Boating is a great way to explore the world’s hidden gems. Whether you prefer powerboats, sailboats or kayaks, there are countless boating destinations that offer unique experiences and stunning scenery. Here are some of our favorite off-the-beaten path boating destinations:
Explore the Best Kept Secrets
One of the best things about boating is discovering places that few people know about. If you want to escape the crowds and experience something truly special, consider exploring one of these lesser-known boating destinations:
1. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin – This archipelago features over twenty islands, each with its own unique character and beauty. You can explore sea caves, lighthouses, and historic sites while enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Superior.
2. The San Juan Islands in Washington State – Located just north of Seattle, this group of islands offers plenty of opportunities for boaters to explore pristine wilderness, hike through old growth forests, and spot wildlife like Orcas and seals.
3. The Thousand Islands Region in New York – Nestled along the border between Canada and the United States, this region is known for its picturesque waterways, quaint towns, and stunning natural beauty. It’s also home to Boldt Castle, an impressive mansion built on Heart Island by millionaire George C. Boldt as a tribute to his wife.
Discover Hidden Beaches and Coves
Whether you’re looking for a secluded beach where you can sunbathe in peace or a sheltered cove where you can swim and snorkel, there are many boating destinations that offer access to beautiful beaches and coves. Some of our favorites include:
1. The Exuma Islands in the Bahamas – Known for their pink sand beaches and crystal clear waters, the Exumas offer endless opportunities for beachcombing, shell collecting, and snorkeling. You can also explore underwater cave systems and shipwrecks while diving or snorkeling.
2. The Whitsundays in Australia – This group of seventy-four islands off the coast of Queensland offers some of the most spectacular beaches and coves in the world. You can anchor your boat at Whitehaven Beach, famous for its silica sands and turquoise waters, or explore the protected bays and inlets of Hamilton Island.
Paddle through Picturesque Waterways
If you prefer to take it slow and enjoy the tranquility of nature, consider taking a kayak or canoe out onto one of these scenic waterways:
1. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine – This 92-mile stretch of river offers plenty of opportunities for paddling, fishing, and camping. You can explore remote campsites, watch for moose and bald eagles, and even try your hand at fly fishing for landlocked salmon and brook trout.
2. The Kenai River in Alaska – Famous for its world-class sport fishing, the Kenai River also offers plenty of opportunities for paddlers to explore its pristine waters and stunning scenery. Keep an eye out for bear, moose, and other wildlife while you paddle downstream towards the Cook Inlet.
Experience Unspoiled Natural Beauty
For those who love getting back to nature and experiencing the raw beauty of untouched wilderness, these boating destinations are sure to delight:
1. The Inside Passage in British Columbia – This network of fjords, channels, and islands offers some of the most dramatic scenery in North America. You can cruise past towering glaciers, spot whales and dolphins, and visit small coastal communities where locals have lived off the land and sea for generations.
2. The Florida Everglades – A World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, the Everglades offer endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. You can paddle through mangrove tunnels, explore hidden estuaries, and encounter alligators, manatees, and other native species up close.
Encounter Wildlife in Their Native Habitats
Wildlife viewing is one of the top reasons why people choose to go boating. From humpback whales to bald eagles, here are some of our favorite boating destinations for wildlife encounters:
1. The Galapagos Islands – Renowned for their diverse and unique wildlife, the Galapagos offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies up close. You can also swim with sea lions, dive with sharks, and observe the courtship rituals of albatross pairs.
2. The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia – Home to the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy offers incredible opportunities for wildlife watching. You can observe puffins and razorbills nesting on rocky ledges, watch for minke and humpback whales from your boat, and even catch a glimpse of the elusive right whale.
Enjoy Scenic Views from Your Boat
Finally, if you simply want to sit back, relax, and soak up the scenery, these boating destinations will not disappoint:
1. The Norwegian Fjords – One of the most visually stunning areas in Europe, the Norwegian fjords offer jaw-dropping vistas of sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and emerald green valleys. You can cruise past tiny villages perched on mountain sides, explore remote hiking trails, and even go iceberg hunting during the summer months.
2. The Greek Isles – With their whitewashed buildings, sparkling blue waters, and rugged landscape, the Greek islands offer endless photo opportunities for avid photographers and Instagrammers. You can explore ancient ruins, sample local cuisine, and even party until dawn in Mykonos or Santorini.