|Places to sail on the
West Coast of Florida.
This page updated: October 2004
General West Coast of Florida section
Fort Myers Area section
Charlotte Harbor Area section
Tampa Bay Area 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.
General West Coast of Florida
Book: "Cruising Guide to the West Coast of Florida" by Claiborne Young
(on Amazon - paid link)
(doesn't cover Okeechobee Waterway)
Web page of anchorages at Jung Charters (must register to get access)
Sail Miami's "Florida"
FL Sea Grant's maps of anchorages
Subscribe to Claiborne Young's "The Salty Southeast" quarterly free newsletter:
send email containing
just the word "subscribe". Heavily oriented towards marinas and restaurants and ICW,
but has other information too.
Typical Wind Pattern on Florida's West Coast, by Tom Lenfestey Jr.:
During the months January, February and March, the prevailing wind is from the ENE.
With a cold front approaching, the wind will clock (veer) to the SW; at this
point, WATCH OUT. Within 12 to 24 hours the wind will switch suddenly to the NW-NE quadrant
and will blow a good Force 8 for about 48 to 72 hours; the wind will then
drop to Force 3 while shifting around to the ENE.
During the months of March through December, the cycle takes about a week
and does not build up to such force as the cold months. Listen to the weather watch on VHF;
watch the weather; flip a coin.
From the IRBS live-aboard mailing list:
The west coast winds are more variable and light (unreliable) than
on the east coast. Chances of hurricanes are far, far less, however.
The north/south weather in winter seems to divide at Sarasota. The
area clear from Tarpon Springs to the Everglades makes for good
cruising but a 5' or less draft is necessary in many areas.
From Steve Honour on Cruising World message board:
.. a wonderful thing happens after dark on the west coast.
The trades enhance the offshore night wind and fuel the east wind of the night.
Many a cruiser has learned that if you want to make miles up and down the
west coast of Florida in the summer, the best way to do it is to sail at
night. It's cool and breezy with a nice offshore wind.
Stay near shore and you even have a calm sea.
Paraphrased from "Cruising The Easy Way" by Bill Robinson
(on Amazon - paid link):
- Winter: warm and pleasant, but can have fog and cold northers.
- Summer: little wind, lots of heat and humidity, almost daily [afternoon] thunderstorms.
- Spring and Fall: nice.
Spring break: most schools break in the 2nd or 3rd weeks of March.
A few in the 1st or 4th weeks of March.
SailNet - Sue and Larry's "Cruising the Florida Everglades"
From south to north:
- Little Shark River.
I anchored east of red 4: entrance has a spot of 5.5 feet
at low tide, 8+ inside at low tide, moderately strong currents, bad
no-see-ums at dawn and dusk even in early March, bottom seems to be scoured coral,
a dozen other boats anchored.
In calm water, consider anchoring offshore, to avoid the insects.
Don't know why the guidebooks say it's so pretty here; it's okay, but nothing special.
NPR on 91.3.
- Ten Thousand Islands.
Indian Key Pass: good holding, few bugs in wide-open space, dolphins, occasional wakes, NPR on 90.1.
- Marco Island.
Factory Bay anchorage: channels are down the sides, not through the middle.
Lots of space, mixed holding.
As of 5/2006, town enacted an ordinance to limit anchoring to 72 hours, plus another 72 hours
if proof of pump-out is shown. Also, must stay 300 feet or more from docks and shoreline.
Nowhere to get ashore for free, not much of interest ashore anyway.
Can dinghy in to Marco River Marina for free if you don't
stay long and don't leave the property.
Coconut Island anchorage: a bit crowded during the day, very exposed to wind.
NPR: 91.7, 90.1
"Port Royal anchorage" (canal NW of G21, just north of Gordon Pass):
lots of space, good shelter and holding, lots
of expensive houses, nowhere to get ashore.
City harbor: completely filled with slips and city moorings, nowhere to anchor.
In 2005, apparently the dinghy dock and mooring field in the city harbor have
Fort Myers Area
- Fort Myers Beach / Matanzas Pass / Estero Bay.
- In 10/2004, city installed two 35-ball mooring fields
and a turning basin which take all of the anchorage; anchoring no longer allowed.
Must have liability insurance to use moorings.
Run by Salty Sam's marina.
Rates as of 4/2006: $13/night
- City also limits anchoring within 1000 feet of "territorial limits" to 24 hours.
