The Best Places to Live & Explore…
For Every Lifestyle


10 Great Towns for Boating

Category: Boating

April 5, 2011 — You would not be alone if the only thing that gets you through your workday is thinking about spending some time out on the deep blue – whether it is the ocean, lake, or bay.  For countless thousands of enthusiasts, weekends are the time to be spent out on the water in boats.  While many aspire to retire to a town where the boating  is easy and convenient, there are undoubtedly many more people who just like the idea of being near a body of water – where they can look at it and  watch other people’s boats go by. There are undoubtedly hundreds of towns where the boating is very good. In this article we will mention 10 which seem to be unusually suited to the boating lifestyle.

Some of the attributes of a good boating town include:  ready access to…

a body of water, preferably one from which you can travel to different and interesting destinations; plentiful docks, moorings, launching ramps, or boat racks;  and a range of housing choices on or very near the water. You could also wish for a long season, safe harbor in the event of a storm, and a yacht or boating club where one could mingle with fellow enthusiasts.

Here are 10 great boating towns.  You can find more by using Selecting Boating as a Lifestyle in the selection tool (you can also select State).

Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Located at the mouth of the giant Connecticut River, Old Saybrook is on Long Island Sound. From here you can cruise to up to Hartford,  or over to Long Island, Block Island, Maine – or even go through the East River and wind up in New York harbor.


Port Jefferson,  New York.  On the other side of Long Island Sound is Port Jefferson, a nice town with an avid boating population.  Obviously from here you can cruise Long Island, its many sheltered harbors, or go up the coast north or south.

New Bern, North Carolina.  Further south down the east coast and a bit inland is the charming city of New Bern, NC.  The Neuse and Trent rivers meet here and empty into the Pamlico Sound- from here one can voyage inside Cape Hatteras or in the waters closer to New Bern.  Active communities like Fairfield Harbour or River Bend offer boat slips along with extensive amenities like golf and tennis.  The nearby town of Oriental is a popular destination for sailors using the Intracoastal.

Port Charlotte, Florida.  The Sunshine State probably has more great boating towns than any other state.  But for people who want to have their boats in their backyards, Port Charlotte and its neighbors Punta Gorda and Cape Coral are great places to live. All of these cities are laced with so many canals that almost anyone can live on the water.  Charlotte Harbor awaits, along with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and nearby islands.

Pensacola, Florida.  Located on the northwest coast of Florida, Pensacola is located on gigantic Pensacola Bay and edged by barrier islands.

Tellico Lake, Tennessee.  The Little Tennessee River and the lower Tellico River were dammed to create the Tellico Reservoir, commonly called Tellico Lake. It has approximately 357 miles of shoreline where boaters can live or cruise. Nearby towns include Vonore; Rarity BayTellico Village , and Rarity Pointe are 3 large active adult communities that attract boaters as residents.

Gainesville, Georgia. Most of the boating-related summer Olympics events were held here on giant Lake Lanier in 1996.    The attractive town has about 36,000 residents.

Discovery Bay, California.  This is one of the most unique boating communities in the world. Almost everyone has a boat, and they are usually right in the backyard! Plus you get to enjoy the fabulous weather and attractions of a major, but low-key city.

San  Diego, California. In addition to having one of the best harbors in the world, San Diego has such outstanding year-round weather there is no need to pull your boat out of the water.  Although not inexpensive, you can keep your boat right downtown.

Anacortes, Washington. Located on Fidalgo Island in Puget Sound, is a popular destination for boaters. From this beautiful harbor one can cruise to the San Juan Islands, Victoria, or throughout Puget Sound in reasonably protected waters.

More boating towns.  Find more great towns for boating at (boating is one of 19 lifestyles there).  A few to look for include: TahoeLake  Keowee, multiple towns in MichiganLake Ozark, and Port Isabel, TX.

What do you think? Use the Comments section below to share your favorite boating towns.

Posted by admin on April 5th, 2011

Comments (8)
Entries (RSS) & Comments (RSS)

David Lane says

Boaters might want to consider Winter Haven Florida. Within the city limits there are 50 lakes with many of them connected by canals in a chair. There are also places to live here that have docks on the water. Nice city of 35,000 people and lots of housing options less than 90,000. There is even some nice housing on lakes in the $60,000 or less category. Located between Orlando and Tampa off I-4 and 27.Hit up the Greater Winter Haven Chamber or the City of Winter Haven website:

April 6th, 2011 | #

John says

New Bern is in North Carolina, not South. (Note: since corrected. Thanks for pointing this error out!)

April 6th, 2011 | #

Janis Schoeller says

Love the newsletter but I haven’t seen anything that pertains to what we are looking for. I know most people don’t want to live on a canal/lagoon but I’m sure there are communities out there that meet our objectives. I just can’t find them.

Southern East Coast communities with an inlet close (within 20 minutes to the ocean) where you live on a deep-water canal.

We have been looking to retire on the Southern East Coast and would like to find a community with deep water canals and an inlet close by for sport fishing. We have lived on a deep-water canal in NJ for over 30 years and hope to duplicate what we have.

😕 Anything on your list of communities that focus on deep-water canal living in the South with ocean access?

Thanks. -Jan

April 6th, 2011 | #

Melanie says

I think Fort Worth, TX should be considered. The city council recently passed the “safe passing” law to protect street riders, there is a 40 mile trail system throughout the area, and one of the largest bicycle clubs in the nation is located here, with many senior citizens as members.

Next to Austin, this is the most bike-friendly town in Texas, and is also a popular destination for snowbirds and retirees.

April 6th, 2011 | #

John B says

What about boating on the chesapeake bay? What communities along that large body of water are boating oriented? I’m sure there must be many! Annapolis, MD comes to mind.

April 8th, 2011 | #

Ed Herlihy says

Consider Sebastian, Fl on Florida’s East Coast, about half way down between Melbourne and Vero Beach. It’s a old Florida fishing village right on the intra-coastal waterway with a direct access to the Atlantic through the Sebastian Inlet.
Great boating area. City has two boat ramps that are FREE! Housing us VERY inexpensive and so are the taxes. Remember, Florida is one of the five lowest tax states inj the nation.
See what Sebastian is all about at

April 29th, 2011 | #

» Best Places for Retirement by Lifestyle Topretirements says

[…] 10 Great Boating Towns […]

September 27th, 2011 | #

Scott H. says

😯 Wow, no mention of Kentucky Lake, the largest man-made lake in the USA? The only inland body of water in which one may sail completely around the Eastern USA via the “Great Loop?” Low cost of living, low taxes, low real estate prices, tons of beautiful water for sailing or motor boating. It should be on everyone’s retirement short list if they love boating.

September 29th, 2011 | #

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.