In this installment of our new Florida Cruising Guide we feature Elliot Key.

If you are looking for a unique destination for yourself or your yacht charter guests, Elliot Key is the perfect place for a day cruise or weekend motor yacht getaway. Elliott Key and neighboring islands: Boca Chita Key, Soldier Key, the Ragged Keys and Old Rhodes Key, are all part of the Biscayne National Park.

The popular boating destination and one of the country’s more unique national parks is located in the southern-most region of Biscayne Bay. This makes it just a short ride by motor yacht from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or even West Palm Beach for a quick stop, if you are cruising down to Key West.

Elliot Key is a well-known and popular destination for Miami boaters, and you will find it very crowded on weekends. However, during the week, you will likely have your pick of secluded anchorages or slips in the two park marinas located on Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key. That is one of the nicest things about these Keys. You can find many great places to anchor throughout Biscayne National Park, while en route to their cousins in the Florida Keys, or other more southerly destinations.

Navigation and Nautical Details

According to US Harbors, Biscayne National Park is a protected area between Mile 1097.0 and Mile 1119.2. The National Park Service has established an anchorage area off the northern end of Elliott Key, opposite Mile 1110.0. The anchorage is marked by buoys. A park ranger is stationed at Elliott Key Harbor opposite Mile 1112.4.

Though many boaters do not realize it, technically, Elliot Key is the northern most Island of the true Florida Keys. Like all of the islands of the National Park, Elliot Key is accessible only by boat.

Dockage on Elliott Key

The waters surrounding the Keys of Biscayne National Park can be shallow at times, and do have many banks and shoals, so motor yachts with a deeper draft do need to exercise some caution. The Featherbed Bank is a large area of shoaling that runs east and west across a good portion of the park. Marked channels lead boaters through both East and West Featherbed Banks. Consult your charts for details and for water depths at planned anchorages. It is worthy to note that the western shores of these islands are exposed and anchorages can become uncomfortable during any heavy weather. Be particular attentive to flooding and weather warnings during the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June to November.

Activities On and Offshore

As a National Park, do not expect to anchor here for shopping or night life. The area is preserved in its natural state, and coming here by boat is more as a stopover, to take a respite and relax and experience nature, on your way to the excitement of the Lower Keys, or the Caribbean. There is a lighthouse on Boca Chita worth visiting, and there are great opportunities for snorkeling and fishing throughout the National Park. There are campgrounds on most of the Islands.

Lighthouse on Boca Chita Key

The Boca Chita Lighthouse

Hassle Free Cruising

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