- Anchorage: go to E end of pass (farthest from bridge), past Salty Sam's marina,
and turn left (N) away from Gulf.
- Very hard to anchor past the E end of pass (farthest from bridge): water is
very shallow just outside the channel.
- Lots of boats anchored in Hurricane Bay ?
- Free dinghy dock behind white house about 200 yards E of bridge (dock
will become private soon, when owner dies).
Use only the sides of the dock, not the end.
Always use a stern anchor (there were problems with dinghies
going under the dock and damaging it and themselves).
Bob is the dock owner; Dieter is his son-in-law.
House is at 290 Carolina Ave.
Comes out to 1600 block of Estero Blvd (main street;
numbers increase going E).
- Also can dinghy ashore behind supermarket (and 2 blocks from library):
at SE corner of anchorage, go down canal by R4. Land at end, among mangrove
tree roots; kind of smelly, muddy, tidal and can be very crowded.
Have heard of thefts (mainly of gas tanks) after dark.
- Also can dinghy ashore behind Waffle House:
at SW corner of anchorage, near south end of bridge, go down canal by Matanzas Inn.
Land at end, at seawall with fence on top; no dock, smelly,
and a long step up/down at low tide, but right in the middle of things.
- Also can dinghy ashore at Bonita Bill's restaurant, near mainland
end of bridge.
- Stuff grows on the boat-bottoms very quickly in this harbor, which
is strange because there are relatively few liveaboard boats, and strong
tidal currents. Plan to clean the prop just before leaving.
- Local trolley up and down Estero Blvd: 25 cents.
Very slow westbound because of traffic.
- Busses to Ft Myers: trolley from either end of bridge to
Summerlin Square (7 days a week, 7 AM to 9 PM; winter: free and every 20 to 50 minutes;
summer: 25 cents and every hour),
then route 130 bus (7 AM to 8 PM, MTWRF every hour, Sat every 2 hours, no Sun service, $1)
to Edison Mall in Ft Myers (on Colonial near 41).
Can get route maps at library.
- Water-taxi during winter/spring: Capt Rusty's, 994-9944, $5.
- Airport: taxi $25 to airport, taxi $42 back from airport, or take 50 bus from Summerlin Square.
50 bus schedule is misleading/quirky: bus leaves Summerlin Square, heads away from the airport,
does a loop, then comes right back past the Square 15 minutes later,
outside the Square, with a stop on Summerlin Road.
So even though it might seem the trolley and bus don't connect well,
it might work out. Check with bus company before relying on this !
Tell the trolley driver when you get on, and he might radio ahead to the 50 bus.
- Post Office: 200 Carolina Ave. Ft Myers 33931. If you want to receive
something "general delivery", fill out a card to "register"
with the post office. May be limited to 30 days ?
- UPS deliveries: can receive them by sending to "c/o Print Shop Ink,
1661 Estero Blvd, Suite 3, Ft Myers Beach FL 33931" (next to Post Office).
They'll charge $1 per package. Must pick up within a day or two,
or they'll start charging a per-day storage fee. MTWRF 8-4:30.
- Beach: enter across from Carolina Ave, go west (toward pier) for more activity.
- Medical clinic: on First St, near S end of bridge.
- Library: 2755 Estero Blvd; MW 9-8, TRF 9-5, Sat 9-1. Often
a 2-hour wait for internet in the morning; can sign up for following day.
- No WiFi signals in the middle of the harbor as of 9/2004.
- Nice hardware store: Jay's, on Estero Blvd, 1/2 block E of Carolina Ave.
Looks like a gift shop from the outside.
- Topps supermarket, and liquor store: 2545 Estero Blvd.
- Big produce stand at about 2301 Estero Blvd.
- Some kind of nautical/marine secondhand store at about 2401 Estero Blvd.
Never open ?
- NAPA Auto, and Goodwill store, on San Carlos next to Texaco on mainland.
About 1/2 mile from Bonita Bill's.
- West Marine, Winn-Dixie, Eckerds, barber, dentist (239-466-2888) at Summerlin Square (take trolley).
Albertson's and Dollar Store within a half-mile, diagonally across big intersection.
- KMart: have to take 2 busses down to Bonita Springs.
- Welding/metal shop: Heavy Metal Welding, in Villers Seafood complex,
just W of Ballard's diesel, 941-267-0484, cash only.
