40 for 40 – Island #13: Crab Island, Destin, Fl

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The Island: Crab Island, Destin, FL 30.3939° N, 86.5050° W

Where: on the north side of Destin Bridge at the entrance to Choctawhatchee Bay

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How: Isn’t the shifting sand and tides so fascinating? Crab island was once an actual island but with shifting sands and erosion, crabs island is now a sandbar with water levels from 1-4ft. The only way to get there is by boat, PWC or if you are feeling extra adventurous maybe a kayak or SUP. (This method is NOT recommended based on the current coming our of the inlet.)

Why: Any island/sandbar that requires a boat ride too and we are ALL IN! We were in the Destin area and looking for a fun day on the water. 

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What: After a short ride aboard the Crab Island Shuttle Boat we dropped an anchor and jumped in the water, and EVERYONE immediately got out! The weather on this day ended up being a bit chilly but by the middle of the trip everyone was in the water enjoying water toys, games, paddle boarding and swimming. There were even some takers for the ice cream boat and the BBQ pontoon boat was a big hit for lunch!

40 for 40 – Island #12: Okaloosa Island, Fl

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The Island: Okaloosa Island, Fl  30.3980° N, 86.5977° W

Where: Between the Florida/Alabama border and Destin in the Florida Panhandle

How: We took a pit stop during our RV tour to stop and play on the massive dunes on this island. 

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Why: We were in awe of the gorgeous white sand dunes that seemed to go on forever. The pictures don’t do it justice, they were huge!

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What: While this island seems to be a great family vacation spot, we were just passing thru. If you plan to stay there are restaurants, adventure parks, dolphin trips and plenty of family friendly adventures!

40 for 40 – Island #11: Perdido Key, Fl

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The Island: Peridido Key, Fl 30.3035° N, 87.4273° W

Where: Florida Panhandle next to the infamous Florida/ Alabama line.

How: We took a break from our typical boating/sailing and decided to rent an RV and run south to the Florida panhandle. 

Why: With a trailer in tow, we camped in Perdido Key and enjoyed all it had to offer. We camped in a state park that offered a playground, lots of outdoor exploring and hiking trails. They also had a beach perfect for swimming and kayaking but it was closed from previous hurricane damage. 

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What: Perdido Key is a perfect mix of action and relaxation. Flora Bama alone has several restaurants, bars, the yacht club (our fave) and several other options all within walking distance. We had the pleasure of experiencing Easter morning church on the beach right in front of Florabama.

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We then hit the yacht club for lunch and watched with envy while boat after boat beached themselves right next to the yacht club stage.

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40 for 40 – Island #10: Snead Island, FL

The Island: Snead Island, Fl 27.5313° N, 82.6200° W

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Where: in the Manatee River in Tampa Bay

How: We anchored for the night in the Manatee River to ride out a storm. We stared at the shore all afternoon and evening as we rocked back and forth in the waves and storm. 

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Why: We had a few minutes the next morning to take the dinghy and explore. We wanted to see the abandoned sailboat and the gorgeous flora on shore that was so close. 

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What: We hopped in the dinghy early that morning and cruised over to an abandoned sailboat that happened to be based in St. Thomas. We don’t know the story but an educated sailors guess would say their anchor drug, they ran aground and were never able to get enough tide to get back afloat. Interestingly, this boat was gone a few months later. After exploring the eerie derelict boat, we headed to a little sand area among the mangroves and trees.

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We were greeted with conches, treasures, flora and a cool path that went deeper onto the island. Wishing we weren’t so strapped for time we waded around in the shells discovering a super cool old liquor bottle, several conches and other cool treasures.

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40 for 40 – Island #9: Lido Key, Fl

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The Island: Lido Key, Fl 27.3121° N, 82.5761° W

Where: In Sarasota Bay, Fl encompassing St. Armand’s Key

How: You can travel from Sarasota or Longboat Key and arrive on Lido Key. A small but gorgeous island boasting white, powdery sand beaches, a few restaurants and plenty of nature to go around. Are you in love with Florida yet? We certainly are. 

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Why: On this trip, honestly, it was just a quick pass thru. This island is definitely on our list to go back and visit and explore more. 

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What: This island has a little bit of everything without having too much of anything. There are parks, great little neighborhoods, a restaurant or two and the whitest most powderyist sand I’ve ever encountered in Florida. The west coast of Florida is amazing in that each few miles you go, you encounter completely different shells, sand and topography. In Love for sure!

