
Cape Fear to Wrightsville is not feasible because you have to go such a
long way around Frying Pan Shoals, but Masonboro to Morehead City should be
a good bet.
There are 12 Class A inlets (the best all-weather inlets) between Norfolk
and Miami. This is a list, with the number of miles one has to go out to reach
water 10' deep.
Class A sm 204 Beaufort (3.45 sm)
Masonboro not a Class A inlet
Class A sm 308.6 Cape Fear (5.2 sm)
Little River not a Class A inlet. Have used both these.
Class A 409.5 Winyah Bay (11.5 sm) (Georgetown SC)
Class A 464.1 Charleston (5.75 sm)
Class A 549.0 Port Royal (11.5 sm)
Class A 576.0 Savannah River (12.65 sm)
St. Simons is not a Class A inlet.
Brunswick is not a class A inlet.
Class A 712.0 St Mary's River (4.8 sm) Have used this inlet and recommend
Class A 739.1 St John's River (5.8 sm)
St Augustine is not a class A inlet.
The others are Cape Canaveral, Ft Pierce, Lake Worth, Ft. Lauderdale, and
Miami. I've used all these except Cape Canaveral.
From Jack Beale on The Live-Aboard List:
The Intracoastal from (say) Jupiter FL to south Miami is a hassle.
If you're smart, you'll make that whole trip on the outside. All of the
bridges (I believe) are not fixed, but the timing and the number will
drive you nutz (I won't even mention the traffic).
From Norm on The Live-Aboard List:
Fernandina FL has the most rational dinghy dock fees. Free to enjoy the town
for a few hours, a couple of bucks for overnight, a couple more to include
the "facilities". The town is old with an interesting history and several
[From Grandma Rosalie: The Fernandina dinghy fees:
Dinghy dockage is $2/day. Showers are
$1.50/person. Garbage is 50 cents a bag ...]
We LOVE the quiet beauty of the upper Waccamaw in northern SC. Be sure to
stop at Bucksport and say hello to Mr. Weaver. Stock up on some of his great
breakfast sausage and Blenheim Ginger Ale (a proven seasickness cure).
We had a wonderful side trip last spring to Ocracoke Island, on the Outer
Banks south of Hatteras. Stayed a week.
The cheapest fuel was in Norfolk, at the Portsmouth Boating Center. Discount
We bypass Beaufort NC. Hard for us to find a safe anchorage with our size
and draft. Instead we stop at Swansboro and, contrary to some folk's
experience, enjoy the Swansboro Yacht Club, a working class neighborhood bar
that we dinghy up to just east of the commercial docks at the East end of the
bridge (stay very close to the shore approaching the back porch). The
current in the anchorage is strong but the bottom is excellent holding.
Beaufort SC was fun.
Charleston is a must stop. Check out the world's first submarine to sink an
enemy vessel (it sunk itself too!). When they found it it's two little
portholes were broken. I think they had no idea of underwater shock and were
too close to the "torpedo" when they set if off with a 150 foot trip line.
Although there was a ballast pump for surfacing, there was no dewatering pump
Be careful transiting Georgia. It is illegal to live on a boat in the state
of Georgia. We usually go offshore between Charleston and North Florida in
good weather (either Fernandina, St Johns River or St Augustine), an
- Get towing insurance before traveling the ICW ?
I don't think cruisers need towing; just wait for tide or kedge off.
But others disagree; one incident more than pays for the insurance.
- Anchorages in creeks or inlets to east of ICW are
likely to be scoured and have currents; those to
west more likely to be muddy and low-current.
ICW Chartbook Norfolk to Miami, by John and Leslie Kettlewell
(on Amazon - paid link).
(Just a chartbook, not a guide. I didn't buy it.)
Intracoastal Waterway Norfolk to Miami, by Jan and Bill Moeller
(on Amazon - paid link).
(I skimmed it and wasn't impressed.)
Waterway Guides. (I bought the mid-Atlantic one
(on Amazon - paid link);
too marina-oriented for me;
covers from C&D canal to Georgia/Florida border; reprints chart fragments
instead of what really would be useful: land maps.)
Several by Skipper Bob. I used
his "Anchorages of ICW" guide
(on Amazon - paid link)
every day; it's great !
Can get 17-cents/gallon tax rebate after buying fuel in VA: save receipt and
file DMV form FT 216.
My experience singlehanding the ICW northward 6/2002:
I intended to go outside as much as possible, but ended
up doing only Miami to Ft Lauderdale outside. The wind
blew from the north the rest of the time I was in Florida.
And after that, I realized that most inlets are so long that
it would be a very tight squeeze to get out an inlet with
slack or favorable tidal current, sail north to next inlet,
and get in with slack or favorable tidal current.
If anything went wrong, I'd end up singlehanding outside
for longer than would be safe. And doing an overnight
singlehanded would wipe me out for the next few days, for
no net gain. So I did the rest of the trip completely inside.
I found that singlehanding generally was no problem,
but I used my auto-pilot a lot. It allowed me to leave the helm for
30 seconds at a time (in appropriate places, with no traffic nearby)
to make lunch or do the bathroom.
I intended to anchor out (no marinas), and I did that successfully.
There were some spots in South and North Carolina where it
was very hard to find any anchorage, and I anchored right at the
edge of the ICW.
I motored or motor-sailed almost the entire way. In many cases,
the wind was wrong or the channel too narrow to allow sailing.
In other cases, since my boat is not a great sailer, I had
a choice between sailing at 3-4 knots somewhat in the right
direction, or motoring at 6 knots in exactly the right direction.
I sailed a few times for the principle of it.
I tried to time the tidal currents in only a few places,
mainly long segments in the Chesapeake Bay, and the segment
through the C&D Canal and up the Delaware to Trenton NJ.
In most other places, I was passing inlets and creeks (which
changed the direction of the tidal current) so
often that trying to time it was futile. Once or twice I
stopped and anchored to wait out a particularly nasty
adverse current. Often I extended my
day's travel to take advantage of a favorable tidal current,
or stopped early if I was fighting an adverse current.
But sometimes to get to a decent anchorage, I had to fight
a current for an hour or more.
Subscribe to Claiborne Young's "The Salty Southeast" quarterly free newsletter:
send email containing
just the word "subscribe". Heavily oriented towards marinas and restaurants,
but has other information too.
From Norm on The Live-Aboard List:
Barefoot Landing just south of the infamous Rockpile. Dockage is free, there
is a party atmosphere (or is it just me?) and a pretty good shopping center
with restaurants, bars and live music where you can celebrate your safe passage
through the Rockpile.
Bucksport SC is a delightful little stop in the middle of the most beautiful
part of the ICW in the middle of a pristine game preserve. Stop there for the
restaurant and be sure to buy a goodly supply of the great breakfast sausage
at the little grocery store.
Georgetown is another pleasant stop with several restaurants and bars along
the waterside boardwalk. Visit the "Yacht Club" bar, you have to ask, there is
no sign. Check out the remains of the oldest commercial vessel in America.
It is on the top floor of an art gallery near the clock tower. Also a nice
touch is the community herb garden also near the clock tower.
Charleston is a popular historical city. Anchor in the Ashley River across
from the City Marina. Dinghy in to the marina from the seaward side of the
complex. Look for the other dinghies at the main dock to the shore. Walk south
along the water to the Variety Store, really a reasturant/bar. Under the
restaurant is a salty bar too. Ride the tram to the busy side of town where there
is lots to see and do. There is a wonderful aquarium and the first successful
Naval submarine, the Hunley. Well, sorta successful - it managed to kill more
friendlies than enemies and managed to sink itself too! If you visit the
sub, notice the broken portlights in the conning hatch. Notice that it had only
150 feet of line to trigger the mine it attached to the enemy ship. Notice
the secondary explosion of the enemy ship's magazine. Notice that the sub had
no bilge pump.
Beaufort SC is a sleepy town we love to visit. Anchor just south of the
municipal marina and dinghy in. The bar to visit is Hemmingways in the basement
of a bank building about 100 yards east of the dinghy dock. They serve a great
lunch. Rhett's art gallery is always interesting.
