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Boating Slowly through the Lowcountry

The Lowcountry is legendary for its swaying marsh grass of blue, green and purple, teeming sea birds, and shallow calm bays leading to historic coastal towns. This magical waterway connecting South Carolina and Georgia pays tribute to its tragic and triumphant past from plantation life where sea cotton, rice and live oak were harvested in the hot sun, to civil unrest and battlegrounds, to gentile oceanfront retreats. The fascinating stories, the flavors and landmarks, lure you to go slowly to explore the lifestyle, taste the sweet tea and eat succulent shrimp along the way.

In Charleston, you have the modern Ravenel Bridge juxtaposed with enduring forts Sumter and Moultrie. Get off the boat to wander time-revered Rainbow Row's antebellum homes and venture out to historic Middletown Place or Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens. Stroll King Street's glam boutiques with brunch at Halls Chop House, especially on Sunday with live gospel music. On charming Queen Street, Poogan's Porch serves precious she-crab soup amid colonial homes.

beaufort - low country - marinalife
The Big Chill in Beaufort | Greg Burke[

Beaufort has a delightful waterfront park right on the ICW leading to Bay Street where you will likely splurge in the upscale local shops before feasting on fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits at Saltus River Grill on the water. To dig deep into Beaufort's past, Janet's Walking History Tour is outstanding, as Janet is ebullient and informative.Onward to Hilton Head Island, which is well populated but still holds dear Gullah cuisine and traditions from neighboring Daufuskie Island. Harbour Town Yacht Basin at the base of Hilton Head's classic candy-striped lighthouse is an ideal marina with Sea Pines Resort amenities of golf, tennis and the beach club as a bonus. The Salty Dog is the place for happy hour on the docks. Savor the buttery Lowcountry Boil loaded with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. Hilton Head's bike paths are perfect with no hills and plentiful shady trees. You can even ride on the hard-packed sand of the 12-mile Atlantic beach.

hilton head - low country - fall 2021
Hilton Head Alligator | Greg Burke

Savannah is a bustling commercial port but a treasured city to explore on foot. Or better board a trolley tour from River Street to Forsyth Park where moss-draped live oaks provide a delightful canopy. Jones Street is among the prettiest anywhere architecturally. If Charleston epitomizes southern sophistication, then Savannah is her wild stepsister, with livelier bars and a liberal to-go cup drink policy. The 1776 Pink House serves up superb soul food. Evening ghost tours, especially at Halloween, evoke spooky stories along Savannah's spirited (polite word for haunted) avenues.

Slipping deeper south in Georgia, Skidaway, St. Catherine's and Sapelo are lovely low-lying islands surrounded by thick salty sea grass. It can be serene with a soothing ocean breeze or so sticky you long for a tall iced sweet tea.

The Golden Isles are Georgia's famed strand of barrier islands, a boaters' haven just off Brunswick. St. Simons, Sea Island and Jekyll are each unique with gracious hospitality and heaps more legend and lore. The Cloisters is the poshest placed to stay; this elegant exclusive 1928 resort on Sea Island still garners five stars from its fine clientele.

st simon - low country - marinalife
St. Simon Island Beach | Greg Burke

Jekyll Island, just below St. Simons, is a gorgeous island-wide park, with a marina poised right on the ICW, Jekyll Harbor Marina. Designated coquina shell bike paths tour all around Jekyll through live oak forests to plantation remains and the fishing pier, to seemingly endless broad sand beach on Jekyll's oceanside. Roll up your sleeves and feast on yet another Old Bay Lowcountry Boil at Zachry's Riverhouse just off the marina dock. Or sip cocktails at sunset at The Wharf enjoying oysters and fresh snapper. Stay on property at the palatial 1886 Jekyll Island Club, one of the most sophisticated resorts from the gilded age. Play croquet in whites on the sweeping lawn and take a horse-drawn carriage around the splendid campus of impressive old cottages.

The South has soul. Like its Lowcountry cuisine, the land, the sea and the locals are sweet and salty. Their history is proud, their spirit is perseverant, and their hospitality is genuine. With a keen eye and an open agenda, you can witness dolphin, turtles, forts and magnificent mansions, and meet cool people as you pass through this haven of America's southeastern seaboard.

A SAMPLING OF SOUTHERN FALL FESTIVALS OF FUN & FLAVORS

Charleston MOJA Festival

September 30-Oct 10, 2021

Revel in a celebration of African and Caribbean culture.

Beaufort Shrimp Festival

October 1-2, 2021

Join the annual shrimp feast and fest that toasts the region's culinary traditions.

Savannah at Halloween

October is a wicked time in this spirited city with ghost and graveyard walks and haunted plantation tours.

Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

October 16-24, 2021

Experience the regional cuisine, local history and culture of the area.

Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival

September 14-18, 2021

Sample the regional wines and creations of the area's top culinary talents.

Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance Motoring Festival

November 5-7, 2021

Rev up for an annual gathering of car aficionados.

RSM Classic Golf Tournament

November 15-21, 2021

Join the fun at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons.

