Visitors flocking to Seattle are typically looking to explore the Space Needle, visit the first Starbucks, and peruse Pike Place Market, but there is much more to see and do in Seattle than those few highlights.
One stop that art enthusiasts rave about is Chihuly Garden and Glass. This popular exhibition showcases gorgeous glass sculptures, all by artist Dale Chihuly, through 8 different galleries onsite. Located directly next to the Space Needle at Seattle Center, it is favorable option for visitors to purchase a packaged ticket, to receive access to both attractions.
To capture the perfect photo of the entire city skyline, consider spending some time at Kerry Park. Travelers are consistently floored by beautiful views from the park-which is also known to be one of the best locations to photograph the Space Needle from.
Another “must see” on your retreat to Seattle is the Central Public Library. This modern marvel of glass plates shaped in very unusual ways is truly a sight to see. Built in 1998, Seattle voters agreed to building this extremely ambitious infrastructure that was designed with growth in mind.
When I'm asked about my cruising adventures in the Pacific Northwest, most people nod appreciatively when I say I love cruising the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands. They know something about the natural beauty, the wildlife, the charming island towns and marinas. But when I mention the amazing cruising grounds of the Broughton Archipelago, I'm rewarded with a blank stare. No one has any idea what I'm talking about.
The Broughton Archipelago was named by Captain Vancouver for the commander of one of his ship's during the famous exploration of 1792 when many of the now familiar English names were bestowed on the complicated waterways and over 240,000 islands along the vast coastline of British Columbia. They are a remote group of 200-plus islands that are squeezed between the northern British Columbia Coast and the north end of Vancouver Island. To give some perspective of what I mean by remote, it's important to understand the distances involved. British Columbia is larger than any state in the U.S except Alaska. As the crow flies, the length of its coastline is 600 miles. The distance from Anacortes, Washington, a popular jumping-off spot for cruisers in the San Juans, to the Broughtons is 233 miles. It would take most boats the better part of a week to cover this much water, some of which is difficult navigation due to currents and tide anomalies. Because of this, the only recreational boaters that venture as far north as the Broughtons are those on the way to Alaska and those who are passionate boaters who make summertime adventures on these coastal waters a top priority.
My husband, Peter, and I identify with passionate cruisers, and so we count ourselves among the few who have had the opportunity to visit the Broughtons -- two times. The first trip was aboard our lobster boat, Bee Weems. We made the journey from Anacortes five years ago exploring this watery wilderness for three weeks before returning to civilization. We loved the wildness, the astounding grandeur of dense rainforests sloping to the sea, white capped mountains, the abundance of isolated anchorages and the interesting people we met along the way.
Our second opportunity to visit the Broughtons came in an unexpected way. Following our first cruise we continued to correspond with a couple from San Francisco who we met up there. This couple, also smitten by the desire to explore wild places, keeps their 58 foot West Bay Sonship on the south end of Vancouver Island, a great springboard for their cruising adventures every summer. Last summer, they invited us to join them as guests aboard their boat in the Broughtons. Without hesitation we accepted their invitation, and then we began to research how to meet them up there.
The only way to get to the upper reaches of the coastal waters of British Columbia, if you can't go by boat, is by seaplane. Northwest Seaplane provides daily flights to many BC island destinations from its Seattle base at the south end of Lake Washington. At the recommendation of our hosts, Peter and I bought tickets on a regularly scheduled flight to Sullivan Bay, where they would meet us.
Seaplane travel is an adventure in itself. The combination of being pried into what feels like a tin can and then speeding along at low altitudes over great expanses of city and water and then trees and mountains is exhilarating. Our little plane was full with seven people including the pilot. Our pilot was chatty and enjoyed playing the role of pilot, flight attendant and tour guide all at once. Each passenger was assigned a pair of industrial-sized headphones to hear the pilot talk and to protect our ears from the loud engine rumblings. We found out that the other two couples on board were to be dropped off at a private island on the way to Sullivan Bay. This stopover was a welcome break on our over two-and-a-half hour trip north. The weather was spectacular, and we had unobstructed views of almost unimaginable beauty.