- Boatyard/store: Gulf Marine, 100 yards west of Villers Seafood complex.
- Boatyard: Olsen's. Very expensive.
- Outboard and prop service: Hill Marine, next to Coast Guard station, 239-765-8600.
- Gulf Coast Marine Electrical (GCME); Onan dealer.
On mainland, E on Main St, N onto Buttonwood, behind lumber store. MTWRF 8-5.
- Perkins diesel: D&L Diesel, 239-482-6363, 2301 Bruner Lane #B3 33912,
near Andrea Ave somewhere near Fort Myers.
- Fuel, etc:
- Diesel: in harbor, Ballard's Oil, at tall silo with diesel signs all over it; price
changes daily but seems reasonable; cash only.
They won't load into jugs brought by dinghy;
bring the big boat and they will load into tanks and/or jugs.
Diesel also available at Moss Marine, for higher price.
Diesel also available at Fort Myer's Beach Marina just outside bridge on mainland side.
Diesel also available at Salty Sam's, for highest price.
- Water: free at the Carolina Ave dinghy dock, but
a donation would be appreciated.
15 cents/gallon at Salty Sam's marina, even if you buy fuel !
- Garbage: city cans, often at trolley stops; there's one across
Estero Blvd from Carolina Ave. Also cans at beach entrances. Dumpsters
across from supermarket and across from Bonita Bill's.
- Dispose of used motor-oil:
Tank behind Texaco station, beside Napa Auto Parts, on San Carlos Blvd.
Gavin’s Ace Hardware, 6065 San Carlos Blvd, 466-7777, 2-gal limit.
AFA Texaco 6231 Estero Blvd. 463-6843.
Maybe a disposal tank in small shed on side of Viller's seafood building.
Salty Sam's marina will take 2 gallons for $5 !
- Dispose of used coolant/antifreeze:
AFA Texaco 6231 Estero Blvd. 463-6843
- No block ice available anywhere. Cheapest ice at Casey's
drinking club on back side of supermarket ? 10 lbs for $1.25
- Propane tank exchange: Handy Market, about 2101 Estero Blvd ?
- Propane tank refill: Ballard's Oil in harbor.
- Boater's hangout: Bonita Bill's restaurant under mainland end of bridge; has dinghy dock.
- NPR on 90.1
- Local news radio during hurricanes: FM 90.9, FM 96.9, AM 1200, sometimes FM 102.9
- Broadcast TV: one channel with bad antenna, six with good antenna.
- Shrimp parade and festival: mid-March. Parade starts about 10 near library.
- St Patrick's day parade: mid-March. Parade starts at 10:30
at Santini Marina Plaza (E end of island),
ends at Church of the Ascension.
- Offshore power-boat race and air-show: mid-May. Disappointing.
- Sting-rays in the water are a hazard from May to October;
shuffle your feet to avoid stepping on them and being stung.
- In spring, red tide can cause coughing and irritation.
- Spring training baseball (late Feb, most of March):
Boston Red Sox play in downtown Ft Myers (City of Palms Park,
2201 Edison Ave at Broadway,
near M L King Blvd
between 41 and Fowler). 239-334-4700. $9 general admission.
Minnesota Twins play in south edge of Ft Myers (Hammond Stadium,
14100 Six Mile Rd between Daniels Rd and Metro Pkwy).
- Sanibel Causeway bridge.
- St James City.
No good way to dinghy ashore.
Publix supermarket somewhere.
- Cape Coral.
Bimini Basin: dinghy to a small public dock alongside
a park; walk to supermarket and West Marine.
- Ft Myers.
From Michael on Cruising World message board 12/2002:
The city of Fort Myers just opened a mooring field off
The price is OK and you get to use their facilities.
They said they have a dinghy dock for the mooring field.
There is a bridge that you may need to find out the
height of. And it may be farther up the river than
you want to be. There is LOTS to do downtown,
but it is a little short on hardware and food stores,
but there is good bus / trains from there.
From Robert Homan on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
If you are on a sailboat, Ft. Myers has installed a mooring
field across the river from the marina. Powerboats as I understand it
cannot use the mooring field ... something to do with the Manatees and
Manatee Club and the permitting process ...