Skip Georgia, there is nothing worth going there for. Go outside to
Fernandina, FL. If you must, you can go up the Savannah River to visit Savannah. Tie
up to the seawall for free, but put out plenty of fendering because big ships
and tugs go by. There are many restaurants and shops right along the
waterfront. BTW, there is a state law that makes it illegal to live on a boat in
Georgia. Georgia Sucks, that's why the St. John's River flows north.
Fernandina FL is a nice town to visit. We always enjoy a day of two there.
Anchor across the channel from the municipal marina. Anchor well away from
the channel. A couple of years ago two men were run down by a barge and one
killed because they dragged into the channel and had no anchor light.
It is one long day trip on the ICW to St. Augustine.
If you want to break it up you can stop in the St. John's River. We anchor
just west of the north bank's ferry landing. It is out of the way of traffic.
We then dinghy in to Singletons, an old seafood restaurant. Head toward the
south bank's ferry landing. There is a modern restaurant just west of the
ferry landing. We like the bar, and it has many interesting marine artifacts
displayed, so we go there for drinks. But we like the atmosphere of the porch
overhanging the water at Singletons, the next restaurant west. Tie the dink up
to Singletons dock, eat there, then retire to the bar of the modern restaurant
for after dinner drinks.
St Augustine is a favorite of ours and we have wintered there several years.
Anchor north of the bridge. South of the bridge is more protected from the
north winds but is crowded and with a foul bottom. Dinghy in to the City
Marina, $5/day, cheaper by week or month, with laundry and showers. There is
really no sailors bar, it is a touristy city, but the A1A Alehouse is a good start.
The Giggling Gator is full of local boat characters because it is the closest
to the boat yards along the San Sebastian River. You MUST visit Sailors
Exchange, a treasure house of new and used boat stuff, about two blocks west of
Route 1 on King St. Yellow vans, The Sunshine Bus, will carry you around the
city for cheap, and as far north as The Avenues mall, a big two-decker mall with
other big stores nearby. Favorite restaurants are: O'Steens - world class
fried seafood - about a half mile east over the Bridge of Lions, and the
Beachcomber - a bus or taxi ride out to A Street on the beach. And I mean ON the
beach. The specialty here is a heaping tray of steamed oysters for $13. Visit
the old Spanish fort and the lighthouse too.
Daytona has never shown us much. There is a West Marine on the water there
but you have to be adventurous to get to it by dink.
A few miles south of Daytona, just north of Ponce Inlet, a there is a
treasure. Bear left at the beginning of the man-made cut into the natural waterway
and enjoy Inlet Harbor (live music), several other resturants/bars, and the
Ponce lighthouse by dinghy. Near the lighthouse is a wonderful character
restaurant with a funky style we love for lunch.
New Smyrna is a pleasant stop. You can tie up to their park seawall just
north of the high rise bridge and walk into town. Have lunch at the Sea Harvest,
right on the waterfront just north of the seawall. Stroll into town. There
was a little Irish bar that cooked chowders right in front of you while you
sat at the bar. Fun.
We have always had a great time in Titisville. The folks at the marina there
were wonderfully pleasant and helpful, even though we were just dinghying in.
It may be our favorite marina. We always tried to buy something there just
to thank them. There was a big restaurant/bar on the water just north of the
marina to dinghy to where we danced and schmoozed and had a great time.
Do not stop in the Melbourne area. It is one of the most repulsive places we
have ever been. Years ago we stopped there to visit the Kennedy Space Center
and drive back to Jacksonville to pick up our mail. We rented a car and made
arrangements with the Intracoastal Marina to take care of our dinghy. While
we were putting our gear in the rental car we were informed by a cop, in no
uncertain terms, that they had a "72 hour anchoring ordinance" and we had better
be gone when the time was up. In addition, the marina did not have our
dinghy in the water (they had stored it in a shed) on Sunday night like they
promised they would. They did pay for our motel that night but we would have much
preferred to have been home on our boat. Melbourne is a bad place. Do not
stop at Melbourne.
We stopped once or twice at Ft Pierce, anchoring near the Coast Guard
Station, the only place we felt we could anchor out of the traffic with enough depth
and swinging room to accommodate us. And yes, we were harassed by the Coast
Guard there. Apparently they thought they were so inept at driving their boats
that they might run into us so they demanded we move to shallower place where
it would be harder for them to hit us.
From Jim and Patti Clausen on Great-loop mailing list:
Diesel Fuel. The most we paid for fuel was in Palm Beach, even Grand
Bahama was cheaper! We found the big-name marinas, like Hilton Head, and the
"jump-off" marinas, such as Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach had high prices. Deals were
Palm Bay Fl on the ICW,
Just before Hilton Head on the ICW,
Ashleys @ Charleston, SC,
Myrtle Beach YC,
Conjock, NC always low
Tolcheaster, (MD) Marina,
Harbor View Marina, (Cape May, NJ)
Brielle, (NJ) Marina Basin
Our big finds for great food and wonderful people were:
Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Fl:
Great walking town one block away, and great restaurant on the pier, and in
Ashleys in Charleston, SC: They will drive you all over town for free, the
food store, to dinner, to west marine, wherever. Perhaps not the most exciting
marina, but after the salt marshes, a real treat.
Barefoot Landing in SC: Over one hundred shops and food, free dockage.
Caspers, in Swansboro NC: Nice family-run Marina and cheap .90 a foot, great
food one block away.
Ocean Marine in Norfolk, VA: a super service marina, they can do ANY job
quick and reasonable, they do it all, courtesy car, cheep fuel, right in the
middle of all the Navy Ships.
Schooner Island Marina in Wildwood NJ: on the NJICW, but VERY deep water, 12'
all the way to this new marina, floating docks, and a short 8 block taxi to
one of New Jersey's biggest boardwalks.
Gathered from "Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide" by Tom Neale
(on Amazon - paid link),
"The Intracoastal Waterway" by Jan and Bill Moeller
(on Amazon - paid link),
"Go South Inside" by Carl D. Lane
(on Amazon - paid link),
my experience, and private sources:
- 1077.0: Hollywood: Lake Maule.
- 1071.0: to left if SB, right if NB.
- 1070.4: to left if SB, right if NB, behind green "39".
- 1064.5: Ft Lauderdale: Lake Sylvia, near marker "13": room for a dozen boats;
24-hour limit but not strictly enforced;
empty spaces 5/2002;
dinghy ashore to Lauderdale Marina (marker 27) or Bimini Cafe (marker 12 ?).
- 1064.0: Ft Lauderdale: city mooring/anchorage SW of Las Olas blvd bridge;
up to 30 days for $20/night; all moorings full 5/2002;
anchor for ??? fee; not much space for anchoring;
includes use of dinghy dock on north shore;
dockmaster building is NE of bridge (no sign, doesn't respond to VHF,
rates not on city web site); boat on mooring reported theft of money.
- 1042.2: in circular manmade lake, to right if SB, left if NB, limited to 24 hours per week.
- 1031.1: just S of Lantana Highway bridge, to right if SB, left if NB, $10 for 96 hours from local police.
- 1006.2: in loop behind island, to left if SB, right if NB; limited to 96 hours in every 30 days.
- 1001.5: to right if SB, left if NB, below Conch Bar.
- 1001: marker 49, under bank west shore.
- 998.0: anchorages on both sides for 2 miles, exposed to wakes.
- 998: marker 40, under high bank west shore.
- 992: marker 19, in pocket dredged out of Peck Lake.
- 988: in Manatee Pocket, clear of midstream traffic.
- 966.2: to left if SB, right if NB, 1.3 miles off ICW in Farber Cove; shoaling at bend; limited to 72 hours.
- 958: marker 137, in creek under E side of island.
- 945.7: dock at out-of-business fruit-packing plant.
- 914.1: 1.4 miles in, anchorage off Eau Gallie Yacht Club, limited to 48 hours; supermarket.
- 878.0: to right if SB, left if NB, space for 3 or 4 boats in north end of basin.
- 845.5: in Sheephead Cut, enter from north, to left if SB, right if NB.
- 843.5: 0.4 miles off ICW at USCG station; to left if SB, right if NB.
- 840: marker 1, in 1-ft creek near Inlet Harbor.
