If you’re itching to get back on the water, United States destinations provide some of the best yachting in the world. This blog post will review some of the top spots to yacht in the U.S.
1. Pacific Northwest
The San Juan Islands are a part of the San Juan Archipelago in the Salish Sea between the U.S. and Canada. Of the 450 islands, fewer than one-sixth are permanently inhabited, and thousands of coves where you can drop the hook and take in the abundant sea and wildlife.
Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is an easy first stop with its excellent restaurants, bars, and art galleries. Orcas Island and the historic Rosario Resort and Moran Mansion museum are worth a visit, as is Roche Harbor, where the 1886 Hotel Haro is on the National Register of Historic Sites. Sail out onto the Haro Strait, a playground for pods of orcas, or head to Deception Pass, which separates Whidbey and Fidalgo islands.
2. Great Lakes/Lake Michigan
The great lakes are a freshwater sailing and angling paradise and offer thousands of miles of coastline to explore. Lake Michigan is a popular summer destination chock full of beaches, historic lighthouses, and waterfront towns with great eateries.
The calm waters of Grand Traverse Bay are popular, as is Mackinac Island, where the traffic is limited to foot, bike, horse, and carriage. Reservations at the island’s only marina should be made in advance or jump down to Beaver Island, where crowds are rare. Check out Door County on the lake’s western shore, which hosts the June Lighthouse Festival and 4th of July fireworks in Egg Harbor.
Although you can enjoy a five-month sailing season here, it tends to get cold on the water at night, so always check the weather before departure and dress appropriately. Summers get crowded, so consider late spring or early fall to book a yacht and avoid the crowds.
The Northeast is a vast yachting territory, so a quick summary can’t do it justice, but there are beautiful areas to go yachting along the country’s long coastline from New York to Maine. You can day yacht around New York and take in the city’s skyline or visit the spectacular harbors and coves of Rhode Island, including the city of Newport that breathes all things sailing. Maine offers 3,500 miles of stunning, rocky coastline and 4,600 islands to explore by yacht.
Exploring all the nooks and crannies of Chesapeake Bay’s 11,000 miles of shoreline could take a lifetime, but you can take it one week at a time for years to come. Whether you’re looking to yacht or fish, there’s a wide variety of experiences to pursue ton America’s largest estuary.
The historic town of Annapolis is an excellent place to start. Visit the Naval Academy while there, and then head to the charming town of St. Michaels with its spectacular nautical museum on the Eastern Shore.
Other Bay highlights are Solomons Island and Oxford to the south or some urban cruising around downtown Baltimore to the north.
April to early November are good times to visit but plan ahead because weather and conditions can change quickly, especially early and late in the season. The Bay is immense, and it’s better to set a realistic itinerary and take it in bite-sized chunks.