National Parks to Explore with Your Boat – Few things are as beloved as our national parks. Almost 90 million people visited a national park last year, and trends suggest that even more will explore one this year. While most people choose to experience the parks by hiking or camping, we have a better idea. Check out one in your Crownline. We’ve selected our favorite national parks that you can easily explore by boat and create some amazing, unique memories with the ones you love.
Dry Tortugas: Florida
Located about 30 miles west of Key West, the Dry Tortugas are a Caribbean dream location. This small archipelago features clear-blue water, snorkeling, diving, an abandoned military fort, a shipwreck, camping, guided tours, wildlife, fishing, and kayaking. Located in the middle of the Caribbean, it’s tough to get here without a boat (though there are ferries and planes). If you do choose to take your Crownline, you’re in for a treat, because getting there is half the fun. Taking a long-range boat trip across gorgeous waters before spending time at beautiful islands is one of the best ways to spend a week or weekend. To make things even better, the entrance fee is only $10 (kids under 16 are free), and it’s good for seven consecutive days. We suggest spending at least a couple of days camping and exploring the area in order to take in the islands’ pristine beauty. Make sure to file a boat permit before you enter, and don’t forget an anchor. The park suggests anchoring your boat overnight, since there’s limited dock space. Don’t worry, it’s easy to anchor in the park’s shallow waters. This is one national park you don’t want to miss.
Glacier Bay: Alaska
On the opposite side of North America sits Glacier Bay, a beloved national park known for whale watching and unparalleled mountain views. You can hunt, fish, camp, hike, climb, kayak, and watch for wildlife. It’s a perfect place for those who love the great outdoors. Also, it’s a great spot to take your Crownline and explore all the wonders of Glacier Bay. There are specific rules in different areas, so make sure to get a permit and have a ranger walk you through the ins and outs of this amazing Alaskan park. We recommend camping and doing as much boating as possible. Exploring the waters in and around the bay is a distinct adventure, especially with Alaska’s towering mountains on the horizon.
Another northern gem is Voyageurs National Park in International Falls, Minnesota. It’s situated on the Canadian border and is over 40% water-based. This huge park lets you explore forests, lakes, rivers and 650 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Massive pine trees and glacier-cut cliffs make this area a must-see. The park contains a dozen attractions that are only accessible by water, so you should definitely take your boat and rent a kayak as well. The Ellsworth Rock Gardens feature more than 200 abstract rock sculptures that any fan of art will enjoy. If art isn’t your cup of tea, no worries, there’s plenty of space to hike, boat, kayak, camp, swim, take tours, watch for wildlife, and geocache. Voyageurs is free to enter, but you should talk to a ranger or administrator about registering your boat during your visit.
Channel Islands: California
Off California’s coast, near Santa Barbara, are five islands that make up Channel Islands National Park. These volcanic islands create an incredible seascape that features a unique ecosystem of plants and animals that formed over thousands of years of isolation. Anacapa, the middle island, is accessible only by boat and is home to the famous Arch Rock, a 40-foot tall natural bridge. This park is perfect for just about anything: boating, surfing, camping (including backcountry camping), rock climbing, eagle watching, whale watching, sea lion watching, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, and fishing. It’s practically a utopia. There’s no entry fee, and you only need a landing permit for one island (Santa Cruz).
Isle Royale: Michigan
This remote Michigan island is only reachable by boat or plane and is the pride of Upper Peninsula locals. It’s a camper’s dream. The rugged woods are ideal for camping, hiking and backpacking, while the waters surrounding the island feature reefs that are great for snorkeling and scuba diving. Take your Crownline for a run in Lake Superior and even explore the isle’s coast by kayak. Before you go, familiarize yourself with the park’s boating rules and regulations. The entrance fee is $7.