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Sailing bucket list: The best sailing destinations for family vacations

by Jason Scott 6 Apr 04:43 UTC
White Deck of Boat in Middle of Sea © Vincent Gerbouin

Often, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear vacation is a trip you take in a car or a plane. But what about a private boat? Picture yourself cruising the open sea, wind in your hair, fewer people to mingle with - it's about the comfort of your space and sharing it with your favorite people. It's a calm and refreshing way to travel if you think about it.

Why spend hours cooped up inside a small vehicle to get from point A to B when you can have a better experience by sailing? Boat rentals are a great way to switch up vacations with family. Take an adventurous journey crossing brilliant blue waters to see and explore these places.

1. Catalina Island, California

Just a few miles southwest of Los Angeles is a boating paradise for travelers of every kind. You can spend the day at the beach with various water activities available or go on a land adventure. There are thrilling options such as an off-road bison expedition, zip lines over the landscape's stunning view, and a series of other outdoor courses to get a little dose of an adrenaline rush.

2. Newport, Rhode Island

Visit the sailing capital of the world in New England. There's an endless list of things to do in one of America's oldest resort towns. Aside from luxuriating in the coastline, you can take a tour of the lavish estates decorating the coastal edge, visit the museums for a touch of culture, eat and drink at the local pubs, or even go skydiving.

3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Whether you're interested in visiting a historic riverfront or soaking up all there is to see in arts and culture, Fort Lauderdale has it all. This little Venice of America is the intersection of the Intracoastal Waterway and several rivers, lakes, and canals - basically a boater's paradise. Beyond the sailing attractions, you can stroll Las Olas Boulevard, where you'll find rows of bars, boutiques, and restaurants. You can also have guided tours of stunning estates, botanical gardens, and even a wildlife sanctuary for flamingoes.

4. Port Townsend, Washington

Eager to see marine life in action? Port Townsend is the perfect spot for sailing, jet skiing, and sightseeing. You'll find it just at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, where the climate is calm, and the wind is breezy enough to sail comfortably.

Here you can whale watch from your boat, explore historical sites, and visit the marine center. The town is home to beautiful Victorian mansions, brick buildings, and hip cafes everyone in the family can enjoy.

5. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Keen for a real adventure? Take a trip to the warm waters of the Galapagos Islands. This small archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean offers an abundance of wildlife you won't see elsewhere - from giant tortoises to sea lions and blue-footed boobies.

It's the perfect opportunity to try fun water sports like snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. If you're looking for a cultural experience, you can also sign up for tours.

6. French Polynesia

Go for a tropical getaway to the islands of French Polynesia, home to some of the most beautiful beaches you'll ever find. It's a picturesque paradise you can only reach by sailing. Grab the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in crystal clear waters, where you'll find colorful marine life. You can also catch a glimpse of the lush landscape of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tahaa, Moorea, and Raiatea.

7. The Adriatic Coast, Croatia

Another breathtaking destination is the Adriatic Coast of Croatia. It is home to numerous islands you can explore, and its waters are gentle and calm, with weather almost always bright and warm - the ideal location for sailing.

Make the most out of your vacation by mingling with the locals. Dock at an island to wander the city, visit fishing villages, or find gorgeous hidden lagoons scattered across the shore.

8. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Nestled right between the Great Barrier Reef and the coast of Queensland sits Australia's little archipelago of 74 tropical islands. Here you'll find pristine white sand beaches perfect for snorkeling, swimming with marine life, or simply sunbathing. It's a picture-perfect paradise for sailing away on your next vacation.

The list could go on, but these eight destinations are some you wouldn't want to miss. Each location has its unique charm, and it's all about finding one that fits what your ideal vacation is. Wherever you choose to spend your holiday, going for a breezy boating getaway is sure to give you and your family an unforgettable adventure. So long as you pack your essentials, coordinate with an experienced crew to take you on your journey, you'll be sure to enjoy it. The aquatic life is one we don't get to see that often after all.

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