Top 10 Boating Communities
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
If you’ve watched Ozark on Netflix recently, you know every character has one, or even multiple, boat(s). I’m looking at you, Charles Wilkes. Pleasure boating is a huge pastime for residents of the Ozarks - not only in the show, but also in real life.
The Lake of the Ozarks measures over 90 miles long, with an enormous 1,150 miles of shoreline. There’s even a 10-mile aquatic trail, marked by buoys, that leads boaters to various natural communities. Not a bad place to enjoy your boat, am I right? Thousands of boaters enjoy the Ozarks during the summer months, with nine public-access ramps and numerous private marinas.
Long Island, New York
Long Island is just that, a long island surrounded by water (obviously). This makes a great recipe for boaters, with the contrasting environments of multiple calm bays and inlets versus the rough open ocean. Long Island a natural boating destination.
The South Shore of the Island boasts open ocean waters, while the North Shore offers the Long Island Sound that eventually meets the state of Connecticut. Further east you will reach the Hamptons, known for its multimillion-dollar mansions and possible celebrity sightings. Even more, Fire Island, located off of the South Shore has a protected bay and fantastic restaurants that usually offer docking-on-site.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Although the boating season is shorter than most would like, this doesn’t take away from the wonders of cruising the innermost point of Lake Michigan. Green Bay may ring a bell – hint, hint a little football team known as the Packers. But football is not the only reason to call Green Bay home; boating is a popular summer activity with tons of dining, shops, and wineries lining the town. The bay also offers excellent fishing and calmer waters compared to other Great Lake destinations.
Destin is located on the Florida Panhandle surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Must we say more? Snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, light-tackle fishing, and deep-sea fishing are popular Destin activities. Not to mention the white-sand beaches and barrier islands filled with dining, shopping and golfing. The ideal boating town.
Boating beginners often head to the bay and Intracoastal Waterway. Those that are more experienced will usually explore the east pass into the Gulf. The tides, currents, and swells call for a higher level of expertise.
Have you ever dreamed of living off your boat, sailing into the abyss? Newport is the place to do this. With the many sailboats and fishing fleets, Yaquina Bay boaters often end up living aboard their boats.
Newport is known as a top industry location for commercial and sport fishing, fish processing, shipping - along with recreational boating. Not to mention the casual whale spotting off in the distance. The tides and currents can get tricky, making this an area for more experienced boaters.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina, making it the a must-see along the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s mainly known for its impressive sailing scene, especially during Charleston Race Week. You can also spend the day fishing or exploring the winding creeks. The town is filled with charming cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and fantastic restaurants. With the warmer weather starting early in the spring and lasting deep into fall, the boating season in Charleston has a ton to offer.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Another shout out to an amazing Netflix show. Outer Banks (the show) depicts the boating scene in NC pretty accurately, minus the whole lost-at-sea, hidden treasure thing. Anyway, the Outer Banks (the place) is an awesome boating location. Hatteras, more specifically, is the longest of the barrier islands, stretching longer than 50 miles. Residents most commonly take advantage of fishing and watersports.
Most don’t think of Midwest boating as a top-notch destination, like Florida boating or the East Coast. Don’t let this deter you. The Great Lakes offer some of the best boating opportunities in the country. Muskegon, specifically, is the biggest city along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Muskegon has a large boating community that encompasses activities both on and off the water. The harbor often hosts festivals and art installations throughout the summer.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Like cruising through a national park? Bar Harbor is your spot. Located on the largest bed of water within Acadia National Park, the harbor is home to some of the most beautiful boating on the East Coast. There are two full-service marinas available and lots of opportunities for great boating experiences.
San Francisco, California
Believe it or not, San Fran isn’t only known for all the Full House memories. It’s located in the middle of Pacific Coast, making an ideal location for boating. There is an active sailing community that enjoys the views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also explore Alcatraz Island and the Fisherman’s Wharf.