Brunswick Fall Festival

The Saturday prior to Halloween every year. Celebrate autumn's best at Waterfront Park and Liberty Ship Plaza.

Holly Jolly Jekyll

November to Christmas

Witness the island-wide celebration of holiday decorations, caroling, lights and sights.

Editor's Note: Several Lowcountry fall events are cancelled in 2021, to return in 2022: Savannah Food & Wine Festival, Gullah/Geechee Seafood Festival on St. Helena Island, and Jekyll's Shrimp & Grits Fest.

Photos by Greg Burke.

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Cruise to Virginia's Historic Triangle

Travel Destinations
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Cruise to Virginia's Historic Triangle
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Imagine you were Rip Van Winkle in reverse. You’ve nodded off for 400 years rather than 20. Now, you wake up to find yourself on the deck of a wooden sailing ship off the coast of Virginia. “Your first thought would be to look for a source of freshwater,” tells Steve Ormsby, administrator of The Watermen’s
Museum in Yorktown. “Then, it would have been protection, up a river, and at the same time finding deep water where you could tie up to the trees and row ashore. Your fellow passengers would have been tradesmen, merchants and craftsmen, skills needed to establish a settlement but not live in the wilderness. Still, you wouldn’t have gone hungry at first. Captain John Smith wrote in his journal that the oysters he found were the size of dinner plates.”


Fast forward to the historic triangle of Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown, which is among America’s first settlements and easy to reach by water. It’s a beautiful sail or motor from the Atlantic Ocean across the Chesapeake Bay to the James or York Rivers. Once here, explore ashore and offshore, too. Here’s a sampling of five top stops.

1. VISIT THE WATERMAN’S MUSEUM


Located on the Yorktown waterfront, upriver from the Riverwalk Landing marina, dining and shopping area, this nonprofit museum is a treasure trove of nautical history. Exhibits narrate how local watermen helped defeat the British in the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Yorktown with their local knowledge to help pilot the ships, as well
as the local watermen’s way of life as commercial fishermen.

“One of the focal points at the museum is the Windmill. Built in 1711, it was used to grind corn, but after that it stood as a waymark for ships sailing the York River,” says Ormsby. In April, the museum re-opened for the season with six new 10-foot by 10-foot kiosks in the Windmill Lot. These interactive displays feature ropemaking, pottery, candle making, boatbuilding and woodwork, sail making, and blacksmithing. The museum also runs an award-winning summer camp, with a pirate-themed environmental camp for kids in grades K to 5, and hands-on camps for those in grades 3 to 8 focused on boatbuilding, an archaeological beach dig and maritime trades. watermens.org

2. SET SAIL ON THE SCHOONER ALLIANCE

Cast off from Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing Pier on this 105-foot gaff-rigged schooner. There are three two-hour sightseeing cruises daily. Along the way, see the historic Victory Monument and Battlefield, working watermen plying their trade as they did years ago, and perhaps a modern naval ship or school of dolphins. The Alliance’s sails are set traditionally with block and tackle, and passengers are welcome to help. The crew provides narration
and sea stories along the way. sailyorktown.com/schooner-alliance.html

3. TAKE A WALK ON THE RIVERWALK SIDE


You’ll find many historical markers along Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing, a mile-long pedestrian path from the Battlefield to the American Revolution Museum, making this
an educational and entertaining stroll. “Many of the markers involve the water, specifically the Battle of Yorktown and the Middle Passage,” says Gail Whittaker, public information officer for York County, VA. “If you’re lucky, you might see an opening of the Coleman Bridge that crosses the river and joins Yorktown with Gloucester County. It is the largest double-swing-span bridge in the United States and the second largest in the world! The Naval Weapons Station Yorktown is just upriver from our waterfront. It’s awesome to see the bridge swing open as one of our marvelous Navy ships glides by.” visityorktown.org/153/Riverwalk-Landing

4. SHUCK INTO A SEAFOOD SUPPER

You might not find oysters the size of dinner plates, but you can fill your dish with fresh seafood in Colonial Williamsburg. Try Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill, located in Merchant’s Square. There’s she-crab soup for starters, seasonal specialties like lemon pepper-crusted grouper fillet and seared sea scallops, and signature entrees such as The Original Blue Plate: sauteed backfin crabcake, baked oysters Rockefeller and grilled shrimp. The oyster bar features shucked Victory Point
York River Oysters on the half shell. berrets.com

5. SETTLE BACK IN JAMESTOWN

There is likely nowhere better for colonial history buffs to spend a day indoors and outdoors than in the living history museum that is this settlement. Films and exhibits portray the lives of Virginia’s Native Americans, the first English settlers, and the initial arrival of West Africans, all three here in the early 17th century. The most fun is to climb on board replicas of the three ships on which the first English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607 — the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery — and imagine you’re onboard. historicjamestowne.org

CELEBRATE THE 4TH OF JULY

European settlers planted roots in the Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown over a century before the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 up north in Philadelphia. Yet, it’s the wealth of national history and its preservation that makes this area one of the best places to celebrate this summer holiday.

