The Sunshine State may be the most obvious, particularly for those who want the opportunity for year-round boating. From the Keys to the panhandle, you’ll find many idyllic locations, along with as many as 266 days of sun. Depending on where you land, you can enjoy the waters of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and even freshwater lakes. In central Florida’s Polk County, there are some 550 lakes that make for great boating and fishing just about any time of the year.
Do keep in mind that in the state of Florida, if you were born on or after January 1, 1988, you’ll need to complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card. To ensure your safety and that of your passengers, it’s a good idea for boaters of all ages, and can easily be completed online.
On the West Coast, boaters will also find lots of fantastic places to live, like San Diego with its perennially sunny climate. The average annual high temperature is 70 degrees, with just 10.4 inches of precipitation all year. Plus, you can easily get out and explore islands like Catalina, just an hour’s boat ride from the mainland, and go snorkeling in crystal clear waters among an abundance of marine life.
Up north, Washington is a boating mecca. While it may not be as warm as southern California or Florida, boaters who live here say the abundance of water, the spectacular surrounding beauty of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and the numerous forested islands make this area ideal.
At Seattle’s Lake Union, you’ll find an entire floating home community. Boaters can also explore the spectacular San Juan Islands just off the coast and the Southern Gulf Islands of Canada. These waters are home to all types of marine life, from orca and humpback whales to dolphins, sea lions and seals. Plus, as the islands sit in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountain range, they experience a moderate, dry climate with just an average of 29 inches of rain annually.
Nicknamed “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota is a great state for freshwater boating enthusiasts. Otter Tail County, about a two hour drive northwest of Minneapolis, is home to 1,048 of them – more than any other county in the U.S. Otter Tail was also named on the Top 10 Places to Boat and Live by Boating Magazine, noting that what the area loses to a short summer, it more than makes up for with some of the most avid boaters in the entire nation.
Arkansas is also an ideal state for boating lovers, with more than 600,000 surface acres of lakes. Benton County, with its abundance of smooth, clear lakes, is an especially hot spot for boaters. It’s the third-fastest growing county in the U.S., and has accessibility to 30,000 acres of water. Here, you’ll also find that you can get out on the water almost year-round.
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