10 Great Boating Towns:
To Retire + Play + Thrive!

By Art Pine
Published: June/July 2013

Do you daydream about life after working? Would you like to move to a boating paradise once you're free of the daily grind? Well, here are 10 boat-friendly American communities — from sleepy to hopping — to get your imagination
fired up
.

Click here to see the Ten Boating Towns we selected!

Photo of a boats on Traverse Bay Photo: Traverse City Convention Bureau

If you're an avid boater, chances are you've begun thinking about The Dream, to eventually move to a community close to the water, where you can go out on your boat whenever you want. Bill Berens is doing that right now. Early last year, the 70-year-old Fredericksburg, Virginia, powerboater and his wife Pauline bought a two-story house on a Tarpon Springs bayou in Florida, and are about to move Red Duster, their 30-foot Chaparral Express, to a new slip in the Sunshine State.

"We've been thinking about this for 10 or 15 years," says Berens, who's been a weekend boater on Aquia Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River just below Washington, D.C., for three decades. "We decided to make it happen." When the Berenses finally leave the Potomac area, they'll enjoy year-round boating and decidedly lower berthing and maintenance costs. And Bill will be able to fish for red drum, tarpon, snapper, and speckled trout. For land-based services and bigger-city life, Tampa is only a few minutes' drive. "There's easy waterway access to the Gulf of Mexico, and plenty of coves and islands around for picnics," Berens says. "And the water around Tarpon Springs is so clear you can see right down to the bottom" — a welcome contrast to the perennially opaque Potomac.

Choosing Isn't Easy

Berens isn't alone in his enthusiasm for looking for a new place to live after retirement. The number of U.S. workers who leave their current hometowns after completing careers may have declined since the 2007-2008 recession, but 16 percent of baby boomers surveyed by the MetLife Mature Market Institute last year still plan to seek new digs once they stop working full-time. Deciding where to go is the fun part, but also the most challenging.

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