Independence Day Celebration

Riverwalk Landing & Historic Yorktown
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Early birds start the day with a 5K walk or 8K run. The patriotic parade follows with the best viewing spots along Water and Main Streets. Bring your flags to wave and toe-tap to the Fifes & Drums corps beat. At 1 p.m., a hot dog eating contest is hosted by Toby’s Dog House in Jamestown, with a satellite location in Yorktown’s Water Street. Patriotic concerts start after dark, culminating in a firework display over the York River. Watch from the Yorktown Waterfront & Victory Monument at 803 Main Street or anchor out and see the sparklers reflected in the water.

July 4th Celebration

Colonial Williamsburg
9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Immerse yourself in all things independence during a day-long of activities. Stand at the Capitol West Balcony to hear Thomas Jefferson read the Declaration of Independence. A special military muster in Market Square, concert of celebration at the Play House Stage, historical reflections re-enacted throughout the day, free ice cream, and live music on the Lawn of the Art Museums culminate in the Lights of Freedom Fireworks Display at 9:20 p.m. The best places for viewing are the East Lawn of the Art Museum, the Palace Green and Market Square.

Regional Marinas

Riverwalk Landing Piers
Yorktown, VA

The heart of Yorktown’s waterfront is within walking distance of historic sights, shops and dining. There are no individual slips here, but all piers are dedicated to transient and temporary stay boaters. Facilities include shore power in 30, 50 and 100 amp, pump-out and private key coded boater restrooms with showers. No fuel is available. The busiest times are May-June and September-October. To reserve docking, email dockmaster@yorkcounty.gov or call 757-890-3370.

York River Yacht Haven
Gloucester Point, VA


This Suntex Marinas property is located at the mouth of Sarah Creek, opposite Yorktown, in a 14-acre rural storm-protected area. The full-service facility boasts 280 slips accommodating boats up to 160’. Transients can enjoy amenities including fuel, laundry services, free Wi-Fi and a freshwater pool.

Kingsmill Marina
Williamsburg, VA


Along the James River, the marina at Kingsmill Resort offers a tranquil getaway with activities on-site. Enjoy everything from lush golf courses to upscale amenities and lodging at Cottages on the James or The Estate at Kingsmill’s private mansion. The marina offers annual slip leases for vessels up to 80’ depending on beam width.


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Explore the Magical Bioluminescent Bays of the Caribbean
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Luquillo Beach - bioluminescent bays - marinalife
Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico | Susan Elnicki Wade

PICTURE YOURSELF ON A MOONLIT EVENING CRUISE, and you see the water below your boat sparkling like the stars in the sky above. This magical light show is not just a fantasy -- it's a rare phenomenon that occurs in what's called a bioluminescent bay, where you witness tiny lights that twinkle beneath you. Dip your oar down into what looks like static electricity in the waves or fling a handful of water into the air and it feels like you're sprinkling stardust.

Bioluminescent bays are created by tiny algae called dinoflagellates. These microorganisms produce a neon blue-green light from a chemical reaction involving a compound called luciferin, named for its devilish glow. According to Smithsonian Magazine, "Bioluminescence can serve a variety of purposes, such as signaling predators to stay away or beckoning mates to come closer."

Depending on the moon's cycle, weather conditions and the disturbance of waves, you can catch this amazing experience at the following destinations. Some say a full moon is the best time to visit these bays.

LUMINOUS LAGOON

Falmouth, Jamaica

Where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea, shallow layers of salt and fresh water converge into a spectacular creation. Regarded as one of the brightest in the world, Jamaica's Luminous Lagoon radiates as the water fills with phosphorous and illuminates when disturbed. Stretching along the marshlands of Trelawny, this lagoon once housed an 18th-century wharf where English vessels delivered goods. Years after Jamaica's thriving sugar trade ended, glowing microorganisms were discovered within the warm waters.

Visit Glistening Waters Hotel & Attraction in Falmouth, which boasts luxury accommodations, lagoon tours, a restaurant, pool and marina.

Where to Dock: Glistening Waters Marina

BIO BAY

Laguna Grande - bioluminescent bays - marinalife
Laguna Grande, Puerto Rico | JKenning

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Witness high concentrations of phytoplankton shooting off tiny bursts of light in this region. These aquatic sparks last merely a fraction of a second, but when this occurs, the colors of the bay sync for a stunning light show. Located on the north side of the island near Rum Point, discover this hidden gem about 45 minutes from Seven Mile Beach. Take the short route from Starfish Point or challenge yourself by kayaking 2.5 km from Kaibo Beach Bar. Plan a bio bay adventure around the moon cycle with Cayman Kayaks, the original tour operator of the Bioluminescent Tours in Grand Cayman.

Where to Dock: The Barcadere Marina

LA PARGUERA

Lajas, Puerto Rico

There's just something mesmerizing about the waters of Puerto Rico. The island is a treasure trove when it comes to bioluminescence as it is home to three active bioluminescent destinations. On the island's southwest side, just a two-hour drive from from San Juan, explore this twinkling bay along the town of Lajas. When the waters of this coastline are stirred up by waves, the dinoflagellates are at an all-time high -- a common occurrence here.

