Top 10 Summer Boating Destinations in North America

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of being a Freedom Boat Club member are the reciprocity benefits that enable you to experience some of the world’s top boating destination – all with your Freedom Boat Club membership. With more than 400 global locations, there are an endless number of waterways to explore across North America Europe and Australia. From our current membership base of 90,000+ members, more than 40 percent of our members tell us that they plan their travel around our Freedom locations. But with so many options, you may be wondering where to start. That’s why we’re highlighting 10 of the best summer boating destinations in the U.S and Canada.


Pacific Northwest


1. Anacortes, Washington


Located along the coast of the Pacific Northwest and just a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle is Anacortes, a charming small town on Fidalgo Island. It’s natural scenery and small-town charm attracts boating enthusiasts around the world during the spring and summer months. Anacortes is a gateway to on-water adventures on the Salish Sea, San Juan Islands, and beyond.


Adventure seekers have the option of rousing deep-sea excursions and those that prefer leisurely cruises enjoy secluded coves. Nearby waterfront eateries present the perfect opportunity to sample local flavors and surrounding wilderness offers the potential for wildlife sightings.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Anacortes.


2. Vancouver, British Colombia

Nestled between the mountains of British Columbia is Vancouver, a coastal jewel renowned for its lively waterfront. World-class marinas attract visitors from all over to embark on a day of adventure on the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver offers a variety of water sports and recreational activities from kayaking and paddleboarding to whale watching and deep-sea fishing.


For those seeking a leisurely outing, there are plenty of tranquil bays to drop your anchor and immerse yourself in the surrounding wilderness. You may even find yourself drifting amongst the snowcapped peaks of surrounding mountains. When you’re ready to venture ashore, you’ll discover a seaside village with artisanal boutiques and diverse street food market. 


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of North Vancouver




3. Toronto, Ontario


Along the shores of Lake Ontario, you’ll find Toronto, a dynamic metropolis with vibrant culture and an expansive waterfront. A stunning view of the city skyline and a network of explorable islands establish Toronto as a top boating destination in the summer months.


Depart out of Outer Harbour, Canada’s largest freshwater marina to begin your perfect boat day. Cruise past iconic landmarks, such as the CN Tower and the Toronto Islands before settling into a secluded bay to marvel at the juxtaposition of modern architecture against Lake Ontario’s scenic shores. When returning to land, visitors often head to the city center to experience trendy eateries inspired by flavors from around the world.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Outer Harbour.


4. Lake George, NY


Situated among the Adirondack Mountains is Lake George, a spectacular boating destination surrounded by peaks 500 to 2500 feet above the water. It’s well known for its pristine conditions, scenic shoreline, wildlife, two-story fishery, and abundance of recreational opportunities. At 32 miles long, it is dotted with 176 islands and lined with picturesque bays.


A typical boat day on Lake George might include mooring in the bay for a swim, bass fishing, and watersports before heading to one of the many lakefront “dock and dine” restaurants. For history enthusiasts, Lake George features several historic sites and landmarks. Visitors can explore forts and battlefields that played a pivotal role in American history.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Lake George.


5. Rideau River and Canal, Ottawa


Located in the heart of Canada’s capital region is Rideau River and Canal. Stretching from Ottawa to Kingston, this historic waterway offers a journey through some of the best landscapes in Ontario. There are some unique sights to be seen as you make your way along the Canadian countryside past lush greenery, scenic villages and historic sights.


Rideau River and Canal offers an interesting look into Canada’s past. From locks and dams that have made navigation possible for centuries – to towns such as Merrickville and Perth with remnants of old military structures that once guarded the waterways. After observing historic sites from the water, head to shore for local specialties served up by one of the many waterfront bistros and pubs.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Ottawa.


6. Newport, RI


Each year, boating enthusiasts from around the world are drawn to Newport, a charming seaside town in the country’s smallest state. With its extensive maritime history, coastal scenery, and top notch eateries, Newport is where you’ll want to head this summer for an unforgettable nautical experience.


Located along the shores of Narragansett Bay, the views include stunning architecture and scenery to revel in as you navigate the coastline. Historic Newport Harbor is not only home to impressive sailing vessels and yachts but has roots dating back to the Prohibition Era and Gilded Age. After a day on the water, visitors can sign-up for guided tours or check out the seafood-forward culinary scene.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Newport.


West Coast


7. Chula Vista, California


Chula Vista is a paradise nestled within the vibrant coastline of San Diego, California and situated along the tranquil waters of the South Bay. Its blend of big-city sophistication and laid-back seaside charm is why it makes our list of best summer boating destinations.


With an ideal climate year-round, boaters everywhere flock to Chula Vista to cruise along San Diego Bay that boasts views of the downtown skyline. After a day of exploration along the Southern California coast, boaters can head back to land and indulge in the vibrant Chula Vista bistros, bars and cafes.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Chula Vista.


8. Sausalito, California


Sausalito is a boating hotspot that’s only a 10-minute boat ride away from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Situated along the northern shores of the San Francisco Bay, the quaint waterfront town offers scenic views of the city skyline and endless opportunities for exploration.


Many boaters head to the sea cliffs of Marin Headlands for the chance to see seals and sea lions basking in the sun. We recommend dropping your anchor near pristine beaches or where the bay meets the surrounding hills for an on-deck picnic. Sausalito also has plenty of water sports and recreational activities to take advantage of. Once you’re back on land, we recommend dining al fresco at one of the many waterfront restaurants after checking out the local art scene.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Sausalito.




9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Find yourself where the waters of Lake Michigan meet a vibrant cityscape in Milwaukee, a truly unique summer boating destination. Cruise along this area of the Great Lakes' coast to discover sandy beaches and historic lighthouses surrounded by a view of Milwaukee’s iconic skyline. For those looking for adventure, there’s an array of activities available in the area include sailing, fishing, jet skiing and windsurfing.


Once visitors venture ashore, they can take a stroll down the city’s riverwalk to choose from a variety of fresh seafood restaurants or grab an artisanal cocktail from one of the waterfront bars. Overall, Milwaukee is a boating destination that promises an unforgettable experience to boaters of all ages and interests.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Milwaukee River.


10. Chicago, Illinois


Also located along the shores of Lake Michigan is the city of Chicago, a boating destination with incredible views and plenty of opportunity for adventure. Boating enthusiasts from around the world head to Chicago in the summer months for a day out on the water with a breathtaking backdrop of towering skyscrapers.


Cruising along the Chicago River offers a unique view of landmarks such as the Willis Tower and Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, allowing you to experience the beauty of this city from a new perspective. And after a day on the water, there is no shortage of historic sights and local treasures to explore. As one of the most dynamic cities in the world, your trip to Chicago is sure to be a memorable one.


Click here to learn more about Freedom Boat Club of Chicago Streeterville.


Freedom Boat Club members can visit each of our 400 locations outside of their home club up to four times per year. And remember that reservations are unlimited at your home club! That means that you could plan a total of 40 boat trips this year just between the 10 locations we’ve highlighted. Don’t let the summer months pass by without taking advantage of reciprocity with Freedom Boat Club. The boat is waiting… why are you?

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