From George Rubei on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
There is a new mooring field in Fort Myers, run by the City Yacht
Basin ... runs $8/day [plus liveaboard fee ?] ... this gives you dinghy dock in the marina
(reasonably secure), pump out, showers, garbage disposal etc.
The city proper is a short walk from the marina ... mostly bars and
restaurants ... shopping is best done using the county bus system for
Publix and Wal-Mart in North Fort Myers ... West Marine and Boat US are also
available by bus.
Marina is well run, the moorings are new, you'll need your own pennant,
similar to Las Olas in Lauderdale.
From Bob Witte on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
You can anchor in many spots on the river, but you will NOT have much in
the way of dinghy access.
Bridge heights are on the order of 54 feet.
Current rates for moorings at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin:
Daily (1 to 29 days): $8
Yearly: $170 ???
Live Aboard charge on Mooring: $35/month
The Yacht Basin is located at 1300 Lee St Fort Myers Fl 33901.
Phone is (239) 334 8271.
All of the above is from the current rate sheet ... There may be a rate
increase effective 4/1/03.
If you are interested in Ft. Meyers proper, about the only place really close
that I know of is the Municipal Marina next to the bridge (Rt. 41, I think)
It is two blocks from the center of the city. I have stayed there twice and
was very happy with the facility.
- Entrance channel to Ft Myers city mooring field is dicey:
The upstream bridge actually is two parallel bridges, giving
a total of three bridges. The entrance channel is just
downstream of the middle bridge, parallel to it, between it and Lofton Island,
NE of Lofton Island.
Do not go inside the marked channel; go between the red markers and the bridge.
Depth maybe 6 feet at high tide, probably less than 4 feet at low tide.
Call the Ft Myers Yacht Basin for advice before using the channel.
- Manager of city mooring field told me 6/2004 that soon they are going
to require liability insurance to use the moorings.
- Someone told me the city tried to outlaw anchoring
in the river a few years ago (1999 or so), but
anchoring is legal now (2003). I anchored just upstream of the city
mooring field in April 2003. Lots of traffic noise from the bridges.
And can be rough when wind is blowing up or down the river.
- Libraries: 2050 Lee St Ft Myers (near Price about 7 blocks E of 41),
2001 N Tamiami Trail N Fort Myers (on 739 past Bayshore).
- Supermarket about 3 miles away.
- Marine surplus store "Marine Trading Post" on route 41, about a mile west of the river. 1156 N Tamiami Trail, 239-997-5777.
- Edison-Ford Estates:
2350 McGregor Blvd, MTWRFS 9-4 Sun 12-4,
$14. Recommended tour guide: Bea.
- To Lake Okeechobee from the west.
49-foot (up) railroad bridge is on east exit from lake, at Port Mayaca.
Most other bridges are 55 feet; some higher.
Caloosahatchee River from Beautiful Island to Glades Boatyard is
wide enough to anchor just about anywhere in good weather, although there
are some big wakes.
The locks all provide lines hanging from the sides, and usually
there aren't many cleats or bollards so you can't really use
your own lines.
- Beautiful Island railroad bridge: usually open.
- Hansen's marina, up the Orange River (really just a creek).
Supposedly has been sold and will be replaced by condominiums.
- Anchorage: Oxbow loop across from power plant, upstream from Beautiful Island.
Good depths but the bottom is very thin mud; holding is mediocre.
- Franklin Lock.
No cleats in the lock walls; must use hanging lines.
Basin next to it is small, too small to anchor my 44-foot boat.
Some basic slips for low prices. Can land a dinghy.
Free med-moor dock is right at SW corner of bridge; has electric and water.
Motel face-dock on north side was completely full.
I anchored in the north-middle
of the river and dinghied ashore at the boat-ramp on north side, and at the town dock.
Town is south of bridge.
Library next to free med-moor dock; MTWRF 10-5, Sat 10-1, MR 7-9.
$5 for non-resident library card to use internet computers for 30 days.
No Sunday newspapers.
Hardware store, machine shop, barber shops, banks, supermarkets, Dollar store, etc.
U-Save supermarket 1/2 mile south of bridge; very cheap Mexican restaurant at corner of
supermarket's parking lot.
- Port LaBelle Marina.
Maybe 2 miles upstream from LaBelle ?
- Owl Creek marina / yard.
- Ortona marina being planned just downstream of the lock.
- Ortona Lock.