- 831.4: 2 miles of anchorages; best spot behind red "40", but enter behind red "44".
- 809.2: to right if SB, left if NB, in unused channel to cement plant.
- 807: marker 3, in old cut, 75 yards in.
- 778.0: above bridge, to right if SB, left if NB.
- 765.0: below Pine Island, to left if SB, right if NB.
- 765: marker 25, in creek at Pine Island.
- 736: in Horseshoe Creek, enter from S.
- 735.0: betw "3" and "5" in Ft George River.
- 726.1: to right if SB, left if NB, at entrance to Alligator Creek, 0.5 miles off ICW.
- 725: junct of Alligator Cr and Amelia River.
- 716.8: behind red "32".
- 710: off Dungeness shore.
- 704: up Crooked River.
- 660: maker 211, behind largest island.
- 656: marker 202 behind marshy island, 28 feet deep.
- 28.8: below red "42", to left if NB, right if SB. Avoid water-skier ramp.
- 24.6: opposite marker "23", to right if SB, left if NB.
- 0.3: off hospital (lots of wakes), to right if SB, left if NB.
- Hampton/Norfolk: to left in NE corner of Willoughby Bay.
junction with west branch of Elizabeth River: anchorage to left if SB, right if NB.
- Chesapeake City anchorage basin: shoals up; max draft 4 feet;
24 hour max stay.
Enter on left side near Corps of Engineers dock.
From "Go South Inside" by Carl D. Lane (1977)
(on Amazon - paid link):
- Albemarle Sound:
Shallow and with big fetch to east,
gets rough in even moderate wind.
Try crossing at dawn or sundown.
Anchor in North Landing River or Alligator River.
- Up Cape Fear river to Wilmington NC: tour of battleship USS North Carolina (1977) ?
- Beautiful: Waccamaw river south to Georgetown on Winyah Bay.
Many anchorages on the river.
- Georgetown on Winyah Bay: nasty paper mill and steel mill
right in town, dirty harbor (1977).
From John Mason on The Live-Aboard List:
I think Lake Worth itself is the easiest Palm Beach anchorage. ...
The phone access was at the North end, up the creek. You beach your dinghy,
lock it and the oars up, and walk to the supermarket across the street. ...
Lake Worth is badly polluted - don't swim in it even if you see others
SailNet - Sue and Larry's "Cruiser-Friendly Towns On The East Coast"
SailNet - Sue and Larry's "Transiting the ICW, Part One"
"US East Coast - Fort Lauderdale to New York" by Liza Copeland in 1/2001 issue of Blue Water Sailing magazine.
Book: "Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway" by Skipper Bob
(on Amazon - paid link).
AngelFire�s ICW anchorages
Tom Dove Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) Page
New England (and NJ and NY)
From letter from Lawrence and Maxine Bailey in
3/2002 issue of Seven Seas Cruising Association bulletin:
Many towns in MA, NH, ME, RI, CT have poor or no anchorage, and
moorings cost anywhere from $20/night to $55/night (Nantucket).
From Robert Reib (Skipper Bob) on Great-loop mailing list:
Cape May is a great little waterfront town to visit with many restored
Victorian Homes. Unfortunately the harbor is not the best place to anchor
due to all the traffic and wakes. I recommend staying in a marina if you
want to visit Cape May and use the public transportation to get around.
Utsches Marina is close to town, provides protected slips and the staff
there will work really hard to make your stay a pleasant one.
From Cape May north, you have to decide whether to go inside or outside up
the New Jersey Coast. Inside is much more protected and you can travel in
just about any weather. However, the NJ ICW is very shallow and twists and
turns in route to Manasquan. 114 miles long some boaters love it and others
hate the constant attention you have to pay to your navigation. Vessels are
limited to no more than 25' in height and 4 1/2' of depth via the ICW. If
you go inside you can visit Atlantic City and the casinos (or just throw
your money in the water as you go by). The marina at the casino is very
expensive ($4/ft), but there is a good anchorage across the waterway from
the Atlantic City harbor.
Once you reach Barnegat Bay via the NJ ICW you will find many great places
to anchor and small towns to visit. One final caution on the NJ ICW. I
don't recommend traveling it on weekends or holidays if you can help it.
When it comes to rating boaters for courtesy and understanding of passing on
waterways, the NJ boaters rank among the worst in the United States. If you
avoid the weekend traffic it is not too bad. Be advised that going outside
will not help you avoid the rude NJ boaters. These same folks enjoy going
out on the Atlantic and buzzing slow boats making their way up the coast.
In general, avoid NJ on weekends and holidays if you can.
If you decide to make the run up the New Jersey coast outside, you will find
it a rather easy trip on the ocean if you have good weather. The shoreline
is relatively straight with few if any shoals along the entire coast until
you reach Sandy Hook at the northern end. We routinely follow the 15' depth
line all the way up the coast giving us a great view of the scenery on the
beaches. For slow boats the 135 mile trip can be broken up into stops at
Atlantic City and Manasquan with ease. There are several other inlets where
boats with local knowledge can get in off the ocean, but I would not
recommend any of them except Barnegat inlet. The Shark River inlet is
crossed by a low bridge and can be a problem if you try to enter this inlet
where there is a strong tidal current. For most of you going outside, stick
to the Cape May, Atlantic City and Manasquan Inlets on the New Jersey coast.
Once you round Sandy Hook you have arrived at New York Harbor. If you have
any money left be prepared to spend it all in your attempt to get up the
Hudson River. Marina and fuel prices from New Jersey to the New York Canal
System are the highest that you will encounter on the Great Circle Route.
New York City is a wonderful place to visit, but it is strongly recommended
that you do so from a marina. I do not recommend anchoring and leaving your
vessel or dinghy unattended anywhere in the New York City area. You can
stay across from NYC in New Jersey for $2.50 to $3/ft or right on Manhattan
near the Battery for $4/ft. A short way up the river at 79th street, the
79th street marina provides mooring balls for $15/night with dinghy landing
The Hudson River is tidal all the way to the Troy Federal Lock, 155 miles
upriver. It flows at nearly 3 knots in the NYC area and is reduced to about
1-2 knots upstream. You definitely should take the tide into account and
plan your departure from New York City about 2 hours after low tide (when
the current switches). The first 50 miles of the Hudson River does not
offer much in the way of stops or anchorages and it is best to plan on a
full day the first day northbound. I won't give a lot of details on the
Hudson River stops as they were covered in detail by a previous poster to
this list. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of great places to
visit along the beautiful and historic waterway.
From Robert Reib (Skipper Bob) on Great-loop mailing list:
The NJ Intracoastal Waterway is often misrepresented by those that have not
cruised on it. The fact is that vessels drawing 5' regularly use this
waterway. I have gone through many times with 3' 6" and always saw at least
5'. Last fall a vessel drawing 7' went through. With your vessel draft of 3'
6" you should have no problems at all. Just pay attention to the markers and
From Dennis Bruckel on Great-loop mailing list:
Harve de Grace has the cheapest fuel on the northern Chesapeake Bay to my
knowledge. Better yet will be several places in Cape May if you can
make it there, or slightly more north in Beach Haven NJ.
In any event leave Manasquan with all tanks full as you will be
astounded to pay about 100% more as you proceed north, and it will not
drop appreciably until south of Chicago. Cheapest fuel on the Erie is
just west of Oneida Lake, Winter Harbor Marina, unless you arrange with
a fuel distributor to deliver to a dock. Several will on request,
particularly with several boats asking for fuel.
From Norm on The Live-Aboard List:
> A good stop and an easy place to trade crew
> is the 79th St Boat Basin on the
> upper west side of NYC. They have lots of
> moorings at only $15 per night.
> One of the few boating bargains to be
> found in NYC. Good security and easy
> access to the subway or cab to NY airports.
It is a wonderful stop, NYC is at your doorstep, but be aware that we had
problems there with the moorings being too close together and our boat being
struck by other boats.
