TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

The Sailfish Capital of the World - Stuart, Florida

Where to Dock and Dine

By
Jeanne
Craig

The city of Stuart, set along Florida's renowned Treasure Coast and just north of Palm Beach, is beloved for its historic and pedestrian-friendly downtown. Over the years, it has evolved from a small, quiet fishing village into a bustling boating hub. Even today, many things in the community revolve around fishing (local charter captains will proudly tell you that Stuart is the Sailfish Capital of the World), but there are also enough shops and sights to satisfy those people in your crew who aren't crazy about baiting hooks and dragging lines.

The St. Lucie River runs through and around Stuart, and a stroll along the floating dock known as the Riverwalk is a great way to connect with the energy of the town. There's a big wood platform at one end where concerts are held each Sunday from November through April. Don't miss the many locally owned boutiques, restaurants, galleries and cafes lining quaint Main Street nearby.

Many visitors to the area can't resist a trip or two out onto the St. Lucie River itself. Much of the waterway is blessed with lush, natural beauty if you're lucky, you might even see a manatee.For an even bigger adventure, head to the St. Lucie Inlet Preserve Park, accessible only by boat. Tie up there and mosey along the 3/4-mile boardwalk that meanders from dense mangroves to beach dunes.

There are lots of great places to raft-up, too, including the ever-popular Stuart sandbar in the ICW near Sailfish Point. However, when navigating these waters captains should pay close attention, as there are many tricky shallow areas and shoals.

If you're game for some more exploring, follow the ICW to Manatee Pocket and the historic village of Port Salerno. Situated just south of the St. Lucie Inlet, Manatee Pocket is also known as the Crossroads, as this is where the Intracoastal intersects with the Okeechobee Waterway. It's home to several marinas and boatyards, and there are terrific local restaurants, too.

And, of course, then there's the fishing. The sport is taken very seriously around Stuart, and a large fleet of charter boats offers both inshore and offshore expeditions. Many are docked at Pirate's Cove Marina and specialize in sailfish, marlin, kingfish, wahoo and other pelagic species. And even if you never really liked fishing, you just might get hooked in a town like Stuart.

THE ESSENTIALS: STUART, FL

WHERE TO DOCK

Loggerhead Marina Stuart
(9772-692-4000)
This marina can accommodate vessels up to 120 feet and has a pool, ship store, and Wi-Fi.

Sunset Bay Marina & Anchorage
(772-283-9225)
Sunset Bay is a newly renovated 198-slip marina with a fuel dock and 60 moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

Pirate's Loft
(772-287-2500)
Located at the Pirate's Cove Resort and Marina, devour into the flavorful salads and fresh caught seafood. The 50-slip marina has room for vessels up to 100 feet and fuel.

Sailor's Return
(772-872-7250)
Enjoy sunsets, happy hour an live music at this lively waterfront restaurant located a Sunset Bay Marina. There is 930 feet of courtesy dockage available.

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Visit the Scenic and Historic Kent Island, MD
|

When cruising the Chesapeake Bay and reaching the midsection where the Bay Bridge straddles the Eastern and Western shores, many boaters think of Kent Island as just a convenient stop for fuel and provisions. But taking time to explore this island reveals a lovely destination teeming with an array of amenities and attractions.

Historic Stevensville Cray House | Credit Susan Elnicki Wade

As the largest island in the Bay (nearly 32 square miles), its 157 miles of shoreline offer plenty of places to dock. Most of the restaurants, bars, hotels and commercial activity happens along Route 50, especially around Kent Narrows, the passage spanned by a bridge that delivers guests to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The lower part of the island is home to gracious homes, cornfields and coves where watermen harvest their daily catch.

Terrapin Nature Park, on the northwest section of the island, is home to a 3.2-mile walking trail that presents spectacular views of the Bay Bridge and introduces hikers to woodlands, tidal pools and wildlife. Walkers and bikers relish the flat, easy terrain. A few miles south, Matapeake Park offers a clubhouse, picnic area, woods for shade and a beach with a canine section where the entire crew — including Fido — can take a dip.

Along Route 50, the busy highway that leads to the Delaware beaches, stands an historic marker that declares this land in 1631 became the first English settlement in Maryland and the third oldest in America after Jamestown, VA, and Plymouth, MA. For centuries, the island was home to fishing villages and farms. The walking tour of Stevensville showcases the Victorian architecture in restored houses and train station.

Cascia Vineyards | Credit Susan Elnicki Wade

Modern attractions include some unexpected amenities: two small airports located near marinas and two vineyards (Love Point Vineyards and Cascia Vineyards) on gorgeous waterfront properties. Cult Classic Brewery and Oh My Chocolates round out the secret indulgences.

