Cruise by the busy Port of Miami with its views of cranes loading container ships, and then north along South Beach, the mega-entertainment district famous for its beach, glitzy restaurants, people watching and nightlife. Continue navigating north under the MacArthur Causeway, and you’ll soon realize why you need your camera. Palm Island, Star Island, Hibiscus Island, and the Venetian Islands come into view, offering stunning visions of waterfront mansions belonging to celebrities and millionaires. Other attractions not to be missed in downtown Miami include the American Airlines Arena, the famous Bayside Marketplace with its exclusive shopping and restaurants, and Bayfront Park. Near Brickell Key you’ll cruise by skyscrapers and high rise buildings in the Financial District that help give Miami’s skyline its flair.
Continuing north, enjoy the other sections of Miami Beach including Mid Beach and North Beach, the City of Surfside and Bal Harbor, each offering different attractions, accommodations, and unique views. Don’t miss the Art Deco District.
The more southward entry to Biscayne Bay is under the Rickenbacker Causeway, which connects the mainland and Key Biscayne. Just a short cruise south reveals a breathtaking view of Vizcaya, a retreat built by James Deering in 1916 that is now a national historic landmark and museum. Key Biscayne itself offers Crandon Park and Cape Florida, with plenty of space to anchor, swim and explore. You may also wish to yacht along the Miami Beach coastline from the Atlantic Ocean side for an entirely different view of Florida’s fantastic Miami.
miami river and brickell key
In addition to traveling in your rental yacht past the shipping and maritime businesses lining the river’s edge, you’ll see historic neighborhoods including Overtown, Grove Park, Allapattah, East Little Havana and the Spring Garden Historic District, which in the 1920’s was the most exclusive neighborhood in Miami. Watch carefully as your Miami charter boat winds past other architectural delights, including the Scottish Rite Temple, the William Wagner House – an anti-bellum frontier house which is the oldest known house in Miami-Dade County, and the historic Miami River Inn. Probably the most historic site is found at the mouth of the river – the famous Miami Circle, an archaeological marker of a former Tequesta Indian village.
Eating establishments along the Miami River range from the casual Big Fish or party atmosphere of Finnegan’s on the River, to the more diverse Casablanca Seafood Bar and Grill, Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market and Joe’s Seafood Restaurant. Bijan’s Restaurant is appealing at Fort Dallas. At the mouth of the river across from Miami Circle, secure a riverview seat at Prime Blue Grille.
Linked to Downtown Miami by Brickell Avenue at the mouth of the Miami River is Brickell Key, where you’ll view some of the most upscale residential real estate in the world. A triangular-shaped man-made private island, Brickell Key hosts luxury condominiums for business people who enjoy the proximity to the Financial District of Miami. You’ll be dwarfed in your Miami yacht charter as you look upward at the towering condominiums and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Surrounded by water, Brickell Key adds a fascinating punctuation mark to your Miami River cruise.
But ahhh, the glitzy, indescribable, sunny South Beach! Miami Beach’s famous hot spot has it all – the beautiful people, mouth-watering cuisine, sandy beaches, boutiques galore, and light-up-the-night club scene that entertains until the wee hours of morning. South Beach stretches from the southernmost point of Miami Beach (called South Pointe) north for 23 blocks of attractions to beckon you out of your Miami charter boat . Explore the vibrant Ocean Drive and stop in at The News Café restaurant, or hang out at The Clevelander to loll the afternoon away. Visit Mango’s, Lost Weekend , or check out the South Beach dance club experience. Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road will provide hours of sightseeing, people watching and of course, some of the most exclusive, trendy shops on the planet.
The Art Deco District of South Beach showcases some of the best examples of Streamline Moderne and Art Deco architecture in the world, created from the 1920’s to 1940’s. You may wish to alight from your Miami boat charter to enjoy a walking tour of the clean lined, colorfully banded hotels, houses and other Art Deco buildings. Even the Miami Beach Post office is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another superb marina with amenities galore is the Sunset Harbor Yacht Club located in the heart of South Beach, with its 125 deep water slips as well as a fitness center, Olympic-sized swimming pool, and laundry facilities.
