Trust me, I’ve been there: You love boating with a burning passion — so much that you went out and bought a vessel to call your own. Unfortunately your spouse and kids seem to have lost their interest in relaxing around the nearby bay or lake, and you are tired of hauling your craft for a day by your lonesome, which means your boat spends more time parked in your driveway than it does bobbing on the water.
There are two solutions for this: Give up the ghost and get rid of your boat, or reinvigorate your boating-fatigued family with a whirlwind tour of some amazing boating destinations. With any luck, after one or two outstanding boating experiences, you and your loved ones will have such a love of the hobby that you can buy a new boat to explore even farther. Without further ado, here are five top places to take your boat, which will surely have you and yours head-over-heals for boating.
1. Desert Waterways, Arizona
Someone says “Arizona,” and you naturally conjure images of scorching sand and bright sun. However, the Central Valley’s need for water has necessitated damming of various waterways around the state, and here it is that real boaters come to play.
Arizona has a handful of lakes that are only a stone’s throw from Phoenix. Of these, Lake Pleasant is perhaps the most popular, but Saguaro Lake and Bartlett Lake offer unique views of desert landscape. Alternatively, you can make a trip farther north to Lake Havasu which rivals Miami in number of visiting boaters. Contrary to popular opinion, Arizona may very well be one of the best states for boating in the Union.
2. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
More than 90 miles long and encompassing 55,000 acres, the Lake of the Ozarks is a fantastic testament to the power of men interested in pleasure boating. Indeed, the lake is the largest artificial lake built without the purpose of flood control, which means it boasts stable water levels perfect for a serene day or five on the water.
There are nine public ramps as well as countless private marinas, and virtually any type of vessel is welcome in the lake, from humble fishing boats to dazzling speedboats to ritzy houseboats. You may even consider renting a different model from your own to get a feel for different craft; then when you return home, your renewed love of boating may inspire you to ditch your old rig and find another.
3. Lake Murray, South Carolina
There may not be any more relaxing place than the South in the midst of summer — if you are on a boat. The warm, muggy weather of South Carolina’s summers is ideal for long afternoons of boating, and Lake Murray is just the place. This is another artificial lake, built during the Depression to provide nearby cities with hydroelectric power and potable drinking water, but it has become one of the region’s top destinations, and it is easy to see why. Lake Murray is surfeit with all the positives of Southern culture — the pleasant people, the charming towns, the delicious food, and the beautiful scenery.
4. Archipelago, Greece
While you are circumnavigating the globe in pursuit of nautical love, you may as well take a trip to Greece. With more than 1,400 islands and 8,500 miles of coastline, there is much for boaters to do and see around the archipelago. Each island is distinct in culture, and many offer vastly different sceneries as well; for example, the Ionian Islands offer lush, almost tropical landscapes while the Cyclades to the south are sunny and wild in a wonderfully desolate sort of way. You can easily find safe harbor all around the Greek Isles, or you can employ ferry services if your vessel can’t make the trip across the Atlantic.
5. Amazon River, South America
It doesn’t hurt to travel outside the country to regain your love of seaworthy vessels. The world’s second longest river, the Amazon, is an adventure boater’s dream. Journeys can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and you will cruise past crowded South American cities, tiny developing communities, and huge tracts of dense, natural rainforest.
If your craft can handle a tour through the Caribbean Sea, it is well worth a long vacation to travel up the Amazon River. Those with boats more suited to calmer waters may simply fly in and rent a vessel; whether you are using your own boat or not, you are sure to feel the passion of boating return stronger than ever.