Miami boating itinerary

Top 3 Miami Boating Itineraries to Try

Written by Boatsetter Team
February 2, 2024

Our Miami boating itinerary gives you a full breakdown of what to do, things to do, top boat types, including three hour-by-hour itineraries full of memorable moments.  

Top boats for your Miami boat day

Pontoon: Renting a pontoon boat in Miami allows you to explore the city’s coastal beauty and iconic landmarks in ultimate comfort. Pontoons are ideal for families with small kids and medium-sized groups, offering a stable and spacious platform that ensures a safe and enjoyable boating experience for all.

Bowrider: Renting a bowrider boat in Miami is perfect for towing and water sports or cruising with friends and family. With ample seating at the bow and stern, these boats create a dynamic setting for Miami boating adventure.

Deck boat: Renting a deck boat in Miami is a great choice for a day cruise among friends. Its design makes for ample room for relaxing. Not to mention, this boat’s versatility makes so much possible — towing, fishing, partying, and more!

Places to explore by boat

Miami boating itinerary

Biscayne Bay

Nestled between the dazzling Miami skyline and the lush, tropical flora of Key Biscayne, this picturesque bay is an on-water playground for explorers. Cruise along the gentle waters, soaking in breathtaking views of towering skyscrapers and only-in-Miami architecture. Glide past the celebrity mansions on Star Island, or drop your anchor at a secluded cove or lively sandbars.

Stiltsville

Stiltsville has a colorful history that dates back to the 1930s, when “Crawfish Eddie Walker” built the first shack on stilts above the water. Later expanded to 27 residential and commercial structures and a hotbed for illegal gambling and rum running. While only 7 stilts remain, Stiltsville continues to be a popular destination for visitors. Head out to the Atlantic Ocean to see “The Shacks” and get to know about Old Miami Legends. This historic landmark set on sea is only accessible by boat.

Elliott Key

This tropical haven boasts pristine white sandy beaches, lush mangrove forests, and coral reefs, offering an escape into nature. Dock at Elliott Key for scenic trails through hardwood hammocks, paddling through winding mangrove creeks, or simply relaxing on the sun-drenched shores. And if you’re looking for adventure, there are two nearby snorkeling hotspots, the Mandalay Wreck and Erl King Wreck, to explore.

For additional hot spots to explore, check out 9 Best Places to Go Boating in Miami.

Things to do on the water

  Miami boating itinerary  

Sandbar hopping

Anchor down, or raft-up, at one of Miami’s popular boating spots, Nixon Beach Sandbar (near Key Biscayne). Relax in shallow, clear waters and enjoy the  stunning views of the Miami skyline. Looking for a party? Headover to Haulover Sandbar, nestled in the northern part of Biscayne Bay, for good music and people.

Celebrity homes cruise

Who wouldn’t love a daydream boat tour with views of your favorite celebrities’ homes? From the mansions on Star Island to high-rise condos in South Beach, Miami is teeming with star-studded homes. Hop on a boat rental to see Rosie O’Donnell’s home, Shaq’s, Sylvester Stallone’s, and others! 

Fishing excursions

Cast a line into the deep blue and reel in prized catches like sailfish, mahi-mahi, and snapper, alongside sport anglers from around the world. If inshore fishing is more your thing, cruise to Biscayne Bay, where the hunt for snook, tarpon, and bonefish promises an exciting challenge.

Itinerary #1: Sandbar hopping & picnic on board

Use this hour-by-hour breakdown as a customizable itinerary to plan your next boat day. Looking for more to do on the water? Our boat owners and captains are also local experts, ask them for recommendations!  

Hour 1: Cruise out to Haulover Sandbar

Haulover Sandbar (west of the Haulover Beach Marina) is located in shallow water by the ocean inlet named Bakers Haulover Inlet. This sandbar is easy to get to and a crowd favorite. That said, you can expect to see people canoeing, jet skiing, and boating. Near it is Haulover Beach and Bal Harbour, both great areas to explore. 

