Friday’s Top Five: Marinas

8 02 2013

I decided that every Friday, or every other Friday…. I will post a top five list. This week’s top five list is a list of the best marinas that we have been to from Marion, Massachusetts to Satellite Beach, Florida. This list is purely our opinion based on the following factors: price, location, amenities, friendliness of staff and other boaters, and all around good vibe. So drum roll please……..here are our top five marinas, in no particular order….

 

  1. Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina, Newport Rhode Island http://www.thenewport-hotel.com/

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We arrived to this marina in November 2011 after facing 35 knot wind and 15 foot waves traveling from Cuttyhunk Island, MA to Newport, RI. Even though it was just the start of our trip, Capt’n and I were ready to end our adventure a mere 1.5 hrs (driving) from our house! The Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina was a paradise compared to the seas we had been facing. We arrived to Newport during the “off season,” where it is less crowded and less costly. We spent a week at Newport Hotel and Marina and loved every minute of it. For starters we loved the location of the marina. You literally walk outside of the hotel and marina property and you are in the middle of the Newport attractions. Newport is a walking friendly town and we were able to walk everywhere we needed to go. Also the people at the marina were great. The staff was friendly and low key, the liveaboards were some of the nicest people I have met. We really felt at home here. So much so that someone found Capt’n a full time job to try to coax us to stay! Since we were there during the off season, the rates were quite reasonable. Also since the marina is affiliated with the hotel, we were able to use the hotel sauna and heated pool. The hotel has a restaurant, Pier 49 and they served free coffee to marina guests each morning. All in all, we had a great time at this marina and were reluctant to leave.

  1. Marineland Marina, Marineland Florida http://www.marinelandmarina.com/

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This marina is probably one of the marinas that are freshest in our minds since we were just there a few weeks ago. Marineland Marina is owned by the town of Marineland and just underwent a major renovation. We had heard about this marina from a few couples from St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The $1.00/ft/night was the driving force to spend the night at this marina. And we are glad we did. We arrived there either at mid tide or low tide and although we draw a 5.5’ draft, we did touch ground as we were turning around in their turning basin. So a warning for those people with deep drafts. The staff here was also great – friendly and full of information. At the time they were having a special of 50% kayak eco tour if you docked at the marina. The laundry was free, which was great, but had two drawbacks. One was that the laundry closed at 5 pm, and two, there was only one washer and dryer so there could be a line to get clothes washed. Since we only spent one night here, we didn’t have a lot of time to check out the place, but we liked what we did get to see. The marina is right across the street from the dolphin center, and the ocean. We took a nice long walk and checked out both places. Marineland seemed to be occupied by Universities – they had many research labs in the area. Marineland Florida is the smallest town in America (as far as I know) with a population of eight full time residents. This marina is also very small so if you decide to go, make sure you call ahead to see if there are spots available. All in all, we really enjoyed this marina. Below is a photo on some information about Marineland. 

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  1. Miamogue Yacht Club, Bridgeport Connecticut http://www.miamogue.com

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We had heard about this Yacht Club from a Canadian friend who we met in Newport. As cruisers with a toddler and three dogs, we are always on the lookout for free or low cost dockage. Well Miamogue did not disappoint. This yacht club is very welcoming to transients, offering one free night of dockage (electricity, water, and bathrooms included). They also have a clubhouse that is open for drinks and food, so of course we went there for dinner. The food was good and reasonably priced. Everyone who was there was interested in hearing our story so we didn’t pay for a drink! We called ahead to let them know we were coming and a member went out on the dock to help us tie up. Before we left, the members wanted us to make sure that we told people that the Miamogue Yacht Club in Bridgeport, Connecticut offers one night of free dockage to transients. Call them if you are interested. (You can find their phone number on the website link I provided).

 

  1. Solomon’s Island Yacht Club, Solomon’s Island Maryland http://www.solomonsislandyc.com/

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We traveled through the Chesapeake in December 2011 and spent one night in Solomon’s Island Maryland. I don’t remember what brought us to this Yacht Club. I think the anchorage was full and we thought that perhaps the Solomon’s Island Yacht Club would reciprocate membership from other clubs. In any event, we pulled up and tied up to one of the docks and walked into the clubhouse to talk with someone. We were able to spend the night for a nominal fee which included internet, bathroom and showers and laundry. It just so happen to be the evening of a potluck so we were able to meet many members and had a great time. They were also celebrating everyone who had a December birthday and Capt’n in Training was born in December and was the youngest member at the pot luck. Everyone enjoyed playing with Capt’n in Training and I enjoyed his impromptu birthday party. I would say that the people at this yacht club are the reason why it has made our top five. We often look back at our night there and smile.

 

  1. St. Augustine Municipal Marina, St. Augustine Florida  http://www.staugustinegovernment.com/visitors/municipal-marina.cfm

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As we traveled South, we always planned on stopping at St. Augustine, and it did not disappoint. We were not going to dock, but rather use one of St. Augustine Municipal Marina’s mooring balls, which cost $20/night and included internet, bathroom and shower, water, pump out and access to coin laundry. What I didn’t know was that this marina also had a water taxi that would pick you up from your boat and take you to the dock. The shuttle runs from 10 – 5:30 making runs approximately every two hours. We spent four nights in St. Augustine (and only planned on spending two nights) and the weather was extremely windy, so I was very grateful that I did not need to take  our dinghy with Capt’n, Capt’n in Training, and the three dogs to shore, but was able to use the water taxi instead. Not only was the staff lovely, the city of St. Augustine is wonderful. We spent days taking self guided walking tours of the city, shopping, spending an afternoon at the Fort, going to A1A Brewery for some microbrew beer and root beer. Another thing we really liked was that there for four other Whitby 42 boats moored at this marina. That had never happened to us before. It was fun talking with the other Whitby owners.  We enjoyed St. Augustine and the marina so much that we have even talked about sailing North to spend a few months in St. Augustine. Time will tell.

So there is our Top Five Marina list.  If anyone has any suggestions on other Friday Top Five topics, we are all ears.

Happy Friday!

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