United States and Surrounding Areas
Two lengthy ocean coasts and many miles of Great Lakes and Gulf coastline make it possible to find cruising and chartering in any season. Details are specific to each region, with the Pacific Northwest winning the charter popularity contest thanks to its light winds, deep water, and spectacular mountain scenery. The Northeast and Great Lakes offer a variety of summer charter options. For winter getaways, Florida dominates because of its year-round climate, well-developed industry, and access to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
From smooth beaches to craggy rock, the Northeast offers a coastal variety. The best-known harbor is Newport, on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. Other Bay anchorages include Bristol (home of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame) and quiet Potter Cove on Prudence Island.
To the east stretches Cape Cod, a sandy arm ending in the fist of Provincetown. The National Seashore and Cape Cod Bay provide excellent fishing. Along the south coast, the undeveloped Elizabeth Islands offer a sharp contrast to the bustling streets of Hyannis.
Two islands lie just offshore. The deep-draft harbors of Martha’s Vineyard are always busy, but boats drawing less than five feet can escape into Tashmoo or Katama Bay.
Nantucket has a large harbor with several marinas. Ashore, you can still find cobbled streets (though they probably run by a chain store or two).
Farther east, Maine offers well-protected harbors in several bays. Penobscot Bay stretches from Camden to Castine and south to Hurricane Island, an Outward bound school. On Mount Desert Island you’ll find tony Bar Harbor, rugged Acadia National Park, and several major boatbuilders.
Owner-operated charters and fleets are available in most major southern New England and Maine ports in summer. Bareboat and crewed boats come in every size range, making the Northeast an ideal destination for any type of charter-from luxurious to rugged.
Popular Yacht Cruising Destinations:
- Grand Bahama Island
- Port Lacaya
- South Hampton
- New York City
- Long Island
- Sag Harbor
- Port Washington
- Long Island Sound
- Orient Point
- Green Port
- Sunset Beach
One of the most popular areas in the world for chartering, with some of the largest bareboat charter fleets anywhere. Gentle breezes, palm trees, white sandy beaches and amazing marine life make this a sailor’s paradise. With so many islands and different cultural backgrounds to choose from, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular winter getaway. High season runs from December to April.
- British Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Lucia
- St. Martin/Sint Maarten
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- St. Barths
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Old Saybrook
- Connecticut River
- Long Island Sound
- Cape Cod
- Martha’s Vineyard
- South Shore
- Block Island
From the wealth and glitz of the Mediterranean to the land of Scandinavia’s Midnight Sun, European charter offers a wide variety of coastlines and options. Europe’s geography, history and cultures all offer a change of pace at every turn. Charter season runs from June to September in the north and from May-November in the Mediterranean.
- Canary Islands
More countries, more history, more variety and more facilities than any other charter region. Though Riviera ports such as St. Tropez and Cannes are justly famous, the islands lying offshore provide a more unique charter experience. Any type of charter is available here. High season runs from May to October, with August requiring the most advance planning.
With boat building a big industry in Asia, yacht charter has followed with areas like Thailand and Indonesia leading the way. Thailand’s Phuket region includes options from local fantails (wooden day boats) to crewed megayachts. With many undeveloped islands, it’s easy to truly get away from it all. Bali is an excellent base for Indonesian charters with its international airport. High season for chartering in the region is December through April.
A variety of mostly remote cruising territories on two coasts (Caribbean and Pacific), with several distinct archipelagoes. Charters operate out of Belize, Panama, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
High season runs from November to May.
An alternative to the Caribbean for charters between November and April, thanks to clear waters, unblemished beaches, and lively reefs. Yacht charter in the Indian Ocean occurs primarily in the Maldives and Seychelles. Each is an isolated island group and offers an array of locations to explore. More information on Indian Ocean yacht charter.
The South Pacific islands are on many charter wish lists, and luckily, what we dream of is actually the reality you’ll discover during a yacht charter vacation. A one- or two-week charter in the South Pacific should focus on a single island group. Farther south are the bareboat fleets of New Zealand and Australia.
Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands offer dramatic diversity in their geology and indigenous species. Many crewed charter options operate right out of the islands and some offer packages that include the two hour flight from Quito. Further south, crewed charters can be arranged in the lake districts of Patagonia, around Cape Horn, and across the Southern Ocean.