facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
Ten Best Boating Towns for Retirement Thumbnail

Ten Best Boating Towns for Retirement

We are taking a different tack with today’s blog post. Undoubtedly, we are all tired of being housebound in a COVID-19 world. So, in the spirit of living vicariously through online articles, let’s talk about the ten best boating towns for retirement. This post discusses important financial, boating, and lifestyle considerations for a select group of seaside locations, whether you prefer Pacific paradise or quaint New England fishing villages. Hopefully in the near future you will be able to visit them; if you do, let’s compare notes!

 1. Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga’s $120 million “21st Century Waterfront Plan” reinvigorated the city’s relationship with the Tennessee River and the boating community. Completed in 2005, the plan called for the redevelopment of 129 acres along the river, creating multiple public spaces and opportunities for citizens to enjoy Chattanooga’s waterfront. 

  • Population: 180,557 (2018)
  • Boating Season: May to November
  • Weather: Summers can be hot and muggy, with average temperatures in the 80s. Winters can be short, wet, and cold, with average temperatures in the 50s.
  • Cost of Living: 16.2% lower than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $150,100
  • Nearest Major Hospital: CHI Memorial Hospital
  • Airport: Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA)

2. San Diego, CA

San Diego, California

With perfect weather and pristine beaches, San Diego offers multiple opportunities to enjoy life by the sea and by boat. Seaport Village, close to downtown, is an energetic harborside collection of shops and eateries. Be forewarned, though, that the cost of living can be quite high in this Pacific paradise.

  • Population: 1.426 million (2018)
  • Boating Season: Year-round
  • Weather: Summers are short, warm, clear, and arid, with average temperatures in the mid-70s. Winters are cooler, and cloudy, with average temperatures in the low-60s. 
  • Cost of Living: 60.1% higher than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $645,300 
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla
  • Airport: San Diego International Airport (SAN)

3. Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport’s yacht-filled harbor hosts the America’s Cup, the premier annual sailing regatta. The city set on Aquidneck Island is also renowned for its many Guided Age mansions, including The Breakers. Don’t forget to try the famous clam chowder at the Black Pearl.

  • Population: 24,590 (2018)
  • Boating Season: May to October 
  • Weather: Summers are warm and humid, with average temperatures in the low-70s. Winters are cold, wet, and windy, with average temperatures in the low-40s.
  • Cost of Living: 34.3% higher than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $481,200 
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Newport Hospital
  • Airport: T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) in Warwick, RI

4. Lake Michigan: Traverse City, MI

Lake Michigan

A boating mecca, Traverse City’s waters shine blue. The arms of the Grand Traverse Bay allow boaters to have their cake and eat it, too, by offering access to deep water with the protection from storms afforded by the Bay’s gentle hills.

  • Population: 15,651 (2018)
  • Boating Season: May to October
  • Weather: Summers are warm and often cloudy, with average temperatures in the 70s. Winters are very cold, dry, and windy, with average temperatures in the 30s. 
  • Cost of Living: 1.8% lower than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $267,200
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Munson Medical Center
  • Airport: Cherry Capital Airport (TVC)

5. Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida

Voted as one of the best places to retire in Florida, Tampa (and neighbor St. Petersburg) offers a wide variety of recreation, dining, and shopping while overlooking the lapis blue waters. As an added bonus, Florida has no state income tax. 

  • Population: 2.783 million (2010)
  • Boating Season: Year-round 
  • Weather: Summers are long, hot, and wet, with average temperatures in the high-80s. Winters are short, cool, and windy, with average temperatures in low-70s.
  • Cost of Living: 0.1% higher than the U.S. average 
  • Median Home Price: $219,400 
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Tampa General Hospital
  • Airport: Tampa International Airport (TPA)

6. Lake of the Ozarks: Camdenton, MO

Lake of the Ozarks

Situated in the heart of Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks offers it all, from waterfront access for boating and fishing to golfing, shopping and other recreational activities. The lake itself covers 55,000 acres and measures 90 miles in length. There’s also an aquatic trail, almost 10 miles long, that allows you to explore several lake communities.

  • Population: 124,886 (2017) 
  • Boating Season: May through October, though some marinas are open year-round
  • Weather: Summers are hot and muggy, with average temperatures in the low-80s. Winters are cold, with average temperatures in the low-50s.
  • Cost of Living: 12.9% lower than the U.S. average 
  • Median Home Price: $188,400
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Lake Regional Hospital
  • Airport: Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), though it’s 90 miles away

7. Chesapeake Bay: Annapolis, MD

Annapolis, Maryland

The Chesapeake Bay stretches across six states, as well as the District of Columbia. The Bay and rivers that feed it account for the largest estuary in the United States (and the third largest in the world). Plus, there is nothing better than Maryland Blue Crab with some Old Bay seasoning.

  • Population: 39,174 (2018); 18.2mm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed
  • Boating Season: April through October 
  • Weather: Summers are warm and muggy, with average temperatures in the high-70s. Winters are cold and windy, with average temperatures in the high-40s. 
  • Cost of Living: 25.6% higher than the U.S. average 
  • Median Home Price: $417,000
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Anne Arundel Medical Center 
  • Airport: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

8. Corpus Christi, TX

Corpus Christi, Texas

Perhaps an unexpected choice, but Corpus Christi has one of the highest square miles of open water of any city in the United States. Local laws are very favorable to liveaboard boaters, and marinas in the area allow for easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. As an added bonus, Texas also does not have a state income tax. However, it is a community property state, which warrants consideration for estate planning.

  • Population: 325,733 (2016) 
  • Boating Season: Year-round
  • Weather: Summers are long and very hot, with average temperatures in the high-80s. Winters are shorter and windy, with average temperatures in the low-70s.
  • Cost of Living: 16.9% lower than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $146,200
  • Nearest Major Hospital: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Shoreline
  • Airport: Corpus Christi International Airport

9. Puget Sound: Port Townsend, WA

Swapping Southern humidity for snow-capped mountains, Puget Sound offers a truly unique experience to boating in the United States. The historic seaport of Port Townsend combines panoramic, picturesque views with a nascent, trendy shopping and dining scene. 

  • Population: 4.2mm (2019) in the four-county central Puget Sound region
  • Boating Season: May through September 
  • Weather: Summers are short, dry, and comfortable, with average temperatures in the high-60s. Winters are cold and wet, with average temperatures in the high-40s.
  • Cost of Living: 15.4% higher than the U.S. average 
  • Median Home Price: $398,900
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Jefferson Healthcare 
  • Airport: Jefferson County International Airport (TWD); Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is 60 miles away

10. Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina

Host to the Charleston Bermuda Race, this bastion of Southern charm combines the best of Lowcountry with historic boating culture. Southern mansions line the harbor, beckoning over 4 million visitors a year to the waterfront.

  • Population: 130,113 (2014)
  • Boating Season: Year-round
  • Weather: Summers are hot and muggy, with average temperatures in the low-80s. Winter are cold, windy, and wet, with average temperatures in the low-60s. 
  • Cost of Living: 11.5% higher than the U.S. average
  • Median Home Price: $316,500 
  • Nearest Major Hospital: Roper Hospital 
  • Airport: Charleston International Airport (CHS)

Retirement Planning with Harbor Crest Wealth Advisors

We’ve all been forced to put a pause on our plans in 2020. That doesn’t mean, though, you can’t continue to build toward your dream retirement by the water.

Whether you prefer the mountainous, rainy enclaves of the Pacific Northwest, or the azure waters of our great Southern beaches, proper planning can make your dream retirement a reality. If you would like additional tips on how to achieve your retirement goals, sign up for our newsletter.