You'll witness a natural light show as you venture into the dark on a nighttime tour.

Paraguera Watersports offers a special tour where you can enjoy a sunset swim along the cay before kayaking to see the bio bay when the light fades. This is the only location where swimming is allowed.

Where to Dock: Marina Pescaderia

LAGUNA GRANDE

Fajardo, Puerto Rico

On the other side of Puerto Rico lies Laguna Grande's seaside sanctuary. On the way to your bioluminescent quest, check out three destinations: El Yunque, a nature preserve and towering mountain, Liquillo Beach, a lively beach town with great local food in bodegas and cantinas that line the street, and Fajardo, a quaint fishing village. The town of Fajardo is surrounded by beaches and nature preserves that swell with marine wildlife including dolphins, manatees and turtles. The stunning landscape exposes dry forests and lovely shorelines to explore by day, and a glowing bio bay to explore by night.

Check out Puerto Rico Bio Bay Tours for full moon kayak adventures. Witness the moonlight glimmer across the bay's bioluminescent activity as you paddle through mangrove forests.

Where to Dock: Puerto Del Rey Marina

MOSQUITO BAY

Mosquito Bay - bioluminescent bays - marinalife
Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico | Vanessa Ruiz

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Also known as Bahía Bioluminiscente, Mosquito Bay is on the southern coast of Vieques, one of Puerto Rico's eastern islands. Many consider this destination to be the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, containing up to 700,000 tiny dinoflagellates per gallon of water that live in a bay with a narrow mouth that prevents them from washing out to sea.

Unlike Laguna Grande's full moon tour, it's best to visit during a different lunar cycle when the glowing micro-organisms are more visible. Book a two-hour Bio Bay tour in a transparent kayak with Taino Aqua Adventures, located in Esperanza, Vieques.

SALT RIVER BAY NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK & PRESERVE

Christiansted, St. Croix

St. Croix is home to beautiful beaches, but this hidden gem is unique among the Caribbean islands. The historic park and preserve at the northern tip of the island sparkles depending on the night and location. In addition to spotting the common dinoflagellates, witness two other types of radiant creatures here: glow worms and ctenophore (comb jellyfish).

Departing from Salt River Marina in Christiansted, get an up-close-and-personal view of the aquatic wonder with See Thru Kayaks VI's nighttime journey along the Salt River Bay on the island's only transparent kayak tour.

Where to Dock: Green Cay Marina at Tamarind Reef Resort

Though not as commonly known and not necessarily large enough to be considered bioluminescent bays, if you visit the right place and the right time, you may catch a glimpse of bioluminescent activity at the following U.S. locations:

  • MANASQUAN BEACH, Manasquan, NJ
  • BIG SOUTH FORK, Tennessee/Kentucky
  • INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, Melbourne Beach, FL
  • TORREY PINES BEACH, La Jolla, CA
  • MISSION BAY, San Diego, CA
  • GRIFFIN BAY, San Juan Islands, WA
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Savor the Southern Charm in Wilmington, North Carolina
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Like its neighbors to the south Charleston and Savannah Wilmington, North Carolina, has become a magnet for tourists and transplants looking for authentic Southern culture, cuisine and climate.

Bald Head Island - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Bald Head Island Harbor | Wikimedia Commons

Many boaters are familiar with the area's barrier islands and beaches such as Topsail, Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure, Bald Head, but not so much the city itself, located about 30 miles upstream from where Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.The Eastern Siouan people occupied the area when the first Europeans arrived in the early 1500s and Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the North American coast. His maps and travel accounts comprise the earliest description of North Carolina's land and people.The city of Wilmington (then called New Carthage) was founded in 1739 on the banks of Cape Fear River. Its name comes from Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition when he sailed to Roanoke Island and his ship was stranded behind the cape. The crew was afraid they'd wreck, giving rise to the name Cape Fear.Also known as the Port City, Wilmington is experiencing a building boom and renaissance, with its well-preserved downtown and a bustling Port City waterfront area augmented by new condos and reclaimed riverside acreage that has been turned into parks, piers and promenades. Across from the city's Riverwalk you can find the Battleship North Carolina Memorial and tour this famous warship.Front Street, Wilmington's thriving commercial thorough-fare, is lined with chic shops, bars and restaurants populated by a mix of locals, UNC Wilmington college students and out-of-towners looking for R&R after a day of shopping, sight-seeing or cooling out at the beaches. Looking for lunch or a light alternative to a full-course dinner? Try Fun Bowl for ramen and poke bowl, Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub for pizza, wings and subs, or Beer Barrio for Mexican dishes.

Azaleas - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Azaleas in full bloom | Kristina Gain on Pexels

Microbreweries and brew pubs are booming here, and two are worth checking out: Front Street Brewery (craft beers and hand scratched food) and Pour Taproom & Bar (60+ different craft beers and ciders).Wilmington's Azalea Festival in April and October's Riverfest are just two of the local can't-miss events, along with other cultural happenings throughout the year. Popular spots include Greenfield Lake Park (check the live music schedule at the park's busy amphitheater), Arlie Gardens (botanical gardens, trails, birding and events) and the world-class Cameron Art Museum.For an interesting side-trip, visit Bald Head Island at Cape Fear's southern tip. The remote village is only accessible by ferry from nearby Southport, and cars are not allowed on the island. The island is nationally recognized for sea turtle nesting activity. Accommodations are available at the Marsh Harbor Inn and the Inn at Bald Head Island. A handful of restaurants serve everything from to-go meals and pub fare to wine-bar and cantina-style cuisine.