There were no cities or towns to see as the plane continued north. There weren't even any roads besides the occasional logging roads leading to patches of clear-cut forests. The only building structures were marinas that service the summer recreational boating community, a couple of fishing resorts and a few First Nation communities. The number of people who live full time in the Broughtons is probably less than 1,000.
Sullivan Bay Marina is one of a handful of floating villages in the Broughton Islands. It hugs the north shore of North Broughton Island. The island mountain plunges sharply into the deep water with no space to build roads or buildings on land. This quaint village exists for the benefit of boaters. It is a marina with ample dockage, fuel, water, power, a general store, a shower and laundry facilities, and at one end of the horseshoe-shaped dock lined with floating buildings is the international airport, where two or three seaplanes arrive and depart every day from the U.S. and Canada.
The arrival of our seaplane was the main event of the day. As we gathered our luggage from the rear of the small seaplane,our hosts waved as they walked down the dock from their boat at the other end of the marina to retrieve us. Their beautiful boat, Mellow Moments, would be our home for the next week, as we cruised through this spectacular wild region of BC.
Over lunch we discussed our cruising itinerary, the weather, the wildlife spotted to date, the books read, the best places to set crab and shrimp pots, and gradually, Pete and I began to slow down to the gentler pace of life that comes from leaving civilization and blending into nature and the cruising lifestyle.
Over the course of our week-long trip we cruised narrow fjords with snowcapped mountains rising on both sides of the boat. We anchored in protective coves and watched grizzly bears uncover rocks to feast on crabs. We kayaked into shallow waters to get close to seabirds and watch the sunset in the stillness. We gathered the bounty of the sea -- shrimp and crab -- for delicious meals on the aft deck. We rafted up with other cruising boats for good company, storytelling and shared meals.
At the end of the week, we pulled into the legendary cruisers' gathering place, Pierre's Echo Bay Marina. Arguably the most popular of the Broughton marina villages, Pierre's brings the cruising community together with signature events like the Saturday Night Pig Roast, so popular that reservations are required. The owners, Pierre and Tove, have kept this bustling marina vibrant for over 40 summer seasons. Centrally located on Gilford Island, the largest in the Archipelago, this community offers all the amenities of a marina plus a wood-burning hot tub and a group of chair swings surrounding a hillside fire pit where boaters gather in the evenings to share stories. The only post office in the Broughtons is here, plus the more advanced methods of staying in touch with civilization are available, including WiFi, off and on cellphone service and an international seaplane airport.
An additional benefit unique to Echo Bay is the proximity to the home and museum of Billy Proctor, one of the few people who has lived his whole life in the Broughtons. Billy's Museum is a collection of relics and artifacts he has gathered for over 50 years. The museum is open if he is there. More interesting than the museum are Billy's stories of life in this wilderness. He is well into retirement years now, but he worked as a hand logger, fisherman and beachcomber, and he knows a lot about the ancient traditions of the First Nations people who lived in this area for thousands of years.
Another opportunity that many cruisers take advantage of here in Pierre's Bay is the opportunity to set up custom ecotourism adventures with Nikki van Schyndel, who has made Echo Bay her home base.
Our hosts arranged to spend our final day with this fascinating young woman, a self-described survivalist. Nikki's book, "Becoming Wild," describes her deep yearning to reconnect with nature and reawaken long-forgotten instincts and perceptions. Echo tours are the way she shares with others the knowledge she gained from her yearlong struggle and triumph in the wild. Nikki picked us up at the dock in her well-worn 18-foot runabout. Because of my interest in the history of the First Nation people, she suggested we go on a 20 mile open sea trip to a forgotten native community on Village Island for a picnic lunch. Along the way, she showed us ancient pictographs and told stories about her encounters with wildlife and her deep respect for nature.
As we explored the ancient village, Mamalilaculla, which appropriately means village with rocks and islands out front, Nikki gathered wild onions and herbs, built a fire using a bow-drill and made us a delicious hot one-pan meal with wild rice and smoked salmon. The combination of watching Nikki's skillful use of ancient survival techniques and the evidence of ancient middens and totems from the lost Native culture that thrived in these islands before first contact with civilization, made me uncomfortably aware of how disconnected from nature humanity has come.
