BlogMay 2023

5 Family-Friendly Summer Boat Vacation Ideas

5 Family-Friendly Summer Boat Vacation Ideas

By Debbie Hanson

May 22, 2023

List of five summer boat vacation destinations for families, best places across the country that offer easy boating access, watersports, campgrounds on the water

As the weather starts to get warmer and the days begin getting longer, thoughts of a summer boat vacation may have already crossed your mind. Some of the best family fun boating destinations have resorts or campgrounds on the water and offer easy boating access to calm or protected waterways. When your family has options for a variety of different activities, such as fishing or kayaking, that can be a big bonus too. Check out these five family boating trip ideas and start planning a summer getaway.

1. Homosassa, Florida

When it comes to boating in Florida, Homosassa in Citrus County is considered one of the top summer family destinations. Places like Riverside Resort, MacRae’s of Homosassa, and Seagrass Resort offer waterfront lodging, adventure, and dining venues that are perfect for family boating getaways. For kayaks or small boats, the Halls River is an ideal place to fish and spot wildlife since it’s surrounded by Crystal River State Park, the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, and St. Martin’s Marsh Aquatic State Preserve. For access, take your pick of the fifteen boat ramps spread throughout the County's scenic waterways.

2. Silver Lake State Park, Michigan

Silver Lake is one of the best boating lakes in Michigan due to the nature of the calm inland waters and easy access at Silver Lake State Park. The three miles of sugar sand Lake Michigan beach offers opportunities for families to boat, swim, build sandcastles on the beach, and go freshwater fishing for bass or pike. Stay at the modern campground at Silver Lake State Park, launch your boat from one of Silver Lake State Park’s public launches, and rent kayaks or paddleboards from one of the watersport outfitters in the Mears area.


3. Lake Havasu City, Arizona

The giant reservoir of Lake Havasu is a boater’s paradise that lies along the Colorado River, on the border between California and Arizona. You can take boat tours of Lake Havasu and the Colorado River, fish for striped bass or channel catfish, or spend a day waterskiing. Kayakers will also find plenty of launch sites, including Rotary Park, Windsor, Castle Rock, Mesquite Bay, Bill Williams Bridge, and Cattail Cove. There are several public boat ramps that provide access for Lake Havasu boating, including four ramps located at Lake Havasu State Park. If you need overnight accommodations, you can take your pick from the many campgrounds and hotels that are located on or near the water in Lake Havasu City.

4. High Cliff State Park on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Lake Winnebago is the largest inland lake in the state of Wisconsin and is often cited as being one of the best boating lakes in the Midwest. High Cliff State Park is the only state-owned recreational area on Lake Winnebago. The park is ideal for a summer boat vacation because it has four developed boat launches and an undeveloped launch that provides kite boarders and paddlers with easy access to the lake. Boaters can overnight aboard boats moored at High Cliff Marina, which has over 100 slips available for rent.


5. Clear Lake State Park, California

Clear Lake in California rounds out this list of summer boating trip destinations because, as the largest freshwater lake in California, it has over 68 square miles of surface area for water recreation. In addition, Clear Lake State Park Amenities include four campground areas, two group campsites, a swimming beach with showers, a boat launch, a marina, and miles of water trails for kayakers, paddleboarders, and canoers.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.