The best boating destinations in the US

5th September 2021 Jack O'Rourke

The best boating destinations in the US

America’s boating landscape is wide-ranging and diverse, from lakes to rivers to tropical waters. The U.S. is a nation of avid boaters who flock to the water any chance they get, and there is plenty to go around whether you are a sailor, cruiser, angler or even a watersports enthusiast. 

We have compiled a list of great destinations to take your boat exploring. While some are well-known holiday spots, others are hidden gems, but they are all worth checking out. 

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Lake Tahoe 

A major boating destination in both California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It is the second deepest in the United States.

Lake Tahoe is popular for its scenic mountain landscape and from late spring to early fall for water sports and beach activities, including parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and boating. 

When summer rolls around, it is all out boating on Lake Tahoe. 

Burntside Lake 

Burntside Lake in Minnesota is an impressive boating spot for those keen to go water skiing, and wakeboarding on a sunny summer day. This lake does not have any motor restrictions, and is known for its crystal clear water. It also has numerous boat ramps, soft sandy beaches and inviting picnic facilities.

If you love to throw in a line, this lake contains an abundance of native fish. In particular, it is excellent for trout and walleye fishing

In addition to boating, Burntside Lake has more than 150 islands to explore and is home to a number of shorebird species. 

Lake Winnebago 

One of the largest lakes in Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago is a popular fishing spot and hosts powerboat events, pleasure boating rallies, windsurfing, sail runs and ice racing. One thing to consider is that Lake Winnebago is large but shallow with a maximum depth of around 21 feet.

It is a great spot to go kayaking and canoeing, and the best time to go to Lake Winnebago is during the summer to take advantage of the warm conditions. 

Along the west shore, There are several islands to explore, and from Lake Winnebago you can navigate to Lake Michigan and through to other systems.

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Florida Keys 

The Florida Keys is arguably the boating epicentre of America’s East Coast. The Keys stretch 100 miles from the southern tip of Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.

There is no better way to explore the Keys than by boat, where fishing, snorkeling, sailing, wakeboarding, and water skiing is all possible. 

The Keys are home to North America’s only coral fringing reef that stretches over 200 miles. Several hundred species of fish and corals can be found within these expansive reefs.

Lake Superior

The world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, Lake Superior’s national renown as a boating destination is well-documented. 

Its waterways host thousands of boaters every summer when the ice had thawed. There are many pockets of the Great Lake only accessible by boat and teeming with wildlife. 

The Isle Royale National Park is a spectacular place to drop anchor and fans of waterskiing and jet skiing will love the many hidden coves. 

Conditions on the Lake can change quickly, and boaters can experience strong winds and fog frequently. We recommend that you plan your trip during favourable weather windows and that conditions are continuously monitored. 

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The San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States between the U.S. state of Washington and Vancouver Island in Canada.

Kayaking and boating are two of the primary activities in the area. The coastlines around the island have lots of beaches, placid coves, deep harbors, and reef-studded bays for boaters to explore.

The waters around are home to an abundance of sealife including Humpback whales, Minke whales, and Grey whales, as well as and sea lions and seals. 

Chesapeake Bay

Stretching across six states — Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia — and the entire District of Columbia, Chesapeake Bay is a spectacular North American cruising ground for sailing, boating and fishing. It has miles of rivers and inlets to navigate, from the northern and western reaches to the relatively placid eastern shore. 

Even though the Chesapeake is so close to major cities it still offers plenty of beautiful spots to visit, and follows a natural cruising route from the north and is a popular pit stop for boats making their way down the ICW during winter.


Hopefully, these destinations help you fill your boating bucket list. Before heading out on the water, check restrictions in your local area on the Deckee app and do your research before entering new waters.

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