10 Best Spots for Boating Enthusiasts in the U.S.

Marine Cole
August 29, 2014
10 Best Spots for Boating Enthusiasts in the U.S.

Whether you’re an avid boater or simply enjoy sailing a few weekends a year, purchasing a home in one of the country’s top regions for boaters might be for you. 

The Miami area was chosen as the best boating spot by real estate website Redfin, which this week put out a list of the 10 best cities for those with a passion for boats. Colder cities like Minneapolis and Providence, Rhode Island, also made the cut.

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An estimated 89 million Americans go boating each year, according to Discover Boating, a trade association website. Although the boating season is a lot shorter in Minneapolis than in Florida, the percentage of people who own a boat in Minnesota - not called the land of a thousand lakes for nothing - is three times that of Florida.


One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a waterfront home is the cost of real estate. The median sale price in these areas ranges from $260,000 in Tampa to $639,000 in Long Island, but there are other factors to take into account as well.  

Look closely at the cost of purchasing a boat, maintaining it and storing it. Keep in mind, too, that even if you don’t own a boat, you can always join a boat club and simply pay a monthly fee.

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“There are a few things to keep in mind before buying a waterfront home,” said Cyndy Stewart, a Redfin real estate agent in Austin, another city that made the list, in the report. “Most properties will require flood insurance, which increases overall monthly costs.”

She noted that if you want to build a private dock, you’ll need a permit. You should also research how much the water ebbs and flows. “If the water level has been declining due to the drought and overuse, your home might not be on the waterfront in 10 years,” Stewart added.

Here are the 10 best areas for boaters:

  1. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $295,500
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 32.1 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Florida per 100,000 residents: 6.16

  2. Tampa
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $260,000
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 14.1 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Florida per 100,000 residents: 6.16

  3. Minneapolis
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $359,650
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 6.8 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Minnesota per 100,000 residents: 4.52

  4. Virginia Beach
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $334,800
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 11.9 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Virginia per 100,000 residents: 1.98

  5. Providence
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $424,950
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 4.6 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Rhode Island per 100,000 residents: 5.63

  6. Long Island
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $639,000
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 7.5 percent
    Number of boat dealers in New York per 100,000 residents: 2.23

  7. Baltimore, Annapolis
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $629,900
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 3.5 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Maryland per 100,000 residents: 3.19

  8. Chicago
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $265,350
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 4.9 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Illinois per 100,000 residents: 1.68

  9. Seattle
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $498,000
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 3.9 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Washington per 100,000 residents: 3.48

  10. Austin
    Median sale price of a waterfront home: $455,000
    Portion of listings on the waterfront: 3.1 percent
    Number of boat dealers in Texas per 100,000 residents: 2.03

Redfin studied 35 major metropolitan areas and looked at key figures, including home sales from July 2011 to June 2014, data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and mean temperatures per month from The Weather Channel.

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