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Boating in Tampa Bay: Best Spots to Anchor Your Boat

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Boating in Tampa Bay is a ‘thing’ if you didn’t know. Our mix of great weather year round and access to open water makes it a perfect recipe for best spots to anchor your boat. From the infamous beer can island to Caladesi State Park we have you covered for where to go and visit first for anchoring your boat and enjoying all that the sunshine state has to offer on a sunny day out.

Check out our master guide below, filled with expert recommendations! 

Kicking off our list of best places to anchor your boat, is hands the infamous Pine Key aka Beer Can Island, this location makes for a great event venue and campground with 11 acres of upland and a privately owned tiki bar that can be rented out for private parties! 

Interesting fact, Beer Can Island is funded entirely by its members who in turn pay dues, donations accepted by visitors and weekly catered events. 

When you visit and donate you are able to support the Beer Can Island community as they  strive to offer you a fun, safe and clean environment for family and friends to enjoy.

Daily hours |10:00AM-8:00PM

📍1 beer can island way Apollo Beach, FL 33572

Another great place to consider anchoring your boat is at Caladesi State Park in Dunedin. 

Caladesi Island State Park is a Florida State Park located across St. Joseph Sound to the west of Dunedin, Florida, and north of Clearwater Beach.

Want to go for a fun day on the water? There’s also a Connection ferry that can get you to Caladesi State Park for a four-hour stay. Ferry fees are $16 per adult, $8 for children ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and younger ride free.

Daily hours | Open 

📍 1 Causeway Blvd Dunedin, FL 34698

Another great spot for anchoring your boat is the Shell Key Preserve. 

Shell key offers more than 1,800-acres of preserve in Tampa Bay.  Making it a  perfect secluded little getaway spot without having to travel far. 

Not to mention, the preserve is an important sanctuary for nesting, wintering, and migrating birds, as well as being a popular fishing and boating area.

Access to Shell Key is limited as an undeveloped barrier island with no facilities and while boaters can pull their boat right up to this island preserve, it is always a good idea to check local tide charts before navigating the shallow waters.

Daily hours | 8:30AM-7:00PM

📍2187 Oceanview Dr, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

📷 One Tree Island

One Tree Island

One Tree Island is a great options for anchoring your boat and enjoying some relaxing time out on the water. 

One Tree Island is a tiny island, only accessible by boat on the inter-coastal east of Sand Key and near Clearwater Beach area. Some visit the island because of those who  organize gatherings or parties, but we suggest that you always keep water safety top of mind whenever traveling on water to anchor your boat. 

Daily Hours | Open 

📍 Clearwater Beach | FL 33767

Weedon Island Sand Bar is viable option for anchoring your boat. This is an expansive 3,190-acre natural area located on Tampa Bay. The coastal system is comprised of aquatic and upland ecosystems and is home to numerous species of  plants and animals.

Did you know that  Indigenous peoples occupied Weedon Island preserve for thousands of years. Today is it a well-known space for birding and fishing.

Daily hours | Open 

📍 Saint Petersburg, FL

In Dunedin and looking for a nice spot to anchor your boat? Look no further than Honeymoon Island. Honeymoon Island  is  a barrier island across St. Joseph’s Sound from Palm Harbor, Ozona, and Crystal Beach. The park is 385 acres in land area with 2,400 acres submerged and 4 miles of beach.

Daily Hours | Open 

📍 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Anchoring your boat at Egmont Key Adventures is definitely a ‘thing’, in fact the area is only accessible by boat. Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has been there since 1858. Pretty cool, right?

In addition to touring the historic sites and trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing and picnicking. Egmont Key is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach.

 

Saturday – Sunday | Closed
Monday- Friday | 9AM-5PM

📍 5500 Marina Dr, Suite 2 Holmes Beach, FL 34217

You will definitely want to add Three Rooker Island to your list of places to anchor your boat. 

Three Rooker Island, is an island in Pinellas County, west of Tarpon Springs, south of Anclote Key and north of Honeymoon Island. I

The island  is accessible only by boat and the shape and size of the Island can often change based on the ocean currents.

Daily Hours | Open 

📍 Pinellas County 

City Island

City Island is a great location to anchor your boat and enjoy the sea breeze, sights and sounds. 

City Island is in Sarasota,  against the backdrop of Sarasota Bay.

Fun fact, hundred years ago, City Island didn’t exist, the land rose up out of the bay in 1926, 58 acres in all, as the byproduct of a dredging project aimed at creating a deep-water harbor to attract larger ships.

 

Daily hours | Open

📍 Sarasota

Naked Island

Last but certainly not least Naked Island is a great place to anchor your boat and no you won’t be greeted by a bunch of naked people. ha ha 

It is one of the nicest sandbars in all of Florida! Naked Island is located between Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key in the mouth of Tampa Bay. The island is a busy place on the weekends due to its “natural” beauty and crystal-clear water.

It’s a built-up sandbar that’s existed in varying forms since the 50’s. Nowadays, the sandbar is designated as a bird sanctuary.  

Sunday | 4PM-6AM

Monday – Wednesday | Closed 

Thursday – Saturday | 4PM-6AM

📍 839 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216

Explore more....

Don’t be shy as you go out to some of the places on our list here be sure to share the fun! It’s so easy, all you have to do is tag us in your insta-worthy  pics from one of these best spots to anchor your boat at @stufftodointampabay on Facebook and Instagram!

We hope you found  this guide helpful !

Let’s stay connected,  Facebook and Instagram!

Aubrey Jackson

Aubrey Jackson

Aubrey is the author of the Stuff to Do in Tampa Bay City Guide. Aubrey lives in the sunshines state of Florida and is a self-proclaimed expert of the Tampa Bay area. As a freelance writer, Aubrey loves to connect with new people, explore new places, and share the amazing stories of it all.

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