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11. Explore!

I have a friend who likes to research new places to go in his 26-foot single-diesel pilothouse boat by looking at harbors and measuring distances on Google Earth. “Then I check the charts and go. It’s a great way to find new places,” he says.

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And that’s the idea: This summer cruise someplace that’s entirely new to you — an anchorage, a gunkhole, a sandbar. Be adventurous. Stretch your horizons.

My buddy is a seasoned coastal cruiser, but those who are less experienced can get in on the fun, too. There are plenty of flotillas that cruise in company to destinations, allowing unseasoned cruisers to venture into uncharted waters and gain experience with the assistance and backup of other boaters. Another friend of mine is a regular participant in a flotilla that travels from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini (

For you trailer boaters, get a list of your state’s launch ramps to come up with ideas. The state of Maine, for example, uses Google Earth to identify coastal and inland ramps and gives useful details online. Got children? Check out, which lists the “Top 10 Cruising Destinations for Kids.” The site has a mapping function to help you find marinas. Of course, Embassy Cruising Guides have also been a great cruising resource for many years.

See these related articles:

11 Ideas for Summer Fun

1. Row, row, row your boat

2. Take in a show

3. Supermoon on the rise

4. Find an island

5. Build a fire on the beach

6. Unplug and reconnect

7. Words for the wise

8. Bare it all

9. Stroll the docks at a wooden boat show

10. Get the kids hooked

July 2014 issue