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Top 10 Waterfront Venues on the East Coast

Choosing the Right Venue


Whether you're planning a wedding, banquet, reunion or other special event, the right waterfront venue can add a magical touch and inspire a lifetime of memories. When we are out and about scouting new travel destinations, boating hot spots and cruising towns, we always keep an eye out for places that offer great waterfront venues for events and parties. Below, you will our list of the best waterfront venues for special events and parties.


Built in the tradition of a coastal marine village, this luxury community offers private family compounds along the shores of Gum Thicket Shoal, ready and waiting to house everyone in your party. Available amenities range from a harbor club and marina with pool, cabana bar and dining room, to a pony pasture and dedicated nature preserve with trails. The Lake House sits on a stocked fly-fishing lake, and the Boat House Pavilion and Amphitheater can host a variety of outdoor activities. The on-site chapel is furnished with North Carolina antiques and a bronze bell noted for its pure, soft tone. What better way to send off a newlywed couple?


Midway between Florida and New England on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the new Cape Charles Yacht Center provides full services to vessels of all sizes against a charming and natural background with turn-of-the-century buildings. While the yacht facility itself doesn't yet offer event space, nearby Mimosa Barn on beautiful Eyre Hall Creek does and then some. Built in the 1860s and refurbished in 2013, Mimosa consists of 17 acres of protected fields and woodland, with pristine waterfront views and an original farmhouse and outbuildings. The 2,200 square feet of entertainment space has hosted weddings, receptions, reunions and more. Nearby amenities include historic inns and B&Bs, a nationally ranked golf resort, as well as budget friendly lodging options.


Just a short drive from Washington, D.C., and less than two hours from Baltimore and Philadelphia, this manor house resort on Maryland's Eastern Shore could be a world away. The inn is well known for its resplendent manicured gardens three of them: flower, woodland and kitchen along with its elegant Linden Spa. Function spaces are available for both small and large gatherings, with a wedding gazebo, sailing academy and themed packages offering unique opportunities. Bonus: There are no boat docking fees for guests dining at the inn's restaurants or bars or staying overnight.


Who wouldn't want to arrive by yacht to their wedding ceremony or reception? You can as part of the festivities at this mansion on the Jersey Shore. The Clarks Landing Yacht Club & Marina prides itself on hosting impeccable weddings indoors and out so much so that its motto is The Marriage of Sophistication and the Sea. As a rule, it hosts just one wedding at a time for exclusive attention and access to its pergola overlooking the Manasquan River, gorgeous grand ballroom, five-star food and state-of-the-art media systems. Not looking to get hitched on your getaway? The venue has hosted bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties and more.


No stranger to corporate retreats, milestone events and weddings, Montauk Yacht Club is rich in history and frills. The nautical-inspired resort, complete with replica lighthouse, boasts nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including a newly renovated Farmhouse Ballroom with a fireplace and an outdoor terrace overlooking Lake Montauk. Four other dedicated rooms, plus distinct breakout and outdoor spaces, can host a movie night, pool party or other fun experience. Fishing charters, surf lessons, horseback riding and wine tours are all available through the club, in addition to theme meals like a lobster bake and lakeside barbecue. It's everything you would expect from a favorite Hamptons haunt for more than eight decades.


Rustic New England charm defines every aspect of this coastal inn, spa and marina nestled between Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River. Newly created guesthouses, Three Stories and Tall Tales, offer unique and comfortable spaces for smaller meetings and groups. Or, if bigger is better, you can reserve the wine room, outdoor terrace or ballroom with stunning water views. Plan your wedding with the help of on-site professionals. The Sanno Spa and Fresh Salt restaurant offer world-class service and quality, with golf, beaches and historic attractions just minutes away in the small but delightful town of Old Saybrook.


Think bocce ball on the Chalet lawn, sipping signature drinks in Adirondack chairs, and al fresco dining as the sun sets. Castle Hill rests atop a secluded 40-acre peninsula where Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet tranquil and private, but with all the amenities of a world-class hotel. In-house event planners will help you create personalized experiences, whether it's a family reunion, a 50th birthday party or a seaside wedding for 400 on the lush emerald lawn. There's even private space available at the Castle Hill lighthouse. Seasonal activities and ever-changing menus promise variety and uniqueness.


