Block Island, RI
Beautiful is a good place to start when describing Block Island. Thirteen miles south of mainland Rhode Island and 14 miles east of Long Island’s Montauk Point, it stands in stark contrast to both of those places. While only made up of approximately 10 square miles of land, Block has a lot to offer. Free white sandy beaches are just miles away from towering bluffs and water so clear you’ll want to drink it. Nominated as “one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere,” by the Nature Conservancy, the island has received many famous visitors. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton have all vacationed there. The most infamous visitor to the Island was the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd, who is said to have buried treasure somewhere on the island, which is helpful knowledge if you’re trying to keep the kids entertained.
Muskegon is adjacent to Lake Michigan on the west and Muskegon Lake to the north. The 10 marinas here boast upwards of 3,000 slips. Known for some of the best beaches in Michigan, Pere Marquette Beach is the crown gem of this town. Its natural white sand beach and cool clear water has attracted many professional beach volleyball tournaments. The immaculate condition of the beach has earned it a spot on the Clean Beaches Council’s “certified clean beaches” list. Michigan’s Adventure Amusement and Water Park is a popular local attraction for younger people.
Port Washington, NY
Location and accessibility to a port is a pivotal component in this competition and Port Washington has that. Just 17 miles from New York City, this nautical Long Island town has been welcoming city dwellers by train, car, boat and ferry since the 1750s. The town rose to prominence in the 1800s with the growth of the shell-fishing industry but when that business slowed; the town used its natural beauty and convenient location to attract tourism. Free beaches and summer concerts, art galleries, a nautical museum and antique shops make this a great town to walk around. Should you tire of walking, a stagecoach or trolley ride is a great way to take a stroll through the town’s history.
The Florida Keys
This 800-island archipelago located off of the southeastern tip of Florida is commonly referred to as America’s Caribbean. With turquoise waters, top-end marinas and fishing opportunities to spare, this destination lives up to its nickname.
The third largest living coral reef in the world and the largest in the United States, the Keys attract divers who enjoy shipwrecks, underwater canyons and crystal-clear turquoise water.
If a 60-foot sportfisherman screaming through the keys in pursuit of mahi-mahi is your idea of paradise well they have that too. The Keys are a breeding ground for sailfish and giant tuna. If you are looking to fish on a charter boat, Key West, Marathon and Islamadora have the most available.
With tons of restaurants and family-friendly activities, the Keys are a must-visit destination.
St. Augustine, FL
Located at the northeast corner of Florida, St. Augustine is the oldest occupied European settlement in the United States. Having changed hands from the Spanish, English and ultimately The United States, its incredible architecture reflects its diverse heritage. While it hardly seems like something to brag about, St. Augustine is home to the narrowest street in the United States. Measuring just seven feet across, connecting Bay Street to the Royal Spanish Treasury, it was designed to prevent horse-drawn carriages from riding up and robbing the treasury. History buffs with an interest in the civil rights movement will be in for a treat when touring the publicly funded freedom trail, which includes stops at the first school for African Americans and later became the first museum for African Americans.
Pronounced like “beautiful” it will be easy to remember once you’ve been there. This town is stunning. Located 40 miles northeast of Savannah, Georgia, it’s just 10 miles away from the U.S. Marine Corps. training facility at Parris Island. The rigorous training done at this facility is the antithesis of life in Beaufort. Horse-drawn carriages and colorful mansions covered in Spanish moss and property graced by giant oaks and weeping willows, will make you reach for your camera every few minutes. A movie buff can spend an afternoon touring where the movies Forest Gump, The Big Chill, GI Jane and Platoon were filmed. Golfers can also find paradise at upwards of ten pristine courses. Aside from the array of attractions that are too many to mention, you will be treated to the charm of southern hospitality, which makes this a first-class destination.
Sometimes referred to as Coronado Island, this peninsula is only five miles from downtown San Diego and is a quintessential West Coast yachting destination. Featuring beaches that are regarded as some of the best in the country and nearly year-round sunshine it is no mystery why Coronado is an appealing port of call. Biking down the 15-mile coastal bike path is one of the best options for taking in the sights while covering a lot of ground. Rentals are centrally located at the ferry landing, with additional locations in town. There are dozens of shops, restaurants and art galleries here, but it’s the view at sunset that attracts people in droves. A quiet dinner at the dock is the best way to enjoy the San Diego skyline.
Santa Cruz, CA
Centrally located on California’s coast and 72 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz is a watersports paradise. Every year thousands make the trek to this beach community to scuba dive, swim, wind surf and especially surf. The world’s best surfers regularly visit and compete on this shore’s 11 world-renowned breaks. When visitors are not in the water, they can usually be found on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Created in 1907 (the same year the first issue of YACHTING hit newsstands), it is California’s oldest surviving amusement park. It’s a throwback to a simpler time where old school carnival games are comingled with newer attractions like roller coasters and laser tag. A beautiful town on the water Santa Cruz is great for young people or the young at heart.
Santa Barbara, CA
Better know by its nickname, The American Riviera, Santa Barbara has a fair climate year-round similar to that of the Mediterranean. The Santa Ynez Mountains towering over the flat coast also contribute to this illusion. Aside from watersports and the beautiful beaches California is known for, this is one of the best places on the West Coast to go whale watching. Nearly 30 species of whales and dolphins travel in the Santa Barbara channel every year. You can use your boat or if you wish to be the guest of a local guide, charters are available. An even more popular attraction in Santa Barbara are the different species, err, types of wine. With upwards of 100 different wineries you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Victoria, British Columbia
The capital city of British Columbia, Victoriais the oldest city in Canada’s southwestern corner, and boasts architecture to prove it. The British Columbia Parliament buildings built in 1897 and the Empress hotel built in 1908 are two of the oldest buildings that are a must-see. Known as “The City of Gardens” a short trip to Beacon Hill Park will explain the name. Acres and acres of immaculately groomed flowers and shrubbery, will impress even the saltiest of sailors. The cooler climate andabundant natural beauty make Victoria an ideal location for outdoor activities such as hiking and golf. Cycling has also exploded in popularity in Victoria with hundreds of miles of bike paths, lanes and routes sprouting up throughout the city.