At the direction of the dockmaster we moved to the "big boat" moorings south
of the marina, but still at slack tide a large tri struck us damaging the
woodwork on our transom. We tried anchoring a few yards further away from the
shore, but the cops attacked us declaring that it was illegal to anchor. We gave
up and moved to the NJ side of the Hudson, anchoring near the George
Washington Bridge for the night. We left the New York area the next day and have not
From Steve Weinstein on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
79th Street Marina here in NYC:
As far as I know, although this is Summer 2003 data, moorings at the marina
are $35/night and they've got a great dinghy dock at the marina itself. The
marina is located on the west side of Manhattan just a zot short of midtown
and gives you instant access (you might have to walk a block or two) via
public transportation (subways and buses) to the entire city.
From Peter Brown on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
At south side of Coney Island we found a truly delightful,
well-protected refuge at "Sheepshead Bay" - come around
Norton Point at west end of Coney Island, just South
of Verazzano Bridge, proceed East along the beach,
pick up red/green markers for the tight turn into Sheepshead,
proceed well inside - one can anchor deep inside the Bay,
all the way in to a pedestrian walkway-bridge,
good holding in heavy mud, plenty of swinging room
and depth about 15 to 20 ft or so - lots of room,
maybe prevail on head-boat operators to use a wharf
briefly to go shopping - everything needed is right there.
Lower Delaware Bay: from article by Angus Phillips in 10/2001 issue of Cruising World magazine:
"100-mile-long, murderously inhospitable waterway full of shoals,
narrow shipping lanes, and nasty tides, with almost no place to
shelter when the weather sours."
In lower section, lots of sandbars and shallow waters.
In lower section, tide floods for 5 hours and ebbs for 7 hours.
No anchorages on river in the 30 miles between C&D canal and Philadelphia.
Winds generally S in summer, but NW after cold fronts.
Philadelphia: Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing. Ferry dock for ferry to Camden.
Camden: NJ State Aquarium, Camden Children's Garden. Tour of battleship New Jersey is very badly
done; skip it.
Boatyards in Philadelphia/Trenton area,
from Roland Falkenstein:
About 12 miles north [of Philly] on the New Jersey side is Riverton [maybe
should be Riverside] NJ.
There are about 4-6 boatyards and marinas there. No problem with hauling,
painting etc. I would recommend Riverside Marine ... not only for repairs but
also parts ... they have a great machine shop too. They're the biggest and most
reputable ... and knowledgeable. This is also the area where Cherubini is
located though they don't build sailboats any more ... just powerboats but do
From Capt Fran:
If you decided you want to go there ... make sure you attempt to enter the
cove at high tide ... sand bar covers the entrance at low. Also depending on
mast height ... there is a train bridge you may have to call.
There are a few in Essington that
can do your boat but I don't know their names. That is south of Philadelphia.
Farther up there is Riverside marina in Dredge harbor on the NJ side of north
Philadelphia; they can handle you with ease. Then farther up is Three Seasons marina
on the Neshaminy creek; this is where our 41 ft sailboat was just done. ... in
Franklin cove just north of Bristol there is a marina if you are looking
for a place to stop. They cannot haul you out there, but it is a good anchorage
also if you are interested.
I didn't have a chart from north Philadelphia to Trenton, so here are my notes from 7/2002:
North from Philadelphia:
- Channel depth is 35+ feet from Philadelphia to Trenton except as noted.
- At N39.59.0, Conrail lift bridge (about 49 ft down; VHF 13).
- Fixed bridge [Betsy Ross Bridge ?] (60+ ft) 100 yards north of Conrail bridge.
- Public ramp on PA side. Looks like warehouse district.
- At N40.00.7, fixed bridge [Tacony Palmyra ?] (61 ft).
- Just north of bridge, lots of anchoring space, lots of boats moored. QCYC.
- 5-10 miles, then:
- Near N40.02.3, ramp and town on PA side, Dredge Harbor on NJ side.
- 5-10 miles, then:
- At N40.04.8, Burlington-Bristol bridge (62 ft at high tide), with power plant at SE corner.
- Towns of Burlington NJ (looks like nice harbor) and Bristol PA.
- At N40.07.0, Turnpike bridge (100+ ft).
- On PA side, Edgely Boat Club ramp and docks.
- On NJ side, at N40.07.4, ramp (Florence ?).
- 5-10 miles, then:
- At N40.10.5, Duck Island power plant on NJ side. Channel depth here is about 20 feet.
- On NJ side, there is a low (maybe 30 feet ?) fixed bridge over Crosswicks Creek, to Bordentown NJ.
- On NJ side, Capital Yacht Club (just a parking lot, trailer, two docks, some moored boats).
- At N40.11.1, on NJ side, Mercer County boat ramp (parking, garbage, water hand pump, not much else). No stores etc within walking distance.
- On NJ side, Trenton Marine Center
(powerboat brokerage, marine store, service shop).
- River shoals to about 12 feet at red and green markers just north
of Trenton Marine Center, and probably to 6 feet at docks for
baseball stadium 1/4 mile north of there. River becomes
unnavigable (rapids) at low train bridge 1/4 mile further north.
Good book: "Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholer's Guide" by William Shellenberger
(on Amazon - paid link).
Gunkholing article by Tom Neale in 10/2001 issue of Cruising World magazine
Recommended book (I haven't read it):
"Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay", by Richard and Dixie Goertemille.
Some crab pots and fish traps, but not nearly as many as
in the Florida Keys.
Very humid in July and August. Can be 95+ and humid in August.
Sea nettles (jellyfish) start in June at south end of Bay,
get further north as summer progresses. Salt-water only.
Bird migrations in the fall (October).
Always carry PFD, bailer, whistle, anchor, registration in dinghy; MD marine
police will stop you, and not having a PFD is an $85 fine.
From "Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide" by Tom Neale
(on Amazon - paid link):
- Mid-July to Mid-Sept: many flat calms, very humid hot days and
nights, violent thunderstorms with dangerous winds and lightning.
- Thunderstorms usually come from SW, W or NW.
- Cruising is great from early May to mid-June, and
mid-Sept to early Nov.
- N or S winds can build up nasty short steep choppy
waves because of long fetch
and shallow water.
- Fishing: MD and VA require licenses. There are different
licenses for freshwater and tidal water fishing.
- Early destination: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum at St. Michaels.
Makes rest of cruise more meaningful.
Lots of events: often Sat evening concerts, spring fest in mid-May,
Bluegrass fest end of May, antique boat show end of June,
small craft fest early Oct.
From north to south:
From "US East Coast - Fort Lauderdale to New York" by Liza Copeland in 1/2001 issue of Blue Water Sailing magazine:
- Chesapeake & Delaware canal to Delaware Bay.
16 miles long, 35 feet deep, currents up to 3 knots,
heavy commercial traffic, dispatch on VHF 13.
No sailing allowed (motor-sailing okay).
No locks or tolls.
Lit at night; easy to transit at night, but entrance lights can be hard to see.
Polarity of navigation markers reverses at bridge ?
Can anchor in government basin at Chesapeake City, or at mouth
of the branch to the old canal near Delaware Bay (silted in) ?
No anchorage at Delaware City.
Tidal current direction in canal matches that of Delaware river:
canal flows E while river ebbs SE.
From "Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide" by Tom Neale
(on Amazon - paid link):
High water at Delaware end about 2 hours later than at Elk River end.
Tides greatly affected by strong winds.
Flow is eastward during low-to-high at Chesapeake City,
and westward during high-to-low.
Canal current is westward during first half of Delaware River ebb,
eastward during last half of Delaware River ebb,
eastward during first half of Delaware River flood,
westward during last half of Delaware River flood.
- Havre de Grace MD.
In the mouth of the Susquehanna River; no sea nettles, so you can swim.
Nice train-bridge with lots of passenger trains.
Anchor near old lighthouse (15-20 foot depth; rest of harbor is 25-30+).
Dinghy ashore to old lighthouse dock, or to dock in middle of town
at Congress Ave (where Martha Lewis skipjack and Lantern Queen are docked;
watch out for submerged tree stump at corner of floating dock).
Supermarket: on Congress Ave right near water; good prices.
Library: on Pennington Ave (next street north of Congress) near Washington,
MTR 10-8, W 1-8, FS 10-5.
Visitor's Center: opening 8/2002 on Pennington Ave near Union.
Hardware store: on Washington near Pennington.