The Wentworth hosted delegates of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty talk in 1905, mediated by Theodore Roosevelt. In some ways, not a lot has changed at this landmark hotel. It still features three Victorian towers constructed in the 1870s, along with 161 stately guest rooms and suites and 10,000 square feet of function space. Except now, of course, it incorporates amenities like a modern spa, two acclaimed restaurants and host of audio visual services. Special afternoon tea and brunch menus are ideal for a bridal or baby shower. The Grand Ballroom has its original stage, woodwork and crystal chandeliers; The Wentworth Ballroom unmatched views of historic gardens and Little Harbor.


This is Nantucket's only member of Relais & Cháteaux a collection of the finest individually owned and operated hotels and restaurants from 55 different countries so set your expectations for outstanding service, cuisine and accommodations. Depending on your needs, you can reserve the entire inn and its 32 guest rooms, cottages and scenic grounds for a private affair like no other. Other spaces, like the Wauwinet's Sunroom or the awning-covered deck at award-winning TOPPER's restaurant, can host smaller gatherings. Relax in the hotel spa year-round, or, in the spring and fall, enjoy lobster outings, surfcasting and a tour of 'sconset Village.


Located on picturesque Frenchman's Bay, the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina works hard to treat guests to a quintessential Down East experience but makes it look so easy. You and your party can take a sailing trip in search of great humpback whales or go lobstering on an authentic lobster boat. There are ample opportunities for kayaking, hiking and biking in stunning Acadia National Park, located just minutes from the hotel. Four banquet areas, three oceanfront break-out rooms and two ocean-view master suites provide more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space, with outdoor tent space also available. Or, take your gathering outside to the free-form swimming pool with 180-degree harbor views and spacious deck.

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Back to School Bucket List

The days are growing shorter, and the final weeks of summer are upon us. So, before the school bell rings, Marinalife is wondering if you’ve checked off everything on your must-do list this season. If you’re looking for ways to wrap up summer, consider the following ideas for last-dash, fun activities.

- Learn how to do a back dive, canon ball or jump off the back of the boat into the water.  Rope swings are also an invigorating option.

- Have a tiki party on a boat and serve your guests tropical blender drinks. Bonus points for Hawaiian shirts and grilled pineapple or savory Polynesian snacks.

- Pick a dozen crabs on your boat or at a waterfront dock bar, along with all the classic fixins’ of corn on the cob, hushpuppies, coleslaw and a cold brew.  If crabs aren’t your preference, a lobster, clam or crawfish boil will do just fine.

- Ride down a giant slide, roller coaster or death-defying ride at a waterpark while letting out a mighty yell.

- Body surf in the Atlantic waves or build a sandcastle strong enough to withstand the tide.

- Explore a hidden cove or a dream destination that you’ve never visited before on your boat.

- Go fishing and catch something big enough for dinner.

- Get pulled on a raft or inflatable behind a boat or learn how to waterski.

- Catch lightening bugs in a jar to make a glowing lantern.  But be sure to poke holes in the lid and release them when the fun is done.

- Under the stars, go to an outdoor movie, music festival or seafood feast.

- Learn how to shuck an oyster, clean a fish or pick a crab, then invite friends over to taste dishes made from the fruits of your labor.

- Invent a nautical cocktail to commemorate the summer of 2022.

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Nauti Shopper: Identify your new discoveries with these apps and guides



Available on Google Play, the Apple App Store and Galaxy Store

This fish finder app lets anglers discover saltwater and freshwater catches with the snap of a picture. Take a live shot or import photos and the AI technology works its magic. Learn about marine habitats and check weather conditions including winds, tides, water temperature and barometric pressure. (Free download; premium subscription is $29.99/year)


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store
Take photos of your shoreline discoveries and this innovative app helps you figure out what they are and the sea creature that built it. Thanks to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel, FL, beachcombers can now identify most common shells found across Florida beaches in seconds. ($1.99 download)


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store

This navigation and social boating app offers satellite, terrain and NOAA map features, depth and contours, trip planning, voyage tracking and a captain’s log for itineraries. Find points of interest such as fuel docks, anchorages, marinas and restaurants. The social boating features helps you connect with the boating community (Free download)



By Paul Humann and Ned Deloach

Whether you’re a southern angler or marine wildlife documenter, you’ll love combing through 1,000 photographs of more than 683 species in this book. Designed as a reference guide, this new 4th edition identifies fish and aquatic creatures throughout the waterways of Florida, the Caribbean and Bahamas. ($44.95)


by Kenn Kaufman Kaufman Field Guides

This guide has been a leading birdlife guidebook for decades. Vibrant photos, detailed descriptions and range maps illustrate a lively key for bird-watching excursions. The book is compact, easily portable and studies most species in North America. (Prices vary)


