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The Top 40 Boating Destinations in America

Post by Adrian Mott - Published on 6/25/18 2:44 PM
Welcome to our first nation-wide list of favorite boating destinations. Rather than hand-pick a subjective ranking of locations, we honored our tech startup roots and ran the numbers on which marinas and harbors were searched for the most on our site and app, to compile a lineup of America's most sought-out harbors.

This week we took a look under the hood to see which marinas and harbors boaters search for the most on Dockwa. Check out our Top 40, and weigh in on Facebook to share stories of favorite harbors you've visited and ask questions about the ones still on your bucket list.

We wanted to be as objective as possible with this list, so we leveraged anonymous user and search data from Dockwa to keep our eye on the mooring ball. In short, these are the destinations that get the most searches on our app and website. Also note: this is not a "ranking" per se (e.g. Block Island is not "#1"). We found it to be a pretty compelling list, so we wanted to share. 

We know this list is missing some great harbors, which we attribute to our still-growing footprint of marina partners in certain regions; adding new marinas helps get the word out boaters in the area, who then search the site for more!) As always, if you'd like to see a particular marina or location on board, please let us know

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top harbors in america

Block Island, Rhode Island

Just 13 miles from Newport and the Connecticut coastline, Block Island remains a haven for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of the mainland.

Whether you're rafting up at Payne's Dock (where there's always room for one more!) or anchoring in the Great Salt Pond, Block is a classic New England summer stopover for anyone cruising Long Island Sound.

Click to Explore Block Island

top harbors in america

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City! Sitting on the southwestern bank of Lake Michigan, the combination of Chicago Harbors's 11 municipal marinas plus the handful of privately-operated gems gives you access to an international hub rich with culture, nightlife, history, business, and technology.

Home to Belmont, Dusable and Monroe Harbors among others, anywhere you dock in Chicago gives you access to roam downtown, catch a Bears game or check out Navy Pier.

Click to Explore Chicago Harbor


top harbors in america

Edgartown, MA & Martha's Vineyard

Situated just four miles across Vineyard Sound from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is known for its scenic beaches, sailing, and laid-back culture.

On the east side of the island, Edgartown stands as one of the most popular yachting destinations on the East Coast, steeped with history of whalers, smugglers, and pirates.

This island getaway is a haven for celebrities and politicians, and is a bucket-list destination for many boaters.

Click to Explore Martha's Vineyard

top harbors in america

Charleston, South Carolina

Founded in 1670, Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and has the historical landmarks to prove it.

A must-see stop along the Intracoastal Waterway, Charleston is known for its colorful houses, cobblestone streets, and southern charm – not to mention great restaurant scene.

Charleston is home to a thriving sailing scene, with many regattas throughout the year including Charleston Race Week!

Click to Explore South Carolina

top harbors in america

Greenport, New York

Located on the inner coast of the Long Island's North Fork, Greenport offers everything you would expect from a historical maritime village: bed and breakfasts, old-timey entertainment, and museums to share their maritime history.  

Pair this with the acclaimed restaurants and vineyards in the area, Greenport is a wonderful stop on the Long Island Sound and gives boaters access to explore Shelter Island and the Hamptons.

Click to Explore the Long Island Sound

top harbors in america

Newport, Rhode Island

Home to Dockwa HQ, Newport is a yachtsman’s dream with more than 22 marine facilities and 1000+ moorings.

Known for its extravagant Gilded Age mansions, Newport is a beautiful place to walk along the waterfront before exploring town center to find a multitude of dining and drink options.

Click to Explore Newport

top harbors in america

Annapolis, Maryland

Home to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis has a strong maritime culture and history dating back to the Second Continental Congress. 

Annapolis is also a great jumping off point for the rest of the Chesapeake Bay, whether it's exploring the Eastern Shore and all it has to offer, or heading south to Virginia and the Southern Chesapeake. Annapolis is a must on any Bay cruise.

Click to Explore Annapolis

top harbors in america

Nantucket, Massachusetts

A picturesque example of an early 19th-century New England town, Nantucket is a beautiful island community 25 miles south of Hyannis Harbor.

