Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Port Canaveral, Florida
The self-proclaimed Gateway to the Sea, Port Canaveral is a primary stop for travelers entering or exiting the ICW or the Atlantic Ocean on a private vessel, cruise ship or cargo container. The area is also a portal into the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere via space shuttle. Near the top of the list of the busiest cruise passenger ports, Canaveral hosts four major cruise lines and six passenger terminals and serves more than four million cruise passengers annually.
Dedicated in 1953, Port Canaveral is located on central Florida's Space Coast, which has a wide variety of things to do and see. As the name indicates, much of the activity revolves around the exploration of space. Don't miss stopping at Kennedy Space Center to take in the Astronaut Hall of Fame. The Rocket Garden is also a must see! Climb inside the historic spacecrafts and capsules on display.
In November 2013, the Exploration Tower opened in celebration of the Canaveral Port Authority's 60th anniversary. The seven-story tower contains fun and adventure for the entire crew, with interactive exhibits and activities related to the environment, the harbor and the space program. The top floor observation deck provides a panoramic view of not only Port Canaveral and its cruise ships but also of Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding beach and river.
After a long day of space-themed doings, many visitors stop by the Cove Market Place, Port Canaveral's entertainment, retail and restaurant hub. The open-air village offers an assortment of restaurants, locally made knick-knacks from local artists and craftsmen and a casino ship.
Port Canaveral has an array of recreational options in its public parks. Jetty Park, located at the mouth of the Port Canaveral Inlet, has more than four acres of family beaches with designated areas for swimming and surfing and year-round lifeguards. It's also a popular spot for watching shuttle launches. Fisherman flock to the paved, lighted and well-equipped 1,200-foot Malcolm E. McLouth Fishing Pier. The four-acre Rodney S. Ketcham Park has boat-launch ramps, covered picnic tables and an observation tower. A mile and a half of bike paths run through the port. Charter fishing and airboat rides are readily available in the immediate area, and Port Canaveral is fewer than five miles from Cocoa Village and Cocoa Beach, florida's surfing capital.
Where to Dock:
Blue Points Marina at Port Canaveral offers more than 1,000 feet of courtesy docks, marina pavilion with grills, a ship store and 24 hour security.
Cape Marina can accommodate vessels up to 140 feet and offers a fuel dock, full service repairs, a pool and a game room.
Where to Dine:
Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill (610 Glen Cheek Drive, 321-784-4533) offers two levels of dining choices: a covered patio and sun deck with tiki bar topside, and casual waterfront dining below.
At Baja Tavern (626 Glen Cheek Drive, 321-799-1616) diners recommend the lobser roll, which comes with a cup of lobster chowder.
Bury your toes in the sand and surf of Port Aransas, the only town on 18-mile Mustang Island. Although locals may refer to it as Mayberry on the Beach, the island is very much alive despite its leisurely pace. Known as the fishing capital of Texas, the region also offers exceptional surfing, birding and nature adventures.
This boaters' paradise is surrounded by several bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi Bay, Lydia Ann Ship Channel and Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Beaches along this barrier island create a perfect union of warm Gulf waters and silky Texas sand.
A rented street-legal golf cart makes for effortless exploring. Colorful history, from the Karankawa tribe to the Spanish explorers who imported wild mustangs, to pirate Jean Lafitte, unfolds at the Port Aransas Museum. A thriving arts community converges around Port Aransas Art Center and resident artists' studios. Items from Coquina Dance Jewelry are inspired by nature, often incorporating sand and seashells from area beaches.
Nearly two dozen restaurants scatter the island. Come evening, drop in for a pint and a pie along with music at The Gaff Bar, a favorite local hangout. The Gaff is the birthplace of the Texas Belt Sander Races held on Saturdays in season.
Island Moorings Yacht Club & Marina 361-749-4100 New floating docks that accommdate up to 100 feet are available for one night or longer. Facilities include ship's store, fuel docks, pool and bathhouse.
