U.S. boating destinations

6 Unexpected Vacation Destinations for Boating Enthusiasts

If you love boating, there’s no shortage of places within the U.S. where you can get out and enjoy the water.

For your next boating adventure, consider checking out one of these destinations.

These locations all offer something special for visitors who want to spend time on the water, from water trails to fishing opportunities to easy jaunts into lively downtown areas.

Kennebec River in Bath, Maine

Bath, Maine is located just 12 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and along the Kennebec River, and is part of a proud East Coast boating tradition.

Bath will hold a special appeal for lovers of boating history. Bath, which calls itself the “city of ships,” is home to an award-winning Maine Maritime Museum and to Bath Iron Works, a world-class shipbuilder.

You can even check out historic shipbuilding in action on the waterfront as volunteers attempt to reconstruct the 1607 Popham Colony vessel Virginia. (Learn more about Maine’s First Ship project on its website.)

Free download: Before You Choose a Marina, Answer These Questions 

From the water, you can take in a series of scenic lighthouses, explore the area’s two state parks, and dock in town via a public docking area to check out the historic Main Street or the summer concert series.

Nature and geography lovers will also enjoy heading upriver to Merrymeeting Bay, a freshwater tidal bay with unusual geography that is its own boating adventure.

Lake Austin in Austin, Texas

If you’re looking for a more urban boating experience, you can get it in Austin, Texas. The Austin-area Texas Hill Country is home to many lakes and rivers ideal for recreational boating. In particular, Lake Austin, a reservoir created by dams along the Lower Colorado, offers plenty of opportunities for fun within the city.

According to this post on Visit Austin, “all throughout the year, you’ll see pontoons full of people, waterskiers, and boats speeding along the corridors of Lake Austin.”

There are several restaurants with docks along the lake where boaters can enjoy shaded dockside dining. Visitors can also check out Emma Long Metropolitan Park, which features shore-side camping, giant cypress trees, and picnic facilities complete with grills.

Boaters in this area can also explore Lake Travis, Austin’s largest lake and located just Northwest of downtown.

Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon

If your interest in boating is paired with an interest in fishing or crabbing, you will love boating alongside the professionals in Newport, Oregon.

Boating enthusiasts who visit this city enjoy the pleasant weather alongside commercial fishing and crabbing boats. Navigating the area’s tides and currents can present a welcome technical challenge for experienced boaters, according to Boating Magazine.

Visitors will love visiting Yaquina Bay, the home of Oregon’s tallest and second oldest active lighthouse (completed in 1872) and located within a beautiful state park.

There are plenty of interesting places to visit in historic Newport, as well. Here’s how VisitOregonCoast.com sums it up: “The Bayfront is a working waterfront on which visitors can enjoy shops, art galleries, chowder houses, restaurants, fish processing plants and family attractions in turn-of-the-century storefronts from a bygone era.”

Other attractions to enjoy while you’re in Newport include the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Round Lake in Charlevoix, Michigan

Another beautiful spot to get out on the water and away from the summer heat is up north in Michigan.

The city of Charlevoix is located on Round Lake, which connects Lake Michigan to Lake Charlevoix — and, together, they offer plenty of boating and recreation opportunities. The Charlevoix area features beautiful beaches and fresh waters where visitors can rent a boat or charter a sailboat. There are also plenty of inland lakes and rivers for travelers to explore.

One of the area’s appeals is its natural beauty, and visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the starry sky thanks to an absence of light pollution. For example, the city’s Dark Sky page suggests a cruise down the Jordan River, which winds its way through sweeping countryside and wooded terrain.

On the water, boaters can check out historic lighthouses and even a historic drawbridge. There’s also easy aquatic access to Lake Michigan’s beautiful dunes, beaches, and islands.

In town, visitors can enjoy boutique shopping and unique restaurants. According to this submission to Power and Motor Yacht, the marina in town is “beautiful, friendly, and modern.”

Don’t miss: Before You Choose a Marina, Answer These Questions 

Rock Hall, Maryland

This Cheapism roundup of great under-the-radar boating destinations sums up Rock Hall, Maryland this way: “Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay get most of the spotlight, but Maryland boaters know where to go on the Eastern Shore.”

The small, historic community of Rock Hall prides itself on being a “haven for boaters.” It has 12 marinas plus public docking, and any type of repair or boat service you need.

Boaters can get to Rock Hall from the Chesapeake Bay or from the Chester River. The area also has a network of creeks for boaters to explore.

Tybee Island in Savannah, Georgia

The historic city of Savannah is already one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., but it also holds special appeal for boating enthusiasts. The city is located on the Savannah River, and within a short distance of the city visitors can experience “vast marshlands, pristine beaches, rivers, and creeks filled with marine life.”

However, perhaps the most popular boating destination in the city is Tybee Island, less than 30 minutes from downtown Savannah.

This barrier island boasts five miles of public beaches, as well as plenty of lodging options and casual dining opportunities. You can visit The Tybee Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the nation, and check out the Marine Science Center, which gives visitors a glimpse into native marine life.

The historic city of Savannah is already one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., but it also holds special appeal for boating enthusiasts. Click To Tweet

For more about life in Savannah, or if you’re interested in investing in a vacation property for boating enthusiasts, check out more of our Upper East River blog. All Upper East River residents have access to a concierge boating service. Your concierge can retrieve your boat from the nearby marina and bring it right to you at Upper East River’s dock. They can also provide you with a boat and a captain for excursions, or simply provide a boat to take out on your own adventures. Contact us at Upper East River to learn more.

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