Where to Dock

Cape Fear Marina910-772-9277Part of Off the Hook Yacht Services, this gated 70-slip marina offers water, pump-out and electric hookup at every slip, and the fully equipped dock house has shower and laundry facilities. Repair and refit services are also available.Dockside Marina910-256-3579About one mile north of Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach, the marina has 180 feet of floating transient dockage and access to shore power, water and wireless Internet. It's close to local grocers, ATMs, laundries, hotels and marine stores, and the highly rated Dockside Restaurant.Port City Marina910-251-6151This full-service marina with 200+ floating concrete wet slips accommodates boats up to 400 feet and is in the heart of downtown. It offers rapid-fill fuel service, electric, free Wi-Fi, gated entrance, video surveillance, pump-out, on-site store and more. Marina Grill is steps away from the docks.Wilmington Marine Center910-395-5055Services include gas, water, electric, pump-out, wireless internet and more. The marina is in an enclosed basin off the Cape Fear River, offering 130 slips with fixed and floating docks for vessels up to 120 feet.

Where to Dine

Caprice Bistro910-815-0810For authentic French cuisine, the chef delivers classics such as escargot, crepes and mussels, as well as boeuf bourguignon, duck confit and lamb shank tagine. Locals flock to this hidden gem that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.Circa 1922910-762-1922A lush, romantic spot that sources ingredients for imaginative dishes from local farmers and seafood merchants. Serving a mix of small plates (charred octopus, beef carpaccio, tuna tataki) and classics like paella, scallops and short ribs, the emphasis is on seasonal American fare with a European flair.Indochine910-251-9229This Far East café serves a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine: satay, dumplings, pad Thai, nine different curries, bulgogi and braised catfish in an exotic, art-filled setting. Save room for sticky rice topped with warm coconut sauce and mangoes.Pilot House910-343-0200This Wilmington institution serves indigenous seafood and fowl, and the area menu includes everything from down-home cooking to Cajun and traditional Southern fare with a contemporary twist, in a restored 19th century house with a riverside terrace.Seabird910-769-5996Seafood rules at the sleek and chic Seabird, and fish, oysters and shellfish dominate the menu. Try the smoked catfish and oyster pie, or the swordfish schnitzel. Landlubbers can opt for sorghum pork ribs or grilled bavette steak.

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Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts
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Ever wish you could hop in a time machine and go back 50 or 60 years to experience a less frenetic pace of life? It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. There's a place off the coast of Massachusetts where you can do just that ... at least for a weekend.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | tkesner1 on Flickr

"It's like 1960 --you're stepping back in time," notes Captain Jono Billings, who owns and operates the Cuttyhunk Ferry out of New Bedford, about 18 miles north of Cuttyhunk Island, a 580-acre arc of stone and sand that's the westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands that lie between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

For such a small place, Cuttyhunk has a long, colorful history. In 1602 --nearly 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock -- Bartholomew Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England to establish a colony in the New World, explored the areas near present-day Kennebunkport, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and built a small fort on what he christened Cuttyhunk Island.

A 70-foot stone tower was constructed in 1902 commemorating the 300th anniversary of that historic landing. After passing through the hands of several English earls and dukes, Peleg Slocum purchased the island in 1693, and her family continued to live on Cuttyhunk for the next 165 years.

In 1865, a group of Rhode Island fishing enthusiasts bought a large portion of the island and built the Cuttyhunk Club and a few fishing stands, enhancing its reputation as a prime spot for sport fishing. In fact, two 73-pound, world-record striped bass have been caught off Cuttyhunk in 1913 and more recently in 1967.

Local fishermen know all the qualities and quirks of the area's waters, offering their services to visiting anglers and acting as expert navigators for ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor, piloting them through the dangerous Sow and Pig Reef on the west end of the island.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | Ben McLaughlin

Fishing isn't the only way to interact with nature on Cuttyhunk. Half the island is a nature preserve, home to a variety of birds and mammals, as well as wildflowers, sweet peas, bayberry and a host of other flora. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the landscape that's largely craggy and reflects Cuttyhunk's glacial origins. It's covered with the same kind of rocks and stones found in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Although largely a day-tripper destination, visitors can overnight on Cuttyhunk with some advance planning. Most boaters prefer to stay aboard their own craft if properly outfitted, but limited accommodations are on land as well. Avalon, the Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, offers seven rooms, while Cuttyhunk Fishing Club has eight. A few cottage and house rentals are also available through Pete's Place Rentals.

Where to Dock

Cuttyhunk Marina

508-990-7578

The marina offers 50 transient slips that can accommodate vessels up to 110 feet and have freshwater hookups and 30- and 50-amp electricity capability. About 50 moorings accommodate vessels up to 50 feet. Pump out, ice, picnic area and restrooms are available.