On our flight home, I vowed to hold the feeling of reconnection with the wild: this reminder to live simply and appreciate the beauty around me, until my next wilderness cruising adventure.
What's one of the best ways to get to know a new location? Find the area's best seafood dive and start eating like a local. Here's a roundup of some of our favorite spots.
Hanging out on a gorgeous barrier island with tropical breezes and crystal-clear waters can build up an appetite that's why for years beachgoers in South Padre have flocked to Dirty Al's. Fresh gulf shrimp in all its glory is one of the biggest draws, and it comes in many guises, from baskets of boiled peel and eat shrimp to shrimp cocktail to shrimp quesadillas to shrimp-and-oyster po' boys. If none of that appeals, opt instead for fried crab fingers, whole blackened red snapper, or fried fish baskets heaped with onion rings and fries. Oh, and did we mention the chilled Lone Stars and frozen margaritas?
Locals' opinions may differ about whether this landmark spot is past its prime or better than ever, but there's one thing everyone agrees on: You need to stop by to check it out for yourself and form your own opinion. Tucked away in a bungalow with river and bridge views, you can spend the better part of a day working your way through the menu. There's gumbo, soft shell crabs, fresh gulf grouper and oysterslots and lots of oysters. They're available raw, to be sure, but better yet, go for one of the over-the-top combos for which Boss is famous. How about baked oysters topped with capers, asparagus, bacon and artichokes? Or topped with blue crab, sherry and Monterey jack cheese? The options are almost endless. It may take you a few delicious visits to form an opinion.
This family-owned, beachfront joint on Mobile Bay frequently has live music and is such a rollicking good time that it would probably be a draw even if the food weren't any good. But luckily, the food is awesome. You can dig into everything from crawfish and crab claws to platters of local oysters and soft shell crabs. The crab bisque is to die for, and the fantastic downhome side dishes just make everything more delectable turnip greens, garlic cheese grits, Vidalia onion rings, red beans and rice. You can even polish off your meal with a slice of house-made Key lime pie. Mullet Mondays are just what they sound like an all-you-can-eat feast of local mullet filets to kick each week off right.
Wondering if the colorful, supremely laid-back vibe of the old Florida Keys still exists? Look no further than Hogfish Bar & Grill. Set on a lively yet somehow still snoozy marina, with plenty of outdoor tables and usually some patrons' adorable canine buddies milling about, this is the type of insiders' secret, where all that's required of you is to relax and enjoy being in the best spot in town. And oh, how much there is to enjoy local delicacies like conch fritters, coconut Keys shrimp and Cuban sandwiches; and glorious new-fangled concoctions such as the grouper reuben, crabmeat-stuffed hogfish and crispy hogfish fingers. Don't worry if you don't get to try everything on the menu you'll be back.
Set along the Southport Yacht Basin, on the Intracoastal Waterway and the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Provision is the type of trim, cheerful place to which boaters just naturally gravitate. But you might need to wait through a short line after you tie up your dinghy at the dock plenty of landlubbers have cottoned onto this special spot too. Order at the counter inside crab cakes, steamed shrimp, steamed clams, seafood chowder then grab a beer from the cooler and find a place to sit on the deck out back. Everything's paid on the honor system, which just adds to the low-key, unbuttoned vibe. Hint: Hit Provision for sunset if you can, you won't regret it.
We love a comeback story. After being a locals' favorite for many years, Sue Island Grill & Crab House hit a bit of a slump but new management has recently brought it roaring back to life. New in July 2016 they opened a boat bar (boat turned bar). Set on the Chesapeake Bay's pretty Sue Island Creek, this Orioles- and Ravens-regalia festooned joint is a celebration of all the things Maryland does best, chief among them blue crabs. There's crab soup, warm pretzels with crab dip, crab balls. The jumbo lump crab cake is achingly tender, one of the best you'll ever have. And then there are the steamed crabs, glorious heaps of them, ready to be washed down with an icy cold Natty Boh.
