PLEASE NOTE: This post is intended as a guide to Southwest Florida marinas that accept full-time live aboards. This post focuses on marinas from Port Charlotte and south on the West coast of Florida. We do not post rates and availability since they change all the time. For current slip rates and availability, please contact the marina directly.
A couple years ago when Randy and I first decided we wanted to purchase a trawler and live aboard, we had to first decide what marina we would be based out of. So the search began for live aboard marinas in southwest Florida. One of the main criteria for selecting a marina would be to find one near Bonita Springs, where Randy’s son goes to school. So we began to search online and call a few marinas and we immediately found that there are few if any marinas in the Bonita Springs/Naples area. My best guess as to why so few in these areas has to do with shallow depths not allowing access for larger boats. We found a place or two in Naples where you could purchase a slip, but this wasn’t acceptable since we wanted the freedom to move about if we choose. We ruled out Punta Gorda/North Fort Myers and Marco Island since it was too far, so left us with Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Cape Coral.
My parents have been live a boards for a couple of years now in the Cape Coral Yacht Basin, so this was an option. Still, we wanted to be closer to Bonita Springs, so we began to look at Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach. There are 2 live aboard marinas that we know of in Fort Myers, Legacy Harbour Marina and Fort Myers Yacht Basin, but they are near the downtown area which still seemed a bit of a drive to make almost every day. We became frustrated that there were so few options. I mean, we are a coastal area, right? We found several marinas closer to where we wanted to be, but not all marinas allow or are setup for live aboards. After exploring all of our options on Fort Myers Beach, we came across Snook Bight Marina on Fort Myers Beach. It’s situated about mid-way on the island between the northern end of the island and Lover’s Key. It was the only live aboard marina this far south on the island, and closest to Bonita Springs, so it seemed to be our best option. We toured the facility and even stopped by on several occasions to have a drink at the restaurant there and were impressed with the facilities and location. I can’t help but say, that this was also the only marina we looked at where we could stroll across the street and be on the beach. And as Randy pointed out, if he had to drive to Bonita, this at least had the most scenic driving view. This seemed like a no-brainer.
When Randy and I finally bought our trawler in May 2012, we were informed that Snook Bight would be putting in floating docks all summer. Since we both work from home, er boat (Randy, when not traveling and I most of the time), we decided that we didn’t want to live there while the construction was going on. We decided to temporarily dock at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin. While, not the ideal location for us, this was an excellent opportunity for us to glean valuable boating and living aboard information from my parents. We’ve been at the Yacht Basin now for about 6 months and have really enjoyed it. The marina has great facilities and the live aboard community here has been very friendly and helpful. We will definitely miss all the fine folks here, especially having my parents so near.
Now that the new floating docks have been put in (and they look great!) we are ready to move to Snook Bight. We drove by there on Monday to take a look at the slip that has been assigned to us and we are excited about the new location and experiencing beach life. We owe so many thanks to my parents for guiding and advising us thus far on our journey and will miss being their neighbors. Luckily, both my folks and Randy and I can always untie the dock lines and find an anchor spot for a long weekend to catch up.
Below is a list of the live aboard marinas that we know of in the area. These are marinas that offer slip rentals, not slips you must purchase. Please comment below if we missed any.
- Burnt Store Marina, Punta Gorda
- Marina Town Yacht Harbor, North Fort Myers
- Paradise Marina, North Fort Myers
- Fort Myers Yacht Basin, Downtown Fort Myers
- Legacy Harbour Marina, Downtown Fort Myers
- Cape Coral Yacht Basin, Cape Coral
- Cape Harbour, Cape Coral
- Rosen Park, Cape Coral
- Moss Marina, Fort Myers Beach
- Salty Sams Marina, Fort Myers Beach
- Snook Bight Marina, Fort Myers Beach
- Naples Bay Resort, Naples
- Port of the Islands Marina, Naples
- Marco Island Marina, Marco Island