Boating in Okoboji, Iowa, US

Top 7 Boating Destinations in the US: Where Should You Boat Next?

Boating is a popular luxury pastime, and the US is the perfect place to enjoy it. It is so vast and has so many diverse landscapes that it’s just impossible not to find something perfect for each boating enthusiast. But some places are simply better than others. In this article, we will look at the best boating destinations in the US.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale, sometimes called the Venice of America, is in the south of Florida. According to, it has 24 miles of Atlantic beaches and more than 300 miles of waterways, both intracoastal and inland. It is one of the boating centers in the US. 

Also, if you visit Fort Lauderdale at the end of October, consider participating in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, one of the largest boat shows in the world. However, if you visit Fort Lauderdale city itself, be careful: it is considered very unsafe. It’s not only many crimes, though, but COVID-19 concerns and poor credit scores.

Exotic boating in Florida Keys, southernmost US

From Fort Lauderdale, it is pretty easy to reach the Florida Keys, the southernmost part of the continental United States. It is a coral cay archipelago and a boater’s dream. There are about 800 islands and 6,000 reefs. If you visit the Florida Keys by boat or yacht, don’t forget to try fishing, snorkeling, diving, and other water activities! It is often the main reason why people visit the Keys.

The best time to visit the Florida Keys is from October to April because the temperature is not so hot. Also, remember that the Keys is a marine sanctuary, so stay responsible.

Boating base: Knoxville, Tennessee

Here, the Tennessee river rushes down from the mountains into Lake Tellico. Both the river and the lake are great places to explore by boat. Rafting, kayaking, motorboats, sailboats, and yachts: you can enjoy all types of boating here! Knoxville is also a base for many boat manufacturers, such as Sea Ray and MasterCraft. They often test their boats in the waters here.

The Tennessee law requires all boats used primarily here to be registered, except those powered by oars and paddles. But if the boat is registered elsewhere, you can use it in Tennessee without registering it.

Wildlife in San Juan Islands, Washington 

Are you interested in marine wildlife? The San Juan Islands are one of the best places to observe wildlife while boating. Here, you can see orcas all year round, as well as other species such as humpback whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and more. Just do not bother the animals!

Although the islands are close to rainy Seattle, they are protected from the rain by the Olympic mountains and quite sunny, with almost 250 sunny days a year. There are even cacti growing in some islands! You can visit the islands in spring, summer, and fall. July, August, and September are the driest and warmest months, but spring and fall tend to be more peaceful.

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Ozark lake has a shoreline of more than 1,150 miles and is one of the largest artificial lakes. Here, you can fish, try various watersports, hike on the shore, dine at restaurants, relax at a spa center, and more. 

However, there is a drag racing culture in Lake of the Ozarks, with some boats trying risky moves. If your boat is small, be careful of them. There have also been high levels of E. Coli found in the lake.

Want to explore Missouri more? Check out 7 great road trips in Missouri.

Calmness in Mackinac Island, Michigan

Located in Lake Huron, this is a pretty quiet destination but definitely worth visiting. It’s only a little more than four square miles, and the only transportation is horse buggies, bikes, and boats. But it can feel like a superb retreat because of this. Enjoy the scenic views of the Great Lakes, dine at yachting clubs, explore historic sites and museums, golf, and enjoy your boating vacation.

Newport, Rhode island

Newport is on Aquidneck Island and is unique because of being very close to the open ocean. Boaters and sailors enjoy exploring many beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, and historic sites since settlers have been coming here since the 1600s. It is especially great for sailing: even the America’s Cup was hosted for quite some time here. The climate is very temperate here, and adventurous people sail even in winter.

Other great boating places in the US

Of course, this is by no means an extensive list. There are many more wonderful boating destinations, such as San Fransico and San Diego in California, Nantucket, a former whaling port in Massachusetts, Charleston with its many beaches, harbors, and tidal creeks in South Carolina. Explore the fresh‑water lakes in Florida (be careful of alligators), or party in Lake Havasu just 24 miles from Las Vegas. Go to Maui, Hawaii, if you are looking for something exotic, or cruise down the Chicago River to observe the Windy City.

Planning a boating trip in California? Check out the top 10 California lakes for boating.

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