Somewhere the grass is always greener and the water always bluer. The question: Don't such thoughts have more to do with fantasy than reality? Maybe not. We investigated boating communities throughout the country, looking for the variety of boating opportunities, boat-friendly regulations, water access, availability of waterfront homes, health of the local economy and overall lifestyle for boaters. The following 10 locations are where boaters might find that imagination meets reality.
Geographically, Seattle is flat-out ideal for boating and the outdoor lifestyle. You hear about the gray weather, but those who live here do not let that (whether fact or somewhat exaggerated fact) dampen their zeal.
"We have hundreds of miles of protected salt water from the San Juans in the north to Olympia in the south," says Make Shultz of the Port of Seattle. All of it is surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, forested islands and peninsulas, as well as the urban scenery and amenities of Seattle.
Not surprisingly then, life in Seattle seems to closely revolve around the outdoors, and the water in particular. Boating communities like Lake Union and Lake Washington are really the lifeblood of Seattle, as evidenced by all the Microsoft and Boeing employees who commute to work from their homes on the waterfront.
Scorecard (scale of 1-5)
Waterfront Availability: 4
Ease for Boaters: 5
Strong Boat-Related Business: 5
Number of Good Boating Days: 3