Tampa Bay, Florida
The amount of sun on Tampa Bay alone would make it a contender for the best places to live and boat. St. Petersburg straddles the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay and averages 361 days of sunshine per year. Then there's the bay, which has more than 100 tributaries refreshing it. With that much waterfront land to work with, it's no wonder there's been such an explosion of home sites during the past two years; MiraBay and Little Harbor alone will total nearly 3,000 homes with water access when completed.
Tampa and St. Pete have long had a reputation for good fishing and sightseeing by boat because the entire area is connected by, and to, the water. "We even have these short-term slips near downtown, kind of like parking meters," says Walt Miller, marina and pier manager at St. Petersburg Marina. "You can pay a dollar an hour to dock your boat and go to a restaurant or go shopping."
Scorecard (scale of 1-5)
Waterfront Availability: 5
Ease for Boaters: 5
Strong Boat-Related Business: 5
Number of Good Boating Days: 5