Hour 2: Swimming, sunbathing & raft-up fun

Enjoy a refreshing swim or sunbathing on the deck or floating mat of your boat at Haulover Sandbar. If you make boating buds while here, you can also “raft-up” or tie up your boats to stay together. 

Hour 3: Lunchtime on board 

Nothing like a good ole picnic to recharge your batteries for more on-water fun. You can pack sandwiches or order from one of Haulover’s food-boats (think food truck but on the water!) where you find burgers, seafood, desserts, snacks, and drinks. 

Hour 4: Catch the sunset & meet-up with Owner 

Give yourself the perfect ending to a perfect day by watching the sunset at Haulover Sandbar. Head back to the dock to checkout with the Owner.

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Itinerary #2: Celebrity Homes, Downtown, & Dock ‘n’ Dine  

Use this hour-by-hour breakdown as a customizable itinerary to plan your next boat day. Looking for more to do on the water? Our boat owners and captains are also local experts, ask them for recommendations!

Hour 1: Celebrity homes cruise 

Miami isn’t just a trending vacation destination, it’s the home of actors and actresses, athletes, singers, and reality TV celebs. Climb aboard a boat and cruise Biscayne Bay to catch the dreamy mansions (and yachts) of celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and many more.

Hour 2: Flagler Memorial Island 

Flagler Memorial Island, which sits right next South Beach, is a small yet historically significant destination only accessible by boat. While here, you and your crew will enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding waters and the Miami skyline. And, get to see the Memorial Monument, dedicated to Henry Flagler, a key figure in the development of Florida’s East Coast.

Hour 3: Dock ‘n’ dine at The Rusty Pelican 

Head over to The Rusty Pelican for a dock ‘n’ dine experience at one of Miami’s most incredible seafood restaurants. This upscale diner serves all things delish — oysters, crab cakes, fish tacos, sushi, and much more. If you’re boating in the evening, make sure to ask for outdoor seating and catch the sunset on the patio.

For other dock-and-dine recommendations in Miami, be sure to read 6 Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami to Get to By Boat.

Hour 4: Cruise Downtown & meet-up with the Owner 

Miami is one of the world’s most iconic cities; on the water your view of Miami is all the more amplified. After your meal, cruise around Biscayne Bay to see Miami’s most imaginative architecture — the Perez Art Museum Miami, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. And don’t forget the Miami River where you’ll find the pulse of the city.


Itinerary #3: Boatscape into Tropical Lush

Use this hour-by-hour breakdown as a customizable itinerary to plan your next boat day. Looking for more to do on the water? Our boat owners and captains are also local experts, ask them for recommendations!

Hour 1: Exploring Virginia Key 

Virginia Key is a green haven for Miamians and visitors looking to escape the bustling city. Nature lovers will love Virginia Key for its rich coastal vegetation and precious wildlife. Spend the first hour of your tropical boatscape venturing the Virginia Key Beach Park’s milestrip of paradise. 

Hour 2: Crandon Park

Sitting on the northern end of Key Biscayne is Miami’s beloved Crandon Park. Dock at Crandon Park Marina to explore afoot. This park is known for its peacocks so do expect to cross paths with one while here. Once you’re done cruise to the northside of the park and behold the Fossilized Reef View. There are only one of two fossilized reefs in the entire world.

Hour 3: BBQ at Crandon beach    

Head south to Crandon beach where you can enjoy other funtivities like swimming, volleyball, kayaking, and paddleboarding. If your boat doesn’t have a grill on board, use one of the designated barbecue areas for a seaside feast with the crew.

Hour 4: Cape Florida Lighthouse & Owner meet-up 

End your tropical boatscape on a high note. Cruise around the southern tip of Key Biscayne to catch sight of the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse also known as the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.  

About us 

Boatsetter is the go-to app for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Whatever the adventure, we’ve got a boat for that—Set sail, start the party, go yachting, make your trophy catch, and hone your watersports skills! Download the Boatsetter app (App Store | Google Play). Make sure to follow @boatsetter on Instagram, and tag us in all your boat day pictures for the chance to be featured. 

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