Your Guide to Boating along the Northeast Coast

From the picturesque shores of Nantucket to the stunning views of Shelter Island, boating across the northeast coast offers some of the finest sights in the continental United States.

With hundreds of harbors along the way and plenty of opportunity to explore historic yachting havens, a trip down the northeast coast is a boater’s dream. If your boating adventured is geared more toward fishing than sightseeing, be sure to check current the NOAA Regulations for the Greater Atlantic Region.

Here are a few of our Top Boating Destinations along the Northeast Coast.


  • As one of the most popular cruising destinations along the northeast coast, Nantucket is steeped in maritime tradition. Nantucket offers picture-perfect beaches and stunning coastlines. Navigate carefully as shifting shoals and sandbars in the waters surrounding Nantucket have reportedly caused over 700 shipwrecks in history.
  • Cuttyhunk Island is the final link in the magnificent Elizabeth Island chain. Approach Cuttyhunk either from the east via Buzzards Bay or from the west via Rhode Island Sound. Well-protected from the crashing surf, Cuttyhunk Pond provides a snug dredged channel between breakwaters. Once anchored, enjoy a beach barbecue or a leisurely hike over the bluffs to experience the stunning vistas above Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Vineyard Haven has a storied tradition as a summer colony and one of New England’s busiest ports. As the main port of entry to Martha’s Vineyard, the port experiences year-round popularity that increases further in the summer. Once anchored, visit the neighboring town of Tisbury for eclectic BYOB restaurants and excellent shopping.
  • The entrance to Edgartown Harbor offers magnificent views of Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse contrasted against stunning shorelines and wide open skies. Once heralded as a great whaling town, Edgartown remains one of the most beautiful summer resorts in the northeast.  Must-see sights include the protected salt pond of Katama Bay, the majestic brightly-colored cliffs of Gay Head cliffs, and Oak Bluffs’ gingerbread cottages.


  • Block Island offers the perfect New England getaway. Enter New Harbor via the West Side of the Island through the beautiful Great Salt Pond, a haven for recreational boating. The shorelines and wetlands of the Great Salt Pond provide Block Island with a beautiful sheltered harbor and a diverse ecosystem.  Once anchored, explore the steep cliffs and stunning beaches to the south. With 17 miles of pristine shoreline protected by lighthouses and magnificent bluffs, the beaches surrounding Block Island provide some of the most breathtaking views on the east coast.
  • Visit Newport, home to the world-renowned Gilded Age mansions of the late 1800s and known as the Sailing Capital of the World, to experience spectacular coastal scenery, beautiful sandy beaches and magnificent sprawling estates. Boating in Newport provides an extraordinary experience, with fair winds and ideal conditions year-round.  It’s no surprise that many international boating events, including the famed America’s Cup, choose Newport as their host.


  • Deposited by glaciers near the end of the Ice Age, the Thimble islands are a collection of 365 tiny granite islets (only 32 which are habitable) just off the coast of Branford. Home to strong tidal currents and strewn with ledges, the Thimbles can be quiet moody. On a calm summer night, they will welcome you in and offer good anchorage and stunning views.
  • Sail up Mystic River and visit Mystic Seaport, a living maritime museum where the staff sports traditional 18th Century attire as they repair classic sailing vessels. The seaport is also home to Charles W. Morgan, the classic whaling ship, which is currently undergoing extensive restoration.


  • A trendy tourist town as well as a yachting center, Port Jeff offers a variety of shops, art galleries, charming ice cream parlors and excellent restaurants. With a past steeped in maritime history, Port Jeff also provides a look back in time with a ship building center and historical homes that dates back to the 18th Century. Anchor off the main channel or tie up in a marina for a fee.  
  • Within easy reach of New York City and the world-famous Hamptons lies Shelter Island.  Located on Long Island’s North Fork, Shelter Island offers safe  anchorage and picturesque views. Discover an inspiring collection of classic and modern yachts at Dering Harbor on the island’s west side. Or visit the 2,039-acre Mashomack Preserve, which comprises nearly one third of the island and harbors rare plants and endangered birds.

Of course, these are just a few of our favorite destinations along the northeast coast. With so many stunning sights and historic harbors, it would be impossible to include ALL of our favorite spots on a single list!  

Reserve your northeast coast boating adventure and set sail today!

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