There are a few cleat-like metal loops inset into the lock walls, but you're
better off using the hanging lines.
- Glades Boat Yard.
Large storage area with hundreds of boats; smaller work area with a couple of dozen boats.
DIY-oriented, but they do bottom-painting, have a fiberglass guy, etc.
Nothing else nearby; need a car to get to LaBelle. It's a long way down
a dirt road just to get out to the main highway.
- Moore Haven Lock.
- Moore Haven.
Old canal runs north from junction with lock (to west) and
main channel (to south). Carries 13+ feet for at least a
couple hundred yards, probably for miles. No commercial traffic, but some
high-speed small motorboats. Alligators.
- Liberty Pt.
If heading east, don't miss the turn to starboard at Liberty Pt.
Saw one cruising boat tied to dolphins N of junction,
but otherwise nowhere to anchor.
- The lake itself.
The lake is big; takes a long time to get across.
It's shallow, so it can be rough in strong wind.
Can anchor just about anywhere; anchor will drag slightly,
but there's plenty of room to drag.
NPR is 90.1 on the west side, 91.3 on the east side.
- Port Mayaca railroad bridge.
From Wade Caldwell on SailNet's Gulfstar mailing list:
The highlight of taking "the ditch" was that we got to do the Okeechobee
Limbo! For the uninitiated, this is a wonderful little trick performed
by Billy the magician for passing under the 49 foot RR bridge just past
the Port Mayaca lock on the east side of the lake. He was able to make
our 51-foot clearance pass under the bridge with about eight 55-gallon
plastic barrels, a piece of pvc pipe, two pieces of string and a water
pump. He said the largest mast he has done was 54-4. It was an
experience and worth the $150 price just to watch. ...
I'm told the bridge clearance is 49'3" when the Lake water level is 14.1'.
Charlotte Harbor Area
From bernie on Cruising World message board:
Gasperilla Sound / Boca Grande Pass:
The best mooring and anchorage (in my opinion) is located
just north on the ICW, about a mile north of boca grande pass,
inside the harbor at red "2" off to the west, down the
channel turning to the starboard.
Great anchorage, all med-moor, good holding and some of
the prettiest beaches in the world. Great bike trails, friendly and safe.
Plus you're halfway between Tampa and Naples / Ft Meyers
and you're on charlotte harbor, cabbage, usspoa [Useppa ?]
island and deep water.
Tampa Bay Area
From south to north:
Inlet is hard to see (use GPS), but easy to navigate.
Anchorage is small and surrounded by shoals.
- As of 5/2003, Big Sarasota Pass is considered non-navigable
and markers will be removed soon; New Pass was dredged 4/2003
and should be fine.
- 6/2009: City has decided to install a mooring field and
outlaw anchoring by 8/2009.
- Anchorage is large; some wakes.
- Dinghy ashore to east side of Bayfront park; $2/day to pull
dinghy up on a very shelly beach.
- Downtown is all boutiques: no groceries, no hardware store, etc.
- Library: straight out of park, up Ringling Blvd, left onto Pineapple,
to Main St, library is large building on N side of triangular park.
MTWR 9-9, FS 9-5, Sun 1-5.
- Ringling art museum / mansion / circus museum complex,
and separate car-and-music museum, are 3 to 4 miles north along route 41,
at University Parkway. Ringling complex is open MTWRFSS 10-5; admission $15 ?
- Mote Aquarium
is on peninsula on south side of New Pass.
- NPR: 89.7
- Bradenton (on south side of Manatee River).
Maps at Chamber of Commerce, 222 10th St.
Library near waterfront.
Twin Dolphin marina (dinghy docking not allowed).
Fixed bridge just upstream of town has 41-foot vertical clearance.
Heard 8/2006 that the town has taken over "an anchorage" (don't know where) and
is putting in a mooring field.
- Palmetto (on north side of Manatee River).
Regatta Pointe marina
Supermarket about 1/2 mile from marina.
Fixed bridge just upstream of town has 41-foot vertical clearance.
Boat-ramp at base of fixed bridge.
- St Petersburg.
Very good bus service.
For beach, anchor around SW corner at St Petersburg Beach.
Vinoy Basin: holding is poor. Can land dinghy at beach inside basin.
Maximo's Marina: on SW side of St Pete, from Boca Ciega Bay.
One block to West Marine and Publix.