Tydings Park: big park next to Yacht Basin, with boardwalk along
shore to lighthouse. Lots of duck, geese, some otters.
Beautiful old houses, mostly along Union St.
Town is pretty quiet, especially on summer days.
- Georgetown MD.
Up the Sassafras River; pretty, with manor houses.
Lots of powerboats, lots of cruising sailboats, people swimming.
Not much to see or do ashore.
Watch out for last red marker right at edge of town; the
traffic and anchored boats distracted me, and I almost ran aground.
- Chestertown MD.
Nice, shallow anchorage just south of bridge; current
and wind interact strangely.
Dinghy ashore to park south of Scotts Pt marina, or to small public
dock (reserved Monday AM and Friday PM) at end
of High St north of Chestertown marina.
Library: on High St near Mill St, MTWRF 9:30-6, S 9:30-3.
Marine store and woodworking shop in Chestertown marina.
Food stores all on Washington Ave (RT 213) heading north out of town.
Convenience store (Royal Farms) and Dollar store at edge of town;
two auto stores (including Napa) and supposedly a supermarket
a mile or so further out (past the college).
Home and garden store across bridge and 1/2 mile.
College town, so some good-looking women (even in summer).
Wonderful old houses and buildings all through town.
- Baltimore MD.
City dock monitors channel 68.
Fireworks from Northwest Harbor on July 4th, but whole
area is crowded then.
No fee for anchoring in Inner Harbor, but room for only 5 or 6 boats,
must stay inside line between Constellation and Torsk submarine, 20-foot depth.
Noisy, lots of paddle boats, but fun.
Dinghy to back of water-taxi dock next to submarine Torsk.
Library a long walk, N on Charles St, L onto Saratoga.
Spectacular view from Federal Hill Park.
National aquarium (Pier 3), big delays on popular days.
Maryland Science Center: not a good value in my opinion.
Pier 6 Concert Pavilion: music.
US frigate Constellation.
Fells Point: shops, pubs, historic buildings, port activities.
From "Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide" by Tom Neale
(on Amazon - paid link):
Middle Branch is to west and is wide and inviting.
You want Northwestern Branch, which is narrower and looks industrialized.
Keep Ft McHenry to left/west to go to Inner Harbor.
Go between Ft McHenry and the "lighthouse".
Call 877-baltimore and ask for free "Baltimore by Boat" booklet.
[Booklet seems to be discontinued 7/2002.]
- Annapolis MD.
Small town; lots of historic buildings; lots of marine facilities; expensive.
No good anchorages: everything decent is very crowded, and
anything else is exposed (and the wakes and swells on the river
are very rough).
Anchoring not allowed on Severn River below first bridge.
Nice anchorage 5 miles up-river, in Little Round Bay, off St. Helena Island.
Weekday anchorage: Harness Creek on north shore of South River; crowded on weekends.
From Harry Morris:
If you want a quiet spot to anchor, I suggest you go to Back Creek and a good
anchorage is located just past Mears (on the Eastport side). You can anchor
and tie your dinghy at a small dinghy dock just to the left of Mears. Annapolis
is a pleasant 0.7 mile walk.
[The Back Creek anchorage was very full in 8/2002, and didn't look "quiet" to me.]
US Naval Academy: see Brigade Noon Formation (they don't do it every day).
I took a tour of the US Naval Academy 8/2002 and it was decent.
Definitely see the Academy, even if you don't take the tour.
The State House is worth a quick look, for the sense of history.
Library about 3 miles from city dock, out Main to West past Taylor before Admiral.
Supermarket a couple of miles from city dock, in West Annapolis at Taylor and Rowe.
Can get there from Weems Creek; go to dinghy dock on Tucker, walk up Tucker to Melvin,
R onto Melvin, left onto street that runs next to Rowe.
Huge boat-show in October.
- St. Michaels MD.
St. Michaels Maritime Museum: excellent (lots of small boats,
lots of fishing and hunting gear, lighthouse, hands-on fishing stuff, steamboat stuff, etc).
Anchorage: Leeds Creek (NE across Miles River from town), near Castle Cove.
"Back door": up Choptank River, up Broad Creek, up San Domingo Creek. Dinghy dock.
- Oxford MD.
Dinghy ashore to west side of ferry dock.
Very small town. Some nice houses, lots of nice places to
sit and look out over the water.
One small food store, one variety store with some food.
Library is tiny and volunteer, has no internet or magazines or newspapers.
Rumored to be internet access at Pope's Inn, down Morris St to fork,
on right side of fork, but they were closed every time I went there.
Marine stores at Crockett's Boatyard and Oxford Boatyard.
- Cambridge MD.
Inside Cambridge Creek, there is a free dock (concrete seawall,
room for 4 boats) and a very tiny anchoring space. Too small
for my taste; I anchored in the river outside the creek entrance.
Library 1 block SW from the free dock.
Free showers at marina 1/4 mile west of free dock ? Free bicycles too.
Free water (bring your own hose) where the skipjack is docked just inside the creek entrance.
Small grocery store about 7 blocks from the free dock, down Race St.
Three supermarkets about 1.5 miles from free dock. Take Market St
(road over the drawbridge) to US 50 (road over the river bridge);
turn right (away from river). Just after US 50 bends to left,
will have Acme and Super Fresh on left, Food Lion on right.
Also can get to supermarkets by dinghying under river bridge,
into Shoal Creek, land at sandbank, walk up dirt road to Crusader Rd.
Walmart about 3 miles from free dock ? Out past supermarkets on US 50.
- Solomons Island MD / Patuxent River.
Calvert Maritime Museum ($5) and J. Lore oyster-house museum are good,
UMD Biological Research Ctr visitor's center is okay.
Anchorage: directly in front of Calvert Maritime Museum (dinghy
ashore to Captains Table restaurant ?).
Dinghy dock at museum requires paying admission ($5) unless you go through side-gate ?
Dinghy dock for $1 at Holiday Inn, $1 for garbage, and there are some stores there,
including an upscale supermarket (wonderful fresh bread).
But it's far from the river-walk
part of town.
River-walk part of town not that interesting: mostly restaurants.
No internet access anywhere.
Very crowded during race weeks.
- St Mary's: 5 miles up Potomac river, then 5 miles up St Mary's River.
No town of any kind, just the college, "historic St Mary's" (not worth the
$8 admission), and Trinity Church (spectacular scenic location).
Spacious well-protected anchorage; dinghy to beach just N of little bridge.
St. Mary's College: school starts end of August.
Nice library with internet access.
$8 all-you-can-eat in cafeteria (2nd floor in Campus Center) ?
No supermarket (no stores of any kind) nearby.
- Washington DC. 90+ miles up the Potomac river.
Take Washington Channel (middle) fork of river; anchor in 20-25 feet of water.
From letter from Stuart and Ann Yellen in
11/2001 issue of Seven Seas Cruising Association bulletin:
I landed my dinghy a couple of times for free at Potomac Park (just locked to the
fence) and walked over the 14th street bridge. Wouldn't
leave the dinghy there after dark. Was told the Park Police will
kick me out if they see me landing there.
After that, docked at Gangplank.
- 2/3 of way up the Potomac, if M-F 8-5, call VHF 16 to
Dahlgren Firing Range to get directions around.
- Woodrow Wilson Bridge: need opening if 50 feet or more. VHF 13 or 16.
Weekends will open 0000-0645 [2200-0545?] if called 4 hours ahead.
Weekdays will open 0000-0445 if called 12 hours ahead.
[Can piggyback through when opened for commercial traffic.]
- Good anchorage (all-weather, mud over clay, depths in teens,
little tidal flow) in Washington Channel just before 14th St bridge.
Must call Marine Police on VHF 16, and then have to call them from phone.
Must use 2 anchors. [I didn't.] Stay out of ferry path.
- Can land dinghy at Capital Yacht Club (recommended)
or Gangplank Marina for $10/day for all facilities.
Safeway and pharmacy and Waterfront-SEU Metro stop 3/4 mile away at 4th and M streets.
Another Metro up hill from yacht club.
- Visitor's Center at 14th and Pennsylvania.
