Five Charter Destinations in the United States

You don’t need a passport to enjoy a spectacular sailing vacation. Home is where the boat is...
Author:
Publish date:
Doe Bay on Orcas Island, a popular destination in Washington’s San Juan Islands

Doe Bay on Orcas Island, a popular destination in Washington’s San Juan Islands

You don’t need a passport to enjoy a spectacular sailing vacation. There are plenty of great places to charter right here in the States. Whether you want to go north, east or west, you’ll find fantastic cruising areas just waiting to be explored.

Here are five of them...

MAP_US-home-waters-locators

San Francisco Bay 

Golden-Gate-Bridge-Ship-in-the-Mist

Best Time to Go

The weather is pretty mild all year, though it gets chilly in the spring. If you dress appropriately it’s always a good time for sailing.

What to Watch For

In addition to the fog, there is plenty of commercial and ferry traffic to watch out for. Due to the area’s geography, conditions can change quickly from calm to blustery.

Anchoring & Mooring

North of San Francisco in the Marin County area there are several places to anchor or grab a slip.

Charter Companies

Club Nautiqueclubnautique.net 

Modern Sailing School and Clubmodernsailing.com

Pacific Yachting and Sailingpacificsail.com

Read more about chartering inSan Francisco

San Juan Islands 

Photo courtesy of San Juan Islands visitors bureau

Photo courtesy of San Juan Islands visitors bureau

Best Time to Go

June to October, but book early as August and September can be sold out way in advance.

What to Watch For

Fog. If possible, charter a boat with radar.

Anchoring & Mooring

Plenty of free anchoring available everywhere. Mid-week, slips can also be found at the main marinas.

Charter Companies

Anacortes Yacht Chartersanacortesyachtcharters.com

Ship Harbor Yacht Charters, shipharboryachts.com

San Juan Sailing (Bellingham)sanjuansailing.com

Read more about chartering inSan Juan 

Grand Traverse Bay

Photo by Adam Cort

Photo by Adam Cort

Best Time to Go

June through September are best, but for those who don’t mind layering, “shoulder season” can be great.

What to Watch For

All-in-all a pretty easy and straightforward place to go sailing: navigation is line-of-site and there’s little, if any commercial traffic. Fog can be a problem on occasion.

Anchoring & Mooring

Plenty of free anchoring available everywhere. Mid-week especially, slips can also be found at the main marinas.

Charter Companies

Great Lakes Sailing Co, greatlakessailingco.com

Read more about chartering inGrand Traverse Bay 

Chesapeake

Photo by Peter Nielsen

Photo by Peter Nielsen

Best Time to Go

May to September are the peak season. If you don’t mind bundling up, April and October can be outstanding.

What to Watch For

Shallows in the creeks and crab pots, which unlike their New England brethren have small, hard-to-see buoys.

Anchoring & Mooring

Anchorages abound, but slips can be scarce in the high season, so call ahead.

Charter Companies

Annapolis Bay Chartersannapolisbaycharters.net

Cruise Annapoliscruise-annapolis.com

Dream Yacht Chartersdreamyachtcharter.com

Fair Wind Sailing Schoolfairwindsailing.com

Horizon Yacht Chartershorizonyachtcharters.com

Sail Away Catamaranssailawaycatamarans.com

Read more about chartering inChesapeake Bay

New England

Photo by Peter Nielsen

Photo by Peter Nielsen

Best Time to Go

June through September. In July and August, these waters can be crowded. Locals know that September is a great time to cruise here.

What to Watch For

Occasional fog, strong currents

Anchoring & Mooring

You can pay $2 or more a foot for a slip in the peak summer months, and moorings can be pricy too. Either way, you’ll need to book ahead. Anchoring, thankfully, is still free.

Charter Companies

Bareboat Sailing Charters, bareboatsailing.com

Bluenose Yachts, bluenoseyachts.com

Horizon Yacht Charters, horizonyachtcharters.com

Swift Yacht Charters, swiftyachts.com

Read more about chartering inNew England 

Related

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more

05-TRANSPAC_71417_SG_055268

The Transpac Prepares for No. 50

Because modern yachting is in many ways an invention of the early to mid 20th century, in recent years sailors have been celebrating any number of milestone anniversaries. Now it’s the biennial Transpac’s turn, as it prepares for its 50th race from Southern California (following ...read more