Due to population growth, finding good waterfront restaurants for boaters is becoming harder to do in Florida. These are the best ones to visit by boat.
CABBAGE KEY, CHARLOTTE HARBOR
Without a doubt, one of the best waterfront restaurants for boaters is Cabbage Key. Located on its own island in Charlotte Harbor, Cabbage Key is the quintessential “Old Florida” bar/restaurant and, supposedly, was the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. While you’re eating your cheeseburger, don’t forget to wash it down with their legendary “Cabbage Creeper”. Yum!
Guanabanas is a Jupiter landmark. It has plenty of slips to dock your boat and it definitely has the most tropical atmosphere of any restaurant on this list. Whether you visit during lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch, this place is sure to be one of your favorites.
ISLAMORADA FISH COMPANY, ISLAMORADA
Arguably the most iconic and most frequently visited waterfront restaurants for boaters in the Florida Keys is Islamorada Fish Company. While touristy, this excellent restaurant has one of the best atmosphere’s anywhere. Overlooking the Islamorada back country, you can feed huge tarpon, watch amazing sunsets and shop for anything you need for your day on the water. There’s no better feeling than celebrating your arrival in the Keys with a stop to Islamorada Fish Company.
UTIKI BEACH, JUPITER
Located across the street from Guanabanas and overlooking the lighthouse and crystal-clear water of Jupiter Inlet lies UTiki Beach. Utiki is a very popular waterfront restaurant for boaters that has an amazing menu, great bar and is a must-do when visiting Jupiter. The dockage is ample but keep in mind the currents get strong when the tide is flowing.
CAPS ON THE WATER, ST. AUGUSTINE
Just north of downtown St. Augustine and located on the ICW is Caps on the Water. This excellent restaurant has amazing water and marsh views and offers an equally amazing menu. There’s plenty of dock space on its’ floating dock and the waterfront atmosphere is one of the best on the First Coast.
15th STREET FISHERIES, FT. LAUDERDALE
My go to place in Ft. Lauderdale is the 15th Street Fisheries. This sweet waterfront restaurant not only offers fantastic food but also offers fantastic views of some of the most amazing yachts in the world. In addition, this is another great restaurant/marina for hand feeding feeding huge fish.
CLARK’S FISH CAMP, JACKSONVILLE
Located off the St. John’s River on Julington Creek is Clark’s Fish Camp. Clark’s definitely has the most unique atmosphere of any waterfront restaurant on this list. On the outside, Clark’s looks like an Old Florida, riverfront cracker house with boat slips. On the inside it’s an animal lover’s dream (or maybe not). The walls are lined with the most animal mounts I’ve ever seen. In addition, there’s even a live alligator swimming in its own tank. The food is “country style” and is one of the best restaurants to visit in the Jacksonville area.
MILLER’S DOCKSIDE, BOCA GRANDE
Located in my favorite beach town in all of Florida is Miller’s Dockside. This open-aired restaurant is located inside the old “Millers Marina” in downtown Boca Grande. Boaters love this waterfront restaurant and it’s a favorite for sharing fishing tales after a day on the water. Miller’s has its own marina that’s popular with transient boaters so there are plenty of slips to be had. Smaller boats will want to use the lesser-known slips located behind the restaurant on the canal.
MAR VISTA DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT, LONGBOAT KEY
Another “Old Florida” style restaurant with a beautiful waterfront view and boat slips is Mar Vista. Located at the northern end of Longboat Key, Mar Vista was recently renovated and now is a blend of “Old Florida” and Sarasota sophistication. It’s located on a beautiful bayou and is another place that has beautiful water color. The food and drinks here are excellent and it’s an amazing place to visit after a day at the Jewfish Key sandbar.
ISLAND FISH CO, MARATHON
Located in Marathon, Island Fish Co. offers an atmosphere that is very similar to Islamorada Fish Company but without all the flash. This excellent restaurant and bar overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and has some of the best sunsets of any restaurant. The ample dock space, ease of navigation and central location make it a top spot for boaters on the Atlantic or the Gulf.