Only in this neck of the woods would a chichi spot such as Navy Beach come close to qualifying as a dive, but after all, the Hamptons are right down the road. There's a charming, sparkling indoor dining room, but grab one of the tables outside on the 200-foot private beach instead. You'll look west over Fort Pond Bay and the notoriously stunning sunsets. Dig into such divine dishes as local fluke ceviche with pickled vegetables and house-made hot peppers and clam-and-corn chowder with basil oil and chives. There are killer cocktails like Painkillers and Dark and Stormies, and the extensive list of rose wines is not to be missed.
Overlooking the Cape Cod Canal, this clean, bright spot is its own slice of Cape Cod heaven and has had an avid following since 1974. In Massachusetts they're serious about their clams, and Seafood Sam's respectfully upholds this tradition, offering top-notch clam chowder, fried whole-belly clams, fried clam strips and stuffed quahogs. But they don't stop there. The fish fry for four is a bounteous spread of two pounds of fried haddock, mounds of French fries, a pint of coleslaw and tartar sauce and rolls. There's also baked haddock with a crumbled Ritz-cracker topping and lobster Newburg sauce, hand-cut onion rings and a slew of local beers. No wonder folks return again and again and again.
When you close your eyes and dream about the ideal lobster spot, this is probably what you envision. Set in a barn-like building right along the rocky Atlantic coast, Harraseeket has its own fleet of lobster boats and serves up the freshest, sweetest crustaceans you can imagine. If you're a purist, you'll want to order the whole steamed lobster without getting distracted by anything else. If you're not quite as devout about your whole lobster, there are plenty of other delicious things on which to nosh. Clam cakes, fish chowder and fried scallops in crumbs or batter are all knockit-out-of-the-park bets, especially when accompanied by fried onion middles and followed by an enormous house-made whoopie pie.
Patrons wash up at Captain Lou's for many reasons its raucous atmosphere and festive ramshackle cabin appearance, outdoor waterfront deck strung with twinkling lights. But when it comes to ordering some food to help line your stomach before pouring in countless rum runners and excellent craft beers, there's really only one choice: perch. You can have it in a wrap, you can have it in a taco, but however you choose to have it prepared you won't go wrong. Devouring the tasty local catch while listening to the live band and admiring the ducks skittering across the surface of the water, you'll wonder what took you so long to find this place.
If you're in search of fish tacos in San Diego, their birthplace, your expectations are understandably high. Head straight to South Beach Bar & Grille to have them fulfilled. The Pacific Ocean views alone are worth the trip, not to mention the 22 tequilas and more than 40 beers 20 of them on tap but let's be honest. It's about the fish tacos. So after warming up with a ceviche or an octopus cocktail or perhaps some stuffed-shrimp jalapenos or baconwrapped swordfish medallions, get down to business with those tacos. You can have them with mahi, wahoo, albacore, shrimp, shark or lobster, all topped with shredded red cabbage and tangy salsa fresca. Ask the surfers bobbing in the waves outside the window this is the life.
This funky, snug little spot has been in operation for more than 90 years. That in and of itself makes it a winner in our books. But add the location next to the fascinating Ballard Locks, part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the seafood-heavy menu, and it's a shoo-in for a good time. They claim to have the best fish and chips around, made with cod, and that's what many patrons go for. But we think any of the salmon dishes are more interesting options. After all, you're in a city that considers salmon king. Try a bowl of the smoked salmon chowder, a blackened wild sockeye salmon Caesar salad or the teriyaki salmon platter. And why wait for lunch or dinner? Belly up to the bar in the morning for a plate of smoked salmon eggs Benedict (and a Bloody Mary, if you so choose).
Seattle has a reputation for being a rainy city. In truth, there are on average 152 sunny days per year, and most of those are in the prime summer months. On clear days the views are incredible, with snow-capped Mount Rainier towering over the Seattle skyline to the southeast, the snow-capped Olympic Mountains stretching along Puget Sound to the west, and snow-capped Mount Baker to the north. With all the protected waters of the Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage which goes all the way through British Columbia to Alaska you can cruise for days and days.
