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Florida Keys Boating w/ FBC

Guest Contributor

As members of Freedom Boat Club, we often get to travel and explore new places without having to tow or rent a boat. One of our favorite places is Islamorada, about an hour south of Miami. There is a Freedom Boat Club located just before the Snake Creek bridge, north of Key Marathon. With a crushed shell parking lot, and about ten center consoles, this is a real hidden gem! 









Leaving the FBC docks on a small lagoon, you pass by the USCG station and turn out under the A1A bridge and into the Atlantic. A few miles from the bridge is the Alligator Reef Light. This is an excellent place for snorkeling or diving. The wildlife seems to congregate around the light, including massive sea turtles and tropical fish. The water is so crystal clear it almost looks like a movie! There is a small (but famous) sandbar which the FBC staff can guide you to out in the ocean, complete with vender boats and even live music. 

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Just north of the Snake Creek is "Treasure Harbor." Follow your Navionics and keep a sharp lookout for all the Manatees which enjoy this inlet. They will be easy to spot, but just be careful. Unlike the Crystal River, I would not recommend swimming with these manatees in Treasure Harbor. Crystal River has plenty of room and tall seagrass, where this harbor has more of a rock bottom.

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South of the Snake Creek Bridge is the famous "Bud & Mary's Marina." Use extreme caution coming in as it can be shallow. Here is a video of getting in/out of Bud & Mary's. When you finish sightseeing, cruise back towards the Snake Creek Bridge, and on the south side will be the Island Grill. Free boat docking and excellent food. They even have live entertainment on weekends! 


If you are looking for more of a ecological tour with mangroves, head west from the Snake Creek Bridge and over towards Mile Marker 88 bar and grill. Here there is plenty of dock space and it is deep enough for some larger vessels. And the fresh fish is something out of a Hemingway novel! The grouper was fantastic! This is also a dog friendly place, so bring Fido. 

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When you are done for the day, don't forget to give the Coast Guard a friendly hello on the way back to the FBC docks. Here is a video we took about returning the boats to Freedom Boat Club Islamorada. PRO TIP: If the FBC reservation system tells you that this club (or any) has hit its reciprocal limit, simply "waitlist" and call the club directly. We have always gotten a boat by calling, including Chicago, Miami, and  Boston!  



Guest Contributor

Thank you for sharing this. Great insight and tips. I’ll be referencing it on my next trip south to the Keys.