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Favorite Place to Boat

Team Ripl
Team Ripl

What is everyone's favorite place(s) to get out on the water!?

I grew up boating on the Muskegon River in Newaygo, Michigan - cruising, tubing, tying up, fishing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, kayaking, rope swings along the river, etc. We camped from Memorial Day to Labor Day at Sandy Beach Campground so we were on the boat every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My favorite childhood memories were on that river. 🙂 

But, there is nothing like getting out on the water to experience boating in a whole new and different way. Every time we travel it seems like we find a way to get out on the water. 🙂 A couple favorites have been: 

  • Kawaru River in Queenstown, New Zealand
  • West Coast of Kauai, Hawaii
  • Intracoastal Waterways in Fort Lauderdale, Florida




Guest Contributor

We are huge fans of Great Lakes boating in the summer. Chicago has tons to see and do, regardless of the weather. If the "Big Lake" is smooth, try cruising in/out of each of the Chicago Harbors; go for a swim in the "Play Pen" north of Navy Pier, or stop in to Boat Drinks in Burnham for some great food and fun. We have also docked at Montrose Harbor and walked to Wrigley, and anchored off of Grant Park to listen to Lollapalooza. But, if Lake Michigan is too rough, hit the Chicago River. Cruise the main branch, and stop off at the winery. Head south to Chinatown and get some fresh shrimp from Lawrence's, or north around Goose Island. We will boat the Chicago River from April to November, the majority of the river is 21+ feet below street level, so there is no wind! The Freedom Boat Club has some boats with enclosed cabins, incase of rain or cold. 


But do not be afraid to explore! If you are into eco tours, check out the areas around Clearwater. Manatees and dolphins are everywhere. There is also great snorkeling in the area, hence the name Clearwater. If you are looking for adventure, try going inland to the Harris Chain of Lakes. Want to boat next to Alligators? How about tropical snakes? Give them a try. If the weather in the Tampa and Orlando area is too windy to boat on the Atlantic or Gulf, head over to Lakeland Winter Haven). They have a chain of lakes which connects 16+ lakes. We stopped over by Lego Land for a water ski show, then off to lunch a few lakes down. Totally awesome! It takes some good boating skills, as you drive under the roads, through culverts, and even a self-operating lock system. 


Finally, if you really want to impress your friends and family, try boating in Islamorada. Located about 90 minutes south of Miami, it is an entirely different atmosphere down there. I don't think people in the Florida Keys wear watches or even care what time it is. We like using the Freedom Boat Club right near the Snake River Pass. Hop on a 23' center console and within minutes, you're zooming out into the Atlantic. Turn SE and you will be at the Alligator Reef Lighthouse for snorkeling in water so clear is looks unreal. Or turn South, and you will be at a sandbar, complete with boat vendors for food and ice cold drinks. On your way back, stop at any of the 10+ restaurants with free docks and enjoy the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Fish so fresh it seems almost unreal! Absolutely EPIC!