By Len McDougall

Whether you’re hunting for dinner, hiking or being an avid nature lover, this guide makes animal tracking easy. Discover North American species such as the American Elk and Whitetail Deer. Identify footprints, habitats and range. This book isn’t just for hunters; it’s for explorers of all kinds. ($34.56)



Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store

Point a smartphone to the sky and suddenly you appear in your own planetarium with this stargazing app. Sky Guide locates your position and follows the stars in real time while superimposing constellations and figures interactively. Find planets in rotation, discover where Pisces is currently rising or catch the next meteor shower.($1.99 download)


National Geographic Kids
Children will become overnight marine biologists with this fun learning series. Young readers can spot sea otters, manatees, turtles and much more. Teach your kids about aquatic habitats with photography and unique fun facts on each species. ($17.99)


SmartLab Toys

This outdoor set brings out kids’ inner scientific explorer. Examining bugs, plants, dirt, weather and more. Activities include testing various samples and tracking findings in a science log. Kids can enjoy after-dark exploration with the UV night scope. ($45)

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Top 10 New England Sailing Regattas

What do a media mogul, movie maker and American President have in common? Taking part in yacht racing, one of our nation's oldest sports, and New England, the cradle of this sport in America. Ted Turner won the 1977 America's Cup in Newport. Roy Disney sailed from Newport to Bermuda with record-breaking speed in 2002. And in 1936, JFK earned a winner's cup racing Stars in the Hyannis Port Yacht Club race to Edgartown.

With more than 6,000 miles of shoreline, survival built on the sea from olden days of fishing and trading to today's seasonal tourist dollars, it's a natural that racing sailboats is a time-honored tradition and rite of passion for most New Englanders. Many sailors here boast blood as blue as the surrounding seas, yet everyone can find a home to race. Here's a sampling of some of the region's best-known regattas.


Camden Classics Cup - new england regattas - marinalife
Camden Classics Cup | Alison Langle

Camden Classics Cup

July 28-30

Competition and camaraderie combine in this relative newcomer event sailed in Penobscot Bay and celebrated shoreside in downtown Camden. Over 100 sailboats, everything from vintage yachts to very fast one-designs like J/46s and J/42s, race. Classes are available for day sailors and cruising yachts, too. Dockage at Lyman-Morse is included in the race fee, so the party starts ashore when the racing ends, says organizer Mackenzie Lyman, who adds the marina operator and boat-builders have rebuilt the waterfront after a fire in 2020. Spectators can have just as much fun. Maine's Wind- jammers offer two-hour tours to view the racing, while landlubber's best bet is watching the parade of sail as dressed yachts with costumed crew parade through Camden harbor on the morning of July 30.

Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta & Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge

July 23-24

A trend toward classic yacht racing and a nod to the area's deep sailing roots combined for the first time last year at the Shipyard Cup. This new addition to the nearly 50-year-old annual regatta put lots of eye-candy on the water. The 1926-built NY-40, Marilee and 1937-constructed 12-meter America's Cup contender, Gleam, plus classic Boothbay Harbor one-designs like the 21-foot, Geerd Hendel-designed, 1938-launched sloops, are expected back this year along with contemporary race yachts. We invited several America's Cup contenders to join Gleam this year on the start line, says co-chair Bob Scribner. Spectators can observe from Spruce Point, McKeown Point or Southport. A narrated parade of participants in the inner harbor starts at 10:00 a.m. on July 24.


Marblehead Regatta - new england regattas - marinalife
NOOD Marblehead Regatta 2021 | Bruce

Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series - Marblehead

July 28-31

The 1889-founded Marblehead Race Week joined with National Offshore One-Design concept a few years back, and the result is close to 200 boats racing. We now have all our regular classes like J/70s, Rhodes 19s and Viper 640, plus there are usually one or two guest classes like RS21s, Skuds, 2.4's and J/24s, that hold regional championships as part of the week, says Leslie Rousseau, race committee chair for the host Boston Yacht Club. We expect to see the return of Jud Smith, two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and local J-70 favorite. Spectators on land can get a bird's eye view of the racing from Chandler Hovey Park on Marblehead Neck. Those with a fast center console can watch the boats line up to start off Turkey Point in Middle River or set their chutes at the windward mark in Middle River.

