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Miami Florida

Things to do on the Water

Best ways to play along, above or beneath the waves

This is a city closely bound up with the sea it sits besides, and no doubt it's also those waters and miles of sand beaches that draw many to it. You can get out on the water in a variety of ways in proximity to the city shores, whether it be jet skiing in Biscayne Bay or sailing Miami Harbor. On practically every beach you visit, you will find concessions operating water skiing; the leading beachfront hotels along Collins Avenue offer parasailing lessons, and many have jetski, windsurfing and other sport. If you are staying at a beachfront property, check ahead with your hotel concierge about available activities on their stretch of beach, or nearby operators that you can contact to reserve equipment or sessions from.

Different locations in and around Miami produce some very different conditions for water sport. Windsurfing, for instance: Biscayne Bay off Rickenbacker Causeway has winds that usually blow side-onshore, and the water stays fairly shallow, allowing even a beginner to walk his way back to shore if necessary. If you want to go further afield, however, continue toward Key Biscayne and spots like Hobie Beach, where operators like Sailboards Miami can provide you a two-hour lesson if you are new to the sport for about $70. After that, you can rent your own board by the hour. The drive down toward Key Biscayne is itself an experience as you gain a fantastic view of Miami's skyline and closer by beneath you, the water's surfaces alive with sailboats of all kinds, jet skiers, or just people fishing from the boats. The biggest collection of rental outlets for jet skis are to be found at Virginia Key on the way to Key Biscayne.

A focal point for water action of all kinds on the Key is at Crandon Park: this two-mile long public beach also has its own full service-marina and restaurants a short drive from the beach. Not surprisingly, since the city itself is also an easy drive, many people make a day of coming to this lovely but accessible area. The Park is also a launching spot for some of the kayaking and snorkeling outings organized by Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department through its eco-adventure program. On some of these naturalist-guided trips, you kayak out to various underwater preserves and wreck sites off the Key and snorkel off to explore the diverse marine life that populates the dense sea grass beds, sand flats and wreckage; local inhabitants you might observe hereabout range from Spotted Leopard Rays to a Bottle-nosed Dolphins, soft corals, sponges, damsel fish to enormous Pufferfish, and Gray Angelfish. Other kayak and snorkeling expeditions you can do hereabouts will take you into fossilized mangrove reef areas formed by petrified black mangroves over 1500 years ago, or into the artificial reefs that have been created offshore to preserve and enhance the marine eco-systems. Check ahead to book for these easy to moderate adventures.

So you're up for some deeper and lengthier underwater exploration? The scuba diving opportunities are also plentiful around Miami waters, thanks in large part to the profusion of man-made reefs. Various dive shops around town can get you out on organized weekend dives to the 10 designated offshore artificial reef sites, along with explorations of some offshore wreck sites. Actually, the Miami region has one of the largest artificial-reef programs in the world in addition to the natural sites. Fish flock to the more than thirty ships, tanks, concrete, limestone and other structures which have been sunk over the past 20 years off Miami's coast, as far south as Florida City and north to Sunny Isles Beach. Most are located just a few miles offshore, in less than 130 feet of water, providing great diving for all levels. One of the most popular routes is the Wreck Trek, located off Miami Beach, just north of the Art Deco District. Here, divers can explore the 85-foot tug Patricia, the 100-foot steel fishing vessel Miss Karline, and an old radio antenna welded into 19 pyramids.

Getting you on your way to either dive, surf, or windsurf adventure are plenty of well-equipped private operators around the city and its outer areas. South Beach Divers, for instance, is a renowned PADI Five Star facility located in the heart of South Beach and within walking distance to most hotels; this small but full-service shop provides diving gear and instruction from which you can easily receive your certification over the course of a weekend. They've also begun to cater extensively to the surfing crowd, with a full range of all the top surfboards and accessories; they offer surf lessons as well and there's even a 24 hour surf report that is updated daily. If you already a die hard surfer able to take off on your own, you will find that while this coastal area of south Florida does not have the powerful waves and cross-currents to match those along the Pacific coast, there are still some respectable surfing conditions out there. Head just north of Miami Beach, where the swells at Haulover Beach and South Pointe Beach are the largest and most popular. A little closer to the city, some windy days can see five to seven foot waves roll in off the beach between First and Third Streets in the South Beach more > >


Black Point Marina
24775 SW 87th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33032

Crandon Park Marina
4000 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, Florida 33149

Dinner Key Marina
3400 Pan American Drive
Coconut Grove, Florida 33133

Matheson Hammock Marina
9610 Old Cutler Road
Miami, Florida 33156

Bayside Marketplace
401 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, Florida 33132

Miami Beach Marina
300 Alton Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Pelican Harbor Marina
1275 NE 79th Street Causeway
North Bay Village, Florida 33138

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