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Mackinac Island: A Laid-Back Boating Haven on the Great Lakes Little changed since 1897, when the town leaders banned automobiles (they scared the horses), Mackinac Island, at the top of Lake Huron and just around the corner from the top of Lake Michigan, is perhaps the leading summer destination in the Midwest, and certainly is one of the most picturesque in the United States. With its own marina on the historic island, and two more nearby, it’s also a major boating destination, and that’s before you count the 320 sailboats that will arrive there from Chicago at the end of…

Charter
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An Insider’s Guide to the Dalmatian Islands from The Moorings

Here’s an insider’s guide to the best of Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands on the east coast of the Adriatic, with a mix of cerulean blue water, fair winds, warm weather and more than a touch of history (the islands were ruled by the Republic of Venice from before Columbus’ time to 1797). You can cruise among the islands in a chartered boat, stopping to explore historic towns with medieval walls, cobblestone streets and waterfront bars; Korcula,  pictured above, is the birthplace of Marco Polo and one of the oldest towns in Croatia. Or get a guide and enter blue and green…

Cruising Life
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St. Croix: The Largest, Most Historic, and Most Laid-Back of the U.S. Virgin Islands

With its warm waters, white beaches and protected harbors, St. Croix has been attracting visitors ever since Columbus landed there in 1493. Unfortunately, he was almost immediately attacked by the native Kalinago, and quickly sailed away. The Dutch and English had better luck, forming settlements in 1625, but they fought with each other and subsequent European nations trying to claim the place. Indeed, no fewer than seven nations (including the Knights of Malta and Denmark) have fought for ownership of St. Croix over the years. The U.S. finally bought the island, which is about 40 nm below St. Thomas (and…

Cruising Life
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6 Gems of Anegada: Reefs, Beaches, Lobsters and, oh, Shipwrecks

When Columbus first saw this low-lying coral atoll in the Caribbean Sea on his second voyage in 1493, he named it Anegada, meaning drowned island. The highest point then, and now, is only 28 feet above sea level. Anegada, about 14 miles northeast of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, now has some waterfront restaurants and beach bars, but the 15-square-mile island really hasn’t change all that much. It is still virtually surrounded by Horseshoe Reef (accounting for 300 shipwrecks), which protects miles and miles of secluded white sand beaches. One of the best, Cow Wreck Beach, is home…

Cruising Life
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A Fast Guide to the Best Bars, Marinas and Fun Spots in Key West

If you’ve ever been there, I think you have to admit that Key West is unique, a one-off, there’s nothing like it. Ernest Hemingway, for one, loved it, writing that “it’s the best place I’ve ever been, anytime, anywhere.” The southernmost point in the United States, Key West is the heart of the Conch Republic, a jumping off point for Cuba for a lot of cruisers (including me, more than a decade ago), a sportfishing mecca, and the center of parties and celebrations that go on and on – from the evening gathering at Mallory Square to catch the…

Cruising Life
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The Ten Prettiest Coastal Towns in Maine: Did Your Favorites Make the List?

The coast of Maine, with all its jutting peninsulas, rocky shoreline and hidden coves and harbors, offers some of the best cruising anywhere – if you can avoid the fog and the lobster pots. Maine also has some of the prettiest coastal towns anywhere, filled with charm, character and boating history and tradition. Which towns are the prettiest? Well, much of this is in the eye of the beholder. I personally would vote for both Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor, Port Clyde, Southport and Wiscasset, but that’s just me. To see what others think, here’s a top ten list from…

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Charter A Yacht in Bermuda to Watch the America’s Cup

You shouldn’t need an excuse to go to Bermuda (it’s one of the world’s greatest spots), but if you do, start thinking about the America’s Cup, one of the world’s most enduring sports contests. Don’t take too long to think about it: The first Louis Vuitton qualifying race starts May 26. One of the best ways to see all the action, of course, is by chartering your own yacht, power or sail. We have a story and video listing seven reasons why you should do that, below. And then below that we have another story telling all about Bermuda itself.…

Cruising Life
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Postcard-Perfect Cruising Grounds

Back in Columbus’ time, the natives called the island of St. Vincent “home of the blessed,” a description that today could apply to its appeal as a postcard-perfect cruising destination with beckoning coves, incredibly white beaches and drop-dead gorgeous aquamarine waters. Way down the Caribbean, south of St. Lucia and west of Barbados, the country of St. Vincent consists of the main island (St. Vincent) and a chain of smaller islands and cays stretching some 40 miles down to Grenada. It has a colorful history of wars, slave ships and pirates (with a possible whiff of cannibalism); today the old…

Charter
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Want a Glamorous Cruise or Charter? Try the Cote d’Azur

There are vacations and there are vacations, but where else in the world is as appealing and as glamorous as the Cote d’Azur, the 60-mile stretch of absolutely gorgeous blue water from Monaco to St. Tropez? Think Princess Grace, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant and James Bond, not to mention F. Scott Fitzgerald. Now you can get there yourself on a cruise or week-long charter from MarineMax Yachts. Here’s a sample itinerary to whet your appetite: http://www.marinemaxyachts.com/private-yacht-charters/cote-dazur

Cruising Life
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Cape Breton Island: A Canadian Cruising Heaven that Still Beckons

Many years ago, I drove a Phoenix 35 from Norwalk, Connecticut, up to the little Canadian town of Gaspé, on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, with my friend Eric Schweikardt, the photographer. The trip took us up to Maine, over to Nova Scotia, up to the Canso Canal, past Prince Edward Island and finally to Gaspé, at the entrance to the St. Lawrence. Unfortunately, we went right by Cape Breton Island and Bras d’Or, the magnificent lake in the middle of it. We were in a hurry, or thought we were, and, with the ignorance of relative youth, thought…

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