Edgartown Race Weekend

June 23-25

Since 1938, celebrity-studded Martha's Vineyard is home to this week of combo coastal, offshore and round-the-island racing hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club. The history, charm and summer activity on Martha's Vineyard is a meaningful draw, in addition to fantastic wind and ideal sailing conditions, says Alex Nugent, one of the event's co-chairs. Plus, we typically host a big welcome party that's sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. New is the ‘Round-the-Sound series of races, which features 20-some nautical mile coastal sprints around Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound and replaces the around-the-buoy series. There's monohull and multihull, racing and cruising, double-handed and many-handed entrants including teams from state and federal service and maritime academies.

Nantucket Race Week

August 13-21

Nine days of racing, parties and awards ceremonies take the concept of race week to the extreme. There's something afloat for everyone: kids in Optis and 420s, women in Rhodes 19s, kiteboarders, radio-controlled model boats and some of the country's top sailors competing in high-performance big boats and classic wooden yachts. This year we celebrate the 50th Opera House Cup Regatta, the grand dame of classic wooden boat regattas. The Cup, named after a legendary Nantucket restaurant, attracts some of the finest wooden boats on the East Coast and Europe. There is a big awards party on the beach after the race, says Diana Brown, chief executive of Nantucket Community Sailing. The Parade of Wooden Boats offers a brochure that describes each participating boat. The public can watch the parade from Brant Point Beach.


Annual Regatta

June 10-12

Hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) out of its facilities in Newport, this is North America's oldest continuously held sailing event going on its 168th year. The format features two days of buoy racing, prefaced by a race around Conanicut Island. The sight of 100-plus spinnakers running north in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay from Fort Adams, Castle Hill or Beavertail Light is breathtaking. Entries are invited to one-design classes, and boats more than 24 feet race under a variety of handicaps. The Annual Regatta is one of my perennial favorites, says Paul Zabetakis, NYYC commodore and a regular participant on his Swan 42, Impetuous. The race management is impeccable with multiple course configurations. Few other venues offer the perfect combination of offshore racing in Rhode Island Sound and inshore racing on Narragansett Bay. The Saturday night regatta party is one of the biggest occasions of the Newport regatta season with sailors converging on Harbour Court for cocktails and dinner.

Edgartown Race Weekend - new england regattas - marinalife
Edgartown Race Weekend | Daniel Fors

Newport to Bermuda Race

June 17

The lawn at Castle Hill Inn in Newport and Fort Wetherill in Jamestown are ringside seats to watch nearly 200 vessels start in the East Passage on a 635-mile passage south to Bermuda. Fort Adams State Park also provides close-up views of many of the boats as they depart from Newport Harbor. The fleet then sails past Brenton State Park as it clears Brenton Reef and turns to the southeast. Charter boats and private yachts assemble to watch the start from the water as well, says John Burnham. It's one of the oldest regularly scheduled ocean races, happening biennially since 1906. This year, three high-speed multihulls -- two MOD 70s, Argo and Snowflake, and the 78' trimaran Ultim'Emotion 2 -- are entered, and each has a good chance of breaking the elapsed time race record of 34h:42m:53s set in 2016 by the 100' maxi yacht, Comanche.

Ida Lewis Distance Race

August 18-20

The fleet goes where the wind blows. The Ida Lewis Distance Race is like no other in that the Race Committee chooses from among four different courses, based on the weather. Each course incorporates some of the most storied cruising grounds in New England and is just long enough for the fleet to be offshore overnight, yet not so long to prohibit inviting family and friends to join for a first-time adventure, says Anselm Richards, event chair. The goal: get about 60-some teams to compete on race boats 28-foot and longer in double-handed, youth, collegiate and different handicap classes back to the dock in under 24 hours. The start happens off Fort Adams and ends inside Newport Harbor, where each team is handed a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco.


Block Island Race

May 27

Stamford is the start of this Memorial Day weekend regatta that for many sailors kicks New England's offshore racing season. The 186-nautical mile course down Long Island Sound and around Block Island and back also acts as a ‘warm up' for many teams that are racing some two weeks later in the Newport to Bermuda Race, says Kate Wilson Somers, who handles media for the event. The race marks its 75th anniversary this year and is organized by the Storm Trysail Club, based in Larchmont, NY.

Cedar Point One Design Regatta

June 4-5

A 20-year+ tradition on the first weekend in June, this one-design keelboat event hosted out of the Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, can draw as many as 800 competitors on over 100 boats. The key is that all the boats in a class are the same; no handicap scoring is needed. This makes it easy to watch, as first over the finish line is the winner. Currently, the event is open to J70, J88, J105 and J109, and Beneteau 36.7 fleets, but other fleets are welcome if they meet the requirements, says Joyce Oberdorf, who handles the club's communications.

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