Frog Pond Marine Moorings

508-992-7530

This mooring field is located in the outer harbor off the port side of Bell 6 upon entering Cuttyhunk. Bright white balls mark the moorings, which are first-come, first-serve. Tie up to any mooring that doesn't say PRIVATE, and the mooring collector will come to your boat to collect a $45 rental fee.

Jenkins Moorings

508-996-9294

Located in the outer harbor to the right of the channel's entrance, moorings are first-come, first-serve during the high season. If you spend the night, call and they'll deliver fresh oysters and raw-bar items to your boat.

Where to Dine

Cuttyhunk Café

508-802-8633

This coffee shop is located on the town fish dock. Start your day with coffee and pastries, pick up chowder and sandwiches for lunch, and finish the day chowing down on fresh lobster boils with corn, potatoes, onion, chorizo and steamers.

Cuttyhunk Fishing Club

508-992-5585

Just south of town on Cemetery Road, this B&B offers the best breakfasts/brunches on the island, and you don't have to be a guest to enjoy it. They don't take reservations, so grab a cup of coffee and an Adirondack chair while you wait for your table and enjoy the porch with a million-dollar view.

Cuttyhunk Island Market

508-538-1218

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this rustic spot offers all the essentials: dry goods, sundries, bread, dairy, fresh veggies, plus 10-inch subs with a bag of chips. We may be small, but we have it all.

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms

508-990-1317

This floating raw bar provides fresh Cuttyhunk oysters and clams, along with stuffed quahog and hot clam chowder to boaters during the summer, delivered right to your boat. Call them on VHF Channel 72 or stop in at their shack on the fish dock during the day to place your order.

Soprano's Pizza

508-992-7530

The only sit-down restaurant on Cuttyhunk, this in-season eatery serves gourmet brick oven pizzas and seafood specials. Think a pizza oven held hostage in a garage, four picnic tables in a driveway lit by tiki torches, and a croaking bullfrog in the pond! Can't beat that kind of ambiance.

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT
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A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina

802-865-3377

This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina

802-540-6869

With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road

802-497-2145

Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

802-859-0888

This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.

RíRá

802-860-9401

According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café

802-863-3759

Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood

802-540-0534

Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

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Antigua vs. Grenada
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History

Grenada - this or that - marinalife
Grenada, St. George's Town | Wilson Hum

Antigua

Antigua is one of two major islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda, an independent commonwealth between the eastern Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Colonized by English settlers in 1632 and then raided by the French in 1666, these lands were first inhabited by native tribes such as the Arawaks. The country eventually received sovereignty and became a nation in 1981. Check out the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda located in the former St. John's courthouse.

Grenada

Also originally occupied by indigenous people such as the Arawaks, Grenada remained free from colonization for decades as France and Britain fought for territory. The French dominated first, but the British invaded the island in 1762 during the Seven Years' War. They went back and forth with treaties disputing land control until the country finally gained independence from Britain in 1974.

Best Beaches

antigua - this or that - marinalife
Courtesy of Jay Proulx

Antigua

The waters along the island of Antigua are highly favored for snorkeling in majestic reefs and relaxing on beaches. This island has so many beaches, you find one for each day of the year 365 of them to be exact! Little Ffryes Beach on Antigua's west coast and Half Moon Bay on the east coast are often ranked among the top Caribbean beaches.

Grenada

Even though Grenada has fewer beaches than Antigua, the island's sandy spots are just as charming. The tropical paradise boasts 45 beaches where you can do everything from swimming and snorkeling in clear waters to bird or turtle watching on white sands. One of the best beaches includes Grand Anse Beach, famous for snorkeling, kayaking and sailing.

Cultural Cuisine

Antigua

lthough the Caribbean is usually known for rum, Wadadli Beer is a unique Antiguan staple. The original inhabitants named the island Wadadli before it was allegedly renamed Santa Maria de la Antigua by Christopher Columbus and eventually shortened. You can find this sweet lager exclusively brewed on the island. Cultural foods to explore include Ducana (a sweet dumpling) and Saltfish and Fungi (similar to polenta or grits).

Grenada

Feast on delicious island food such as Grenada's national dish, Oil down, a mix of salted meats, veggies, dumplings, breadfruit and spices cooked in coconut milk. Be sure to try other local favorites such as Olla de San Antón, made with beans, rice and pork, or Grenadian caviar (roe of white sea urchin).

Geography

grenada - this or that - marinalife
Sunnyside Garden in Grenada | AllDayDoodler on Flickr

Antigua

Antigua spans 108 square miles of secluded bays, stunning coral reefs, shoals and caves across the West Indies. The island is made up of limestone formations along the northeast belt and is partly volcanic in the southwest region. Witness steep hills of ancient volcanic formation and overlook the highest elevation at Mount Obama (formerly Boggy Peak), Antigua's tallest mountain.