40 for 40 – Island #8: St. Armand’s Key, FL

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The Island: St. Armands, Fl 27.3187° N, 82.5767° W

Where: Circular Island in Sarasota Bay, Fl

How: While this little circular island is an island, you can access it by car or private boat. There didn’t appear to be any public docking on this small island. There is, however, a marina very close by on the causeway over to the island.

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Why: We decided to play tourist for the day and had a great time exploring the large variety of shops and restaurants. We especially enjoyed the Tommy Bahama restaurant. 

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What: The “circle” was composed of restaurants, shops and novelties all within a short walk. In the middle of the circle stood statues and many street performers looking to make a dollar or two while sharing their talents with passerbys. The outskirts of the circle were dotted with beautiful Floridian style homes, many with their own dock.

40 for 40 – Island #7: Longboat Key, FL

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The Island: Longboat Key, Fl 27.4125° N, 82.6590° W

Where: Western Florida south of St. Pete and just North of Sarasota

How: Longboat Pass is a gorgeous island in western florida offering resorts, beaches, shopping and plenty of other things to do. 

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Why: We decided to tuck up into Longboat Key Moorings Club to wait out some very windy weather. We fell IN LOVE with this marina and plan to keep our boat there in the future. 

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What: Not only was the marina gorgeous, it had a short, easy albeit skinny channel to get in but then plenty of room to maneuver into our slip. We had a pool within sight, Italian restaurant, a pub, Publix and a golf course. The marina has all the amenities including laundry, ships store, bike rentals and a free taxi to the beach where we were waited on all day on the beach by their fantastic beach service. Even though it was windy we made the best of it and limed, relaxed, provisioned and did laundry until the weather improved.

40 for 40 – Island #6: Jewfish Key, Longboat Pass, FL

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The Island: Jewfish Key, Fl 27.4417° N, 82.6793° W

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Where: Jewfish Key is a small island just inland of Longboat Pass. 

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How: There are very few homes on Jewfish and they are private so you have to arrive by boat. The sandbar just off the western side offers plenty of options for dinghy’s, pontoons or any water vessel that doesn’t require much of a draft. 

 

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Why: While we hadn’t planned to make a stop here, fate had other ideas for us. When our destination anchorage didn’t work out, we anchored next to Jewfish just south of the sandbar at Longboat Pass…and didn’t leave for 2 days. It was THAT good. 

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What: The sunsets were epic and the sandbar plentiful. It only took us a few minutes to get to the sandbar even in our not so fast dinghy. Once there, you were met with gorgeous white sand, bright blue water and an abundance of sea life. We witnessed more than one person walking away with handfuls of sand dollars. While we don’t recommend needing that many, we did love seeing so many in the water as well as crabs and other large whole shells. There are many restaurants nearby on Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island as well as Longboat Pass which offers a perfect opportunity to watch boats going in and out of its VERY skinny opening. 

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40 for 40 – Island #5: Egmont Key, FL

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The Island: Egmont Key, Fl  27.5891° N, 82.7628° W

Where: Egmont is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay in western Florida

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How: Egmont is the last stop before the open ocean and a boat is the only option. While there is a national refuge and plenty to do on the island there is currently no ferry, restrooms or overnight options. 

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Why: Egmont Key has a deep history with the military including an old Navy hospital, a fort which is now in ruins and several lighthouse keeper homes. The island also has a gorgeous brick walk that was part of Fort Dade and its 300 residents that lived on Egmont during the Spanish-American war. The army and its families offered protection for Tampa Bay. There are reports of many turtles on the island but we didn’t run into any on the day we were there. 

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What: We had a nice sail through the bay and anchored on the south side of the beach. It was a nice hold but a long walk to the lighthouse and ruins. I highly recommend taking water and a snack if you plan to walk the whole island. Not a hiker? The white sandy beaches brought plenty of shelling opportunities and all sorts of treasure hunting finds. It felt like a step back in time. I’m so glad we stumbled on this super cool island!

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40 for 40 – Island #4: Lovango Cay, USVI

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Where: An island just N of STJ. www.lovangovi.com

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How: By boat, dinghy or ferry The Lovango Beach Club ferry runs from St. Thomas and St. John to Lovango. The day we arrived we were in a dinghy and it was a bit choppy. We almost didn’t attempt it but changed our minds because it looked too gorgeous to miss. 

Why: Last stop on the dinghy tour! This Beach Club is new and we really wanted to check it out. 

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What: The history of Lovango is rich in culture and legends. Today, there are full time residents PLUS a new fancy resort called Lovango Beach Club. I will admit I’m not a resort type girl but ALL the staff were friendly and welcoming even though our salty sailor attire didn’t match the gorgeous tropical resort decor. We will definitely be back!

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