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

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more