A Florida Panhandle Boating Guide: Best Destinations Along the Emerald Coast

Written by Boatsetter Team
June 5, 2024

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

It’s no secret that Florida is a boater’s paradise, offering an expansive 1,350 miles of breathtaking coastline. With so many stunning destinations to choose from, planning your next boating adventure can seem overwhelming. If you want to narrow down your options, we invite you to consider the Florida Panhandle.

The Florida Panhandle is a stretch of paradise that extends from Florida’s western border to the easternmost point of the Gulf of Mexico. To help you make the most of your time on the water, we’ve created a Florida Panhandle Boating Guide. From emerald green waters and white sands to marine life and local activities, the Florida Panhandle has something for everyone.


Best Time to Visit the Florida Panhandle

A unique blend of natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, rich history, and laid-back coastal lifestyle mark the Panhandle as a special destination for boaters. Spring and Fall are the best times to boat in the Florida Panhandle due to comfortable weather, calmer waters, and smaller crowds.


Destinations to Visit by Boat in the Florida Panhandle

Between the bustling cities, barrier islands, and secluded coves, the Florida Panhandle has a variety of destinations for boaters.



pensacola boating

Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, home to the Blue Angels, the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, and the Pensacola Museum of Art. When you’re not immersing yourself in local history, you can sail across the bay to Pensacola Beach.

The Pensacola Beach Boardwalk offers a variety of activities including dock & dine options for boaters. Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach is a casual seafood restaurant with colorful décor and outdoor seating. Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar is a great spot to cool off with frozen cocktails and live music.

Explore Pensacola Boat Rentals



destin boating

Nestled along the Emerald Coast, Destin, Florida is known for its pristine white-sand beaches, emerald waters, and exceptional fishing. Whether you’re swimming, snorkeling, or sunbathing, Destin offers a picturesque backdrop for a perfect day on the Gulf.

We recommend sailing over to Crab Island, a popular spot for boaters with floating docks and restaurants serving fresh seafood. If you want to stretch your legs, come ashore and stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk.

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Panama City Beach

panama city beach boating

If you’re looking for a Panhandle destination with activities for everyone, Panama City Beach is a must. Enjoy activities such as Royal Escape Rooms, Dave & Busters, and the iconic Sky Wheel at Pier Park. Various apparel stores and novelty shops make this a great place to find the perfect Panhandle souvenir!

You can immerse yourself in nature and view some of Florida’s famous wildlife when you boat over to Shell Island, an unspoiled barrier island home to dolphins, sea turtles, and shorebirds.

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St. George Island

st george island florida

St. George Island is a hidden gem tucked along the south end of the Apalachicola Bay. We highly recommend exploring the unspoiled beaches of St. George Island, as this barrier island is one of few remaining destinations along the Florida coast that is undeveloped. No high-rise apartments and resorts means you can enjoy a small-town atmosphere set against a backdrop of beautiful beaches and open sky.

Pro Tip: St. George Island has a Dark Sky Certification, meaning it is one of the best locations for star gazing in the Florida Panhandle.


Plan Your Florida Panhandle Boating Trip

Boating in the Florida Panhandle offers endless opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and exploration. Whether you’re cruising along the coastline, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, or dining on fresh seafood, you’ll find something to delight every member of the family. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your sunglasses, and set sail for an unforgettable boating experience in the beautiful Florida Panhandle.

Looking for a boat rental near the Florida Panhandle? Boatsetter has you covered! With a variety of vessels to choose from, you can plan the perfect vacation with ease. Click here to get started.

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