There are many options for boating right in Seattle, and each has its own flavor with distinct neighborhood restaurants, shops and museums to explore. On the saltwater side are Elliot Bay Marina, in the Elliot Bay area, and Bell Harbor, located downtown just below Pike Place Market. Shilshole Bay Marina is set at the opening to the Lake Washington ship canal, and if you transit through the Hiram M. Chittenden locks there are several marinas on the canal that leads to Lake Union.
You don't have to travel far from Seattle to find an outstanding harbor. With so many quaint towns, beautiful views, and protected waters, the area is a boater's delight and has an endless array of options for cruising and exploration.
Crossing Puget Sound is a scenic contrast: behind you, the Seattle skyline with its iconic Space Needle dominates the northern side of the city; in front of you, green and white Washington State ferries cruise back and forth between Seattle and Bainbridge and Vashon islands. Just a few miles beyond that are the harbor towns of the west side of Puget Sound.
Historic Gig Harbor's roots go back to the mid-1800s, when its natural harbor made it the area's center for commercial fishing and boat building. Enter the well-protected harbor with the sand spit and the red light in the small lighthouse to starboard as you approach. On shore, the town wraps around the harbor. You have the choice of anchoring in the center of the harbor or mooring at Jerisich Dock or Arabella's Landing Marina. During July and August, moorage can be tight at this popular destination.
Tides Tavern, just to port as you enter the harbor, has onsite dockage and is a perfect place to stop for lunch. Explore the town's specialty stores, vintage shops, bookstores, restaurants and Harbor History Museum. On the western end of the harbor, walk through the Finholm District and follow the signs to the Finholm View Climb it's a 98-step hike up for stunning views of the harbor and beyond.Gig Harbor features many summer events at Skansie Brothers Park on the water. Don't miss the Gig Harbor Summer Arts Festival (July 16-17), Gig Wine and Food Festival (July 21-23), and the weekly Summer Sounds live music event every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from June until August.
Colvos Passage, past Blake Island Marine State Park and then up Rich Passage to Liberty Bay, where you'll find Poulsbo. Dock at Poulsbo Marina, which offers 130 slips and shower and laundry facilities just a stone's throw from town.Poulsbo's Scandinavian heritage is evident throughout the town, from wall murals to statues of Viking warriors in the shops to the delicious bakeries. The First Lutheran Church, built in 1886, sits on a hill overlooking the town. Poulsbo celebrates its heritage on the third weekend of May each year with the three-day Viking Fest.In addition to the charming shops, don't miss the Marine Science Center, a popular destination for kids and adults alike, located just above the marina. There are all kinds of exhibits showing the diversity of marine life in Puget Sound, including touch tanks. Another must-see is the Marina Market, which features a selection of 350 different chocolates, more than 350 kinds of licorice and more than 500 craft beers. They also have many Scandinavian food items and gifts (think wooden clogs), as well as general grocery items.
From Poulsbo, pass north through Agate Pass and up Admiralty Inlet. Transit the Port Townsend Canal and up the bay to the Victorian town of Port Townsend, full of historic brick buildings, interesting shops and fantastic restaurants. Dock at the Port Townsend Boat Haven a modern full-service marina for vessels up to 100 feet. Within the marina are a brew pub, the excellent Key City Fish Company market and numerous eateries. Worth noting is the Blue Moose Café, which opens early and offers excellent breakfasts. Check out the Wooden Boat Chandlery's thrift store for an intriguing selection of used nautical items. Across the roadfrom the Blue Moose, the Western Flyer the famous boat used by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts to explore the Sea of Cortez is open for tours. The Boat Haven area also has a Safeway supermarket, local food co-op, hardware store, two chandleries and even a coffee roasting company.
Another docking option is Port Hudson Marina, home to the Northwest Maritime Center, which hosts the annual Wooden Boat Festival (Sept. 9-11). You can register for classes to build a kayak or canoe, hone your marine skills or visit the chandlery with its many new and old nautical items. The marina is located in the main part of this historic seaport town. A quick stroll will bring you past neighborhoods full of the Victorian homes that once housed the captains, crews and their families who earned their living on the sea. It is not unusual to see classic, restored sailing ships tied to the docks along the waterfront, just as they were hundreds of years ago. It all feels like a step back in time.
