Best Liveaboard Marinas In The US

Living aboard your own boat provides you with the ultimate freedom. But, not all liveaboard marinas are equal. Here are the best liveaboard marinas in the US.

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Living aboard your own boat provides you with the ultimate freedom. But, not all liveaboard marinas are equal. Here are the best liveaboard marinas in the US.

There is a good reason folks looking to live aboard a boat need to find the best marina that suits their specific requirements - the rules of liveaboard marinas vary across the US. Since boat living presents its own share of challenges, it pays to make sure you get the most bang for your buck at a liveaboard marina.

These are the best liveaboard marinas in the US:

  • 5th Street Marina, Florida
  • Santa Barbara Harbor
  • Duncan L Clinch Marina, Michigan
  • Sea Hag Marina, Florida
  • Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  • Rivera Dunes Marina, Florida
  • Alamitos Bay Marina, California
  • Foss Harbor Marina, Washington

We’ve gone through countless blogs, articles, videos, and personal recommendations of liveaboard enthusiasts. We have brought out the complete list of the best liveaboard marinas in the United States worth every penny.

As avid sailing enthusiasts, who also spend time at liveaboard marinas in the US, we are in the ideal position to guide you to make a more informed decision.

Table of Contents

Best Liveaboard Marinas in the US

Even though you’ll have to deal with boat and marina upkeep, many individuals consider living aboard a boat a dream come true. Whether you want to spend your retirement on the water or want to begin your liveaboard life sooner rather than later, now it doesn’t have to be a pipe dream.

If you enjoy freshwater fishing, you’ll probably want to live near a lake or a large river. If you enjoy deep-sea fishing and/or cruise through the wide ocean, you belong on the shore. Living on a boat in one body of water might be very different from living on another. Living on a boat is generally less expensive than living on land, which is probably why most people opt to live onboard in the first place. Fees related to liveaboard agreements are rather common in Florida, but you may be able to avoid them in sections of the Pacific Northwest.

It is important to keep in mind that if you live aboard a boat, the weather will impact your life more than if you live on land. Climate and weather will directly influence you and your boat, from extreme highs and lows to storms that might generate deadly surges.

Living on a boat in excessively humid locations some along with a whole new set of challenges you hadn’t considered before. You’ll probably want to invest in a dehumidifier to avoid musty odours and keep those little areas feeling fresh.

Make sure you have a spot on land to retreat if you want to live aboard a boat in a region that experiences harsh weather, and also make sure to think about how the weather and environment may affect your boating experience.

A boat with a lot of deck space but little cabin capacity could be acceptable for sunny and pleasant Mexico or Southern California. However, it wouldn’t work if you were planning to live in marinas in New England or the Great Lakes, which are primarily cold areas. So, it’s best to keep all of these factors in mind when it comes to choosing a liveaboard marina in the US. If you are still confused, the following are a few of the best liveaboard marinas in the US that you should check out.

5th Street Marina - Florida

This is, by far, the best marina on the Miami River, with quick access up the river. You can expect a relatively new facility, docks, fantastic bollards, security around the marina, and an extremely polite and professional crew. In terms of location, this marina has it all: it’s close to the most fantastic restaurants on and off the lake, Home Depot, Publix Supermarket, and more.

You also get to take advantage of new docks, robust bollards, clean electricity, fast WiFi, and security cameras that can be seen on your smartphone. Day or night, eddy or flood tides, the river is easy to navigate, even for beginners. Nearby are good restaurants, hardware stores, tool shops, and convenient access to the I95 expressway.

Miami’s 5th Street Marina, Florida is easily one of the top marinas in the state, which is no simple achievement given the state is Florida. The marina is in an ideal location, with water taxis providing direct access to the city. The marina is conveniently located among Miami’s bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Whether you intend on staying for a week or a year, you will never be bored with the amenities at this marina. The skyline of the city center is literally a stone’s throw away from the deck of your boat; you couldn’t get much closer if you tried.

Santa Barbara Harbor

The Santa Barbara Waterfront is a hidden treasure in the heart of the city. Visitors may walk or ride their bikes to the beach, park at nearby waterfront parking spaces, and explore Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf.

Santa Barbara Harbor is similar to New England seaports on the West Coast. The docks are packed with vessels. The waterfront, ocean vistas, and Stern Wharf are accessible to visitors, but parking is not.

Walking about and taking in the scenery is quite peaceful and invigorating, and dogs are welcome in this pet-friendly facility. Santa Barbara Fish Market and Brophy Bros are some restaurants around Santa Barbara Harbor. Boaters who enjoy being active and engaged will be wowed by Santa Barbara Harbor, which has enough activities to keep them busy for a lifetime.

Fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing are just some of this port’s popular hobbies and diversions. Other activities available in the region include cruises and boating courses, which private enterprises and groups provide.

Many renters choose to live near Santa Barbara Harbor because of the breathtaking views. Renters have expressed delight in viewing the dawn and sunset in the harbor, as well as resting while taking in the gorgeous, breath-blowing ocean vista. The major draw here is the freshly caught lobsters, crabs, prawns, and other seafood collected by local fishermen; the seafood was fresh and tasty.

Duncan L Clinch Marina - Michigan

The Duncan L Clinch Marina is considered one of the most beautiful sites in the world to go sailing, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not just about the location, the city has held to its origins with tenacity, and you get a small-town charm with big-city conveniences. You have all you require while feeling like a member of the community. There is also a fairly good restaurant scene in the area. You will discover bars, restaurants, and breweries, among other things. Furthermore, the expense of living is not exorbitant as compared to other liveaboard options. Sure, the greatest slips will set you back a bit more, but it’s worth every penny.

