BlogJanuary 2018

5 Best Boating Destinations in U.S. for Your Winter Vacation

5 Best Boating Destinations in U.S. for Your Winter Vacation

By Tom Keer

Jan 10, 2018

Folks in warm regions have long boating seasons.  If you're waters are frozen solid then head to these states for a great winter boating trip.

The ice boat fly across the frozen lake faster than any boat I've ever seen.  Since it was the only boat hoisting a sail I suspected that Sugar Lake didn't quality as best boating destination.  With much of the United States facing months of cold temperatures, here are some winter boating destinations that make for great get-aways.

1. Florida

Where to boat in Florida?  Pretty much any place along Florida's 1,350 miles of coastline is great for winter boating, but there are lots of inland options, too.  One hot spot is Lake County and it's over 1000 area lakes.  If you're looking for a place to set up you base camp then check out the town of Clermont; it's in the middle of 17 interconnected lakes.  Lake County is one of the state's top boating destinations.

2. Mississippi

The Gulf of Mexico, Back Bay, and Big Lake makes Biloxi, Mississippi one of the best places to go boating. Check out the Mardi Gras Festival in late February and the Spring Festival in March, both of which makes Biloxi one of the state's best boating destinations.

3. California

With 840 miles of coastline, the Golden State has plenty of saltwater boating destinations.  But check out the unique Salton Sea, a unique, inland saltwater lake formed by accident.  Boat ramps and family campgrounds, and RV sites with hookups are near by, and there are lots of activities ranging from fishing, swimming, and hiking. 

4. Arizona

Simply put, Lake Powell is one of the most interesting areas to boat.  With beaches, side canyon lakes, and red rock walls there is plenty of water to accommodate all types of boaters.  For the ultimate boating vacation why not rent a houseboat?  There is nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline to explore...

5. Texas

Sure there is the coastline that runs to hot spots like Galveston, Rockport and Corpus Christi, but check out Lake Austin.  Who would think there is such a vibrant boating community not far from the state capitol building and the University of Texas main campus?  What's fun is the number of lakefront restaurants and shops for non-anglers and plenty of largemouth bass, sunfish and catfish for anglers.  And there are boat rentals, too.

There are lots of other winter boating destinations in other states as well. Use our interactive map to search places near you and make getting on the water in the New Year a priority.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at