The first thing that comes to mind when you hear “sailing” is probably a glamorous and lavish lifestyle, a crew maintaining those boats and too much of free time on one’s hands for this prolific indulging.
However, believe it or not, sailing isn’t at all as unattainable an activity as you may think, especially if you are living in the US – just consider that 90% of Americans live less than an hour from a navigable body of water, so do you really have an excuse not to go for a ride in that gorgeous boat you own or want to rent? Nonetheless, if you are not living in the Americas but someplace in Europe or you are just a free traveler enjoying life and sea adventures, getting places in your boat is also easy, as long as you have a good plan.
Here are some great destinations all around the world known for embracing the nautical lifestyle – they will amaze you and grace you with that hint of adventure you are after!
Finger Lakes, New York
Just a few hours from home, Finger Lakes are an attractive destination for both locals and visitors given they are endowed with 11 lakes, seven of which are worthy of navigating for a cruise.
Their marinas have some of the best water landscapes in upstate New York which will make your sailing adventure impossibly fun! Seneca Lake is the most popular lake for recreational boating and sailing, and if you don’t own a boat (yet), marinas offer up boat rentals… amazing!
In season, Chicago is a terrific city for boating, thanks to the many easy launches on Lake Michigan, nine terrific harbors and that iconic Chicago skyline as a backdrop. BelmontHarbor is a boater’s favorite, home to both motor and sailboats with its 730 docks. Chicago is unlike many boating destinations in that you can sail in the morning and then go bar hopping, art crawling, architecture admiring, famous-deep-dish-pizza gobbling and boutique shopping for the rest of the day.
Owing to the nine terrific harbors and that iconic Chicago skyline as a backdrop, this city is terrific for boating during the season. BelmontHarbor often poses as boaters’ favorite, home to both sail and motorboats and its 730 docks. Unlike most boating destinations, Chicago allows an easy sail in the morning and then some bar hopping, architecture admiring, art crawling, boutique shopping, and famous-deep-dish-pizza gobbling for the rest of the day.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
The Whitsundays are the stuff of postcard designers’ dreams –azure seas, cloudless skies and 74 flawless islands. Most of this half-drowned mountain range is a part of one of the seven wonders of the natural world – the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – so be prepared to enjoy kaleidoscopic coral gardens, mind-boggling array of fabulous fish and sea turtles. Sailing here is a huge business, with tours and boats catering to everyone from professionals to first-timers. Just get the right marine mechanic and you are good to go! Also, diving or snorkelling straight off your yacht is incomparable to anywhere else in the world.
Often referred to as the ‘new Tuscany’, the ‘new Greece’, and the ‘new Riviera’ Croatia is slowly becoming one of those gotta-go destination for the in-crowd.
The sights in Croatia are out worldly – the sun shines luminously on the crystalline Adriatic, which gently laps no fewer than 1185 islands and a 1778km coast. Is there a better way to explore this coastline than to sail it? The most popular place to dock is the island of Hvar, but you should also explore traditional fishing villages and more remote island groups like Kornati or Elafiti.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Since you’ll be in Croatia’s neighbourhood, direct your sails towards the gorgeous Sicily! This area is famous for its beautiful beaches, secluded anchorages and quiet fishing villages. Guess what? More than ten beaches in Palermo are easily reachable by boat so you won’t be missing out. Plenty of sailors stop for some island hopping too as it is a popular activity in Palermo.
Ah, the French Riviera – it’s something you simply must put on your sailing bucket-list. Its large cosmopolitan resorts of Cannes, Nice and Monte Carl combined unspoilt islands, rugged inlets and fine beaches are definitely a one of a kind destination. The relaxed atmosphere and palm trees of Port Cros resemble a French Caribbean port, so know that this experience won’t fail you.
So, sailor – where to first?
This article is contributed by Diana Smith – a full time mom of two beautiful girls and a passionate traveler always searching for new exciting destinations for her and her family. She especially enjoys visiting The Old Continent in the autumn and the best beaches in Australia during hot summer days. You can find her at: http://www.twitter.com/DianaSmith82