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Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff

Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff
by Colleen Burcar
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The Top 5 Places to Take a Boating Road Trip

by Michelle Harrison

Boat owners have the luxury of enjoying the waterways as well as the scenic destinations on their getaways. If you’ve got some free time coming up and you’re itching to hit the road, take your boat and make it an epic combo road trip/boating holiday.

Boating Magazine rated their top five favorite boating destinations based on how much waterfront is available, how easy the area is for boaters to visit, if there are nearby businesses to support boaters and how many average days with good weather conditions for boating. The results?

  • Tampa Bay, Fla.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Diego, Calif.

Let's take a look at these top spots in more detail:

Boating in Florida

Photo of Tampa by Azalia_N. via Flickr

If the idea of 361 days of sunshine a year appeals to you, then you’d probably like boating in Tampa Bay, Fla. With waterfront fed by more than 100 tributaries, Tampa Bay is not only fresh and beautiful, it’s also very boater-friendly. Good fishing and sightseeing by boat plus short-term slips in downtown make this area attractive to boaters.

Photo of Fort Lauderdale by Kolossos via Wikimedia Commons

What boater wouldn’t want to sail in Fort Lauderdale, the “Venice of America,” with its canals and waterways winding through this beautiful city? Visit at the end of October to catch the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where you can see and board new boat models and enjoy fireworks and the latest yacht toys.

Boating in Knoxville, Tenn.

Photo by Brendan Loy via Flickr

Knoxville, Tenn., draws boaters from all over for the Tennessee River running through downtown and the boat parties during University of Tennessee football season. The river leads to nearby Fort Loudon Lake and Tellico Lake, where boat manufacturers including Master Craft, Bayliner and Sea Ray have shops in and around Knoxville and Tellico Village.

Boating in Austin, Texas

Photo by atxryan via Flickr

Sail in from the Colorado River to Lake Austin and Lake Travis in and nearest to Austin, Texas, for watersport and big boat activities. You’re sure to find the right marina in one of Lake Travis’ 12 marinas, as well as public boat ramps available at Walsh Boat Landing and below the Loop 360 bridge and in three public parks.

Boating in San Diego, Calif.

Photo by euripedies via Flickr

Mission Bay sailing, Catalina Island and Coronado Island getaways and downtown concerts at the San Diego Amphitheater are just a few of the enjoyable pastimes available to boaters in San Diego. Seventy miles of coastline and beautiful cityscape attract boaters and tourists alike.

Road Trip Planner for Boating

A road trip that takes in the top five boating destinations in the U.S runs south to west through the lower part of the country. Starting in Florida to sail in Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, drive through Georgia to get to Tennessee, then west through Arkansas to get to Texas, and finally, on to California.

A couple of things will make it easy to plan:

  • Different states have different licensing requirements for boaters—visit boaterexam.com to learn the requirements for the states you’ll be visiting.
  • Plan your road trip with one of the many online road trip planners such as roadtrippers.com or tripit.com—they'll help you figure out total mileage and the best routes to take.

Michelle Harrison Michelle was an old-fashioned travel agent until the dawning of the Internet, when she lost all her clients due to DIY online booking. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em -- now she blogs about travel for a living..



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