from Life of Sailing, Last Updated by Daniel Wade, October 1, 2021
Living aboard a sailboat is a dream come true for many people. There is something so inherently appealing about living on a boat, getting the opportunity to pick up one’s roots and move to new pastures at the drop of a hat, or anchor.
But, how do you know whether somewhere is a good place to live if you have never been there? Not everywhere is ideal for everyone, of course, but there are some common factors you can look for to give you an indication of how good a location will be for you. This article will explain the best places to live on a sailboat, what makes them so good, and more.
Why do people choose to live aboard a sailboat?
There are plenty of reasons people might choose to liveaboard a sailboat. As mentioned above, the ability to move your home at will is rarely possible.
The only two real instances are people who choose to live aboard a sailboat or in an RV. The difference is, a sailboat can be far roomier and can make moving location even easier.
Here are some of the most common reasons people choose to liveaboard a sailboat:
Coast to coast
Being able to pick up one’s roots and make the journey from the east coast to the west with your home is uncommon, to say the least. Not everyone has ties keeping them in one location.
If you work from home and all you need is a good wifi connection, you can essentially work from anywhere.
Living on a sailboat can give you the chance to sail from California to Hawaii, should you feel so inclined.
This is a sense of adventure you simply will not find anywhere else.
Sailing from the continental United States to other countries is a great way to see other cultures, this is why many people choose to live on a sailboat. It gives them the freedom to visit new countries and meet new people whenever they wish.
You cant even take your RV to these places, so sailing truly is the only way to bring your home with you. Depending on how big your boat is, you could take it essentially anywhere.
If you decide you want to live in the south of France for a while, well off you go.
It’s cool Living on a sailboat is simply cool. It is the dream of so many people for a reason, there is something so inherently romantic about life on a sailboat, spending our free time on the open sea.
The sense of connection we have to the deep blue sea that we likely won’t find with the apartment block we could alternatively be living in. Sailing at heart is an adventure whether you are sailing from coast to coast or simply lazily patrolling the coast for the afternoon.
What are some benefits of living aboard a sailboat? There are numerous benefits to living on a sailboat that many people who have never done it may not realize. Living on a sailboat inherently comes with some differences to living on land. Some people may find these differences unappealing but to the majority of people choosing to live permanently aboard their sailboat, they are blessings.
The quiet Living on a boat means having the ability to sail away from anything you may find disturbing. Are you somewhere very loud, is there a party going on at your neighbors? Just leave. Most marinas are typically pretty quiet, but there can occasionally be parties and events going on. If they bother you it is easy enough most of the time to just leave until they are over. When there is not some kind of event going on, marinas are typically pretty quiet and peaceful. It’s a nice way to live near a big city without the hustle and bustle of the city center. No phone service or wifi Whilst it is possible for you to hook up your sailboat with an internet connection, if you were trying to avoid having that kind of connection, that would be possible too. Sometimes we just need to be able to get away from our phones and our computers for a while.
For our mental wellbeing, having the opportunity to sail a few miles off the coast and suddenly have complete isolation and privacy is a small miracle for some folk.
Safety The idea of living on a boat may not seem immediately like a “safe” way of living, but it is. The little things like the marina security being there to help keep you safe cannot be understated. Not only are the marinas typically very well protected with locked gates and CCTV, but there are also often actual security guards too. Furthermore, your neighbors are on the lookout for trouble just as much as you are. You aren’t likely to bump into a problem with another resident of the marina.
If there is a natural disaster incoming, like a tornado, being able to move to safer waters is not a luxury many people have. When Florida gets hit with tornados people regularly uproot themselves and move up the east coast until the worst of it has passed. You cannot move your house and all your belongings, you can only move yourself. This isn’t a problem with a sailboat. The simple life Living on a sailboat is a very simple way of living. Not that it doesn’t require skill and know-how to do it successfully, it just is by definition going to be more simplistic. Firstly, you have to spend so much of your time doing boat maintenance that this becomes your main focus. Secondly, you cannot fill your boat with hoarded junk like so many people who live on land do. You only need the bare necessities. This can be a breath of fresh air for people who have never had to do it before. It offers a very focused life, your priorities become far more clear.
Where are the best places to live on a sailboat? There are so many fantastic places to live on a sailboat all around the United States. It is rare that a country is so large, first of all, but also remaining so diverse. Then when you consider just how much coastline the United States has, it opens your eyes to just how many possibilities there truly are.