Take a tour of Paul Reed Smith Guitars that designs instruments for celebrity musicians such as Carlos Santana and John Mayer, putt on smooth greens at Blue Heron Golf Course, or enjoy a seagull’s perspective on Delmarva Balloon Rides.

When all this outdoor fun leaves you wanting a bite or a brew, Kent Island’s restaurants accommodate any whim from the casual Big Owl’s Tiki Bar to the upscale Kent Island Resort. Most are clustered around Kent Narrows; all present stellar sunsets.

WHERE TO DOCK

Bay Bridge Marina
410-643-3162
Conveniently located at the base of the Bay Bridge, this marina accommodates vessels from 30 to 50 feet. Resort-level amenities include fuel, full-service yacht yard, two ship stores, bar and restaurant, swimming pool and more.

Kentmorr Marina
410-643-0029
This angler’s paradise hosts 20 charter boat captains for excursions to hook rockfish, bluefish and other delicacies. Vessels up to 45 feet are welcome, and guests enjoy amenities such as fuel, two fish-cleaning stations, and a restaurant and tiki bar with a view of the bridge.

Piney Narrows Yacht Haven
410-643-6600
The sheltered marina offers 278 open and covered slips for boats up to 67 feet. Pump out is free with fuel purchase, and repair services are on-site. Other amenities: swimming pool, picnic area, boaters’ lounge, nearby restaurants, bars, charter captains and great destinations nearby.

WHERE TO DINE

Amalfi Coast
443-249-3426
Classic coastal Italian cuisine, from fresh insalate to pasta and pizza, gets rave reviews at this cozy eatery in historic downtown Stevensville.

Libbey’s Coastal Kitchen & Cocktails
410-604-0999
Under new management this year, Libbey’s presents spectacular sunsets over the Bay Bridge at its indoor seating and large outdoor deck, while serving a nice sampling of dishes from the land and sea.

Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House & Dirty Dave’s Tiki Bar
410-643-2263
Since 1954, this crab house has impeccably prepared Chesapeake cuisine at a charming marina. The thatched roof tiki bar on the beach creates a kick-back summer vibe.

Harris Crab House
410-827-9500
Family-owned for five generations, this iconic Bay eatery serves regional seafood year-round, featuring local steamed crabs, oysters and fried rockfish. The seafood processing plant next door guarantees freshness with every bite.

Red Eye’s Dock Bar
410-304-2072
This recently expanded hot spot delivers entertainment from the lone acoustic guitarist to six-piece rock bands and the Father’s Day Bikini Contest. Pub food covers the standards with wings, sandwiches, nachos, crab cakes and more.

Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck
410-827-6666
For decades, this traditional crab deck and seafood house has welcomed visitors to Maryland’s Eastern Shore cooking with a fantastic waterfront view and steamed crabs and oysters from the region.

Bridges
410-827-0282
Bridges’ open and breezy design sets a beautiful stage for dining indoors or on its expansive deck. The chef takes a contemporary spin on fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads and pizza, while guests relish spectacular Kent Narrows views.

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Myrtle Beach, SC
|

The Classic Beach Town

Myrtle Beach has come a long way from its first hotel, Seaside Inn, which opened in 1901. Visitors at Seaside would pay a rate of $2 a night, and that included three meals. Now, Myrtle Beach is home to countless hotels and resorts.

The shifting dunes of Myrtle Beach have been home to Spanish colonists, pirates and U.S. military establishments, almost as transient as the seasonal hurricanes. The first inhabitants of the land, the Waccamaw and Winyah people, established the trail that is now Kings Highway, a local route to Savannah and Charleston. The South Carolina coast, also known as the Grand Strand, briefly hosted a Spanish settlement that was the site of the first rebellion by enslaved Africans in North America. Over the next 200 years, the South Carolina coast became a popular pirate hunting ground, most notably home to Blackbeard and Drunken Jack.

The pirates had the right idea. By land, colonizers found the Myrtle Beach area largely inaccessible, so it wasn’t until almost another 200 years that it became a vacation spot. However, by boat, Myrtle Beach is much more approachable.

For 50 years, beginning in the 1940s, Myrtle Beach was used as a military base, first for the U.S. Army Air Corps, then as the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The demolition of the base in the 1990s made way for a shopping hub and town center, the current Market Common. There you find restaurants, shopping, a lake with walking paths and recreational fields. If you’re looking for a meal or more shop- ping after visiting the quirky souvenir shops near the shore, this is the place.

The modern developed ocean front is dotted with hotels, amusement parks and minigolf. Regular sized golfing opportunities are also abundant with many courses to choose from. Myrtle Beach doubles as a family friendly vacation spot and a lively destination for an adult getaway. If you’re with the kids, check out the Ripley’s locations. The aquarium is a crowd pleaser no matter your age. Broadway at the Beach is an entertainment center that caters to all ages with a museum, theater and more.

