From beautiful beaches to pristine, turquoise waters to colorful coastlines painted in local culture, the Caribbean boasts some of the world’s most majestic vistas—and for Florida boaters, it’s all just a cruise away. 

If you’re day-dreaming about upcoming adventures, you’re not alone! Take a look below as we explore some of the most beautiful, exotic and out-of-this-world destinations to be found in the Caribbean.

Bimini (and the Out Islands)

For Florida travelers, Bimini is the closest bit of the Bahamas to the US mainland—and, as it turns out, one of the most beloved by boaters, too. A historical favorite of many travelers, including notable names like Ernest Hemingway, Bimini is known for its laidback atmosphere, gorgeous waters and out-of-the-way attractions like the fabled Fountain of Youth. You’ll feel as though you stepped into an entirely new, unspoiled slice of the Caribbean, while still being a mere 50 miles from the hustle and bustle of South Florida’s coastal hub. While you’re at Bimini, be sure to dig into favorite foods like conch salad, traditional fish fry and other delicious offerings.

Bimini is one of the Bahamian Out Islands, also known as the Family Islands. They are known as such because they are the heart and soul of the Bahamas, where the majority of local Bahamians live and breathe their exciting island culture, offering a unique back-to-nature experience for travelers who crave an authentic adventure. Enjoy classic Bahamian hospitality, one-of-a-kind ecotourism experiences (like the swimming pigs of Exuma, or the pink sands of Harbour Island), and gorgeous boating opportunities at every turn.

Grand Cay

Over recent years, Grand Cay of the Bahamas has attracted more and more Florida boaters and sport fisherman as it is only a 5-hour trip from West Palm! A trip to Grand Cay is hassle free with access to a customs office. The best attraction on Grand Cay is Rosie’s Place, a full-service marina and famous eatery. Here, you can enjoy cracked conch, lobster tail, and fresh grilled grouper, perfect for fueling up after that scenic Caribbean ride.

Lucaya

Lucaya Beach is one of the most-visited spots of travelers to the Bahamas and for good reason! Soft sand and sparkling blue water are just the beginning of what you’ll experience as you cruise into the resort area. Here, you can enjoy watersports such as snorkeling, parasailing, water skiing, scuba diving, and of course, fishing.

While you’re there soaking up with sun, be sure sure to check out Lucayan National Park where you can strap on some scuba gear and explore one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world! The park also offers plenty of boardwalks to stroll through the mangroves and boasts some of the Grand Bahama’s largest dunes!

Walker’s Cay

This unique spot has been vacant since 2005 due to multiple hurricanes completely wiping the entire island. Many people are thrilled at the reopening of the northernmost island approaching in 2020, just a year away! Anglers can rejoice because this spot is known as a legendary sport fishing site. The islands proximity to Florida is just one of the many reasons many are anticipating its reopening. Not to mention the islands own barrier reef that hosts majestic schools of pompano and amberjack, plus plenty of colorful tropical fish!

Bonus: Bahia Honda

Only have a day or two to enjoy some Caribbean-style cruising? Check out Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys. Though it’s not technically one of the Caribbean Islands, it offers much of the same out-of-the-way charm that its Caribbean counterparts are famous for—brilliant, clear water, white sandy beaches, and a delightful sense of seclusion. It’s the perfect place for snorkeling, long strolls in the sand or simply soaking in the sea breeze, and offers a great back-to-nature complement to travelers who have already experienced Miami’s vibrant big-city culture or Key West’s breezy, party-friendly atmosphere. It’s a slice of the Sunshine State that can hold its own against its Caribbean neighbors, any day!

Options for cruising the Caribbean are about as endless as the islands themselves. From Florida, nearby spots let you chart your own course and enjoy breezy weekend getaways. For farther-out destinations, you may even choose to hire a crew and enjoy the luxury of a hands-free, VIP adventure. Just be sure to gauge your boat size and experience against the extent of your trip to find the perfect option for you.

Of course, if you’ve been dreaming of a new yacht to go with your Caribbean getaway, that’s where we come in. At South Florida Yachts, we’re happy to help you find a vessel with the right size, style and craftsmanship to get you there—and wherever the dream takes you next!

Sun. Vibrant shorelines. An eclectic culture and year-round warmth. There’s nothing better than cruising Florida’s coast—except, maybe, landing one of these photo-worthy catches along the way!

Take a look below as we highlight 10 popular Florida sport fish worth fishing for on your next excursion.

Sailfish

When it comes to sport fish, the sailfish reigns supreme in a number of ways. For starters, it’s the official saltwater fish of the Sunshine State—it graces everything from license plates to t-shirts to our favorite seafood spots’ wall décor. But that’s nothing compared to the actual thrill of spotting one of these whoppers in the wild. Known for a long, spear-like jaw and flared blue dorsal fin, sailfish are typically found offshore. However, during the summer spawning months in Southeast Florida, they may toward shallow inshore spots, where females’ fins can be seen above the water (with male sailfish sure to be nearby).