Nantucket’s population swells in the summer when it welcomes boaters with beautiful weather and marine services to accommodate the influx.

As for docking options in Nantucket: you're either getting a slip at Nantucket Boat Basin or a mooring in the harbor. Either way and you're setting yourself up for some of the best boating New England has to offer.

Click to Explore Nantucket

top harbors in america

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Located on the Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is a favorite destination for many boaters. You can go ashore for access to casinos, beaches, world-class dining, the historic boardwalk, and vibrant nightlife.

AC is unique in that one of the largest marinas is literally at a premier hotel and casino, so you don't have to go far from your boat to get in on the action.

Click to Explore New Jersey

top harbors in america

Miami, Florida

A premier yachting and tourist destination, Miami is a thriving city in southeastern Florida with dozens of marinas catering to all boaters.

Known for its diverse culture and beautiful beaches, Miami is an excellent destination for boaters looking to go beyond their every day exploring.

Click to Explore Florida

top harbors in america

Sag Harbor, New York

An important location for East Coast boaters, Sag Harbor sits in the Hamptons on the eastern end of Long Island offering different marine services and plenty of locations to restock ashore midway along Long Island Sound.

Previously a whaling community, boaters flock to Sag Harbor to learn more about maritime history on the East Coast.

It's unique location – on the shore of Shelter Island and just north of the Hamptons – make Sag Harbor a magnet for city-dwellers and Sound cruisers alike.

Click to Explore Long Island

top harbors in america

Destin, Florida

Located on the Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is home to beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling emerald waters. This popular tourist destination began as a small fishing village and has stayed true to its roots, still boasting one of the largest fishing vessel fleets in Florida.

A trip to these famous white beaches is a must for all boaters.

Click to Explore the Gulf Coast

top harbors in america

Saint Michaels, Maryland

Saint Michaels is one of the most popular boating destinations on the Chesapeake Bay.

Cruisers can explore its rich nautical history by checking out local art galleries, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, or by chartering a fishing boat to head into the bay with the pros!

Click to Explore Maryland

top harbors in america

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown sits on the inside of Cape Cod's distinctive hook, and is the original landing ground of the Pilgrims.

"Ptown," as it's affectionately called, offers several marinas, including a well-maintained mooring field in the harbor, as well as beautiful homes, beaches, and a variety of shops ashore.

Provincetown is a wonderfully inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly community, and is home to one of the oldest continuous art colonies in the world.

Click here to Explore Cape Cod

top harbors in america

San Diego, California

Home to a boater-friendly climate year round, San Diego is a one of boaters' favorite Pacific Coast stops in Southern California. There are awesome beaches, surfing and protected dockage for all boaters to enjoy.

This vacation destination is also home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo and has recently been dubbed the Craft Beer Capital of America!

Click here to Explore Southern California

top harbors in america

Montauk, New York

This tourist destination finds its roots in the fishing industry, as Montauk is home to the largest commercial and recreational fishing fleet in New York.

“The Last Resort” is a proper nickname for this summer destination as it marks the end of Long Island in beautiful Suffolk County.

Click to Explore Long Island

top harbors in america

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Harbor sits at the heart of New England’s largest city and each of the harbor's marinas and piers is a short walk from the famous historical attractions that bring tourists to Boston from around the world.

Home to some of the world’s top universities and engineering startups, Boston is also an intellectual hub on the East Coast that offers all the attractions of a large, diverse city.

Click to Explore Boston

top harbors in america

St. Petersburg, Florida

Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, this year-round vacation destination is appropriately named “The Sunshine City” for its average 361 days of sunshine per year.

St. Pete is a common stopover for boaters traversing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) who rave about the vibrant art scene which accompanies the beautiful beaches of the area.

Click to Explore the Gulf Coast

top harbors in america

Key West, Florida

Known as “The Conch Republic” due to residents’ laid back attitude and unique approach to political tension, Key West has become a popular tourist destination for more than 3 million visitors a year.

After finding a spot at one of the many marinas, moorings, or anchorages, visitors can easily find fishing, sailing, parasailing, snorkeling, dining, drinking and scenic beaches.

Click to Explore the Florida Keys

Post by Adrian Mott

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