I found most marina staff and marine police to be unfriendly
and unhelpful. Both marina offices are behind
locked doors. No weekly rates for dinghy dockage.
Don't let them charge your credit card; they'll
charge you for every day, even if you don't land
every day. Marinas have very few signs for anything;
hard to figure out. Payphone on street in front of Gangplank.
Waterside Mall at 4th and M has Safeway, pharmacy, liquor store.
Library at K street and Wesley Place, a block NE of the
mall at 4th and M; MW 10-9, TRFS 10-5:30.
Metro is $1.10 to most places.
- Mount Vernon.
70+ miles up the Potomac river.
Has a transient dock; have to call in advance to arrange.
I decided not to stop; no good anchorage, doesn't look very inviting.
Very protected anchorage, but if it's full, there's no alternative.
$10/day to land your dinghy at the only place possible: Somers Cove Marina.
I did land at NE corner of City Dock for a little while,
but I was told you're not supposed to.
Hardware store, supermarkets, library.
Some motorboat idiot from the launching ramp grabbed my anchor
trip-line, pulled my anchor out, and then cut off the trip-line as he went by.
No interesting sights, not a pretty town. Housing projects.
Nice little town, some pretty houses and churches.
Two hardware stores (but they don't carry polysulfide caulk), no grocery, no library.
Internet at Tom Thumb for $5/half-hour unit.
- Urbanna, in the Rappahannock River.
Nice anchorage. No obvious place to dinghy ashore; Dozier's
doesn't seem to mind if you ask them.
Supermarket, library, dollar store, thrift shop, barber shops, hardware and paint stores.
Actually three hardware stores: a hardware-and-furniture,
a hardware/marine/auto, and a hardware/garden/lumber !
And four barber/hairstylist places !
Surprising for such a small town.
Library is 1 block NW of supermarket; MWRF 10-5, T 10-8, S 10-2.
- Irvington in the Rappahannock River.
Nice spacious anchorage.
Irvington Marina looks terrible but supposed to have wonderful
Not sure how far it is to "town".
- Tappahannock in the Rappahannock River.
No N/S sheltered anchorage.
Dinghy to ramp 1/2 mile up the creek, almost across
from granary dock; marine/fishing store but not much else.
Dinghy to "public beach" on river just south of big condo building,
between grey and white fences, about 100 feet wide with storm sewer pipe in middle.
No useful stores within walking distance (that I could see), not a very interesting town.
- Deltaville, from Jackson Creek.
Dinghy to free "town dock". No overnight docking.
Walk 1+ mile up road (Lovers Lane) to town, at intersection
with General Puller Rd.
Library, big hardware store, bank with ATM, post office at the intersection.
Napa Auto and convenience store 1/2 mile E of intersection.
I was warned that the marinas in Deltaville have bad water;
don't fill up there.
- Sarah Creek, across from Yorktown on the York River.
Nice anchorage, fair amount of room.
Dinghy to big marina; nice marine store, boatyard down the street.
Dinghy 1+ mile up NW fork of creek, under low bridge, through
swampy channels to shopping. Best to anchor at awning
in woods and walk through woods to shopping center.
Food Lion, 2 movie theaters, auto parts store, clothing stores,
lots of fast food, many small stores, etc.
Hardware store about 1/2 mile away.
There is a "Yorktown Shuttle" that will come pick you up (e.g.
from the marina) and take you across the river to Yorktown;
You're allowed to bike over the river on the big highway
bridge, but not walk across.
Rough directions to library (I didn't go): go out marina entrance,
turn left, go across route 17, go about another 1/4 mile to library.
- Hampton VA.
Small anchorage. Free dinghy dock near end of bridge.
Occasional annoying buzzing/grinding sound for hour or more from
seafood plant or boatyard.
Library: 5 blocks S on Bridge St, 5 blocks W on Victoria; MTWR 9-9, FS 9-5, Sun 1-5.
Hampton University also has a library, sort of in the SE corner of the University.
Marine store: 3 blocks S on Bridge St.
Can borrow free bicycle from dockmaster ?
Virginia Air And Space Center is nice; don't miss
the 3rd-floor observation deck.
Short riverside walking path is nice.
No tours of NASA Langley any more.
Nice art museum in Hampton University, towards the SW corner of the University.
Supermarket: dinghy to end of Snake Creek, then walk 1/3 mile S on Keconough St to Food Lion.
- Jamestown VA.
Nothing there but the historical site, which is
quite nice ($11 admission, three interesting replica ships,
nice museum and fort).
Moderately interesting to see reserve fleet
anchored halfway up the James.
Dinghy ashore to tiny beach on upstream side of dock;
- Portsmouth VA.
Anchor S of Hospital Point.
Dinghy down river past big marina, dock at North Harbor, just
N of Renaissance Hotel.
Old Towne (historic houses and five museums).
Call 800-PORTS-VA for a Boaters Guide.
Library next to Children's Museum. MTWR 10-9 FS 10-5.
Children's (science) Museum
is nice; MTWRFS 9-5, Sun 11-5.
I was told there is no supermarket near downtown.
- Norfolk VA.
Anchor S of Hospital Point.
Dinghy across to Nauticus Museum.
If cruise ship docked at Nauticus with security patrol, can still
use dinghy dock, just go slow and stay away from the ship
and wave to the police.
Nauticus museum is okay, probably not worth $10 admission. Can go on Wisconsin for free.
Boat cruise through Norfolk Navy Base, $25 (they don't give bus tours any more).
Wonderful Chrysler (art) Museum: take free NET bus to Olney stop, walk NW on Olney.
Closed Mon and Tues, free on Wed, $7 otherwise. W 10-9, RFS 10-5, Sun 1-5.
Jazz in the garden Wed nights.
Douglas MacArthur memorial, next to library, quite nice.
Library (internet): from Nauticus up Main St, left onto Atlantic,
2 blocks to City Hall Ave. MTWR 10-9 FS 10-5 Sun 1-5.
Supermarket: 2 miles from Nauticus. Take free NET bus (0630 to 2300)
to Opera / 2 stop, walk 3 blocks further on Granby, turn left
onto Princess Anne St, walk about 1/3 mile.
Waterside and Town Point Park.
3-day Harborfest in early June.
Elizabeth River Ferry between Norfolk and Portsmouth: replica sternwheel ferry.
- Charted depths are not reliable.
- Have to keep sharp lookout for commercial traffic, fishing, crab traps, recreational boats.
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina
From north to south:
- Dismal Swamp Canal.
May close or reduce opening schedule due to low water; call nearest
lock on VHF 13 during working hours a day ahead to find out.
Not really very scenic; nice trees at canal edge prevent seeing further,
and road borders one side for much of the way.
Canal generally very narrow (60 feet) along the whole length.
All hand-steering, must be very alert. Avoid occasional
dead tree or stump or log in canal, avoid overhead branches leaning
May be floating logs.
Old planks may be on the bottom.
- Elizabeth City NC.
Plenty of fine anchorage SE of the town, near Pelican Marina.
Dinghy ashore to big park at corner of river-bend.
Library on Main between Elliott and Martin Sts, MTWRF 8:30-6:30, S 10-4.
Bakery on Water St near North Park.
Several convenience / small market stores near corner of Ehringhaus and Road Sts.
No supermarket nearby.
$4 taxi ride to Walmart.
Museum of Albemarle not open 10/2002, but looks about to open.
Some nice old houses and buildings in town.
- Belhaven NC.
Shoal in middle of harbor.
Barge comes out of grain elevators and down the channel.
Dinghy ashore to boat-ramp at SW end of town.
Library 1 block E of main intersection (Main and Pamlico)
in town; MTWRF 9:30-5:30, S 9:30-1.
Two good hardware stores, pharmacy, wine store.
Supermarket: 1 mile W down Main St from center of town to traffic light,
then 1 mile N from there.
Bluegrass and hot-air balloons festival mid-October.
- Oriental NC.
Absolutely tiny anchorage, and they're expanding a marina into it.
About a mile to supermarket, E on Broad St.
Hardware store, about 3/4 mile E on Broad St.
Nice marine store a block from the docks.
Apparently no library.
- Beaufort NC.