- Ybor City (Latin quarter).
- Centro Ybor: entertainment center, museum, visitor's center, etc.
- Tampa Museum of Art.
- Busch Gardens.
- Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).
- St Petersburg.
- Library 3 blocks from waterfront, up the main street.
- Bus to supermarket.
- Madiera Beach / Johns Pass.
- Nice (but shallow) anchorage in canal just N of pass, but someone told
me it's limited to a 72-hour stay.
- I anchored east of G13; lots of wakes. Dinghied
ashore to mud-flat and waded from there, into
parking lot of retirement community.
- Publix supermarket on S Ft Harrison St, about 3/4 mile S of bridge, at Turner Ave.
All of this info is pre-hurricane-Ivan.
There is little shelter between Clearwater
and Carrabelle, around the "Big Bend". The consensus seems
to be that a non-stop crossing straight across (say,
Clearwater or Tarpon Springs to/from Carrabelle (Dog Island) or Panama City)
is preferable to hopping along the shore.
A straight crossing leaves you out of VHF radio contact (even with USCG) for a long time.
But shore-hopping exposes you to weather for longer, and there isn't
much assistance along those shores anyway.
Pick weather carefully.
Maptech "compact chartkits" (compact region 8 and full region 16)
are missing charts for St George Sound,
Carrabelle, Apalachicola Bay, St Joseph Bay, and the ICW from Eastpoint to East Bay.
Don't know if Maptech full region 8 covers them.
The information below is enough to enter St George Sound and Carrabelle from the Gulf;
that's pretty straightforward.
Shoals prevent entering St George Sound from the NE, around
the NE end of Dog Island.
NE end of Dog Island approx lat 29.49.8 long 84.34.5
Main inlet (gap between St George Island and Dog island)
approx lat 29.46.0 long 84.39.8 (keep green on W side, red on E side; markers
start SW of gap).
Can anchor off the channel inside the inlet.
Channel to Carrabelle is straightforward, but the markers
are far apart, tidal currents can push you sideways, and don't
mistake shoal markers for channel markers.
Shoals prevent entering Apalachicola Bay from W and SW.
There is a tiny-looking Government Cut on SE side;
don't know the depth and if there are military restrictions;
have heard that the east side of the cut is shoaling, stay on the west side.
Fixed 50-foot bridge may prevent entering the Bay from St George Sound.
ICW: fixed 50-foot bridges cross the ICW in several places: S of Eastpoint between
Apalachicola Bay and St George Sound, mile 295 SE of Panama City,
mile 285 W of St Andrew, mile 223 at Ft Walton Beach (49-foot; chart is wrong).
Also a fixed 48-foot bridge (chart is wrong) between
Destin inlet and the bay (doesn't prevent going from inlet to city harbor, but
inlet is shoaly / local knowledge, and channel into harbor is shifty and 5-foot depth).
No low fixed bridges on the ICW from Pensacola to Mobile to New Orleans.
If you can go under a 50 foot (low tide,
about 52') bridge - The Tyndall/ Du Pont Bridge here in Parker, you can
come [inside] all the way from Apalachicola to Panama City. If you have to have
closer to 65' then you can go from Apalachicola via the GIWW to the Gulf
County Canal and go into St Joseph Bay (great place), and then on the
outside to the Panama City entrance.
Time zone changes from Eastern to Central between Carrabelle and Panama City.
- Carrabelle FL.
- Above town, a 39-foot fixed bridge crosses the river.
- Can anchor in large grassy shoal in the middle of
town if you can tolerate 5-foot depths, and maybe
being aground at low low tide. Stay close to
weeds on side far from channel; shoal
is in the middle of the river, and dry at low tide
near channel markers. Other
than that, not much space to anchor.
Strong tidal currents.
- Dinghy ashore to boat ramp at south end of C-Quarter marina.
Sandy, shelly, lots of dead fish.
- Library in middle of town. Internet access but can't use floppy.
No newspapers at all. Closed Sun and Mon.
- IGA supermarket in north/middle of town.
- Two hardware stores: one next to supermarket, other a couple of blocks S of library.
- Supposedly somewere at S end of town or S out of town: "Boaties" marine store, and a Dollar store.
- Fishing fleet, several marinas and fuel docks, at least one boatyard.
- NPR: 88.9
- Yellow flies in the evening (at least, in May).
