As spring and summer bring their warm sunshine and mild temperatures, it’s time to start planning your boating vacations for the coming season. There are many excellent locations for recreational boating across the country and in neighboring Canada, so to make your planning a little easier, we’ve put together a list of our top five boating destinations.
Now keep in mind that you have so many choices that this could have easily been our top 50 or top 500 boating destinations! Narrowing this list down was hard, but we think we’ve come up with a great cross-section of exciting locations and superb boating conditions.
So here you go! Here’s our list of the top five destinations for spring and summer boating:
1. Lake Champlain
This massive lake spans more than 120 miles from Quebec in the north to Whitehall, New York in the south. Surrounded by beauty in all directions, boaters can enjoy views of the majestic Adirondack Mountains, Vermont’s verdant Green Mountains, and Canada’s rugged shores.
When boating on Lake Champlain, you can also travel by canal to the mighty St. Lawrence Seaway and head to the Atlantic.
The fishing here is excellent, but make sure to keep your eyes open for the mysterious sea monster affectionately known as “Champ.” Sightings of Champ have been reported since the 1700s when explorer Samuel de Champlain first traveled these waters. Maybe you’ll be lucky and see Champ too!
Mysterious monster aside, Lake Champlain is an incredible fishing destination that the entire family can enjoy. You can also visit Fort Ticonderoga and other historical sites and take advantage of the local entertainment and restaurants.
2. Harbor Springs, MI
Each year in late spring, after enduring the winter season’s cold, boaters in northern Michigan get a little bonus. At this time of year, the hours of daylight are longer. The sun rises well before 6 a.m. and only begins to fade away at 9:30 p.m. That gives recreational boaters not only more time on the water but a magnificently long sunset to enjoy either from their boat or from nearby sandy beaches.
Nestled in a protected harbor on Little Traverse Bay, Harbor Springs boasts the Great Lakes’ deepest harbor. Visitors new to this bay on the north shore of Lake Michigan marvel at the clear freshwater. The marina is well equipped, and the delightful town is perfect for a stroll, shopping in the many boutiques and art galleries, or sitting down to enjoy a delicious treat. And if you find yourself in this part of the world in mid-July, be sure to check out the Blissfest Music Festival. This world-renowned showcase of music and dance is definitely worth the trip!
3. Thousand Islands/St. Lawrence River Region
Part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, the Thousand Islands, and St. Lawrence River are a must-see at some point in the life of every avid boater. You’ll want to bring your camera along since the natural beauty along this mighty river is incredible.
Visitors come from all over the world visit the St. Lawrence River, which makes it not only a major transportation route for large ocean-going vessels but a popular destination for boating enthusiasts too.
Known as the Recreational Boating Capital of the World, the Thousand Islands region has more than enough trails, state parks, lighthouses, and waterfront villages to keep you and your entire family entertained.
4. Lake George, NY
Not far from the hustle and bustle of New York City, nestled in Adirondack Park is the serene and sparkling Lake George. This lake, created by glaciers and partially fed by underground springs, offers crystal clear, deep water that makes it perfect for a boating destination.
The lake is 32 miles long and can stretch up to 3 miles wide in certain areas. There are more than 25 marinas along the 109 miles of shoreline for all of your boating needs.
And, there’s also plenty to do when after boating. The Lake George area offers hiking, ATV trails, mountain biking, bird watching, camping, resort hotels, shopping, and many restaurants.
5. Penobscot River, ME
Picturesque Maine has produced shipmasters and fishermen for generations. It’s no surprise, given the boating conditions and breathtaking scenery along its coastline. So if you’re looking for a mix of rugged beauty, historical sites, and waterfront villages with shops, restaurants, and open-air markets, The Penobscot River area near Bucksport is an excellent choice for you.
Recreational boaters will appreciate being so close to the open ocean but protected from the weather and elements, while anglers will be ready to try for bass or mackerel. The Penobscot River is easily navigated, and there is a full-service marina located just one-quarter mile from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge that offers transient and seasonal slips. If you like history, be sure to add a visit to historic Fort Knox to your itinerary. The views from the observatory are definitely worth the trip.
While a boating destination vacation can be the highlight of your summer, it’s essential to review your boat insurance coverage before setting out. That way, you can relax and enjoy your vacation, knowing that you’re covered for anything that might come up during your trip.
If you plan on traveling a distance for your boating vacation, make sure your marine insurance covers towing and claims incurred in foreign countries. Get in touch with your boat insurance company, review your coverage and then have a great vacation!