From Port Townsend, it is an interesting cruise back to Seattle down Admiralty Inlet, with large container ships and car carriers mixing it up with tugboats and barges and ferries. As you get closer to Seattle, float planes and jets overhead signal that you are back in this busy metropolis, a total contrast to the waterfront villages you've just visited a few miles away in Puget Sound. And about all those sunny days in Seattle for boating, please keep it a secret.
With many pleasure boaters planning trips around interests like top-flight golf courses, gourmet restaurants and dazzling fall foliage, is it so far fetched that, for some, craft brews and breweries can be a destination unto themselves? Not in our book. Here are 11 sudstastic towns to add to your personal booze cruise itinerary. Just remember to enjoy responsibly.
Already known for its classic New England water-town feel and fresh-as it-gets seafood, Portland is making a case as a must for traveling libationists. Its D.L. Geary Brewing was founded in 1983, when there were only a handful of microbreweries in the U.S. Since that time, 13 startups have joined the local ranks. Take a tour and quaff a pint at Allagash Brewing Company, which favors a Belgian style, or venture into Portland's historic Old Port and visit Sebago Brewing Co. or Shipyard Brewing. Rising Tide Brewing Company in the East Bayside neighborhood produces Daymark American Pale Ale, recently named one of the Great Beers You've Never Heard Of by Men's Journal. Dock at DiMillos Old Port Marina.
With so much else to see and do here, it would be easy to dismiss New York as a humdrum craft beer destination. That would be a mistake. The Big Apple is home to some of the best beer bars drop in at the Blind Tiger or Rattle N Hum for amazing pours from around the world and also has some champion breweries. Brooklyn Brewery didn't just capitalize on a name; it's brewed right in the borough, so you can visit for a tour and a taste. Sixpoint Brewery is nearby, canning four core beers in addition to a series of super-rare brews that are made one time only. Ale addicts flock to Bronx Brewery's backyard on warm days to enjoy four year-round and four seasonal beers. Dock at MarineMax at Chelsea Piers, North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place or in Jersey City at Liberty Landing Marina.
The second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic, and at one time a major manufacturing center, Baltimore has always been a hardworking town. Many of the microbreweries here reflect that history and character in their names Union Craft Brewing, Heavy Seas Brewery, Public Works Ale and manifest the idea that first you work hard, then play hard. Full Tilt Brewing has the mouth-watering Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout and Patterson Pumpkin. (It's website asks: Why do something half-assed when you can go Full Tilt?) Stillwater Artisanal seems to agree, offering bold creations like Rauchstar Scandinavian Smoked Ale, Classique Postmodern Beer and Gose Gone Wild Sour Wheat Ale. Dock at Crescent Marina at Fells Point, Henderson's Wharf Marina, Harbor East Marina or at any of the Baltimore Marine Centers.
Ideally positioned at the confluence of the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean,with 22 miles of white-sand beaches, Jacksonville is already a boater's dream come true. So, what if I told you there was also this thing called the Jax Ale Trail? Bingo! Pick up your brewery passport at any of the participating locations and wineither a koozie or a t-shirt by getting stamps at four or all eight of the designated stops. Breweries include Aardwolf Brewing Company, Bold City Brewery, Engine 15 Brewing Co., Green Room Brewing, Intuition Ale Works, Pinglehead Brewing Company, Veterans United Craft Brewery and Zeta Brewing Company. Visit the local Budweiser Brewery, one of only five in the country, for extra credit. Dock at Fort George Island Marina, or River City Brewing.
Beer Advocate magazine lists a dozen breweries in the Tampa area, adding to an array of enviable local attractions such as world-class beaches, seafood, sunshine and citrus. Cigar City Brewing is probably the most well known in town, with five Great American Beer Festival medals to its name. It also offers fresh rolled cigars for a great one-two punch. Tampa Bay Brewing Company has an open-air patio and house beers that include Red Eye Amber Ale, a Best Florida Beer Championships Gold Medal Winner in 2015. Other popular suds purveyors include Dunedin Brewery, the oldest microbrewery in Florida, and Three Palms Brewing, which brews 82 beers throughout the year. Dock at Tampa Harbour or Tampa Marriott Waterside Resort & Marina.