Dennis Dryer Municipal Harbor 361-749-5429 This city-operated marina is linked with Roberts Point Park and offers both short-term and long-term slip rentals, as well as eight boat ramps. Enjoy amenities including a captain's lounge, fish-cleaning station and showers for slip holders.
WHERE TO DINE
BlueWater Cowboy 361-749-0106 The diverse menu ranges from steaks, sushi and island-inspired dishes to your day's catch prepared as you like. Your sea legs will feel right at home under a full bar replicating the transom of a sportfishing boat.
Rollin' Tide Boil Co. 361-416-0416 Leave your flip-flops on the sand while the on-site provider of Low Country boils rolls its pot to your spot for a private seafood dinner on the beach, a bonfire and a blazing sunset.
Venetian Hot Plate 361-749-7617 Authentic cuisine as good as you can get 10,000 miles from Italy is served in a quaint atmosphere.
Looking for the coolest new boating accessories for 2021? Us too! We're always on the lookout for what's new, what's cool and what's just plain fun. We've put together a list of our favorite boat gadgets and other cool boat stuff guaranteed to make your dockmates green with envy. While some are practical, others are just super nifty toys. We also kept in mind that not every captain wants to pay a pirate's ransom. While a few of our picks are worthwhile investments, most won't have you spending your last Doubloon. No matter what catches your eye, in our opinion, all are worth more than their price tag suggests. So, have fun checking out what we've dug up!
Smartech Anywhere Stainless-Steel Cup Holders[/caption]You can never have enough cup holders aboard your boat. Are we right? It's frustrating to run out of secure spaces to place drinks. This product was born out of necessity, because neither you nor your guests want to hold a drink while relaxing on the water.
Scrubba Wash Bag - personal washing machine[/caption]This little green beauty is perfect for long boat trips. The Scrubba wash bag is the easy way to wash clothes quickly on the go. Just fill the bag with clothes, water, and detergent, then close. After that, rub the clothes against the internal washboard, for clean clothes in only minutes. The bag is small enough to fold up and fit into a pocket, making it a perfect small boat accessory.
Olixar X-Ranger Survival Case[/caption]Prepare your iPhone or Samsung for rough seas with the rugged X-Ranger case. It has a flip-out kickstand and a concealed 26-in-1 multitool (or card of your choice) that's about the size of a credit card. With this case, you'll be prepared for anything.
Benetech GM816 Handheld Anemometer[/caption]Need an accurate real-time wind measurement at your location? Then a handheld anemometer is the boat accessory you don't want to leave dock without. It's compact, easy to use and inexpensive. Win, win, win!
1st Mate Marine Safety & Security System[/caption]This comprehensive marine safety and security system will take the well-being of everyone onboard to the next level. It can instantly alert passengers to a man over board (MOB) situation. It uses wearable fobs in conjunction with a mobile app and a central hub to turn your boat into a smart safety network.
Here's something for your most loyal crew member. This sweet boat accessory lets your four-legged-friend take a quick dip and easily and safely get back into your boat. It can even be used by children to get in and out of the water without assistance. The brightly colored ladder is lightweight and easy to attach and remove.
Living the boating life means you should always make time to hang a hammock by the water. This one, made of durable parachute nylon, hangs with straps instead of ropes, holds two adults, and squishes down into a compact, portable sack.
How could we leave the Dripper Guard out of our list? It's boating maintenance made simple. Not only is it an affordable small boat accessory, but it will save you boatloads of time and money. You won't be constantly cleaning your hull because this simple gadget prevents it from ever staining in the first place.We hope you've enjoyed checking out our list of the most popular 2021 Boating Accessories. For more suggestions on fun boating accessories, check out our other articles on this topic! We had a blast doing the research to find those gadgets that can help you get the most out of your time on the water.
