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Summer is just about officially here (even if it feels like it’s already been here for weeks), and that means boat owners like myself will be looking to hit the seas for the ultimate form of R&R. When I’m behind the wheel of the boat, all of my worries seem to slip away and it’s just me, the boat, the salt air, and the expansive ocean.

Many boat owners live near a public or private boat launch where they store their boats and take them out for a ride, but if you’re able to transport your boat, then really the world is your oyster! About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water, so you’re definitely not at a shortage of options.  If you’re going to take a boating vacation this summer, here are my picks for the best destinations in the United States.

1. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is a sailor’s paradise, but you’ll find all kinds of ships docked at its rocky harbors! Newport Harbor has the prestige of being the location of America’s Cup, and international yachting race, between 1930 and 1983, and yachters still flock to the affluent seaside town to experience New England charm at its finest. When you get tired of boating, chow down on some fresh seafood, tour the gilded age mansions, and peruse the nautical shops.

2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

With over 300 miles of inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America. And, with 23 miles of beaches and over 40,000 yachts, is there any wonder this spot made this list? Boaters in this city have no shortage of options to hit the sea, from visiting or participating in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.

3. Seattle, Washington

Seattle may be known for it’s gray, gloomy weather, but the reason it gets so much rain is because it’s surrounded by water! Located on the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, the city is a favorite destination among boaters. Sailing is one of Seattle’s most popular activities and most of the city is accessible by water so you could skip the rush hour commute and take your boat to work instead!4. 

4. Tampa Bay, Florida

Visit the Tampa Bay area and you will immediately notice the abundance of beachfront properties and boat piers. Boating is one of the most popular forms of travel in this sunny, beach-filled area, and it’s just a short ride by boat to the area’s most popular beaches such as Clearwater Beach and John’s Pass. You may even spot some dolphins or manatees in the crystal clear waters.

5. Finger Lakes, New York

Oceans aren’t the only body of water great for boating! New York’s 11 Finger Lakes are sprawling and serene, and the area is spotted with lakefront properties. This region is also known for its wine, many of the wineries overlooking the lakes with docks for you to anchor your boat at while enjoying some wine.

6. San Diego, California

You may associate SoCal with surfing and tanning on the beach, but it’s an ideal boating destination as well. The weather in this area is almost always a perfect 75 degrees and sunny, and its boating culture has a very relaxed vibe. You’re bound to see boaters peacefully bobbing in Mission Bay as they have floating cookouts.