7 of the best parks for boating

Whether you’re looking to lull away an afternoon surrounded by nature or set sail on a snorkeling adventure, you’ll get your aquatic fix at these seven parks.
  1. Channel Islands National Park, California

    Encompassing five islands off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the park is accessible only by boat or plane. Nicknamed the "Galapagos of North America," the Channel Islands preserve a rare collection of animal and marine life.

    Good to know: January through March is the best time to see gray whale migration, while April to September is known for blue whale and humpback whale sightings.

  2. Clear Lake State Park, California

    Situated on the shores of the state’s largest lake, the park is a haven for water recreation. Swim, fish, canoe, kayak or paddleboard the lake’s 68 square miles.

    Good to know: Clear Lake is one of the top bass fishing lakes in the country, so be sure you have a pole onboard.

  3. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

    Cruise 70 miles west of Key West to snorkel amid coral, seagrass and shipwrecks. Plan to visit Fort Jefferson, a 19th century fort that’s one of the largest ever built.

    Good to know: The park doesn’t offer food, water or fuel, so plan accordingly.

  4. Everglades National Park, Florida

    There’s no better way to explore the park’s 1.5 million acres of wetlands and forests than by boat. The Everglades are home to hundreds of species, including 36 threatened or protected species such as the Florida panther and the American crocodile, so keep your eyes peeled as you navigate the waterways.

    Good to know: Plan to visit during the dry season (November to March), when you’ll see the widest variety of wading birds and their predators.

  5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

    The majestic mountains attract scores of hikers, but there’s plenty to explore by water. Grand Teton is especially popular among anglers looking to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout.

    Good to know: Kayaks and canoes are permitted on most of the lakes, but motorboats are permitted only on Jackson and Jenny lakes.

  6. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

    Accessible by boat or seaplane, this hidden treasure in Lake Superior is one of the country’s least visited national parks. But it’s also the most revisited park, luring nature enthusiasts with its incomparable solace and rugged beauty.

    Good to know: Experienced scuba divers can explore a variety of shipwrecks here, just brace yourself for the water temperature, which averages 34-55 °F.

  7. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

    This rarely crowded park caters almost exclusively to boaters, offering 270 boat-in campsites and houseboat sites. Hoping to fish? Lake trout, northern pike, sturgeon and walleye are prevalent throughout the park’s four lakes.

    Good to know: If you visit during the winter, you may catch a glimpse of the northern lights.


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January 18, 2018 09:48 AM