Plot a Course for One of These Parks Along the US and Canadian Shores
The arrival of spring, with its mild temperatures and nature-scapes dressed in pastel colors, signals the long-awaited start of the boating season. It's the perfect time to chart a course to one or more of these splendid gems designated a State or National Park, all found along the shorelines of the U.S. and Canada.
Described as a national treasure, the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park in Maine extends from Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island to Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula. It draws nearly two million visitors annually and is home to the 1,530-foot pink granite summit, Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast. The stunning park provides a scenic mix of ocean views, island lakes and pine forests for hikers and bicycle riders to enjoy along with the nearly 40 different species of wildlife that call the park home. Dock at Bar Harbor Regency Hotel & Marina (207-266-5857) or at Bar Harbor Municipal Marina (207-288-5571).
Also Worth a Visit:
Rocky Neck State Park (Conn.) The gently sloping beach, picnic areas, diverse trails and salt marsh viewing platforms make this 710-acre park ideal for relaxed family outings. Dock at Saybrook Point Marina (800-243-0212, saybrook.com), just a 15-minute drive from the park.
Cape Cod National Seashore (Mass.) Picturesque lighthouses, sand dunes, pine barrens and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod's past and continuing ways of life. Dock at Long Point Marina (508-487-8899, marinaprovincetown.com), located in Provincetown on the northernmost tip of Cape Cod.
Rye Harbor State Park (N.H.) Enjoy breathtaking views of Ragged Neck (Rye Harbor), a peninsula of rocky coastline and green grass. Dock at Wentworth by the Sea Marina (603-433-5050, wentworthmarina.com), located five miles north of the park.
Beaver Island State Park (N.Y.) On the Niagara River outside Buffalo, the park features a half-mile swimming beach, bike and nature trails, and adjacent marinas with boat launches and fishing access. Dock at Beaver Island Marina (716-773-3271, gichamber.org) or Big 6 Mile Creek Marina (716-773-3271, nysparks.com).
Opposite the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Liberty State Park is an ideal location on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey. It provides visitors easy access to the sights and sounds of New York City and also features the Liberty Science Center, Liberty National Golf Club, picnic areas, a two-mile promenade, fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking and ferry service. The park's 36-acre designated state nature preserve is home to Communipaw Cove, one of the few tidal salt marshes found along the Hudson River estuary. Dock onsite at Liberty Landing Marina (201-985-8000).
Also Worth a Visit:
Delaware Seashore State Park (Del.) Swim, fish, boat, surf and sailboard. Burton's Island has a hiking trail with views of the bay islands, home to gulls and terns for their summer nesting. Dock at Indian River Marina (302-227-3071, destateparks.com/marinas).
Assateague State Park (Md. and Va.) The only oceanfront park in Maryland is located on Assateague Island. The bay side invites visitors to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. Dock at Snug Harbor Marina. (757-336-6176, snugharborva.com)
Kiptopeke State Park (Va.) Capt. John Smith explored this area, which is on the southernmost point of the Chesapeake Bay. There's a boat launch, fishing pier, hiking, biking, playground, bathhouse and beach. Dock at Cape Charles Yacht Center (757-331-3100, ccyachtcenter.com).
Cayo Costa State Park on Florida's southwest coast is accessible only by private boat or ferry service. It's home to nine miles of pristine beach paired with a mix of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps. A variety of activities make this an outdoor lover's ideal locale: swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters; off-road bike along shoreline nature trails; or canoe, kayak and explore. Other natural treasures you may encounter include manatees, dolphin pods frolicking in the surf and a dazzling array of birds. You can anchor out, or take advantage of bayside park for overnight dockage; reservations are recommended (941-964-0375, floridastateparks.org).
Also Worth a Visit:
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Fla.) The first undersea park in the country in Key Largo is a must for any diving enthusiast. It boasts coral reefs and countless tropical marine species. Dock at John Pennekamp Park Marina (305-451-6325, floridastateparks.org) or at Ocean Reef Club (800-741-7333), just 15 minutes north.
The Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.) The seashore is composed of over 9,800 acres of congressionally designated Wilderness, a pristine locale with an abundance of amazing wildlife. Shore tying is acceptable (beware of oyster beds and tidal changes), but overnight docking is not allowed (912-882-4336). For an overnight stay, dock at Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island but call ahead for reservations.
Fort Macon State Park (N.C.) The 389-acre park is North Carolina's second most visited park. It's home to Fort Macon, a completely restored brick and stone bastion from the Civil War. Dock nearby at Morehead City Yacht Basin (252-726-6862).
Mustang Island State Park lies just north of Padre Island and south of Port Aransas, Texas, and offers a family-friendly atmosphere in a tranquil setting. It welcomes visitors with some 48 campsites that provide electricity, water hookups, barbecue grills, and bathroom and shower facilities. An on-site store stocks ice, firewood and snacks. The park's five-mile beach provides the setting for an array of outdoor activities such as birding, fishing, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. Take time to visit the Texas State Aquarium and USS Lexington in nearby Corpus Christi. Dock at Corpus Christi Municipal Marina (361-826-3980).
Also Worth a Visit:
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park (Fla.) Western Florida's St. Joseph Peninsula State Park features cabins, stunning beaches and great biking spots plus incredible snorkeling and marvelous fishing on its namesake bay. Dock at Eagle Harbor Marina (904-621-8362) or Port St. Joe Marina (850-227-9393).
Situated on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, Fathom Five Marine Park in Ontario is Canada's first National Marine Conservation Area. It preserves a rich maritime legacy and features 22 shipwrecks as well as several historic light stations. The deep, yet crystal clear water affords some of the best diving in Canada. Your to-do list should include amazing Flower Pot Island, which is famous for its natural sea stacks, or flower pots. The park offers overnight mooring, or you can dock in nearby Tobermory at the Tobermory Harbour Marina (519-596-2731).
Also Worth a Visit:
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Mich.) Located on northwestern Lake Huron, the sanctuary is adjacent to Shipwreck Alley, one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the Great Lakes. Visit the 100 discovered wrecks at your own peril! Dock at City of Alpena Marina (989-356-0551).
Mackinac Island (Mich.) Located in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island and its same-named state park, the island is accessible only by boat. Historic sites such as Fort Mackinac and The Grand Hotel provide memorable, back-in-time experiences. Dock at Mackinaw City Municipal Marina (231-436-5269, michigan.org).
Deception Pass State Park, just south of Anacortes, Washington, is a 4,134-acre marine and camping park offering three lakes, rugged cliffs and out-of-this-world views. Landside, the park features 38 miles of hiking trails, expansive sand dunes, lots of wildlife and amazing sunsets. Waterside, it's nothing short of a boaters' paradise, with 710 feet of saltwater dock and 450 feet of freshwater dock (on the lakes) and access to great clamming, crabbing, diving and even white-water rafting (360-902-8844, parks.wa.gov).
Also Worth a Visit:
Channel Islands National Park (Calif.) is located 18 nautical miles west of Ventura (north of Los Angeles). You'll have to anchor out to visit California's Channel Islands National Park, but the payoff is diving among kelp beds, kayaking, bird and whale watching and fishing. There's camping available should you want to bring a tent and stay ashore for the night (805-658-5730; www.nps.gov), or cruise into Ventura harbor and dock at Ventura Harbor Village (805-658-1212.
Morro Bay State Park (Calif.) Your list of things to do at Morro Bay State Park should include a trip to Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Rock Natural Preserve, the Heron Rookery Natural Preserve and the highly acclaimed Morro Bay State Park Golf Course. Dock at the onsite State Park Marina (805-772-2560)
Along the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula just south of Cancun lies Playa del Carmen, a gorgeous seaside town and relative newcomer to the Caribbean's coveted list of must-see destinations.