Here are some of the very best places to live on a sailboat in the United States:
1. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland If you are looking for a mild climate, friendly people, good fishing and a relaxing home; the Chesapeake Bay is the place to be. You may find the marinas more on the expensive end of the spectrum, but it is worth it. Chesapeake is very sheltered from the harsh winds and storms of the rest of the east coast, it is very safe and a good choice for anyone new to the lifestyle. You may recognize Chesapeake from the Netlflix show “Chesapeake shores”, whilst yes it is based on that area the show itself is filmed in Vancouver so you, unfortunately, won’t be stumbling upon any of the actors or set. 2. Corpus Christi, Texas If you are looking for somewhere that can offer you a fair price, great food, and amazing access to South America look no further. Corpus Christi has only recently developed into the wonderful area that it is today. The marinas are new and state of the art, but haven’t yet been hit with the pricing boom of more popular locations. Currently, you can get a decent marina slot for about $150 a month. Far less than somewhere up north near Tampa Bay or New York. The food is great, you will find genuine Mexican cuisine of the very best quality. If it isn’t quite authentic enough for you, Mexico is not so far for you to sail to yourself.
3. Green Bay, Wisconsin Green Bay makes a great location for those who enjoy whiling their free time away doing some fishing. The fishing in Green Bay is second to none, the marina rental is cheap, and the people are friendly. Plus, the Green Bay Packers are generally pretty good if you are a fan of football. The marinas in Green Bay are pretty close to the main shops and restaurants so you will still feel connected to the local community. When it does come to marinas, you are going to want to find the one that best suits your budget. There are very cheap marina spots available, but you will get far more for your money at the more expensive marinas. Better security, better location, better amenities.
4. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri The lake of the Ozarks is one of the most beautiful and interesting places you could choose to live in. The lake itself is huge, covering over 55k square acres and playing host to over a thousand miles of coastline. This makes it the perfect place for exploring in your free time. The weather is mild and the people are friendly. It isn’t overly high priced considering how famous it, you may remember it from the hit Netflix series “Ozark”. The show did a fine job of representing the look of the area, even if it did over exaggerate other areas. For example, there is far less criminal activity than the show would have you believe. 5. Long Island, New York This is the perfect location for someone with one foot in one foot out of the boating lifestyle. Perhaps you love the idea of living aboard your sailboat, sailing up and down the coast in your free time, and the simplistic life boating offers. But, you aren’t quite ready to give up everything the big city has to offer either. Luckily, by staying in Long Island you will be so close to New York that you get the best of both worlds. Given where it is in the world, it can be slightly more expensive than some of the other options in this list but you do get what you pay for.
6. San Diego, California San Diego is perhaps the best place to live if you plan to stay on the west coast. The city itself is beautiful, the people friendly, the marinas state of the art and the opportunity to explore is fantastic. But, the marina rent is going to be extortionate. It is California, after all. Whilst you could stay in Green Bay for $150 a month, it could cost you as much as $1500 a month in San Diego. This can price a lot of people out of living in California, but, if that isn’t a problem for you all California has to offer. San Diego makes a great home base for exploring not just all of Califonia but the west coast as a whole. The weather is always nice, it rarely rains, the food is good and there is more to do than almost any other state.
7. Tampa Bay, Florida Tampa Bay is a great place to live if you are in search of good weather. Being in Florida means you are going to typically get great weather all year round, even if you might get the occasional tornado. Tampa is a great place to live if you work aboard your sailboat, there is no income tax in Florida so you may find yourself earning even more than you previously would have. You might need this extra income as the marina fees can be pretty pricey down there. Tampa can be far cheaper than Miami itself, if you plan to spend a lot of time in Miami it is just a short journey there. The money you save from avoiding living in Miami itself is a big difference-maker. Conclusion Finding the best places to liveaboard a sailboat depends so much on what you the individual are looking for. If the price doesn’t matter, living in San Diego or Long Island might be perfect for you. Alternatively, if you are trying to save your money for the future Green Bay or Corpus Christi would be perfect. Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to where they want to live. Any of the above-mentioned locations would make great homes for new and seasoned sailors alike.
Daniel Wade I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing. ☕Buy me a coffee