Boating and yachting offer some of the most adventurous and independent travel opportunities to those wishing to truly get away. The world’s oceans are your playground and, with a little preparation and some research into local laws and regulations, you can set your sails and chart your course to some of the world’s most remote and beautiful coasts, or make your way to enormously popular destinations without having to battle for accommodations or chartered day sails. If you are thinking of sailing away, consider these top destinations for the seafaring type. You can also get a lot of this information and discounts on luxury travel when you join a travel club like Vacation Smart International.
Florida: Sailing within the United States is popular with American boaters because there are no immigration and customs concerns and the boating regulations are already familiar. To take of advantage of the convenience of an American sailing trip while still experiencing a taste of the tropics, why not explore Florida? This well-travelled coast provides a full vacation’s worth of destinations: experience the famous nightlife of Key West and watch the sunset from Mallory Square with thousands of spectators. Once you’ve had your fill of the lights, head back to the solitude of your vessel to re-charge. Miami has plenty for boaters at Biscayne National Park where fishing, snorkeling, and even treasure hunting are possible above the living coral reef.
Here you will meet dolphins, manatees and tropical fish. For a relaxing end to your trip, explore the Gulf Coast region – not as popular since the 2010 BP oil spill, this area has been recovering and provides some quiet and scenic sailing.
The British Virgin Islands: If you’re looking for steel drums, fantastic snorkeling and delicious seafood, the British Virgin Islands are a great option. The beaches that ring these lush islands are startling white – you can spend your days lounging in the sun or exploring the towns and wilderness. Ship wrecks lurk under the turquoise waters, so be sure to go diving or snorkeling and head to the island chain Tortola where you can provision at the capital city of Road Town, famous for its fresh lobster, lamb curry and Johnny Cakes.
Bahamas: There are 700 islands in the archipelago of the Bahamas and 100 000 square miles of sandy beach. This popular boating destination is for those looking to explore the uninhabited cays and quiet fishing villages. You will have to cross the Gulf Stream to get to the Bahamas from Southern Florida, so this trip requires a skilled captain. Head to Bimini for the sport fishing and you might even catch a competition. Pick up provisions in the capital, Nassau, and enjoy some of the local nightlife or a meal at one of the capital’s fine restaurants. Eleuthera is a challenging area for boaters, but the people are friendly and the shallow water and reefs offer spectacular and unusual scenery, not to mention fine snorkeling!
Pacific Islands: There are twenty-two pacific countries spread over hundreds of islands in some of the world’s most beautiful waters. Plan an itinerary that sets out from Syndney heading through the volcanic Kermadec islands and on to the whale breeding grounds of Vava’u to observe the local wildlife. Pass the historic Cook Islands and see the vivid beauty of Fiji, watching for tropical sea birds like petrels, gannets and Caspian terns. Plan a day trip on Vanautu to see its untouched beauty and experience the local island culture. Keep an eye out for whales and bottlenose dolphins all along the route and end your journey in New Zealand.