For years dating back to 1,000 A.D., Mayans used this spot to launch canoes for the 30-mile journey to Cozumel. Some went to the island to trade mainland commodities such as honey or produce. Women paddled there on religious pilgrimages to visit the temples of Ixchel, Mayan goddess of fertility. After the Spanish arrived in 1518 and decimated the indigenous population, Playa settled into a quiet fishing village surrounded by endless beaches and tropical foliage.
Life here began to change in the late 1950s when Jacques Cousteau visited and released a documentary about nearby Mesoamerican Reef the second largest reef in the world that stretches for almost 700 miles offshore of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Cousteau's film shined a light on the menagerie of aquatic life ranging from coral and turtles to hundreds of fish species, and soon divers from around the globe flocked to this underwater paradise.
In 1967, the Mexican government started pouring millions of pesos into the Riviera Maya, a massive development plan to transform the Yucatan Peninsula's coastline into a world-class travel destination. Jungles were cut back, cement was laid for roads and airports, and hotels and restaurants appeared along the waterfront. In 1970, a wooden dock was built in Playa offering ferry service to Cozumel, and the village grew into a bustling resort town.
Even though Playa is one of Mexico's fastest growing cities, its streets and neighborhoods have retained their coastal charm. Strolling down the main drag, La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), presents a cornucopia of casual to gourmet eateries, gift shops and chic boutiques, nightclubs and beach bars, galleries, day spas, and more. Parque los Fundadores is a seaside park that's lively with local performers, sculptures and heavenly sunsets.
Playa's beaches are second to none, offering soft sand for sun worshipers and pristine waters for action seekers eager to go sport fishing, snorkeling, kite surfing or swimming with dolphins. Other must-do activities: Xcaret, an eco-friendly water park with 50+ natural and cultural attractions; Xplor jungle adventure park with zip lines, amphibious vehicles and underground rivers; and Xaman-Ha Aviary with colorful parrots, macaws, flamingos and other tropical birds.
Out of all the many local attractions, Mayan ruins offer a unique regional experience with day excursions to ancient structures in nearby Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba. Along the way to these magnificent historic sites, you can cross off a bucket list wish by taking a dip in cenotes or limestone caves filled with cool water, cascading ivy and subterranean fish.
Where to Dock
Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort 1-866-306-6113 Offering everything from a luxury pool and adult-only Jacuzzi to four restaurants and a Mayan-inspired spa, this all-inclusive resort is a premier destination. The full-service marina onsite provides slips accommodating boats ranging from 25 to 120 feet, as well as tours, sport fishing excursions and more.
Puerto Aventuras Beach Marina & Golf Resort +52-984-873-5107 This full-service marina is located about 26 minutes outside of Playa del Carmen and is the perfect high-altitude destination for transient boaters. The area is a residential and hotel complex offering vacation rental packages and amenities such as golf and tennis. Slips can accommodate vessels up to 150 feet including catamarans and sailboats.
Where to Dine
Zenzi Beach Club & Restaurant +52-984-803-5738 This upbeat beach bar offers an extensive array of Mexican and continental dishes from breakfast to late-night munchies under the shade of palm trees and an historic lighthouse.
Fuego Restaurante y Cantina 877-235-4452 Located at the Mahekal Resort, this beautiful oceanfront restaurant wins awards for its ever-changing menu of Mexican and Latin American delicacies prepared in a Tulum-inspired, wood-burning oven.
The Traveler's Table +52-984-367-1739 In a unique communal dining experience, share a sunset toast at the beach; learn about regional wine, mezcal and tequila; savor traditional Mexican cuisine; and end the feast with chocolate served five ways.
La Cueva del Chango +52-984-147-0271 Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic Mexican dishes. Come for breakfast and lunch to escape the midday heat or enjoy a romantic evening meal.
Alux Restaurant +52-984-206-1401 Named after mystical elves from Mayan lore, this upscale restaurant takes you down into a 10,000-year-old cave to dine on fine Mexican cuisine with pre-Hispanic and international touches, along with craft cocktails and spectacular scenery.