The Best Sailing Destinations in the U.S.

by editor
saling san francisco

If you’re looking for a vacation that allows you to truly get away from it all, a destination sailing trip may be just the thing for you. With the sea breeze in your hair and the sun on your face, few things are as relaxing as reclining on the deck of a sailboat. Whether you’d like to helm the ship yourself or you prefer to take a backseat approach, sailing can be a great adventure that’s equal parts relaxing and exhilarating. This guide to some of the best sailing destinations in the U.S. will help you decide exactly where to point your sails for your next great adventure.

San Francisco, California
This bustling city may not seem ideal for a relaxing sailing excursion, but make no mistake, San Francisco is absolutely one of the best sailing destinations in the U.S. San Francisco didn’t earn the nickname “the City by the Bay” for no reason, after all. A sailing excursion around the San Francisco Bay is as much a restorative journey as it is an educational one. The San Francisco Bay is brimming with iconic landmarks and historical sites. Sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Angel Island and learn the history of your ancestors, and round out your tour with a trip around Alcatraz Island. You can also stop by Pier 39 to catch a glimpse of the colony of California sea lions that has taken up residence there.

Key West, Florida
For a truly relaxing sailing experience that maximizes sun and fun, head down to the Florida Keys. Key West is the largest and most populous island of the Florida Keys. However, the island still maintains a relaxing, small-town feel. The idyllic beaches and warm tropical breezes are perfect for anyone looking to get away from it all, if just for a moment. This destination is ideal for veteran sailors as well as for those just beginning their aquatic adventures. From Key West, you can sail to Dry Tortugas National Park and experience some of Florida’s stunning wildlife firsthand. Pair your sailing excursion with an underwater adventure and go snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Score an up-close and personal look at Florida’s colorful coral reefs and the submerged “Christ of the Deep” statue.

 Visit Florida The Florida Keys: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. Courtesy Visit Florida.

Newport, Rhode Island
An East Coast sailing adventure can be just as rewarding and relaxing as a tropical getaway. Newport, Rhode Island, touts itself as the sailing capital of the world, a title that’s certainly well-deserved. This small coastal town boasts stunning shorelines and an abundance of fantastic sailing destinations. Newport is even home to the National Sailing Hall of Fame, regularly hosting sailing competitions and festivals. One of the most well-attended festivals hosted here, the Newport International Boat Show draws sailors from around the world. Newport was also the filming location for several popular movies, including High Society, The Great Gatsby (1974), and Moonrise Kingdom.

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