Trip Idea: Take A Ferry In Florida

When my family first came to Florida, we landed at Tampa Airport, rented a car, went over the causeway and then “took a ferry” across the mouth of Tampa Bay from Saint Augustine to Bradenton.

Today, the “second” Sunshine Skyway bridge has long eliminated the ferry, but you can take some interesting trips – long and short – by ferryboat in Florida.  Some of the craft may resemble more speedboats than the old fashion ferries, but the feeling of a seaward trip is still an exciting addition to a vacation..

People in Southwest Florida (Fort Myers and Marco Island) and Key West share the Key West Express, a three-hour cruise between the three locations. The route skirts the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands.

floridatraveler key west ferry

Blasting Along the Gulf and Fort Myers Beach

Travelers can spend the entire day visiting the sites of Key West or relaxing on some of the best beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.  The jet-powered catamarans ships are large vessels that offer a bar and food galley, flat-screen televisions so you miss no sports, and an open-air sundeck for those who want a tropical tan.

We all know that Miami is the “cruise capital of the world” but it might also be the ferry trip center of the nation.  FRS-Caribbean offers a fast $69 cruise from Miami to nearby Bimini island in the Caribbean.  You can also obtain use of the facilities at the Hilton resort in Bimini.

floridatraveler miami to bimini _frs-caribbean-san-gwann_c575987430

I wouldn’t worry about the waves of the Atlantic for the HSC San Gwann is a 170-foot long 400-passenger catamaran that makes the 50-fifty trip in two hours.     You get seven hours to visit Alice Town to enjoy the beaches and outdoor facilities or else visit some of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite dives and seafood spots.

floridatraveler fisher island ferry

While we are in Miami, I should mention the most exclusive ferry ride in Florida – the short sail from South Beach to Fisher Island on the Fisher Island Club Transportation Ferry Service.

 The bad news is this is a private ferry that will accept you only if you have made hotel reservations or are visiting some of the exclusive island’s famous celebrities or millionaires.  I’ll let you look up the costs of staying here.

The Biscayne Xpress is the water taxi for Miami and Miami Beach and for $30 daily ticket you can spend the entire day cruising from the Bayfront shops to the Hyatt on the Miami River to South Beach and other popular attractions.

floridatraveler miami watertaxi

Florida is dotted with islands which require a ferry ride to visit.  Here in Tampa Bay day-trippers have two great options.  You can ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park to Caladesi Island, the #7 beach in the USA in 2018.

floridatraveler caladesi ferry

During your four hour stay you can hit the warm waters, rent a kayak for a mysterious trip into the interior swamplands, or rest on three miles of pristine beach without sight of the high rises of Clearwater Beach to the south.

Another favorite ferry ride is leaving the huge Fort DeSoto County Park, an attraction of beach and Spanish-War fort in itself, to go to Egmont Key island.  The 25-minute trip puts you at the entrance to Tampa Bay on an island with a 150-year old lighthouse, the ruins of Fort Dade, and other buildings.

floridatraveler egmont key from air

The island is a great place to go shelling, snorkel in clear waters, swim, or explore the interior where huge tortoises roam.  You will note that on weekends Egmont is surrounded by private yachts.  #florida  #trips  #ferry  #vacations


About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as an Emeritus college professor, he moderates the FHIC at
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