Harbor anchorage gets crowded, and is notorious for
boats dragging during thunderstorms. When I was there 6/2002,
a 50-knot thunderstorm made someone almost drag into me.
I had two anchors down, and held fast. Also restaurant
music until after midnight sometimes.
Dinghy ashore to two dinghy docks at small parks.
Music Festival is April 26-28.
Wooden boat show May 4-5.
Blackbeard Fest May 17-18.
North Carolina Maritime Museum (free courtesy car).
Library: take Front St W to right onto Turner St, go 2-3 blocks.
Supermarkets several miles NE out of town.
Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center.
Lots of nice old houses.
Beaufort Marine (didn't have anything I was looking for, including engine oil).
NAPA auto in Morehead City.
Clawsons restaurant: not impressive. New Orleans seafood dish is good.
Good DIY yard: Bock Marine on ICW just north of Beaufort.
- Wilmington NC.
No good anchorage, everywhere 30-40 feet deep, strong currents.
I anchored between battleship
and NW bridge, close to submerged pilings.
Dinghy ashore to floating dock at north end of Hilton hotel.
Visitor's Center at south end of waterfront, at Market and Water streets.
Library at 3rd and Chestnut streets. No floppy allowed.
Supermarkets: take bus down Market St, from 3rd and Market.
USS North Carolina Battleship, $9, opens at 8 AM,
only way to get there is by taxi or water-taxi (which runs short hours except in summer, $2 round-trip).
Railroad Museum, $3, opens at 10 AM, small but nice.
Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum, $5,
closed Mondays, opens at 10 AM, has been moved from downtown to a location
several miles out that even the busses don't go near.
- Southport NC.
No tenable anchorage anywhere; skip it.
- Georgetown SC.
Dinghy ashore right at clock tower, or small park 100 yards west of clock tower.
Someone stole a nice dinghy from one of the dinghy docks when I was there 10/2002.
Visitor's Center 5 blocks W on Front St near Orange, get map.
Library 7 blocks W on Front St, R onto Cleland, 5 blocks to Church St. MTWR 9-8, FS 9-5. No floppy allowed.
Gas station and paint store on Church St a block E of the library.
Small marine store at Boat Shed Marina, waterfront and St. James St at E end of town.
Great hardware store 1/2 mile E of Church and St James (1-1.5 miles from center of town).
Small marine store next to hardware store.
Two smaller partly-hardware stores on Church 2-3 blocks W of library: Thomas Supply
and Georgetown Ice.
MaxWay in center of town; similar to a Dollar store.
NAPA Auto somewhere near Front and Church St ?
Supermarket and Dollar store about 5-6 blocks W of library, or 1 mile W of center of town.
- Charlestown SC.
Anchor W or S of city marina in Ashley river. Strong tidal currents, some big wakes.
S anchorage gets very shallow near old green marker post.
Gas station convenience store near city marina; no other
facilities within a mile or more.
College of Charleston library: left out of marina, right onto
Calhoun St, a mile or so E to a block or so past Smith St, on right. Allows floppy.
- Beaufort SC.
Winn-Dixie supermarket S of bridge, about 2/3 mile from
marina or 1+ mile from bridge, on W side of road, past "76" gas station;
have to be right in front of it to see it.
Library: in town, E on Bay St, left onto Scott St. MTWR 9-8, FS 9-5. Allows floppy.
- Savannah SC.
Nowhere to anchor; can land at city dock for free for 3 hours.
Separate southern part of dock is reserved for ferry.
No useful stores (supermarket, hardware, marine)
within walking distance, but there is a free
shuttle bus that covers much of the city.
Library: just S of city hall dome. MTWRF 12-3 ! Allows floppy.
Lots of nice old houses, cobblestone streets, nice squares
with parks in them.
Telfair art museum very nice; mixture of classic paintings
and modern art and 19th-century furniture/rooms, and the
building itself is gorgeous. Barnard and State Sts.
Also maritime and history museums; I didn't get to them.
From north to south:
- Fernandina Beach.
Big anchorage, but fairly unprotected and rough.
Dinghy dock is on north side of outside of marina.
Town is worthless: all boutiques, library blocks email web sites, no grocery; skip it.
- St Augustine.
Sailor's Exchange surplus store.
From Norm on The Live-Aboard List 12/2003:
There is no lighted boat parade in St Augustine this year.
The dinghy dock rate went from $90/month to $125/month.
The washing machines went from $1 to $1.50. The dryers take three times
longer than the washers to process a load of laundry, as they always have.
The dock carts are filthy.
The Navigation Dept. pounded four new markers into the harbor that reduce the
space available to visiting yachtsmen and their families.
We love St. Augustine, but it seems to us that we are being pinched off. It
is as if the ones that make the rules in St. Augustine see folks that are
arrive floating as lesser than those that arrive on wheels, so they are pushing us
away. St Augustine is the most expensive dinghy dock we have ever encountered:
$7 a day for a cleat.
- Daytona Beach.
Anchorage SE of bridge is smaller than it looks on chart, and
shoals quickly to east.
Might be able to dinghy to ramp at NE corner of bridge.
- New Smyrna Beach.
Food Lion supermarket across street from Causeway Marine.
- Would be great to see a space-shuttle launch, but they often are delayed by days or weeks.
- Fort Pierce.
Supermarket: a couple of blocks from Harbortown Marina.
- Jensen Beach.
- West Palm Beach / Lake Worth.
High risk of theft.
- Boca Raton.
Anchorage: Lake Boca Raton.
- Fort Lauderdale.
Anchorage: Lake Sylvia. Entrance shallow; be careful.
Dinghy to Southport Raw Bar (supermarket, chandlery, pharmacy nearby).
- North Miami.
Anchorage: straight off east end of NW 135th St; a mile or two south of 163rd St bridge;
at south end of Oleta State Park.
Dinghy ashore up little creek on south side ? Not near anything.
Internet access at FIU.
Haulover Beach: 10800 Collins Ave; nude beach and surfing.
- Miami (above Rickenbacker Causeway).
- Gulf Stream runs very close ashore near Miami inlet;
strong north-setting current.
- Can enter Miami inlet / Government Cut, but can't go straight in through the "Main ship" channel, where the
cruise ships dock, because of security restrictions. Can go through
Lummus Cut channel south of Dodge Island / Lummus Island.
- In 1/2006, Miami Beach city ordinance
restricts anchoring to 7 days out of each 30, and police enforce
it by taking picture of boat and captain when they find you aboard. Another good harbor lost !
From John Viera: I anchored in Miami Beach waters from late January 2006
through early April 2006 and was not bothered.
- South Beach anchorage between Venetian Causeway and MacArthur Causeway:
8+ feet of water in entrance (favor N side)
and all the way down to Belle Isle (went N of monument island).
Plenty of room, but two main anchorages: Watson Island, and Belle Isle.
Lots of theft in both anchorages.
Watson Island anchorage: few wakes.
Can't dinghy in to Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island without
joining and paying dues ? I'm told it's $15/day to dinghy ashore there !
Belle Isle anchorage: at W end of Collins Canal; very wakey on weekend; 11-foot depth;
several old motorboats sunk in the anchorage;
occasionally high-speed traffic passes between anchored boats.
Lots of theft: always hoist and lock dinghy/outboard; always lock the boat.
Dinghy into Collins Canal along Dade Blvd;
tie up to concrete canal walls.
- No water-taxi.
- Immigration office is on Dodge Island, on the wrong (restricted)
side of the security checkpoint.
- Miami-Dade Parks' Marinas
- Miami-Dade Public Library System
- Bus system:
regular fare is $1.25 one-way; transfer costs 25 cents.
Omni Bus Terminal: W end of Venetian Cswy, at Biscayne Blvd and NE 15 St.
- SuperShuttle to airport;
305-871-2000; $18 from South Beach; runs 24 hours a day.
- Miami Mini-Bus 305-759-2221.
- West / mainland side:
- Main library: 101 W Flagler Blvd at NW 1st Ave (due W of Dodge Island),
MTWFS 9-6, R 9-9, Oct-May also Sun 1-5. Internet for guests very limited: 4 computers,
15 minutes only, no organized waiting list.