Grenada

As the southernmost island of the north-south arc of the Lesser Antilles, Grenada is just north of Venezuela's coast. A large portion is volcanic terrain, and scenery varies from mountainous rainforests and high-rise houses on waterfront cliffs, to coastal mangroves. Witness exotic wildlife such as armadillos, mockingbirds and monkeys at Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve, and visit tropical gardens at Hyde Park or Sunnyside Garden in St. George's.

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Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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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.

Playa del Carmen - destination - marinalife
Playa del Carmen, Mexico aerial | Wikimedia Commons

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.

playa del carmen - destination - marinalife
Downtown marketplace | Braden Collum on Unsplash

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 Chichén Itzá, 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 Resort1-866-306-6113Offering 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+52-984-873-5107This 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+52-984-803-5738This 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.

playa del carmen - destination - marinalife
Portal Maya | Evaristo Villegas on Unsplash

Fuego Restaurante y Cantina877-235-4452Located 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+52-984-367-1739In 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+52-984-147-0271Step 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+52-984-206-1401Named 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.

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Naples, FL
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If you're traveling down Florida's west coast, Naples is one of the last places to restock and refuel before setting off for the Keys, 100 miles south. But Naples is worth more than a quick stop. The city offers boaters a myriad of recreational opportunities, great restaurants and first-class beachfront accommodations that invite you to linger longer on the Paradise Coast.

naples - destination - marinalife
Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Naples was founded in 1886 but was only accessible by boat until 1927 when the Florida railroad system was finally extended; the Tamiami Trail highway linking Miami to Naples and points north wasn't completed until two decades later. This relative isolation spared Naples the fate of its east coast neighbors, keeping runaway development in check.

Today, Old Naples the roughly 15-block area south of Central Avenue retains much of its early-20th century charm, and Naples Pier, the neighborhood's 130-year-old focal point, is a great place to get your bearings and catch a brilliant Gulf sunset before heading out to the area's top-flight eateries. Pier amenities include restrooms and a concession stand selling bait, food and beach supplies.

For a unique food and entertainment experience, Celebration Park in the Bayshore Arts District near Naples Botanical Garden is home to a permanent food truck rally, pavilion, picnic tables and open-air tiki bar. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Rebecca Maddox, Celebration Park is a magnet for foodies, lovers of live entertainment and visitors seeking a laid-back Florida vibe.

Looking for a special spot to spend a night on land? Consider the Hotel Escalante, an 11-bungalow Mediterranean-style retreat with a pool, spa and first-rate restaurant set amidst courtyard fountains, tropical gardens, private patios and verandas.

naples - destination - marinalife
Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Saltwater and freshwater fishing is a top leisure pursuit in Naples, netting ambitious anglers an array of species such as redfish, snook, tarpon, grouper and snapper. How about an Everglades airboat or kayak tour? Or maybe a hike at one of the area's many parks? Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are two local favorites. Also, 10 public golf courses are at your fingertips. And don't forget the Naples Zoo, Botanical Gardens, upscale shopping on Fifth Avenue South, or just stretching out on miles of pristine beach. Seagate Beach and Lowdermilk Park Beach are two of the best.If you're here in November, January or March, check out the Swamp Buggy Races at Florida Sports Park the only place in the world to see these weirdly awesome machines.

If your transportation interests trend toward the classics, Revs Institute on Horseshoe Drive has 100+ restored and preserved automobiles of historic significance on display.

Where to Dock

Naples Bay Resort & Marina
239-530-5134
Billing itself as Southwest Florida's only waterfront hotel with a fully operational marina featuring direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, the marina offers 97 wet slips with electricity, complimentary Wi-Fi and pump-out services, onsite fuel, and dock box storage and transient slips in the summer.

Naples Boat Club
239-430-4994
Naples Boat Club encompasses a dry-rack boat storage boathouse, 47 wet slips for monthly, seasonal or annual dockage, and related businesses, including the Wharf Tavern Restaurant, Molly's Marine Service, Allied Marine and others. Amenities include a full-service fuel dock, clubhouse, pool and waterfront storage with quick access to the Gulf, Gordon Pass and Naples beaches.

Naples City Dock
239-213-3070
Located at the end of 12th Avenue South about three miles north of the Gordon Pass, Naples City Dock boasts 84 slips on floating docks and mooring balls. The 400' frontage can accommodate various size vessels, and the marina offers high-speed diesel, ethanol-free gas, laundry, an outdoor lounge area and complimentary pump out.

Where to Dine

Bleu Provence
239-261-8239
This award-winning French restaurant began as labor of love in 1999 after Jacques and Lysielle Cariot retired to Naples from France. Retirement didn't stick; starting an elegant eatery was their new plan. With a 49,000-bottle wine cellar and a menu that redefines fresh and fine dining, you're in excellent hands.

naples - destination - marinalife
Naples City Dock | Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Captain & Krewe
239-263-1976
Open every day, this casual café serves local seafood, simply prepared, in a laid-back atmosphere. Small plates include ceviche, crab cakes, spicy shrimp, fish tacos, chargrilled oysters, chowder, lobster roll... choose one, or choose them all, and kick back and enjoy! Tip: The raw bar tucked in the back of the place is a local hotspot.

