Our favorite place to spend Labor Day is on the water in Southwest Florida, and we know we aren’t alone! With so many great places to explore and friends and family to entertain, planning the perfect celebration can be overwhelming. Here are some foolproof ways to make the absolute most of a long holiday weekend and enjoy our waterways to the fullest. 

Family on beach


Find a Beach Backdrop

Nothing says Labor Day like digging your toes into the sand. No matter how you plan to spend the day—cruising around, chasing fish, or tiki hopping—work a beach stopover into your route. We’re lucky to have plenty of picturesque beaches along our coast that make the perfect backdrop for a holiday celebration. Use this beach map to find a perfect spot to beach up for a bit. Just remember to keep an eye on the tide!


Count Your PFDs

Loaner Lifejackets Holiday weekends usually mean more friends and family joining you on the boat, so it’s important to take an inventory of your PFDs and make sure you have enough. How many is that? You are legally required to have one wearable life jacket for each person on board, and in the event of an emergency or even if a marine law enforcement just wants to do a check, you do NOT want to come up short. If you need an extra PDF, borrow one for free at the many life jacket loaner stations across Southwest Florida.


Pack Your Polarized Glasses

Of course regular sunglasses will work in a pinch and something is better than nothing, but polarized lenses up your boating game because you can see below the surface of the water. That means a better fishing experience and more exciting wildlife sightings like sea turtles and manatee. They also protect your eyes and your boat by making it easier to avoid shallow areas because you can see changes in the water color much more clearly.


Treat Yourself

There’s just something about lounging on the boat that makes you work up an appetite. In addition to stocking the cooler with tons of water and everyone’s favorite snacks, plan a strategic pit stop for a festive lunch or decadent dinner at one of our region’s many waterfront restaurants. The holiday traffic means your group might have to wait a little longer to be seated than usual but remember that you’ll be spending that wait time relaxing on the boat so it’s a win-win!


Grab a Paddle

Stand Up Paddle BoardingMotorboats aren’t the only way to enjoy the water! If you’re looking for epic adventure or just easy-going exploration, Southwest Florida is a paddler’s paradise. Kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) give you the freedom to explore hidden gems that boats and jet skis typically can’t reach. Check out our insider’s list of paddle destinations to plan your route including prime spots from Tampa to Bonita Springs.


Take Your Best Shot

Don’t forget to capture all the Labor Day fun in photos and tag @goboatingflorida on Facebook and Instagram — you just might be featured on our page. Tagging your location as well makes it easy to document all the exciting places where you spent day when want to revisit wherever you had that incredible pineapple-key-lime-whatever-it-was-called again in the future.  

Have an awesome and safe Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Previous reading
Marathon to Matlacha Fishing Roundup
Next reading
Studying the Economic Impacts of Algae Blooms in SWFL