No matter your fancy, you’ll find something at Myrtle Beach. Make sure your itinerary includes a ride on the SkyWheel and a walk along the pier for amazing views of the South Carolina coast.

WHERE TO DOCK

Grande Dunes Marina
843-913-8530
Centrally located on the ICW, this full-service marina offers 126 wet slips accommodating power or sail up to 120’. The facilities are adjacent to Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, offering deluxe suites, vacation packages and easy access to local attractions.

Osprey Marina
843-215-5353
This secluded marina situated just off the ICW on a private, deepwater channel offers 135 wet slips and 142 indoor dry slips. The fuel dock accommodates vessels up to 90’, and complimentary pump-out services are available.

Harbourgate Marina Club
844-682-4223
This full-service 100-slip marina is located at an upscale resort in North Myrtle Beach. Amenities include a fuel dock, harbor store, plus activities including jetski rentals and dolphin cruises.

WHERE TO DINE

Sea Captain’s House
843-448-8082
Built in 1930, this iconic eatery is known for its stunning view of he water and delicious seafood, but their brunch menu has also become quite popular.

SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar
843-249-8800
Presenting fine dining on the Grand Strand, this upscale restaurant’s menu features contemporary, farm-to-table American dishes, paired with an award-winning wine list.

Fire & Smoke Gastropub
843-449-0085
The pub’s new menu features small plates, seafood and entrees, and brings some of the finer things, like handcrafted cocktails, to a family-friendly dining experience.

Dead Dog Saloon
843-651-0664
Located in Murrels Inlet just south of Myrtle Beach, this casual spot on a waterfront boardwalk dishes up seafood steam pots, fried local catch and meat dishes ranging from wings to BBQ. Come dance to music or watch goats nibble on marsh grasses nearby.

Read More
Newport Beach, CA
|

Beach Time All The Time

If a West Coast trip is on your list, the largest recreational harbor should be at the top. The complex of Newport Beach, CA, is made up of multiple “villages’’ around the bay and farther south down the coast of Orange County. These smaller areas are Balboa Peninsula, Lido Marina Village, Mariner’s Mile, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Newport Center, Newport Coast and The Islands of Newport Harbor.

Balboa Pier | Michael Nyiri

Balboa Peninsula, which separates Newport Bay from the Pacific Ocean, is home to the Wedge, a world-renowned destination for bodysurfing. Thanks to its beautiful weather, water sports are possible year-round. On the other end of Balboa Beach, you’ll find one of two piers on Newport Beach, including Balboa Pier with Balboa Fun Zone just across the street. The Oceanfront Walk on Balboa Peninsula is the quintessential beach trail, ideal for walking, running or biking along the water.

If you’re in the mood for hiking, the Newport area is riddled with trails. For some rugged and stunning views, make the journey to The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve where wildlife and rocky cliffs abound. Nature lovers also have the opportunity at Newport Beach to go whale watching and visit the Environmental Nature Center.

For your shopping pleasure, Fashion Island in Newport Center is a high-end mall serving as a one-stop-shop. Try not to shop until you drop at the mall, as the boutiques, galleries and other shops dispersed throughout the villages, especially at Lido and Balboa Island, are also worth a visit.

Top off your day at the beach with a classic Balboa bar ice cream and find a place to watch the sunset before heading to Corona del Mar as night falls to cozy up at the fire circles.

WHERE TO DOCK

CRC Marinas
With a total of 455 boat slips, upscale amenities and exclusive beachfront access, the Newport Harbor boasts four locations operated by CRC Marinas. From
west to east along Newport’s main channel, you can find Bayshore Marina, Balboa Marina, Villa Cove Marina and Bayside Marina, all with easy access to dining, local attractions and luxury resorts.

WHERE TO DINE

Nobu
949-429-4440
If you’re looking for a dining experience even celebrities would be envious of, reserve a table at the iconic Japanese restaurant for world-class sushi and a stunning view of the Lido Marina.

Tavern House Kitchen & Bar
949-673-8464
Two veteran Orange County restaurateurs, David Wilhelm and Gregg Solomon, offer beautiful meals with a view at this waterside location. Tavern House’s menu is dominated by seafood dishes and comfort food.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
949-720-9925
With an in-house sommelier, your meal will be a perfectly balanced California experience. Steak and fresh seafood, served with a side of live music, is the name of the game at Eddie V’s.

Beachcomber Cafe
at Crystal Cove
949-376-6900
Only steps from the sand this tropical eatery specializes in California fare and has a bar with a thatched roof that compliments cool, summery cocktails.

Read More

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