In addition to its classically cool look—there’s nothing more “Florida” than posing with a prize-worthy sailfish before tossing it back in the water—sailfish are so beloved because they’re fast and up for a fight. With their jumps and bobs, they prove an awe-inspiring sight even before you land the big catch.

Tarpon

Depending on the catch, you might need a few people to help hoist up your tarpon for the photo! This hefty fish can be spotted as a silver flash beneath the surface of shallow-water spots, making it a top choice for anglers fishing the flats. The FWC specifies that this is a catch-and-release fish, so be sure to use barbless, single hooks and heavy tackle that lets you catch the tarpon in a snap (preventing it from getting tired so it can smoothly return to the water). Don’t remove the fish from the water if it’s longer than 40 inches across—slip out of your boat shoes and into the water for the perfect photo. There’s a reason why hands-on anglers love the tarpon, as it really lets them get in the water and enjoy the experience in a close-up, personal way.

Mutton Snapper

The Mutton Snapper is a local favorite. The Mutton Snapper more or less takes over for the Red Snapper in South Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean. On the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Mutton’s are common on the reefs as far north as, roughly, Fort Pierce, but gradually give way to Red Snapper after that. In the Gulf, few Mutton’s are caught north of the Keys, although they turn up now and then in the bags of offshore bottom fishermen all along the Gulf Coast.

Wahoo

One of the ocean’s fastest swimmers, the wahoo is a serious thrill to catch (or try to catch—even if you don’t cruise away victorious, any wahoo encounter is sure to be a good time anyway). Trolling is the best way to catch one of these quick-movers, known best for their long body and shimmery blue and silver stripes that wouldn’t look out of place on a sports car.

Swordfish

A delicacy to bring to the dinner plate, the swordfish are by far the tastiest of the billfish family. Swordfish can be identified by their long flat sword like bills and their elongated rounded bodies. They are found in the canyons right off our coast ranging from 1400-2000 feet of water. Daytime deep dropping, on electric reels, is the most popular way to target this species or people typically use big conventional reels at night. They commonly reach a length of 9ft and can get as big as 14ft weighing 1,500lbs. A catch definitely for the record books and a memory that will last you a lifetime. 

Cobia

A strong, spritely fish, cobia is the ideal catch for anglers who crave a thrilling catch closer to shore. Brown, white and long, cobia can be found inshore—including inlets and bays—where it likes to hang out around buoys, wrecks and pilings. Opt for baits like small fish and live crabs, two of cobia’s preferred snacks, and be sure to bring your catch home. Cobia is regarded for its top-tier white meat that’s as delicious as it is versatile.

Mahi-mahi

Also known as dolphin or dorado, mahi-mahi is known for its one-of-a-kind color—a flash of glittery green and blue makes it a vivid addition to any angling scrapbook or social site where you show off your proudest catches. Look for this unique fish in warm offshore waters, with younger mahi-mahi hanging out among floating seaweed. If one of your crew catches a mahi-mahi, look around for the rest of it school nearby—but be prepared for a workout, as mahi actually means “strong” in Hawaiian, and for good reason! Once all is said and done, mahi-mahi makes for an excellent addition to your Floribbean-style dinner, and is often regarded as the best-tasting sport fish.   

Yellowfin tuna

Another vibrant catch, yellowfin tuna, sports a yellow stripe and finlets for an easy identifier. Almost as impressive as its color is its size, with the Florida yellowfin tuna record weighing in at 240 pounds. You can find this fish offshore, especially near drop-offs, and will want to employ go-to tuna techniques including trolling and chunking, where you toss bait chunks off the side of your boat to work up a frenzy for hungry sport fish nearby.

Grouper

Gag grouper and red grouper are the most common types of grouper seen in Florida, and they share some similar characteristics. In addition to their preferred habitats, which include rocky or muddy bottoms and reefs, both gag and red grouper call for heavy tackle and baits down low. Sure, they may not be quick movers or flashy fighters, but even the challenge of pulling a hefty grouper up from below is a rewarding task of its own.

King mackerel

They don’t call the king mackerel “king” for nothing! While common catches fall around the 20-to-35-inch mark, others have measured up to 72 inches, making the king mackerel an exciting opportunity for adventurous anglers. Bluish silver with a forked tail, you can find king mackerel in both offshore and coastal environments, including next to piers. Come spring, you’ll catch king mackerel moving north from South Florida, so they’re a popular choice for anglers cruising up past Palm Beach and beyond. Opt for, ideally, live baits (including herring, ballyhoo and Spanish sardine) or flashy lures that fall below the surface.

We hope that today’s guide helps inspire your next angling adventure! Now that you know what to look for, find the perfect boat to kick off your journey. We here at South Florida Yachts can help you choose from center consoles, bay boats and everything in between for achieving fishing fun (and much more).