Best Places to Ride PWCs in Florida
Because Florida is a coastal state, you have a choice between riding your personal watercraft (PWC) on ocean saltwater or the freshwater found in Florida’s lakes and rivers. Each location comes with its own considerations. For example, when navigating your PWC on coastal waters, you must be more vigilant about rip currents and large waves. Alternatively, because bodies of freshwater are smaller than the ocean, there is typically less space, so being aware of your surroundings at all times is essential.
No matter your preference, Florida has plenty of beaches, islands, lakes, and rivers for you to enjoy all year long. These are the best places to Jet Ski in Florida:
1. Cocoa Beach
If you’re making the journey to Orlando anytime soon, you’re probably wondering which of the local beaches you should visit with your PWC. One of the best places to Jet Ski in Orlando is Cocoa Beach, a nearly six-mile stretch of sand and surf.
This part of the coast is a popular hangout, thanks to the 800-foot Cocoa Beach Pier, a fishing and tourism hotspot. Enjoy the views of this historic structure from the comfort and solitude of your PWC. As you make your way through the waves, head for Port Canaveral, which offers plenty of recreational activities.
With nearly three dozen boat ramps in the area, spanning across the north, central and south Brevard County, launching from Cocoa Beach is easy.
2. Marco Island
If you’re looking for a picturesque Gulf beach, you’ll feel at home among the white sands and crystal waters of Marco Island. Located just a few miles from Naples, Marco Island is a barrier island known for its water-based recreational opportunities. When you ride your PWC or jet ski here, you’ll join leagues of parasailers, kayakers, paddlers, sightseers, boaters, and anglers who frequent the island.
Many people use their PWC to travel from Marco Island to nearby Keewaydin Island — a hidden gem beloved by locals. Keewaydin is only accessible via water, and it’s well worth the journey. Depending on the time of year, you’ll either find a private stretch of uninhabited coastline or an energetic party destination with music and floating foodservice boats.
Wherever you choose to explore near Marco Island, there are a few launches to choose from. Some of the most convenient include:
- Caxambas Park: This two-lane public launch at South Collier Court has a concession stand, where you can fuel up before heading out.
- Collier Boulevard Boating Park: Located near Marco Island Bridge on Collier Boulevard, this public launch has ample parking.
- Calusa Island Marina: This Angler Drive marina has a public boat launch on-site. Should your PWC need a quick fix, they also provide some basic marine services, including repairs, detailing, and rigging.
3. Tampa Bay
Jet Skiing in Tampa Bay, FL, is a favorite among PWC owners because it provides easy boat access to many different islands, which offers endless entertainment in between waves.
You can’t afford to miss Caladesi Island State Park. The island is only accessible via water, making it the perfect destination when you set out on your PWC. Caladesi is a natural paradise, thanks to its untouched wildlife and pristine coastline. Other popular island destinations in Tampa are Beer Can Island, Shell Key, Anclote Key, and One Tree Island.
There are dozens of public boat ramps located all around the Bay area, so consult a map to find one close to you.
4. Lake Weir
If you prefer the gentle waters of a freshwater lake, Lake Weir in Marion County has a lot to offer. The lake is just over 5,600 acres, and there are two parts: Lake Weir and Little Lake Weir. Little Lake Weir refers to the southwest lobe.
While many PWC owners love Lake Weir for its proximity to popular tourist attractions, like Disney and Orlando, others are drawn to it because of Ocala National Forest. The forest spans almost 383,000 total acres of hanging moss, woods, and Florida wildlife. Lake Weir is one of 600 lakes, rivers and streams found in Ocala.
For a relaxing day on beautiful waters, launch your PWC from the public Hope Boat Ramp on SE 115 Avenue.
5. Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay is a large, shallow estuary on the southeast coast of Florida. The water here flows directly from the Florida Everglades. Home to the Port of Miami — one of the world’s largest ocean ports — the bay is also home to more than 400 square miles of marine ecosystem. While you journey across currents on your PWC, expect to encounter fish, birds and several types of seagrass. Just be careful not to anchor your vessel in or near one of the coral reefs.
See for yourself why many consider it one of the best places to Jet Ski in Miami and the surrounding areas. To launch your PWC, visit any of the following marinas:
- Herbert Hoover Marina at Homestead Bayfront Park
- Black Point Park and Marina
- Matheson Hammock Marina in Miami
- Crandon Marina on Key Biscayne
6. St. John’s River
The St. John’s River near the city of Deltona is the longest river in Florida and the longest north-flowing river in the United States. The waters here are naturally slow, but they are moved by the tidal influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, expect to see both freshwater and saltwater marine life, including blue crabs, manatees, and manta rays.
Like Lake Weir, many boaters bring their vessels to St. John’s River for unparalleled views of Ocala National Forest. It’s also an excellent place to challenge yourself if you enjoy the thrill of navigating narrow, remote channels.
Public launch points to St. Johns River include:
7. Lake Okeechobee
Are you looking for a wide-open freshwater destination for your next trip? Check out Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest freshwater lake and the eighth largest lake in the United States. It connects to both of Florida’s coasts via the Okeechobee Waterway.
Its enormous size is what earned it the name Okeechobee, which means “big water” in Seminole Indian. Located near Palm Beach County, the lake has a surface area of 730 square miles and is an integral part of the Greater Everglades. Many describe it as the “liquid heart” of Florida for this reason, and because it’s located in the center of the state.
There are more than a dozen boat launches near Okeechobee, including several marinas and recreational parks.
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With so many adventures waiting for you and your PWC, you need a port system that can withstand anything. A PWC Port from EZ Dock is the ideal solution for the PWC owner seeking a durable, maintenance-free dock. We designed our PWC Ports with durable polyethylene and built-in adaptive rollers to make caring for, parking, and launching your PWC a breeze.
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