The Big Easy is a city bursting at the seams with heat and flavor, and a cold brew here goes down effortlessly, almost magically. The largest, and arguably best, homegrown label is Abita. Abita Brew Pub lets you sample draught versions of all its offerings Amber, Turbodog, Jockamo IPA, Purple Haze and more as well as select seasonal batches. Other breweries are up and coming after the town's long tradition of beer brewing almost died out after Prohibition. Covington Brewhouse specializes in Bavarian styles. NOLA Brewing Company offers a selection of lagers and ales. Crescent City Brewhouse is the sole French Quarter microbrewery. Dock at Orleans Marina or Seabrook Harbor & Marine.
If you like your India Pale Ale (IPA), and we do, then this Southern California hop spot is for you. San Diego boasts more than 50 breweries, and has been a haven for grog guzzlers since Prohibition, thanks to its proximity to Tijuana, Mexico, where booze was legal. These days, it has its own style of beer the San Diego Pale Ale; a local twist on the IPA as well as some great Belgians. You can get your drink on at nautical-sounding places like 32 North Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing, Green Flash Brewing and Oceanside Ale Works. Brewery Tours of San Diego offers daily excursions showcasing some of the award-winning beers produced locally. Dock at Cabrillo Isle Marina or Kona Kai Marina.
The multitude of breweries dotting the map in the Puget Sound area is staggering even before you start imbibing. So why not leave the planning and transportation to the knowledgeable guides of Road Dog's Seattle Brewery Tour? Book one or more seats on a three-hour join-in and visit breweries in downtown Seattle, as well as neighboring communities, such as Ballard, Fremont, SODO and West Seattle. Each tour stops at three locations, including places like Bad Jimmy's Brewing Company, aptly named because it only brews intense ales; nothing less than 6% alcohol by volume, Georgetown Brewing Company, the second most productive in the state, and Hales Ales Brewery, one of the true granddaddies of craft beer. Dock at Bell Harbor Marina or Shilshole Bay Marina.
Move over bourbon, there's a new favorite drink in town. Not only does this river city have 10 breweries 12 if you count two more right across the Ohio in Jeffersonville, Indiana it will be adding four more in 2015, according to the devotee website LouisvilleBeer.com. Falls City Beer has been a Louisville tradition since 1905, when the brewery first opened. After closing its doors in 1978, the brand was revived in 2010 with a craft-brewed English Pale Ale. Cumberland Brews has a beer list that includes Red Ale, Cream Ale, Nitro Porter, Meade and Pale Ale, plus rotating small-batch beers. New Albanian Brewing Company is noteworthy for its innovative brews as well as its distinct names and label artwork such as, Bonfire of the Valkyries Smoked Black Lager. Dock at RiverPark Place Marina.
As the song goes, Cleveland rocks! And we think that nothing goes better with rock than a nice cold local brew. Nationally respected Great Lakes Brewing produces close to 100 beers, from stout to porter, weizen to bitter, bock to rye, and pilsner to ale. Nano Brew Cleveland and Market Garden Brewery are also highlights, with Fat Head's Brewery serving up its award-winning Head Hunter Indian Pale Ale alongside munchies, sandwiches and pizza. Cleveland Brew Bus will pick you up and drop you off after tastings at three or four stops, all the while filling your head with fun facts about craft beer styles, Cleveland brewing history and background on the breweries you visit. Dock at Olde River Yacht Club.
Microbreweries in this metropolis used to be hard to come by, but the success of the labels Mill Street and Steam Whistle has led to a thriving craft beer culture. Fans of diverse flavors flock to Great Lakes Brewery, the oldest independent brewer in town. It produces five year-round lagers and ales, plus more than a dozen limited release beers, from Saison Dupump to Long Dong Pilsner. Black Oak Brewing Co. offers four perennial brews Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale and Ten Bitter Years Imperial IPA all of which have won Canadian Brewing Awards. Indie Ale House in The Junction neighborhood serves hard-to-find ales like Belgian Sour and Double IPA, for the true beeroisseur. Dock at Island Yacht Club or Toronto Island Marina.