Dolce e Salato
239-300-0444
For adventurous and authentic Italian cuisine, this breakfast and lunch spot might make it seem like you've died and gone to heaven. This combo market and eatery serves croissants, cakes and biscotti with its cappuccino and espresso. Italian frittatas and special egg dishes round out the morning menu, followed by lunchtime appetizers, signature sandwiches, pasta creations, Italian classics and weekly specials. Happy hour includes complimentary tastings from the menu.

Veranda E
239-659-3466
Located at the Hotel Escalante, Veranda E serves what it calls Global Haute Cuisine with an Asian twist. Featuring an on-premises sustainable organic garden, the chef crafts culinary classics with local grouper and snapper, short ribs, rack of lamb and filet mignon. An impressive wine list rounds things out. Atmosphere abounds.

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California Sunshine in Marina del Rey
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In the early 1900s, the area around what is now known as Marina del Rey was primarily salt marsh and wetlands where Ballona Creek emptied into the Pacific Ocean. A favorite destination for duck hunters and bird watchers, the estuary had been eyed as the ideal location for a commercial port serving nearby Los Angeles.

marina del rey - destination - marinalife
Marina del Rey Boats | Needpix.com

Several projects tried and failed to bring that dream to fruition, but in 1965 a marina was formally christened on the site after an expenditure of some $36.25 million. The commercial Port of Los Angeles was ultimately built in San Pedro, about 25 miles south. Marina del Rey sprang up around the new marina; the first wave included hotels, apartment complexes, 1,000 boat slips, and shopping centers, offices and restaurants.Since then, Marina del Rey has become a premier neighbor- hood in LA, the third in a string of picturesque waterfront communities that includes Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Today the marina is a destination for boaters seeking easy access to Los Angeles, and also for landlubbers who want to experience the laid-back nautical vibe of the waterfront and beaches.

marina del rey - destination - marinalife
Marina del Rey waterfront | Wikimedia Commons[

Just opposite the harbor's entrance is Fisherman's Village, a replica of a New England seaport and fishing town with restaurants, shops and the Marina del Rey Historical Society's exhibit space. Fisherman's Village also sponsors live music at its weekly Thursdays are the new Fridays events at the plaza.Around the harbor you find restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, a UPS Store, a hospital, the Villa Marina Marketplace mall, upscale hotels and the Lloyd Taber-Marina del Rey Library, which houses a nautical collection for boaters. At the harbor's north end, the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey offers visitors sophisticated lodging in a serene waterfront setting with high-end amenities such as the Sisley Spa, the farm-to-table Cast & Plow restaurant, poolside dining and cabanas, and Club Level accommodations.Marina del Rey is also situated along the 22-mile Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail. Rent bikes at Daniel's in Fisherman's Village and cycle up to Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica (about six miles) or down the coast to Redondo Beach and South Bay (about 13 miles).Other activities include hiking, hang gliding, parasailing, pier and jetty fishing, bird watching in the Ballona Wetlands and the Farmer's Market, held every Saturday. And you're just minutes from downtown LA, with its endless array of restaurants, museums, world-class events, tours, shopping you name it!

Where to Dock

Marina del Rey Marina310-822-0316This marina is conveniently located minutes from the airport and central to everything. Slips accommodate vessels from 30 to 150 feet. Amenities include a dockside shuttle service, laundry delivery service and discounts at nearby restaurants.Pier 44 Marina310-806-6971As one of the up and coming marinas in the area, Pier 44 Marina is the perfect spot for a long, relaxing vacation. They offer monthly and annual wet slips for vessels from 20 to 75 feet. Amenities include pumpout station and a Sea Mark Marine located on-site offering services such as carpet cleaning, boat wash, bottom paint, engine maintenance and repair.Del Rey Landing310-574-4443Transient dockage is available for vessels up to 328 feet and 15-foot draft. Amenities include high-speed fueling center, convenience store, concierge services, hard-wired Internet and a full-service boatyard.

Where to Dine

Cast & Plow310-823-1700The chefs at this waterfront restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton transform locally sourced produce, seafood and meat into California cuisine at its finest. Unwind with a pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine. Indoor and outdoor marina-view seating available.

Marina del Rey - destination - marinalife
Marina del Rey kayakers | Kindel Media on Pexels

Killer Shrimp310-578-2293The restaurant's eponymous Killer Shrimp is a generous helping of shrimp served in a spicy broth crafted from a secret family recipe truly a must-taste. The Killer Cafe next door serves breakfast 24/7, and several dishes incorporate the signature shrimp spice from the mothership next door.Sugarfish310-306-6300This local sushi chain serves high-quality, Tokyo-style sushi. Following Japanese tradition, the master chef decides each day's fixed menu based on his knowledge of what's most flavorful. Located at the Waterside Center.UOVO424-334-9336Located in the Boardwalk Shops, this rustic spot serves traditional Italian dishes featuring handmade pasta from UOVO's kitchen in Bologna, Italy. You read that right. This restaurant makes pasta in Italy using ingredients that only exist there and overnights it in a temperature-controlled cabin where the flight offers the essential resting time.

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