The beach itself is a seven-mile long stretch of opportunity for water sports or sunbathing: clothed, topless or in some areas, totally nude. Beyond the glamour, harbor your Miami yacht charter and don’t miss the cultural offerings of Miami Beach including the Wolfsonian Museum, Holocaust Memorial sculpture garden, the Versace House, and much more.
islands of the rich and famous
Star Island has 35 home sites and is connected to the MacArthur Causeway by Bridge Road. Keep watch from your Miami luxury yacht charter for the homes of Shaquile O’Neal, Gloria Estefan, Will Smith, Madonna, P.Diddy and Sylvester Stallone.
Just to the west is Palm Island, which shows off an impressive coastline of multi-million dollar estates, many restored to their former 1930’s condition. Hibiscus Island, located just north of Palm Island, offers more opportunity to watch for celebrity sightings as you cruise by in your Miami yacht charter.
The Spanish style architecture enhances the views from the water of these exclusive mansions. The island also has an observatory, a private marina, a hotel and some apartment buildings. Will you catch a glimpse of the celebrities who live here, such as Oprah Winfrey, Mel Brooks or Boris Becker?
If your camera lens is not worn out yet from all the photos you’ll capture of gorgeous estates, the final islands nearby are the Venetian Islands. This group of six islands includes Biscayne Island, San Marco Island, San Marino Island, Di Lido Island, Rivo Alto Island and Belle Island. The Venetian Islands are connected to Miami by the Venetian Causeway.
A great place for a picnic stop in this area of Biscayne Bay is Flagler Monument Island, built as a memorial to Henry Flagler in 1920. Enjoy Miami’s beautiful Islands of the Rich and Famous from a luxury charter yacht just right for your celebrity status!
key biscayne and virginia key
Start at the southern part of Key Biscayne, noted for the 500+ acre Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Step off of your Miami rental boat and lounge on this beach, rated as one of the top 15 in America. Don’t miss the Cape Florida Lighthouse built in 1825. Fishing is available, and you may catch sight of wildlife including sea turtles, crocodiles, manatees, butterflies and birds including the peregrine falcon.
Crandon Beach Park, located along the north and eastern part of Key Biscayne, has a three-mile long white sand beach. A popular anchoring point for your rental yacht is the Crandon Park sandbar, good for wading with a tropical beverage in hand. Visit the park’s Family Fun Center and Crandon Gardens. The western side of Crandon Park boasts the Tennis Center for the Sony Ericsson Tennis Tournament, and Crandon Golf Course.
Continue cruising in your Miami rental yacht north to the 82-acre island of Virginia Key. Explore one of the world’s largest collections of marine animals at Miami Seaquarium. Exhibits and shows feature orca whales, dolphins, sharks, sea lions and manatees.
Sail your Miami boat charter over to Virginia Key Beach Park, a small, natural beach listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another interesting site from the water is the graffiti-covered 1960-era Miami Marine Stadium with its impressive cantilevered roof, extensively damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Lastly, be sure to dock your Miami yacht charter at the best known eating establishment on Virginia Key, Jimbo’s Place, known for its informal atmosphere and for serving up smoked fish, beer and fun on the bocce ball court.
As you cruise southward along the mainland coast, you’ll first pass David T. Kennedy Park, and then find a choice place to moor your yacht at Dinner Key Marina. With 582 slips, Dinner Key Marina claims to be Florida’s largest marine facility. Other marinas available in the Coconut Grove area are Grove Harbor Marina in the Dinner Key Basin with 90 slips, and Grove Isle Marina with 111 slips. This boating community also has The Coconut Grove Sailing Club and the Coral Reef Yacht Club, all for the enjoyment of sparkling Biscayne Bay.
Coconut Grove’s personality has been enhanced by musicians, celebrities, artists and writers who have made it their creative haven. The arts are readily displayed for public enjoyment at numerous festivals including the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the Banyan Art Festival, while music lovers will enjoy t he Coconut Grove Food and Music Festival.
Dining in Coconut Grove offers everything from casual to upscale, from French to Italian, Spanish, Mexican or American. Stroll after dinner to enjoy the funky nightlife scene as you discover a quiet jazz bar or the perfect reggae dance spot.
Are you a history buff? Take in the history of the Grove by visiting Villa Vizcaya, a spectacular 1916-era museum that is the former home of International Harvester founder James Deering. Don’t miss The Barnacle Historic State Park, another of Miami’s historic gems, former home to pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe. Peacock Park is also worth a look, and is the site of the first hotel built on the South Florida mainland, the Peacock Inn.
Enjoy the cool, artsy magic of Coconut Grove… a not-to-be-missed stop on your Miami yacht charter vacation.