- Bayside Marketplace / Bayfront Park: next to City Yacht Basin, on mainland near west end of Dodge Island; marina and shopping.
- To airport: ???.
Bus station at airport is on Level 1 of Concourse E, directly across from Customs.
- Metrorail Govt Center Station: NW 1st St and NW 1st Ave (due W of Dodge Island).
- Free Metromover: runs north-south between Omni bus terminal, downtown, and Brickell.
- Miami Art Museum:
101 W. Flagler St at NW 1st Ave; TWRF 10-5 SS 12-5; $5.
- Napa Auto Parts, MTWRF 8-5 Sat 8-2, 300 NW 29th St; 1 mi N of Venetian Cswy, 2 blocks E of 95;
take "6" bus (stop is on NE 1st Ave between NE 14 St and NE 15 St,
about 4 blocks W from Omni Bus Terminal; MTWRF 9-5).
- Budget Hardware, 1644 Ne 2nd Avenue; 3 blks W of W end of Venetian Cswy.
- Marine store: at Riviera Marina up the Miami River, on S side of river.
River Marine Supply, 260 SW 6th St, 305-856-0080.
- Solar / inverter / generator retail store: Sun Electronics, 511 Venetian Causeway, on mainland at
west end of Venetian Causeway.
- Fuel: Sealine marina, just north of Venetian Causeway.
- Walmart: 8425 NW 13th Terrace Miami FL 33126;
3 miles inland;
2 blks NE of 836 and 973 (Galloway Rd) intersection.
From South Beach dinghy dock: take "A" bus east to Washington+Lincoln,
then take "Flagler Max - 137th Ave" bus south/west to Flagler Street/NW 79th Ave,
then take 87 - "Okeechobee" bus north to NW 84th Ave/13th St.
- Walmart Supercenter: 9300 NW 77th Ave Hialeah Gardens FL 33016;
10 miles inland;
just N of intersection of 27 and 826;
near W 39th St and W 18th Ave, at W end of W 39th St.
From South Beach dinghy dock: take "A" bus east to Washington+Lincoln,
then take "S" bus - "Downtown Miami" south to Downtown Bus Terminal (SW 1st St / 1st Ave),
then walk 2 blocks north to "Government Center" Metrorail station,
then take Metrorail north/west to Palmetto station,
then take "Hialeah Gardens Connection - NW 186th St" bus or "Okeechobee
Connection - Medly" bus north/west to Walmart.
- Winn-Dixie supermarket: NW 12th Ave / 11th St
From South Beach dinghy dock: take "A" bus west to Omni Bus Terminal,
then take "M - Civic Center" bus west to NW 12th Ave / 14th St,
then walk south 3 blocks.
[Or can take "M - Civic Center" bus south from 17th St / Alton Rd.]
- Radiator (heat-exchanger) repair shop: Placetas Radiator Svc, 2500 SW 8th St, 305-854-5575.
From South Beach dinghy dock: take "A" bus west to Omni Terminal,
then take "K" bus south to Flagler Ave + Miami Ave,
then "8" bus south/west to SW 7th St and 25th Ave.
- Home Depot: ??? and about 25th Ave ?
- East side / South Beach / Miami Beach:
- Dinghy into Collins Canal along Dade Blvd; tie up to concrete canal walls. Always lock dinghy.
- Lots of theft: always lock dinghy/outboard; always lock the boat; always lock bike.
- Visitor's Center: on Meridian Ave just S of Dade Blvd, about 6 blocks ENE of dinghy-canal area; MTWRF 9-6 SS 10-4; 305-672-1270; tourism hotline 305-673-7400.
- Library on N end (big): Miami Beach branch, 2100 Collins Ave at 21st St, 1 block from beach, near Dade Blvd, MTWR 9:30-9 FS 9:30-6.
- Library on S end (small): South Shore branch, 225 Washington Ave near 2nd St, MTWRS 9:30-6, closed F and Sun.
- New Publix supermarket: 1920 West Ave, 2 blocks N of Dade Blvd, near Sunset Harbor Marina.
- Old Publix supermarket: 1045 Dade Blvd at Michigan Ave.
Can dinghy well up Collins Canal to get close to it; lock dinghy to cable on ground between trees.
At low tide, watch out for submerged concrete chunks and other obstacles.
- Maxwell's grocery store: 1600 Lenox Av; 1 blk E of Alton Rd and 16th St; small.
- Epicure Market: 1656 Alton Rd.
- Wild Oats natural foods market: on Alton Rd at 10th St.
- Eckerd's: on Alton Rd near 14th St.
- Office Depot: 1771 West Ave, on Dade Blvd.
- Local shuttle: runs from 17th St and Alton Rd, down 17th to Washington,
then down Washington to south end; MTWRFS 8AM-1AM Sun 10AM-1AM; 25 cents.
- Bus schedules and route maps: available at north library.
- Bus to mainland: route "A" bus runs from 17th St down Venetian Causeway
to Omni Bus Terminal; MTWRFSS about 6AM-7PM,
every 20 minutes on weekdays and every 40 minutes on weekends; $1.25.
- Bus to airport: from dinghy dock,
take "A" bus east to Washington Ave / Lincoln Rd,
then take "C" bus - "Mount Sinai" north to 41st St / Pinetree Dr,
then take "J" bus - "Douglas Rd" west to airport (stop is on Lower Level).
- Botanical Gardens: on Convention Center Drive 1 block S of Dade Blvd.
- Bass Museum of Art: Park Ave at 21st St, behind library; $12; TWRFS 10-5 Sun 11-5.
- Wolfsonian art museum: 1001 Washington Ave; $5; MTFS 11-6 R 11-9 Sun 12-5.
- Art Deco Welcome Center: 10th St and Ocean Dr.
- Marine store: Hopkins-Carter,
in Miami Beach Marina (300 Alton Rd); 305-534-0300.
Good stock, and will order for you.
- Hardware store: South Beach Hardgoods / Ace Hardware at 1668 Alton Rd, just N of Epicure.
- Hardware store (more for wholesale/contractors):
American Plumbing and Electrical Supply, 1735 Alton Rd, 1/2 blk S of Dade Blvd.
- Auto parts store: 1531 Alton Rd near Firestone store; MTWRFSS 8AM-9PM.
- Radio Shack: 1610 Washington Rd.
- Thrift store: 1435 Alton Rd, about 1/2 block S of Chevron station; very hard to see.
- Another thrift store: 1251 Washington Rd.
- Small Dollar store: on Washington Rd near 14th.
- Hospital: at 6th St and Alton Rd.
- Dentists: Miami Beach Dental Institute, 305-672-2847.
Bayside Dental: 1688 Meridian Ave #414, 305-534-7338.
- Water: tap at fishing-cleaning station, just north of police dock north
of Venetian Causeway / Dade Blvd bridge at entrance to Collins Canal.
- Fuel: fuel dock in Miami Beach Marina.
Chevron station at 15th St and Alton Rd.
- Used oil disposal: in Miami Beach Marina; $1/gallon.
Also at Advance Auto Parts, 1531 Alton Rd; free.
- Garbage: cans on street corners.
- Receive packages: c/o Arbona Co, 1300 Lincoln Rd, C1B, Miami Beach FL 33139, 305-534-2006.
Very close to dinghy-dock area. $1 for each package received.
- Opening bridge is "Venetian Causeway East" bridge, VHF 9.
- Sunset Harbor "marina": NW corner, just N of Dade Blvd / Venetian Causeway.
Just condo docks; no fuel dock or other facilities.
- Miami Beach Marina: SW corner, just S of 5th St / MacArthur Causeway; 300 Alton Rd.
Good marine store (Hopkins-Carter);
dive shop; small book exchange in dockmaster's office; fuel dock.
Really no dinghy dockage (they want an exorbitant charge; can land briefly to go to store).
- "Brazilian" beach: 3rd St and Ocean Dr.
- Cheap restaurant: La Galleria on Collins just south of Lincoln: $5 for any entree MTWR 2-6.
- Art co-op galleries: Art Center on Lincoln just west of Meridian.
- More gorgeous women in this town than I've seen anywhere else !
- Biscayne Bay and the Keys.
See my Florida Keys page
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