This month, I’m going to be sharing some great places that are a must see along the east coast of the USA and down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). You will most likely be traveling 8-10 hours per day if you’re trying to make it south before it gets cold, so naturally you’ll end up in some great places along the way anyway, but I want to point out the ones we really enjoyed spending time at and exploring a little more.
If you’re taking the route that we did, all of the places you’ll stop at are very quaint and pleasant but the first major exciting stop for us was of course New York , New York. If you’re like us and would rather anchor than spend the $5+ per foot per night for dockage, then that leaves only a few places. The best overall we found was 79th Street Boat Basin. It was free to anchor in excess of 40 feet of water so make sure to have sufficient amount of chain. To park your dinghy for 24 hours was only $25 at the yacht basin which also offered free laundry and hot showers. Great thing about the location is that it’s an easy five minute walk to Central Park and more than enough things to see and do in the surrounding area. In addition, the subway and other means of transportation were easily accessible from there to see the rest of the city. We had our bicycles which were a great way to see the city and made for a nice ride across the Brooklyn Bridge. The other anchorage was located at the Statue of Liberty which was also free, however limited for city exploration but a worthwhile stop for sure.
Our next favourite was Annapolis, Maryland where you can anchor for free for five days out front of the city marina. If you’re a sailor, you already now about this amazing town that I’m sure only breeds sailors out of the box. We timed it perfectly for the Annapolis Boat Show that unfortunately was canceled due to covid. Our dreams of having our own boat anchored outside the boat show was crushed! All in all we still had great time. However, if you’re looking to provision here, it’s quite a long walk from town so I recommend taking your dinghy around the corner to Bert Jabin Yacht Yard and there’s a small dinghy dock to the left of the yard and it’s a short walk from there.
Carolina Beach, North Carolina is a great place we ended up staying at for seven days due to horrible weather but glad we did. It’s a really cute beach town with everything you need. We stayed on moorings here but learned that you can anchor as well even though they say it’s not permitted – many people did. We picked up a mooring ball for $20 per day as we did not trust the depths as they were marked on our charts. We didn’t have Navionics at the time and quite frankly, we were sick of grounding. Free dinghy dock at the very end, close to town.
Charleston, South Carolina. A hidden gem that we didn’t know anything about and just happened to be a place we stopped after a 130nm outside passage we took. We really loved the how unique this place felt with all the beautiful and colourful buildings that each had their unique characteristics. We could instantly see the historical differences Charleston compared with that of Annapolis or anywhere else we had stopped north of here. This was also another great free anchorage, worth an extended stay. Dinghy parking was available at the marina. Though there’s a sign that says it costs $5 per day for dinghies, I don’t think anybody actually pays nor does the marina care to enforce it. It was almost a hassle to pay. Once we actually located the marina office, the staff looked at us confused when we explained that we were trying to pay for dinghy dockage.
St. Augustine, Florida is a must, it’s fully aimed towards tourists with tons to see and do and has one of the best seafood restaurants that we’ve ever been to…period! Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill. They put their own flair to seafood that is amazing and reasonably priced, making it a win-win. Easy but crowed anchorage and free dinghy dock makes it a five star stop.
For an amazing experience, I would recommend planning ahead of time to make it to the Kennedy Space Station in Florida for a rocket launch. The anchorage was nothing special and there wasn’t much around but a rocket launch would make it unforgettable. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that we’d be motoring so closely by the space station or we would have timed it better. We weren’t prepared to wait a week for the next launch but for the experience alone, this stop makes the list.
South from here, the number of anchorages start to decrease and there weren’t too many that stood out enough to recommend. Since you’ll have to stop somewhere each night along the way, there’s still great adventure to be had in seeing and exploring each little town. Our final destination was Fort Lauderdale, Florida to provision and wait for a weather window to depart for our most highly anticipated destination since leaving Canada, The Bahamas!
If you’d like to see in detail the places we stopped at and just exactly where we anchored or moored for the night, we’ve documented it all in our YouTube videos, so have a look to see what awaits you!
If you want more Jibsea fun then head over to our YouTube Channel Sailing Jibsea or check out our Instagram @sailingjibsea