The boater’s lounge, grill area, and rain cover area are all quite beautiful. Many restaurants, retail centers, and entertainment are all within walking distance. There are 65 seasonal and 54 transitory slips. Water, power (50 and 30 amp), bathrooms, showers, fuel, dockage, cable TV, picnic tables, a dog run, 24-hour security, and laundry service are just a few of the amenities available, making it an excellent marina. It’s a lovely spot in the middle of everything. However, be warned: the famous Cherry Festival does tend to attract a rather rowdy crowd, so if you’re in a liveaboard for peace and quiet, keep that in mind.

Sea Hag Marina - Florida

If you’re looking for a reliable liveaboard marina in North Central Florida, then Sea Hag Marina is going to be your only option. Located at Steinhatchee in its entire segment, the marina has a plethora of amenities and facilities for boat lovers. Sea Hag Marina is one of Florida’s Big Bend’s largest full-service marinas.

It is also the nearest marina to the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity, located at Marker 47 on the Steinhatchee River. The marina may be reached by automobile by SR51 or CR358 from the coast. Both roads cross US19 just a few miles east of us. It takes pride in being one of Florida’s Big Bend’s largest and best-equipped marinas. The marina provides comprehensive gas and diesel fuel servicing and a complete selection of nautical components and accessories at our Ships’ Store.

The location is fantastic; the boat ramp is approximately a half-mile away, so you can launch your boat and keep it in the marina for the duration of your visit. They provide ample trailer space as well as shack-style parking for your autos.

The shacks are, well, shacks, but they’re extremely cool and attractive shacks. Although they’re certainly old, it’s tidy and full of charm; you will enjoy a lovely screened-in front terrace and a little deck in the back. They also provide the gas for the gas barbecue. This is a must-see destination, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities.

Chesapeake Bay - Maryland

The Chesapeake Bay, one of the most popular year-round living places, has a lot to offer liveaboards. There are various reasons why this one is on the list, from abundant biodiversity to neighboring sailing sites. You may select from a variety of marinas across the Bay, so it’s up to you whether you want to live near Baltimore, Virginia Beach, or somewhere else. At the same time, the Bay provides protection from terrible winter weather, making it a year-round option.

Prices vary depending on where you travel and how near you want to be to the city. Rates begin at roughly $300 per month and increase from there. The Chesapeake Bay is a large body of water that runs hundreds of miles across Maryland and Virginia. Kent Island is the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay and the site of the region’s earliest English colony. There are plenty of fishing spots, wetlands, beaches, and tiny historic villages nearby. The Chesapeake Bay is the only major direct route to the Atlantic beaches of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Rivera Dunes Marina - Florida

Because you will be staying over a longer time, your power will be metered at the Rivera Dunes Marina. Water, cable television, and WiFi are all included, which is a huge plus. Like other marinas, they feature a complimentary coffee bar and bagged ice for sale. The location is pet-friendly. Most significantly, it features a laundry room and private restrooms, so you won’t have to worry about using inland facilities.

They also offer two pools for entertainment and monthly parties to which you will be personally invited as an annual member. A petrol and diesel filling port is also available. This dock also comes with a free pump-out station for yearly dockers.

Alamitos Bay Marina - California

Alamitos Bay, another Long Beach marina, is a great place to drop your anchor if you’re searching for a handy, friendly, and enjoyable setting. According to its municipal web page, it has 1,624 recreational boat slips and a highly modern and newly upgraded infrastructural system. These slips range in size from 7.62m to 35.05m, allowing for a wide range of vessels to be welcomed.

Alamitos Bay Marina provides several services and amenities to liveaboard boaters. Alamitos Bay has you covered when it comes to property alternatives for individuals wishing to plunge into Long Beach city life. Restaurants, retail centers, hardware and equipment stores, and repair services are all available.

Several boat and yacht clubs are also located at this marina. If you’re worried about socializing with other liveaboard cruisers, these clubs will set your mind at ease for Alamitos residents. Residents who are concerned about their safety will appreciate the marina’s 24-hour security patrol service. There are other public transportation alternatives.

Foss Harbor Marina - Washington

Foss Harbor Marina in Tacoma, Washington, is a full-service marina. Kayaks and SUPs may be rented at the store/marina. The store had a good selection of wine, and it was priced similarly to a conventional wine shop. Each restroom was locked and included two showers, sinks, toilets, and mirrors. Nothing spectacular, but it would work perfectly.

It’s excellent that the docks have a safe entry. You can easily walk down to the docks, which are actually floating docks. Depending on the tide, the main plankway might be quite steep or not so steep. It also has its own fuel dock and a fantastic view of Mt. Rainier. The gasoline dock pricing was relatively affordable.

The marina at Foss Harbor is still operational seven days a week. The staff is quite friendly, and there are excellent discounts on both fuel and moorage. The store is well-stocked for last-minute purchases, and the toilets are clean. The folks at their Fuel Dock are likewise fantastic, always polite and engaged.

The staff is courteous, professional, and helpful. They put quite a lot of effort into maintaining the marina. This is an attractive site to dock because of the facilities of a great, clean laundry, showers, restrooms, dog-friendly grounds, and a small marina store with a decent wine selection.

Foss Harbor is truly a hidden treasure in the heart of the metropolis. You don’t feel like you’re in a major metropolis when you’re here. They have a wonderful little market store that is well-stocked with everything you’ll need for a fantastic day on the lake. It’s a terrific site to dock your boat, but it’s also a great area to spend the day wandering along the waterway or paddling about on a SUP or kayak.

Michael Moris

I'm Michael Moris. I've been sailing my whole life, and it has taken me to places I never imagined. From the Caribbean to Europe, from New Zealand to South America - there's nowhere that hasn't felt like home when you're on a boat!

Read more about Michael Moris

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