- Panama City FL.
- Redfish Pt anchorage: get close in for shallow water;
some swell bends around the point even in W wind.
Smack Bayou anchorage: long-term boats in there; didn't do it myself.
Massalina Bayou anchorage: room for 4 or 5 boats, but it was pretty
full with long-term boats.
- Grand Lagoon anchorage: lots of wakes, especially near state park dock.
Sometimes they enforce anchor-light rules.
Not much of interest ashore, and I got hassled about not paying
an entrance fee.
- Free dinghy dock: inside city marina: go in SE entrance, head to NW corner.
Also could beach dinghy at beach on NW side of city marina.
- City marina is at end of Harrison Ave.
- Library: near city marina: go out of marina on Harrison Ave,
left onto Government St, next to City Hall. MTW 9-8, RFS 9-5, Sun 1-5.
- Marine stores: Boat Works at 4th and Beach (1 block from library; MTWRF 8-5, S 8-12),
Sailor's Supply on Beach at NW end of bridge,
Panama Marine at Jenks and 6th.
- Bus system: $1 to anywhere, stop at Government and Harrison.
- The Junior Museum (kids/science):
1731 Jenks Ave between 15th and 19th Sts; $3; MTWRF 9-4, S 10-4.
Grocery Outlet (supermarket) at Mackenzie and 6th
(about 6 blocks from city marina). 10% surcharge for using credit card,
and they don't tell you about it.
- Walmart, Walmart Superstore: ???
- Used-oil and oil-filter disposal: near free dinghy dock inside city marina.
- NPR: 89.1
- I'd guess that most of the Spring Break stuff happens at
Panama City Beach, which is not close to any anchorage.
Maybe some fun on Shell Island, which is accessible only by boat ?
- Perkins dealer: Panhandle Marine And Fabrication, 1323 Beck Ave.
Five miles from city marina. 850-784-0072.
- Destin FL.
- Inlet is shoaly / local knowledge.
- Channel from inlet to city harbor is shifty and supposedly 5-foot depth.
- Fixed 48-foot (chart is wrong) bridge between inlet/harbor and the bay.
- NPR: 89.1
- Ft Walton Beach FL.
- Fixed 49-foot (chart is wrong) bridge across the ICW. Zero tidal
range in 6/2003.
- Ft Walton landing is on north shore of ICW
about 1/4 mile W of the Brooks street bridge (between R6 and R8). It is right next
to "downtown" Ft Walton and is within walking distance to most anything
you would want.
- Library is 1 block NE of the landing, on Miracle Strip.
- Science Museum right at the landing.
- Publix supermarket is about 3 blocks E of the library, on Miracle Strip.
- NAPA Auto is about 1 block NE of the library, up Ferry St.
- "Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival": early June,
based out of the landing park.
- NPR: 89.1
- Pensacola FL.
- Just west of the inlet: Big Lagoon. Short walk
across the dunes to beautiful beach.
Lots of military plane traffic, including Blue Angels practicing.
- Boat-ramps: just E of N end of bay bridge,
and at entrance to Bayou Chico (approach to ramp very shallow;
comes out on S K St, make right onto Cypress, curves to become S E St).
- Visitor's Center: N end of 3-mile-long bay bridge; 1401 E. Gregory St, E out of town.
- Library: Barcelona and Gregory Sts.
- Small supermarket: about 1 mile from W boat-ramp, at S E St and W Main St.
- Civil War Soldiers Museum: 108 S. Palafox Pl. TWRFS 10-4:30, $5.
- Most museums just E of Palafox St and 2 blocks from waterfront.
- Historic Pensacola Village. MTWRFS 10-4, $6. Includes admission
to Florida State Museum, 330 S Jefferson St, restored City Hall;
- Museum of Commerce: Zaragoza and Tarragona Sts.
- Museum of Industry: next to Museum of Commerce.
- National Museum of Naval Aviation, in NAS Pensacola. 170+ aircraft.
MTWRFSS 9-5, free.
- Fort Barrancas. Hours vary; free.
- Pensacola Historical Museum: 115 E. Zaragoza St, in the Arbona Building.
MTWRFS 10-4:30, $1.
- Historic houses and historic district.
- NPR: 90.7, 88.1, 89.1
- Mobile AL.
See Gulf Coast section of my Inland Rivers in the USA page
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